Words and interview by Liam Ruz.
LDRU and Yahtzel are two very busy men. After building successful solo platforms, the two merged creative forces in 2013 to create Carmada, a project which has taken both of them to some of the biggest festival stages both home and abroad. After a little bit of time away from the bright lights, Carmada are officially back! Last month saw the release of Embrace (ft. Xavier Dunn) a huge new tune with American producer NGHTMRE.
This summer will see a return of Carmada to festival stage across the country, including a hotly anticipated comeback set at THIS THAT. Stoney Roads had a little chin-wag with Yahtzel to see what the boys have been up too!
SR: Yahtzel, thanks so much for talking to Stoney Roads today man!
Carmada: No worries at all man!
SR: You’ve just put out a new song with NGHTMRE, welcome back its great to have some new music from Carmada!
C: its good to be back! And its good to be back with a track with someone like Tyler (NGHTMRE). We’re super stoked on it and we’ve wanted to release that one for a long time.
SR: How did the Collab with NGHTMRE come about?
C: We got in the studio together in LA probably year ago now and sort of started the idea and Tyler (NGHTMRE) had this track laying around and we all sorta started playing with it and over time we bounced it back and fourth a few times and yeah it just became something everyone was really happy with and we just went with it
SR: Can you tell us a little bit about the relatively unknown artist you’ve got on the track Xavier Dunn?
C: Yeah well Xavier shouldn’t be unknown he’s got one of the best voices in the country! I find the person, and his voice, are just two heavenly things sent to us from God. He’s such a good boy, he’s got a great personality, he’s funny and he’s great to be around the studio and his voice is just impeccable its ridiculous.
SR: Vocals are quite prominent in Carmada tracks. How does the process of choosing vocalists work for you guys.
C: It changes up every time. Sometimes we’ll write a song with someone in mind, or other times we’ll just be writing and writing until one of us goes “hey, let’s strip this back and get a vocalist on it” and sometimes we might send it out and get a few cuts back. We’ve had sessions with people where we’re recording and stuff and we’ve had sessions done through correspondence as well so it kinda just depends on where the person is based as well.
SR: You guys are playing This That at the end of next month… you also played at the inaugural This That in 2015. How has the Carmada show changed in those couple of years? What can fans expect in 2017?
C: Oooh that’s a good question… I don’t know I think LDRU and I are a couple of weirdos, and its always just going to be weird and there’s nothing to expect but there’s nothing not to expect either… you just gotta jump in. Dive down the rabbit hole and see what comes of it!
SR: Carmada have come up on the back of this boutique festival wave in Australia… how do you find these smaller festivals versus the bigger “Big Day Out’s” or “Stereosonic’s“?
C: To be honest, it would just be the numbers because we’ve had amazing times at huge festivals and we’ve had amazing times playing to 50 or 100 people. I guess at the end of the day its how well curated the lineup is and who you’re surrounded by on the lineup. If you’re surrounded by artists that kind of sound like you in some sense, that you could categorise as the same style as you, its going to be a lot easier to connect with fans. But at the same time, Stereosonic has people there who love the harder styles and stuff like that you and so you can make new fans as well. So I think its all positive really the only thing that’s different would be the numbers.
SR: You guys haven’t been announced on any big summer festivals yet. Any reason behind that?
C: We’re not hot enough man!! Narr… I think individually we’ve both got a lot happening around that time of year. Between studio stuff and shows so I think its just timing the whole thing with the LDRU, Yahtzel and Carmada thing can be quite difficult sometimes so if theres ever a lull its because we’re working on the opposite projects
SR: That’s a perfect segue into my next question! How does the decision-making process work in terms of whats going to be ‘Yahtzel’ track, an ‘LDRU’ track or a Carmada track?
C: I feel like I always know within the first 5 minutes. There’s been a few buildups that I’ve made that kind of sound ‘Yahtzel-ly’ but then the drops have kind of turned into a Carmada track and vice versa I guess but most of the time I just know, and Drew just knows so we kind of just send it off to the dropbox and start bouncing ideas
SR: Alright sick! Now is there any difference between the grind you guys are doing in America versus how you approach touring in Australia?
C: Yeh definitely, I mean America is a really tough market to crack. You can spend at least a year doing America, could probably even do two years on one tour if you really wanted too… Whereas you can tour Australia ultimately in two weekends if you do that properly. So I think to break the market over there is such a big thing so I think we have to grind a lot more over there. We did SXSW two years ago and we did like 8 shows in one day there. So the America thing is a lot harder for us but that’s kind of the big challenge at the moment is I suppose trying to gain a bit more traction in America and really kick things off over there.
SR: Can we expect a Carmada EP or album any time soon?
C: EP yes! We’re working on an EP at the moment which is pretty much finishing up now. We’re pretty happy with it. We’re stoked. We hope everyone that’s into our music is stoked too. We started it in LA and its kinda been with us for about a year we’ve been picking away at it with the other Yahtzel and LDRU stuff but we’re super stoked, but we don’t have any dates just yet.
SR: Lastly, any up and coming Australian act you can give a nod too that will reckon will blow up in 2018?
Mookhi, uber talented and full of wisdomic and wise beats well ahead of her years.
Akouo, easily the most under rated act in Australia right now (our opinion) been in it for years, a real yoda. He’s a hip hop lord from Van Diemen’s Land!
Amastro, one of our good friends but that’s not why he’s getting a mention here. His music oozes emotion and has got a very real, no bullshit vibe. Definitely one to watch.
Looks like the Carmada boys are well and truly back and we couldn’t be happier about it. You can catch the dudes doing their thing at THIS THAT Festival in Newcastle on November 4th. For tickets, click here.