Interview: Basenji

Fat Controller will play host to one of Australia’s favourite upcoming producers, Basenji, tonight! His latest release, ‘Mistakes’, which features Adelaide’s own Tkay Maidza, has had a massive response, and he’s taking it on the road. Basenji’s Mistakes Tour, will be filled not only with the songs you already know, but will be complimented with a few surprise tracks, and intense visual effects to boot. Following his huge festival season, and a number of new releases, make no mistake there is no stopping this rising producer yet! We had a chat with Sebastian before his show tonight.

Let’s talk about your latest release, ‘Mistakes’, it’s had an absolutely massive response. What was the production process like?

It started as an instrumental I played when I had a gap in my shows. Then I started working on it and I always considered it as an instrumental, but then my manager was like, “hey is there a singer that you would like to work with?” And I was like, “actually, I think Tkay would be a good fit.” And I mean after not too long, Tkay actually sent me a recording off her phone of just some vocal ideas, and after that, I came to Adelaide and we recorded a few tracks. It took a long time, but at the same time it felt like it happened so quickly because we were so industrious with it.

What’s the inspiration behind ‘Mistakes’?

Lyrically, I guess you’d have to talk to Tkay about that. But, for me, it was just a vision I had for a song in my set and then I kind of just made it. I don’t even know the words to describe, it was more of a feeling.

Yeah, and I bet the ideas just keep developing even more when you start working together with the artist…

Oh yeah, totally. Tkay is such a great person to work with, she made everything super easy. Like I said, the song felt like it happened really quickly, really naturally and everything just came together. She was the perfect fit for the track.

How do you pick the artists you want to work with?

I guess with this song in particular, it felt right for Tkay. She was an artist I always wanted to work with, and as far as Australian artists goes for me, at the top of my list. That being said, there are a lot of songs that I’ve made before that I didn’t think were Tkay kind of songs. So when I wrote this one, I was like, actually, I think this one is like a match and I’d really like to organise some time with her to work on these ideas. Luckily, that’s what happened.

Do you think your sound has changed and developed since your first song released as Basenji?

Absolutely. I try not to make the same song twice. I think there are a lot of similarities across my music, but on each song, personally, I think I am trying something new. I value consistency, but I don’t want to be one of those artists who makes the same song every week. I don’t want people to know what I’m doing next.

How would you describe your sound?

I’m not really sure how to describe it, because a lot of people put their own words on my music to try and describe it. I guess I would say it’s electronic, but I try to use some kind of natural sounds when I make it. I don’t want to isolate anyone by my music being overly electronic or digital sounding. To describe my music is really hard, I think often music just speaks for itself. I think it’s a good thing if you can’t put music into words. Music is supposed to be there to fill the gap that words cant sometimes. For me, as someone who makes the instrumentals and doesn’t sing on the songs, to me it’s kind of an alternate mode of communication. Something outside of language or spoken communication.

Yeah, I completely agree. I think it’s amazing how music can have a different impression on every single person, and be interpreted differently…

Exactly. Even if you yourself listen to the same song 10 years apart, you’re not really the same person anymore. The song kind of means something different again. As humans, we never really get bored of certain songs either, there are some songs that our whole lives, we constantly re-live. I think that’s why we find music so endearing,

What’s a song that’s always stayed with you?

There’s a lot, I guess Kylie Minogue – On a Night Like This.

Great choice! 

(laughs)

Now, you’ve been super busy the last few months, touring while releasing new music. How do you do it?

I get lots of sleep and drink lots of water!

You did a whole lot of festivals over the summer, what was it like being part of those?

The Laneway festival tour in particular is really fun, and it’s a tour I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I think I would have gone to Laneway for the first time when I was 18, and since then I’ve always wanted to do it. It was kind of like a bucket list thing. After Falls Festival, Laneway was a little bit different because I was playing kind of a Bloc Party atmosphere stage, I could have a bit more fun with it, play different tracks and experiment a bit. It was more of a party atmosphere. A highlight was in Brisbane, getting to DJ with UV Boi, who is an old friend of mine.

And you’re in Adelaide Friday night! What can audiences expect from your live set?

Well, I’m actually touring with a visual director, and there are some kind of intense visual aspects to the show which compliment the music. Then, what I’m doing is performing my own songs, a lot of those which people know already. Then quite a lot of remixes and edits I’ve worked on, of quite a lot of other people’s songs. Like even this morning, I woke up early to work on a new remix. I want to have that balance of, “Oh cool, I will get to hear that song I like, but then also this is a surprise, I didn’t expect to hear a remix of that song.” I want it to feel new as well.

You can catch Basenji at Fat Controller tonight. doors at 9pm. Get your tickets here

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