BY VINCENT VARNEY
I refuse to believe any six-year-old tells their parents they want to make music on a laptop. How did you first start playing music?
I started quite far away from beep-booping – I followed in my older sisters’ footsteps and joined my primary school concert band in Year 3, taking up the euphonium (which is like a tuba, but smaller and more awesome). I also took some piano lessons at the time, but wasn’t interested enough to apply myself. Now – O, cruel fate! – the piano’s my favourite instrument. I wish I could reach through space/time and slap some sense into that past version of me. It’s socially acceptable to slap your child-self, right?
Who was the artist that first inspired you to dabble in the electronic (and according to old people, demonic) arts of production?
Satan. 666! But seriously: My buddy areographe is the man responsible. Back when we were in high school together, he started listening to all the electronic music that I love now, but just didn’t “get” when I was younger. He discovered Ableton Live and introduced me to it, and I basically learned everything about it from him (a week after he’d learned about it from reading the manual). It took me a surprisingly long time to start making electronica with it, rather than using it like a glorified Audacity for recording my shitty post-rock songs.
You’re credited as the man who pioneered the “friendship-hop” movement, and as you may know, the smallest of Australian rock and hip-hop artists have noted tension and even racism in the music community. What sorts of attitudes have you found in the production scene?
Goodness! I had no idea! I’m fairly out of the loop, though; my ‘production scene’ is populated almost entirely by cool North Americans I’ve met over the internet. They’re all quite loving and tolerant (which has greatly influenced my friendship-hop music). Maybe these racist Aussies just need to get cybercultured?
For the average band or musician, taking the stage with laptops, samplers and all manner of gizmos seems frightening. Have you had any on-stage disasters?
Surprisingly few. My new MPK Mini controller is developing a nasty habit of lagging halfway through sets, but unplugging it and re-plugging it in fixes it – though I can only imagine how unprofessional that looks… I’m equally frightened by the liabilities of going up on stage with a band. What if the bassist forgets the chorus? Or the drummer gets half a beat out of time? You can’t turn them on and off again!
Last year saw the release of your Objects in Space EP, and just recently, you launched your single, Cupcake – difficult stuff. Is there anything you’ve learnt and anything you’ll do differently in preparation for your debut album slated for July?
Above all, I’ve learned that, although challenging, self-promoting and -releasing music is not only possible, but also kinda fun, pretty darn satisfying, and even a great way of making new friends. Everything that’s happened since Objects in Space has made me super excited for finally finishing up this album. This time, though, I’ll be sure to give my friends plenty of time to produce their remixes for the album… We musicians are lazy bastards through and through.