Real names Doug Simmonds and Natasha Rindfleish, they met at Ableton Liveschool – where they developed the skills now helping them tear up the music scene – and have been close ever since. Considering they’re about to take off before our very eyes, we thought it was important we had a chance to chat, and we got both of them! Their collaborations, studies at Liveschool and their excitement about the electronic music scene in general, we talked it all out.
Congratulations on your recent releases guys, you guys have been killing it lately!
Haha thx ^_^!
What made you first want to get into music production?
Doug: When I was a kid I was obsessed with that techno remix of The X-files theme and my love for electronic beats grew from there. Going through my teen years I was obsessed with pop music and wanted to be Justin Timberlake so badly but I couldn’t sing, so I learned how to record and manipulate my vocals to sound more interesting than they were. Eventually I accepted my limited vocal capacity, but found making my own beats was still a fun way to create the pop I wanted to hear. I’m still trying to make a song as good as that X-files remix.
Tash: I've always been obsessed with synthesisers and the sounds they make, so I think that’s where it all stems from. James Blake was a big reason I started producing on my own and taking it seriously though. I just love the idea of being able to sit with a computer and build huge soundscapes with minimal tools.
What was the first thing about electronic music that really got you excited?
D: The limitless possibilities of electronic music creation were so appealing, especially for someone with no training or background in music. I could dissect beats or samples and reassemble them in interesting ways that allowed me to express myself creatively without knowing any music theory. As I grew up without funds for private music lessons, I liked how inclusive it was. You don’t have to invest a lot of money to make quality music if you have a good ear and a passion to learn.
T: Definitely sound design. For me, there’s nothing more interesting than how sound waves create the craziest sounds. I also really enjoy the electronic music scene in Australia, there’s so many producers doing their own unique thing here and its really exciting to be a tiny part of it.
Doug – you just released a huge new single on Good Enuff (an offset of Diplo’s Mad Decent label). How was the process of releasing a single through a label like this? Have you got any tips for other young producers who may be getting hit up by some big labels?
D: It was a collaboration I was working on with Oh Boy, another local producer, who pitched it to them on our behalf. I’m a perfectionist and am very shy to send demos to labels, but this just proved to me that you’ll only get the opportunities if you reach out for them. Make sure you have a quality product obviously, but don’t sit on it hoping someone will discover it organically because the chances are slim with the sheer volume of content online.
Tash – you just self-released a beautiful new EP, which is becoming an increasingly popular way to release music. Do you have any tips for people wanting to self- release their music?
T: I think taking your time (within reason) is always a good thing. Also doing it on your own is pretty daunting sometimes, so having a good network of people to ask for advice is really helpful, even if they aren't industry people.
You guys both studied and met at Sydney’s Liveschool. How was your experience of learning music production in an environment like that? How do you think it differs to learning music in a more traditional sense?
D: It was a welcome change from my attempted home schooling with YouTube tutorials. Instead of wasting hours trying to find the answer to a simple question online I was in a class taught by producers active in the industry with experience and knowledge I could tap into. Also, being able to bounce off fellow students in a small class was really helpful and proved fruitful for Tash and I especially. We have become best friends and have written some great music together since. So many of my friends and contacts have all stemmed from Liveschool in one way or another.
T: It was like a completely blank canvas. Walking into a room of people you don't know, who are all there for the same reasons and wanting to learn how to make music is the best learning environment. I felt really vulnerable early on just because I always kept my music to myself, but as it was such a supportive and open-minded environment, it ended up pushing me out of my comfort zone and I learnt some really valuable things and made some good friends.
What’s on the horizon for you both musically? I believe you have another collaborative release coming out soon, the follow up to your single “Gold”. What do you like about working with each other?
D: Yeah we’re putting out a single early next year. I’m so keen! I don’t know what happens with Tash and I but she just gets me and knows how to interpret my direction. She’s so incredibly talented as a singer, songwriter and especially as a producer so I think that helps in our understanding of each other’s goals.
The new single is a fresh start for me and a true representation of my direction as a producer. To me, it’s almost like it’s the first official Donatachi release, I’m so excited!
T: I love working with Doug a lot. I think being friends outside of music helps because we are brutally honest when we don't like something. Also there's never any purpose or intention when we work together, it's just fun and happens really naturally.
What are you listening to at the moment? Any hot tips? D: There are so many amazing local producers ATM who I am obsessed with; Amy Axegale, HI LIFE, Fresh Hex, Grasps_. Also I like a lot of kpop TBH.
T: Hot tips... I'm listening to a lot of Nao, Fortunes, James Blake, Action Bronson, and Solange's "A Seat At The Table" is on constant repeat.
Sydney has been dragged through the mud a bit lately with the lockout laws and all. But what’s one thing you really love about Sydney?
D: The are some really unique collectives here which have been born out of a mutual love for forward-thinking music and inclusivity. S/O 2 Sidechains crew, u r my faves.
T: Even with the lockout laws, there's still great music coming out of Sydney and people are still supporting it. It also doesn't change how beautiful this place is.
If you like the sound of meeting other likeminded musicians like Doug and Tash, Ableton Liveschool are right now running a $99 Begin Campaign. It's usually 290 bucks, so you're getting some serious bang for your buck. Check Ableton's site to find out more, and start gettin' busy.