Fade Up :: ISLND
November 5th 2013
Every week, Fade Up sets you up on a hot date with an emerging homegrown artist who Sandro Dallarmi thinks are worth getting to know.
Sandro looks kinda funny and has little to no dating experience, but the conversation and soundtrack have already been provided through a quick interview and minimix from the featured artist, so give the guy a chance!
As far as I can tell, Sydney producer ISLND decided to let loose an actual barrel of technicolour monkeys over a few synthesisers and record the results. Despite these monkeys’ lack of access to food or water in their barrel-shaped prison, they joyfully pitter-pattered their way across the keys and made some pretty sweet tunes. When ISLND takes things live though, he thankfully employs a couple of humans to work alongside him.
Sandro :: When it comes to electronic music, printing “(LIVE)” next to an artist’s name on a festival poster tends to indicate the fanciness of the light show rather than the presence of actual live performance. What’s live electronic music to you?
ISLND :: For me a live electronic act isn’t too different to any normal live act, the only real difference being that an electronic act will incorporate some electronic instruments such as synthesisers and samplers into their set.
A live electronic performance should have musicians playing a wrong note every now and then, some of these mistakes actually end up making a performance sound better than originally intended and that’s what I like about performing this music live, sometimes I will even play a bung note just in case anyone in the crowd is doubting that we play live.
Sure because it’s electronic music it’s not necessarily always going to be possible to play some songs without a couple of backing tracks but as long as there is a decent amount of live performance involved it doesn’t matter whether it’s one performer or twenty it can still be live. I wouldn’t really call triggering songs out of a laptop a live performance unless you are actually performing certain parts of the songs yourself and doing it in a way so that every performance will be different to the last.
A few artists that have inspired me with their live shows are Basement Jaxx, Zapp & Roger, James Blake, Crystal Method, BT, DJ Shadow and 808 State.
Sandro :: How involved are your band members in transforming your music from bedroom productions to live performance?
ISLND :: Before each live performance, we all get together and plan out the set; which song is going to go after which, where will we lift the energy up a bit or bring it down.
The live show is a lot like a DJ set in the sense that we don’t really stop playing at any point, so we need to figure it all out beforehand.
Once we’ve decided on that, Eden and I figure out what parts we are going to play on each song. We have some drum pads which are used to trigger anything from drums, vocals, chords, and samples. We then have a Native Instruments Maschine which Eden plays most of the time and is primarily used for chopped up chords and samples though sometimes we also use it for drum sounds. We then have a Novation Launchpad S which I play mostly and it is used for leads and melodies. Once Eden and I have figured out what we are doing we give Jaxon a recording of the set so that he can plan out what kind of drum patterns he is playing where and when.
Once we’ve all figured out what we are doing we will get together again and jam out the sets start to finish and go over what sounded good, what needs to change etc. Basically each rehearsal is like a draft until we get it just right. This is where we get a lot of different ideas and we might say “hey wouldn’t be cool if Oliver played some bass guitar here” or “Eden should bust out some guitar chords over this bit”. I tend to write a fair bit of the ISLND music on my own but the live show really is made up of ideas from everyone in the band.
Sandro :: When it comes down to making music though, who and what inspires you?
ISLND :: In terms of musical influence it all comes from lots of different artists like Zapp & Roger, Cashmere Cat, Rudimental, Daft Punk and Digitalism just to name a few. I try to draw inspiration from lots of different places at once so that I don’t start to make things that sound a lot like one particular artist.
Other than that most of my inspiration comes from sheer luck, I could literally sit in my studio room for a month straight and not come up with anything and then eventually I’ll just have a moment and come up with 3 or 4 songs in a day or two.
When writing songs I really have to have the majority of the song written in one sitting. I’m very bad at coming up with a rough idea and then coming back to it and finishing it. If I ever do come back to a project it is usually a year after I originally started it, so I’ll try and finish it there and then. If I don’t then the same process repeats itself. I literally have hundreds of unfinished projects sitting in folders on my laptop that will never see the light of day.
Every Saturday night at 1am, Sandro Dallarmi airs a new Fade Up mixtape on FBi’s newest dance music show, The Mixing Bowl. To keep looped with all things dance music and hear Fade Up mixes before they go online, have a gander at the show’s Facebook page.
For now though, listen to ISLND’s Fade Up mixtape below.
- ISLND :: Fade Up Mixtape #14
Jaysways – ‘Surround Me (Cosmo’s Midnight Mix)’
DCUP – ‘Don’t Be Shy (Wave Racer Remix)’
Basenji – ‘Tribute To The Cat’
Cosmo’s Midnight – ‘The Dofflin’
Ocean – ‘Crystal Clear’
Sweetland – ‘Nothing To Lose’
CDBL – ‘That Trick (Mad Villains Remix)’
ISLND – ‘You Say (Acapella)’
ISLND – ‘Go!’
ISLND – ‘Just Wanna Be Loved feat. Laura Noir’
ISLND – ‘Holding Back’