If you haven’t gotten your tickets to this year’s Laneway Festival yet, we’d suggest you do it as soon as possible. This year brings back some incredible performers such as Nick Murphy a.k.a. Chet Faker, but brand new names to the show and Singapore as well. We caught up with a dozen of them to find out what brings their music to life.
Named for the astronomer who spent his life studying the heavens, Scott Hansen’s trio from San Francisco has been producing music for a decade but only found international success in 2011. Since then they have been working on developing the electronic ambient genre. He spoke with us over the phone from San Francisco where he’s prepping for Laneway here.
What got you into producing music and this genre specifically?
What got me into it initially was just listening to drum and bass and house in the 90s and going to shows in San Francisco. I think its just the first time I ever questioned how the music was made so that was the impetus for me, researching it, because I wasn’t a musician. I never played any instruments, so I started getting into electronic music like samplers and stuff when I was about 20. I found my way to this style of music through DJ Shadow who came out with that album right around when I was getting started or a little bit before and then I found Boards of Canada it kind of just crystallised this whole thing for me. I didn’t even know there was a type of music that sounded like that so it was really like “Oh wow people make this and this is something you can do” so that made me start going down that path and I’ve just kinda been tweaking on that ever since.
Who/What are your biggest influences when it comes to music?
I think Boards of Canada is definitely up there at the top and Ulrich Schnauss, the German producer is definitely somebody I learned a lot from. The ideas he had about song structure and what could build into music. A lot of electronic music I heard before were dance oriented and I still love that kind of music but I was always trying to build in melodic song structures. I felt like I wanted to carry those over from the kind of music that I’d been listening to previously like rock and folk. Ulrich Schnauss and Boards of Canada were the first people I heard making sounds using the palettes of dance music but using it in a more traditional song structure.
What’s it like to work with other musicians when it comes to creating ambient music?
I think there’s overlap, there are parts that are similar but this is more of like a production process. We’ll just get pieces and parts and I’ll chop them up and move them around and produce them into a song. It’s not the same as a typical song where you go into the studio and record for an hour and some engineer mixes it and that’s the end of it. It’s definitely more about the production process for me.
Vocalist and bassist Tyler Richardson grew up being slightly obsessed with Mario Puzo’s mafia books, so it’s no surprise that he named his band after Don Corleone’s best henchman. The Tasmanian group was a local cult favourite on the island but soon broke out to become an international hit.
What inspired you guys to get into this genre?
I guess we’d always grown up listening to punk bands. Having older brothers, they always brought home music that really attracted us at that time. It was early 90s bands like Pennywise and NOFX and we kind of drew inspiration from them early on and put our own spin on that punk sound as kids.
What is the punk scene like in Tasmania, is it anything like in Melbourne?
Tassie is a lot smaller, there’s maybe about 600,000 people living on the island so it’s quite a small music scene and I guess we’re one of the few punk bands in Tasmania.
Could you tell me more about how the project came together and started?
Tom, who plays guitar, and I used to live in the same town about 6 years ago when the first record came out. We’d been friends going to school together since we were very young and we hadn’t really been doing anything musically at all individually. We ended up hanging out a lot and writing some songs together. So as we kind of wrote more, I called other mates down and we had drums and another guitarist come on board. It ended up becoming a band out of something that was really never meant to be.
What would you say is Australian punk’s unique sound or style?
I think with a lot of Australian punk right now has a real storytelling aspect to it, its quite a personal style. I think Australian punk rock with stories, the people writing the songs and what happens to them in their life punk has come along from being protest music to taking that DIY underground ethic but its become storytelling almost a type of genre special to Australian punk.
Lovers of the rap genre will be familiar with Michael Volpe’s work as a producer for many of the big names in the industry such as A$AP Rocky, Lil B, Soulja Boy and more. He’s released a series of albums since 2011, with his latest, 32 Levels, out just last year. This is his first time performing here and we’re sure he’ll be a big draw to many.
What was the inspiration behind the name Clams Casino, does it actually have anything to do with the dish?
Not really, its obviously taken from the dish but its kind of a joke one of my buddies had said and given me and it stuck. I made a mixtape under that name and people remembered it and it gained attention so I just kind of kept it and ran with it.
How would you describe your style of music?
I would say its moody, ambient for the most part I do a lot of different types of music but most people associate me with that type of music I would say.
Did you have any music education, classes or anything like that?
No I took very few drum lessons when I was young, I took a few but I didn’t really last I quit pretty fast so nothing really.
What kind of music did you listen to when you were growing up?
When I was much younger when I was playing in bands and stuff I would listen to stuff like alternative rock like in the 90s. Then in the late 90s I started listening to more hip hop and from there yeah mostly hip hop that was kind of the main thing once I was about 12.
Did you ever want to make music professionally or did it just happen?
Yeah it kind of just happened by accident. I always wanted to, but I went to college because I guess I never really believed I could make a living doing music alone. I wanted to have a good job that I could have enough time to do music on the side. Thankfully it worked where I was able to do music full time but that was definitely not planned. I was always trying to get my music out as much as I could and taking it seriously, getting it out into the world but I guess I never really fully believed I could do it.
Find out more about these bands and more in the January issue of AUGUSTMAN (Singapore). For more information on St Jerome’s Laneway Festival and to get tickets to the show, click here. Check out the rest of our interviews with Laneway Singapore 2017’s stars here.