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30 Mar Australian Music & Artists Abroad – An Interview with Daze


Words by Blake Creighton // Photos by Mathew Jones


Australian music today is not only enjoyed within our borders – it’s internationally recognised and well received. For many Australian artists, this means the opportunity to play and perform in many places across the world is not as far-fetched as once thought (even though standalone tours can be a difficult, strenuous effort). However, once greeted with open arms in such places like Europe and the UK, the idea of moving yourself and your music to a new permanent location is tempting.

In a series of interviews with touring Australian artists who have made (or are thinking about) this move, we’ll be discussing the difference between club cultures, making the decision to leave and how to tour. Our first interview is with Melbourne based, Ballarat-born DJ/producer Daze (Lobster Theremin) who was on tour in London when we sat down and had a chat with him.



Blake Creighton: Being your third time playing in Europe, how does the club culture here differ from Australia’s?

Daze: I try not to make sweeping statements, but in the places that I have played there is perhaps a level of ‘openness’ to new experiences and music that I find is a little ‘weirder’ – they push the boundaries just that little bit further. I think that at times in Australia you need to be more mindful of what you are going to play, and perhaps cater to the crowd a little bit more. I can only speak from my own experiences but when I play over here, I truly feel that I can play whatever I desire, and can follow whatever narrative I want. As a general rule as well, the crowd are happy to follow, so that is a major difference and allows me to play a lot more techno and a lot quicker.

Have you ever thought about making the move to Europe?

Definitely. It’s been on my mind since the first tour, which was largely about seeing what it is like over here. I had only been to Europe as a tourist once, so I was largely uninitiated as to what it would be like. Ever since the first tour, where I played some big shows in some big clubs, it certainly opened my eyes to the possibilities over here as an artist.

I’ve tried to just make a living as a DJ in Australia and it’s notoriously difficult. You might play Sydney once then you can’t play there for another six months. There is also not a whole lot of shows in Melbourne that perhaps suit what I do, so that becomes the major difference. I feel like over here I could probably play a couple of times a week, which would be very comfortable, whereas at home it is more of a slow grind.

I do question whether I would live in London. I feel like Amsterdam is more aligned to how I feel. I come from a fairly small town, and Amsterdam has a small town vibe… Although gentrification has certainly taken over and I have heard it is fairly hard to get an apartment in the city. So that is something that is ever present at the moment, and I’m getting very close to the point where I want to make the move. Perhaps try it out for six months and see how it goes.

 

How do you think it will improve you as a producer?

I think primarily it would give me more time to explore myself. At the moment I’m still working a full-time job back home, so finding the time around work to be able to make music is where a lot of artists find issues, like me. Whereas if I’m over here, I would try and work a part-time job and dedicate a lot more of my time and effort to being in the studio. I think it would give me the ability to explore many more ideas of what I want to make, and it isn’t strictly club music. It would give me time to let these ideas ferment, which I just don’t have at the moment back home.

How do you think it will improve you as a DJ?

The greatest benefit would come from being able to play more regular shows to crowds that are perhaps a little more open. It would allow me to play through more records, buy more records and hopefully speed up the process in regards to me becoming a more rounded DJ. I still feel that I am in the infancy of what I can do as a DJ. I have only been doing this seriously since 2014 so I feel that I have only seen a snippet of what I am able to do.

How do you think it will improve you as a person?

I have only ever lived in Victoria, Australia, so I have never made a wider move. I think it would be a process of finding out about what I’m capable of and a little bit more about who I am as a person as well. It would be interesting to see who I might become. I want to get over here and do it at some stage soon.

 

Has touring had any effects on your life in Melbourne as a DJ/Producer?

I don’t think at this point it has changed me as a producer. I’m doing what I want to do in the studio and that’s what I’ve always done. I do however bring back a lot of records from tours, so there is an overflow of music. Although, I do sometimes feel quite constrained in the shows that I play, being unable to present that weirder music – weirder techno, faster techno – but I don’t think it has made a significant change to what I’m doing.

Has touring had any effects on your life as a person?

No, I don’t think it’s changed me as a person. I am who I am, and that won’t change that much. I haven’t had any epiphanies or any grandiose plans like that at this point. Apart from now knowing that I enjoy coming over here and playing shows to crowds that are excited to see me, I tend to get home from a tour and start thinking about the next one – forever hassling my agent, “When’s the next one?!”

To other aspiring artists, what is some advice you would give on how to tour Europe?

Plan your travel well – when you do get here put some thought into it. I feel like particularly for the uninitiated, the travel can be really taxing the first time around. That was the problem I faced on my first tour. I got four weeks in and thought “Fuck, how am I going to do this!” I think the first tour was eleven weeks, it was fairly ballsy and ambitious for the first time. If you do have the luxury of having the input into what you do and how you travel, then I would do that and try to lay out space in between flights, and where possible don’t go from the club straight to the airport.

 


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16 Nov JESSIE WARE – No To Love (George Fitzgerald Remix)

You must all think I am bonkers about Fitzgerald, and you’re absolutely right!

No, I don’t think that he’s a golden child that can do no wrong. I just enjoy his music and the unique twist he puts on things. His music is fearless to me. It doesn’t try to be anything, which makes each song breathtakingly his own. The “George Fitzgerald sound” is bass music influenced. It favours catchy melodies, it’s house, it’s minimal, it’s voluptuous, it’s brooding and it can even be a bit commercial. Simply put, it sounds delicious and is an inimitable flavour at the moment – a certain quality lacking in many recent releases.

His re-working of ‘No To Love’ by UK songstress Jessie Ware, combines his studio tricks with Jessie’s buttery vocals. Harmonies of heaven cloud around your head like billows of fairy floss smoke. Just picture the tension of the alto-lasers as tiny crystals of illuminated sugar. Each progression of the tenor chords mimics the floss melting in your mouth.

Dense claps featured throughout, which he’s clearly brought over and re-worked from his track ‘Lights Out’. The alabaster spaces between the layers create a summery freshness similar to his ‘Build Up’ remix. While I wouldn’t say ‘No To Love’ is Fitzgerald’s most original work, it definitely takes the cake from the three remixes of Ware’s track (the other two are by Ewan Pearson and Todd Edwards). This track is likely to light up a dancefloor near you, just in time for the festival season! *sigh*

REVIEW BY SONIA MILES-KHAN

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01 Jul AVATISM – Constants EP

You know when you just have a great feeling about an artist? Well that was what my little cranium was experiencing the first time I listened to Avatism. That wonderful fist-clenching apprehension of what he was about to do and the following he was sure to gain from it. Now a month after following this tech-house talent, I’m incredibly enthused to review his impending album, the Constants EP.

So what exactly are the constants on Constants? Tight drums, sexy grooves and unmistakeable funk. I hadn’t reviewed him in the past because while I was personally besotted, I didn’t think his techno-beat driven sensibilities would suit THE RIPE. However it’s like he has read my mind because the Constants EP is a delightful blend of psychedelia, nu disco and his signature house. Avatism himself doesn’t freely offer any adjectives to sum up the production, only that the songs were “written in very different moments in time”.

The namesake A track, “Constants” is definitely more house thump than THE RIPE may desire but may still be worth a listen. Around 4am. Preferably in a dark basement with something nice to sip on.

Nu disco track “Follow Through“, will invigorate the ears of THE RIPE readers with a very infectious kick drum. All the synth pads have these giant reverbs which really build sexual tension! The dark vocals and brooding melody are also sure to be enjoyed by Kavinsky fans.

A Farewell Portrait” is something new entirely and might be best described as the love-child of psychedelic rock and house. “Acid house” you ask? Nope. Definitely not, this one’s all limbering beat and again, he’s reverberating everything. I’d actually go so far to say Tame Impala and Tehachapi fans will dig “A Farewell Portrait”, probably more than most electronic fans due to the cathedral-suited song and slowly dripping guitar chords. It would make the perfect theme-song for an ayahuasca trip in Kakadu…

Overall the Constants EP is an interesting little body of work and isn’t aimed at a specific listener. The album was a chance for Avatism to exhibit unreleased productions from the past years. Considering there are only three songs, lending your ears to it is not a big task and you’ll potentially fall in love with one of them.

Constants will be released on the Vakant label, July 9th.

REVIEWED BY SONIA MILES-KHAN

 

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11 May NUNO DOS SANTOS – Hamming

Nuno Dos Santos‘ recent release “Hamming” (9 May, Beatport), is pure class without a gimmick in sight. The pumping sonic waves of bass driven melody really hit you at the start and Nuno’s sounds are so well refined that you’re left eager to hear the track’s progression. With production of this high caliber, you wonder why Nuno Dos Santos isn’t a name thrown around more frequently.

Dos Santos brings to mind a Q&A I once read of a fairly unknown street artist who described Pharoahe Monch as the “rappers’ rapper”. It was a touching sentiment towards an artist who had only brushed the mainstream market (Monch could be described as a one-hit wonder), and implied this was no indication of the quality of Monch’s production.
Following this, Nuno Dos Santos could be described as a “DJs’ DJ” or more aptly a “producers’ producer”. Although very little music media coverage has been given to the Dutch national outside his home country, Dos Santos has over 5000 likes on Facebook. He is better known as half of 360; his duo project with TJ Kong. Their illustrious resident sets at Netherlands club, Trouw, have made them highly acclaimed in the Netherlands. Due to his superior skill both in the studio and the DJ booth, however, Dos Santos has slowly begun to build up a reputation in the wider European IDM scene.

James Zabiela and Max Cooper have both given credit to the original track while Donato Dozzy’s deeper “dubtechno” remix (http://soundcloud.com/nunodossantos/nuno-dos-santos-hamming-donato) has been praised by Appleblim, Danny Howells, Midland and tINI. While the remix has depth like a black diamond, if you ask me it’s great for a mix but doesn’t quite have the same substance of a standalone track that the original packs.

“Hamming” may just signal Dos Santos’ international discovery. After the pumping intro and a sparse interlude at 1:25, Nuno brings in some intense audio layering. Higher pitched, reverberating pads sit over some catchy 2-step claps – cue head-nodding. Things really start to get fresh in the the middle of the track with some sweet synths that blip like a happy robot and combine really well with the depth of the bass-line. The trims really are the key to the tracks’ success. The dreamy, computerised chimes morph “Hamming” from straight-laced techno to something a bit more uplifting.

Finally the best part – apparently he’s an incredible DJ. Fans and critics have labeled his performances as flirtatious and enigmatic. So if “Hamming” is an indication of his future production quality and he has the DJ skills and crowd interaction, Nuno Dos Santos will be one to keep an eye on.

REVIEW BY SONIA MILES-KHAN

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