Perth-based singer-songwriter Angus Dawson is back with a new single that’ll have you pressing the replay button over and over.
Called ‘Ocean in the Sky’, the track features a simple yet intimate composition filled with soft piano and saxophone sounds. It’s made even more sentimental with Dawson’s lyrics and vocals, as well as the liberating monochrome-treated music video that comes with it.
The Ink Grid puts it perfectly: “Most of us have had those drunken nights where we crave affection, a body to hold and we’ll text that the person on our mind. Sometimes it’s a bit of a selfish need but we don’t really consider how it affects our significant other.
“Angus Dawson puts that feeling into words and what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that contact.”
Part of his upcoming EP Ellesmere St, the track gives us something to look forward to from one of Australia’s emerging young talents. We recently had the chance to talk to Dawson to know more about his music.
You seem to consciously blend electronic and traditional genres in your music – do you consider yourself a musician or producer first?
“Well, ideally, I’d like to consider myself both. I think the definition of ‘producer’ has changed a lot in the last 10 years, especially in electronic music, and I’m not quite sure where I fit on that spectrum. I just love creating music, whether that’s with the use of electronic instrumentation or sitting at a piano or guitar for hours on end.
“I’d also like to consider myself as a songwriter, that is, if you took everything away from my music and left chords and melody then there’d be something valuable and tangible there. I hope that answers the question? Probably not.”
You’ve just released your new single, ‘Ocean in the Sky’, how has your music evolved since your first releases?
“So much. When I first started this solo project I had no idea the type of music I wanted to make. So I thought I’d give everything a go; that was my thinking anyway.
“I started with a hip-hop remix of a James Brown song (which hopefully no one heard) then made a few songs in between and settled on the vein of music that I’m making now. I thought it would take longer but I think because my production/writing style is so reactive, I was making music without over-thinking it, so it came fairly naturally.
“Of course now I over-think everything, but that’s another story.”
What does your song-making process usually look like?
“I’m not sure there’s too many people on earth who can get as easily distracted as me. So usually I’ll go bananas on a particular idea (a chord progression, a beat or a melody, etc.) for about an hour, lose patience that it didn’t progress fast enough and then work on something else. Eventually I’ll splice a few ideas together and hope it works.
“That’s a typical process for me, not a rule of thumb. I hate noticing patterns in my process, because I feel like I’ll constantly make the same art if I make it the same way every time. So between songs I try to work differently. That might mean starting with chords and melody at a piano, or start with a beat, or start from the end of a song and work backwards.”
The Music Matters festival in Singapore looked pretty special, how is the music culture different over there compared to back home?
“That was a pretty amazing festival. They curated music from all over the earth. I was playing gigs with guys from South Africa, Switzerland, The Philippines, China, plus some mates of mine from Perth. So musically, it said less about Singapore’s culture than it did about everywhere else.
“It was an amazing experience to be able to take music I made in my bedroom and play it to such a vast array of people. I think it’s important to note just how good we have it in Australia as musicians! It might seem hard a lot of the time, but it’s a very supportive place to be in this music game.”
You’re yet to release a full-blown EP or album, can we expect one soon? And if so, what’s your vision for it?
“Funny you should ask, I’ve been working on an EP for the last two years and I’m literally putting the final touches on it now. 31st of March is the date it comes out and I couldn’t be more excited.
“My vision for it was pretty simple. I wanted to wait until I had a fair idea of who I was as an artist before I made anything more than a single. I also wanted it to be my own work, no collaborations or remixes or features etc, just me and my music on a CD.
“I’m really proud of the tracks on the EP and, to me, they couldn’t be more different from each other. I mean, I think they work together as a whole, but it’s a bit of a gamut of all things Angus Dawson.”