Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’m based in Sydney, Australia. There’s always been a strong electronic scene since the early 2000’s with artists like The Presets, Bag Raiders, Grafton Primary, Van She, Flight Facilities and Bag Raiders.
Today there are so many established and up-and-coming artists adding a lot of diversity to the scene including Hayden James, Touch Sensitive, Fluir, Tilda and I Know Leopard.
How did you first start playing music?
Before I got into music production I was a DJ for a few years and did a lot of warm-up sets around Kings Cross at venues like Candy’s Apartment, La Roux and The Club. I played a lot of Nu-Disco, Electro Pop stuff like Cut Copy, Louis La Roche, Bag Raiders, Chromeo and Lifelike.
What’s been happening recently?
I spent all of last year finishing the new album so 2020 has been crazy but also really exciting! I recently wrapped up an East Coast Australian Tour with Dream Coast and Sol Flare and have just released a new single.
You’re new single ‘Without You’ Feat. Gryff is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting for this track?
A lot of my songs take a modern approach to 80’s electronic music and are more cinematic/soundtrack focused. I wanted to create an upbeat synth pop song that sounds like it could have been released in 1984.
How did you go about writing Without You and how did you come to work with Gryff?
I wrote the track with the intention of adding vocals. I finished it as an instrumental and sent it straight over to Gryff to see if he’d be interested in singing on it. I’ve always been a big fan of his powerful 80’s style vocals so I was stoked he was up for a collaboration.
How was it working with Gryff?
We had a couple of reference tracks for mood and feeling, but I stressed he should do what felt natural to him. I think it’s really important in collaborations to just let the artist add their perspective and value to the songwriting process.
With that said and after a few iterations of the recordings he pretty much wrote the lyrics and finished vocals in two weeks! He was really efficient! It also helped that Gryff was based in Brisbane, as he was able to join me on tour to perform our song live, which was a really cool experience.
Where and when did you record/produce?
I write, record, produce and mix everything in my bedroom.
What programs/instruments did you use to record/produce?
I own a Roland Juno 60 and Yamaha DX7, which are very archetype keyboards from the 80’s. Funnily enough, I haven’t used them in ages! There’s just so much you can do with VSTs these days. For me it’s really not about what you use, but how.
I use Ableton Live as my DAW with a handful of plugins that I’ve come to know very well. These include TAL-U-No-LX, heaps of Arturia products mainly the Prophet V, CS-80V and Jup-8V. I also use a lot of Korg M1 and the Emulation II by UVI.
For mixing and production I use Fabfilter Pro-Q, Pro-MB and Pro-DS, Waves API 550, The Glue by Cytomic, Soundtoys EchoBoy and Valhalla Vintage Verb. I buy new VSTs occasionally but I always end up going back to the stuff I know really well.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Com Truise, Gunship, Tangerine Dream and Touch Sensitive. I’ve really been digging the new Tame Impala and Tycho records lately.
What do you like to do away from music?
I got a puppy late last year so I pretty much am taking him out all the time to the park or beach if I’m not in the studio.
Please tell us about your passion for synths and the whole retro aesthetic:
It’s quite hard to pinpoint where it all came from but I think playing a lot of Nu-Disco stuff in my DJ days subconsciously informed my curiosity for vintage drum machines, italo basslines, brass stabs and synth solos.
I purchased Ableton Live at a point where I was gradually losing interest in DJing. I was making all sorts of electronic music but nothing really stuck. One day I came across a blog called Disco Champagne who released monthly mixtapes with artists like Miami Nights 1984, Lebatman, Com Truise, College etc and I was immediately drawn into the nostalgia and emotion these songs created.
You’ve done soundtracks for Netflix tv shows, how did this come about and how do you go about writing music for a series?
It was all pretty random to be honest. I received an email from a music film supervisor asking if they could license two existing songs for a film. Literally that was it.
Their email signature had a Hollywood address so I searched the name and the person had been a film music supervisor for Inglorious Bastards, Kill Bill, Django Unchanged and heaps of others.
After we sent the tracks over we didn’t hear much from them other than they were shortlisted for the final cut for the move Death Note. Then on the day of release I was advised my tracks were on the film…it was a surreal experience!
Your previous work has racked up millions of streams, what do you attribute to the success of your music?
I’ve been making this style of music since 2010 so I think starting out early when the genre was relatively niche has allowed me to refine my own sound and style. Today there are so many artists making this style of music so you have to really make something exciting and fresh to stand out.
There’s also been a general interest in nostalgia lately, which has seen this sound and style make its way into the mainstream with films like Drive and Stranger Things contributing to its popularity.
Your about to embark on a European tour, where are you headed and when do you go?
I’ve locked in gigs in Stockholm, Berlin, Darmstadt and London. The tour will run from 23 May to 6 June. I’m still pinching myself it’s happening I can’t wait!
What can we expect from your live show?
A mix of my earlier instrumental outrun stuff blended with some newer dance floor vocal-driven tracks. I actually remake all my songs for live performance so they’re more dance friendly and have a consistent flow. I also like to add different synth builds, drum fills and transitions into my set to make it feel like one continuous electronic odyssey.
Please tell us about any future music:
My fourth album is out in May 2020, which will be 12 tracks with 7 feature vocalists. The album represents a process of personal transformation…expect a mix of styles in this one!
What’s planned for 2020?
Aside from the album release and UK/European tour I haven’t though much else beyond that! Maybe a few more Australian shows to wrap it up, a few remixes or collaborations and then probably back to writing some new music.
Favourite food and place to hangout
I’ve always loved Japanese food but lately I’ve become a huge dumpling fan…there’s an amazing tea shop near where I live so it’s perfect for a Sunday cleanse.
Without You (feat. Gryff) [Teaser]
Without You (feat. Gryff) – out Friday! Exclusive premiere coming tomorrow!🎥 by Joseph G Media
Posted by Jordan F on Tuesday, 3 March 2020