Formerly called DJ Static P (and known as Petros Stathoussis by officialdom), Static Plastic is one of the most respected and resilient players in the South African dance music game, with a lengthy list of accomplishments that incorporates over three decades of top notch production and party-sparking action.
Static Plastic first put needle to vinyl in 1987, beginning a soon-to-be auspicious spinning profession as a mobile DJ. His watertight skill and fathoms deep sound soon found its way onto the Jo’burg club scene, and in 1989 he landed a spot at The Twilight Zone in Hillbrow.
From there, Static Plastic moved into the booth at the Thunder Dome for two years; then spent six months manning the turntables at Caesar’s Palace. Concurrent with these high profile spots, he guested at well-attended and always rocking locales like Pink Cadillac, Idols, Ground Level, Da Flava and many more.
Having secured a firm footing on various dancefloors, his reputation spread quickly – and timeously enough for him to play a major role in the advent of modern dance culture on the continent. When the mind-shifting music and new nightlife style known as rave exploded in the early 90s, he was in exactly the right place and headspace.
Petro was an integral participant in the first raves in South Africa, assisting to set up (and fire up) legendary events like those at the Market and Piccadilly Theatres and the Wembley Arena, as well as the seminal LSI (Love Sex Intelligence) Raves.
When the fresh form – which was clandestine and colourful, characterised by wild clothing, dizzying visuals and frenzied dancefloors – found a regular home at 4th World in central Johannesburg, Static Plastic was again at the frontline, armed with a battery of brutal techno funk and chunky hypno-house.
The importance of 4th World cannot be underestimated: the Jeppe Street club arrived on the cusp of massive political transformation with futuristic rhythms and an open-minded ethos, and indubitably forged the future direction of local nightclubbing.
Not only was it the first venue with a playlist focussed entirely on machine-made, acid-laced and 4/4-propelled grooves, but it was also multi-cultural: a many-faceted meeting place for anybody attuned to underground sounds. There was simply nowhere else to get down in the opening years of the decade, and there was no turning back afterwards…
All good things must come to an end though, and when the hugely influential nightspot shut up shop, Static Plastic joined forces with fellow 4th World spinner DJ Christos to conceive the early ‘bashes’ at a range of universities and recreation centres. The first ever bash (essentially the township version of a rave) was held in Thembisa’s Community Center, and word and interest escalated rapidly enough for them to host a slew of follow-up gigs.
Petro also participated in promotional tours for Sony Music in 1995 and the Sony Radio Metro Rhythm Nation Tours in 1996 and 1997, and got dance grooves onto the airwaves via his involvement with radio shows like Metro FM’s Top 40 with Ian Segola and the Sony Sound Survey with Evidence Kemp, as well as on YFM, where he was a regular on Club Y Saturday Nights and Ashifashabba from 1999 to 2005.
Along with widely received and wildly appreciated radio shows and massive township happenings, Static Plastic was dropping excellent sets at Club Gemini in Pretoria and making guest appearances at parties in Cape Town, Mafikeng, Mmabatho, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein, and outside the country in Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and Greece. His contribution to clubbing continued with residency at Fuel Café’s “Around The House” shakedowns on Friday nights (for promoter LiLO).
Deejaying is not the only area where Static Plastic has made a significant mark on the South African music business: he’s also a producer of note who has, over the past decade, been at the reins of some ear-defying and hip-grinding tracks.
A qualified and award-nominated Sound Engineer (having trained and worked at the South African Broadcasting Corporation from 1987, completing a range of computer, broadcasting and production programmes), Petro established Phat Kat Records along with DJ Christos in 1995. He has gone on to produce many albums, numerous remixes, tracks for commercials, and compilations, and has mastered a multitude of albums and compilations for the who’s who of South African artists.
The list of projects he’s been directly involved with is long and impressive but Phat Kat Records is not the only successful enterprise Petro has initiated with DJ Christos. The two partnered up with another local spinning legend, Oscar Warona (aka Oskido) and US-based ex-pat and one-time party pioneer, Brendon Boden, to set up the AfrodesiaMP3 website, which made African music available globally in digital format.
The site was instituted to assist with marketing music from the African continent by creating a central, sussed-up location for rhythms that can be notoriously hard to find, and to create a virtual community by actively encouraging artists (both established and ascending) to use the Afrodesiamp3.com service as a forum for expression and expansion.
Being an expert in computing and networking, Petro helped assemble the website’s infrastructure and functionality – development exploits that he’s duplicated for dance music empire House Afrika and their online presence.
After the closure of AfrodesiaMP3, Petro established Static Plastic Distribution, continuing the legacy and taking the platform to a new level by expanding the distribution network to include all major download sites, subscription services and mobile networks.
But it’s a rich musical record that Petro will be most remembered for. A man of multiple talents, Static Plastic has gathered foot-stomping momentum and a mountain of respect in his three decades in the dance game – long may his beat go on…
– Written by Greg Bowes