As far as bass music goes, Australia is a breeding ground for some of the most talented artists in the Electronic music world. From future bass to hybrid trap and everything in between it seems to me that everything coming from down under is meant to melt crowds and set speakers on fire. World-class artists such as Flume, Alison Wonderland, and What So Not, have paved the way for other up and coming artists to grow out of the region & have their music showcased around the world. One such duo that has ascended the ranks of Australian bass music is Perth's own SLUMBERJACK.
Consisting of Fletcher and Morgan, SLUMBERJACK has had a massive year. They released their acclaimed “Fracture” EP this past April and have a new live show they are preparing to tour in the distant future. Currently touring with UK bass pioneer Troyboi on his Massive “Left is Right” North Amercian tour and we got the opportunity to sit down with Fletcher and Morgan and talk SLUMBERJACK's past, present and future right after they threw down a high energy set at the Observatory in Orange County, California.
Brian (Daily Beat): So your What So Not “Touched” edit was the first track I discovered by you guys and it kind of shot you guys into success. It's over 3 years old and I still hear it to this day being dropped by influential DJs. What's the journey for that song been like for you two?
Fletcher: That song was so long ago, and its one of if our songs that most people started recognizing us by. We still use a riff from that song as a musical tag (the Dun Dun Na Na Na na) in all our songs to this day. We first had planned for the song to be an original. I wrote the first half of the drop section and slapped on the what so not breakdown just as an outline. Then I sent it to Morgan to finish the second half of the drop and uploaded it to SoundCloud and everyone was loving it.
Morgan: We wrote that actually in a day actually, no mixing no mastering, basically like ehhhh we'll see what happens.
Brian: This was before you guys even considered starting the project as a career, correct?
Fletcher: Yeah, Morgan had just finished studying and turned down an internship at JP Morgan and I was about to finish studying and turned down an internship at Shell.
Morgan: Oh my god, to be honest, us doing Electronic music as a career is basically a dream come true. The whole thing was kind of just a brain-fart that came together perfectly.
Brian: Some of the best in bass music are coming from your region of the world. Why do you think Australia and New Zealand are producing such revolutionary and forward thinking bass artists?
Morgan: The isolation, I'd say.
Fletcher: Yeah, I think it has a lot to do with the isolation of Australia, we're not as entrenched in the culture over here by the sounds that have been created in the states. And us being from Perth were actually isolated within Australia. Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world. I think it gave us the space and time to develop our own sound and not be influenced by constantly seeing other peoples shows and how their fans are liking it. We just kind of got to do our own thing.
Morgan: People get very pressured when they see another artist doing a certain sound and that song does well. The first thought is maybe if I do something similar we might have the same success. We struggle with it too but not as much as other artists. Being from Australia its kind of given us a lot of ground to do our own thing and make it up along the way.
Brian: So we know that the what so not remix was massively successful on crowds. What do you think has been your favorite original to play in a set?
Morgan: My favorite original, hmmm, I think it differs on where we're at at the time. I'd say in Australia I really enjoy playing “Fracture” that's because its one of our most successful songs other than “Afraid Unafraid” which is fletchers favorite. But in the states our favorite track to play out has got to be “Horus”. What about you fletch?
Fletcher: Yeah I have to agree I'd say “Horus' in America, it works really well.
Morgan: People here scream to it which is the same reaction we get in Australia. It gets us an almost like dubstep like reaction which is almost unusual as it is a 100 bpm song. Its a cool & quirky Egyptian-esque track that people enjoy raging to.
Brian: You mentioned the Egyptian-esque vibe of your track “Horus” which is related to my next question. I've noticed an eastern theme to many of your tracks with many eastern instruments and chanting layered within the bass. Where do you guys draw this influence from?
Fletcher: I think since the very start we struggled for a long time to find our sound and what type of music we wanted to make. Basically after that what so not touched remix came out when we used that chant in the start we thought it could be a really good idea to draw on both our past. So Morgan grew up in Malaysia and spent a lot of time going to the rainforest music festival, which showcases heaps of world music and I grew up in Vietnam as well. At the time not a lot of people were using these eastern influences. We decided to use these left of center instruments and elements such as Japanese shakuhachi flute synths, the didgeridoo, throat singing and Hindu and Tibetan chants.
Morgan: It's kind of fitting though because being on tour with Troyboi right now he is also influenced by those type of sounds. Like Fletch said, whether it be shakuhachi synths or Indian chants any ethnic elements that add flavor to the current Electronic music palette is a good point of difference for people to attach to our music and come see our show.
Brian: You guys seem well versed in dance music and a variety of music in general. In dance music or just music in general, are there any major influencers or tastemakers who you really look up to right now.
Fletcher: Yeah we love all sorts of music, we're more about the music rather than the genre, so to speak. Its kind of a tough one, in terms of non-breakbeat stuff I really like the stuff that Tchami has been putting out and Rezz for those slow grinding heaters.
Morgan: “As far as non-EDM goes we have a huge respect for classical music, Fletch and I are huge fans of composers such as Ramin Djawadi, the composer of HBO's Westworld, or Hanz Zimmer. We've actually borrowed from Hanz Zimmer's repertoire and incorporated his piece “Time” fit into our live act where you'll hear the vocals of “fracture” mixed in with Hanz Zimmers time for the breakdown.
Brian: That sounds amazing & actually and works right into my next question about the new live act. I saw in the press release that you guys had a new live act on the way. Could you shed some light on it for us?
Morgan: We were so inspired watching these artists such as Madeon, Porter Robinson, The Glitch Mob, and Odesza. We were planning on a Live show for a while and actually toured one for a brief period in the beginning. Around Hard Summer last year we saw Porter's show and we decided that we were done just DJ'ing and needed to go back to what we had originally planned. We've toured it back home and can't wait to bring the live act to the U.S.
Brian: I was unaware that you guys hadn't played the live act in the states yet since the press release didn't give me too much info on it. Where have you played it so far?
Fletcher: Well one of the reasons we haven't brought it to the states yet is logistically its a lot easier to do a live act back home in Australia where there are only 5 major cities and its a much smaller country. We've toured it to festivals such as “Splendour in the Grass” and a regional festival called “Groovin the Moo."
Morgan: We really can't wait to bring it to the states, but the timing has to be right!
Brian: I've been a fan for years and can't wait to witness that. Will there be live visuals as well for the show?
Morgan: “Yeah so the thing about visuals with Fletch and I, out of a source of desperation and us being such nerds we decided to just start making our own visuals. Fletch was like “fuck it I'll install Blender on our computer and make our own visuals” I remember looking over at him on a plane and being surprised at first I was expecting to see him on Abelton but instead he was designing visuals.
Fletcher: We did all our own visuals tonight as well.
Brian: Wow you guys are multi-faceted.
Morgan: More like control freaks, I think (everyone laughs). Everything is timed perfectly with our new show that we have coming as well, we have the visuals synched up with the live act.
Brian: I can't wait to see what you guys have in store for us with the new live act. Is there anything else promising that you guys have coming soon? Any collabs in the works?
Morgan: We jumped in the studio with Quix and Josh Pan recently and had really good sessions with them.
Brian: NO WAY!! I AM ECSTATIC!! Those are legitimately two of my favorite artists at the moment & think I rightfully speak for the bass community in saying that we all cannot wait to see what comes of that!
Morgan: We can't wait to share it either!
Brian: I think that's all the questions we have for you, it's been a pleasure. Thank you guys for sharing your time with us at Daily Beat.
Morgan: Thank you guys.
Fletcher: Peace out Daily Beat, and thank you Brian.
That concludes our interview with Fletcher and Morgan from SLUMBERJACK. We hope you guys were enlightened by our conversation with these two awesome & ultra talented Aussies. They're about halfway through their tour with Troyboi so you can still check them out at any of these next stops.
Also, be sure to follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to keep up with their music and updates on the new LIVE SHOW!
Written by Brian Sousa