Sunday, December 20, 2009
A little while I go I was lucky enough to conduct an email interview with Sydney Production and DJ wiz kid Duncan MacLennan a.k.a D Cup. If you haven't heard of this guy by now then you're missing out on an emerging international star as he cuts his teeth playing around Sydney and Australia showcasing his unique "Nu Boogie" style of music. D Cup is one of a large crop of Aussie artists heavily influenced by the 70s and 80s disco movement making music which is gaining worldwide acclaim. Having released an EP already this year under the Sweat It Out! Record Label, as well as an album of remixes due out within the fortnight, D Cup has had a 2009 to remember, and as the turn of the decade comes soon, this guy will definitely be one to keep an eye on.
The interview I conducted was for a uni assignment I was doing about the current electro scene in Australia. Albeit sudo-academia, his answers showed the D Cup as educated and gave me a great insight into the Australian music scene through the eyes of one of its upcoming stars.
(max smart) What would you classify your style of music as?
(duncan maclennan) The music i make gets described as 'funk fulled disco for now'. The term NuDisco is very in at the moment, but i always drew inspiration from the boogie and synth-funk of the late 70s and 80s, so i tend to call myself NuBoogie. Disco, Funk and Boogie are subjective terms, meaning different things and evoking different sounds to all peeps. To me, Disco preceded House music, and is built mainly around the driving 4/4 beat of the kick drum. Boogie is more of a lovechild of Disco and Funk, focusing on a kick, clap combo, and more syncopated bass patterns.
(ms) (Can you describe your personal music taste? Any favourite artists/influences?
(dm) This question is the expansive bitch at the party no one wants to talk to. Sooo hard to answer this! Buying albums is a dying pastime, one I hope to pick up again very soon. Most of my cd collection (which is pretty tiny really) is modern soul music and hip hop. J Dilla never put a foot wrong. Quincy Jones is probably my biggest idol. Pharell Williams aint so bad either. The music I like the taste of needs a few key ingredients: Solid rhythm, chord riffs that create tension and resolve, good production, space, and if theres a vocal, i care less about whats sung than how its sung, but if theres meaning too then thats the icing on the cake.
(ms) What has been the biggest influence on your music career?
(dm)Having no mentor or guidence, staying away from the scene has allowed me to take my sound where i want to, which got noticed by Sweat It Out. They have been the biggest leg up in the industry for me.
(ms) What’s your opinion about the current crop of Australian musicians within the electronic music scene? Are there any particular artists that you can identify with as far as your music style goes?
(dm) Shazam and G.L.O.V.E.S are my favs. We are doing our own thing, which is great. There was a while when I felt we were importing to much live music, and wouldnt buy a mix cd done by an Aussie DJ, but now our producers are world class, and individual too, not just mimicking the ibiza sound.
(ms) How do you think Australia fits in with the rest of the electronic music scene across the world? Are we pioneers, forging a new path, or is there a style that we are aligned with?
(dm)We dont realise it (because we're immersed in it), but we really have our own thing going on here. People like Treasure Fingers, Chromeo from the US, and Lorenz Rhode, Sirisumo from Germany, get such huge love from Aussie DJs, and there a small outposts of this sound in Europe, Japan, US & Canada that worship whats going on here.
(ms) The use of sampling in creating new music has been described by some as “similar to stealing”... What is your opinion about this?
(dm) Obviously im not going to agree with this, but im going to give a rational argument. When miners take iron ore out of the ground, the are hardly stealing. They bought the land and the license but they did not put in the millions of years of hard tectonic work that put that iron there in the first place. When you buy a cd, its yours, you did not steal it. You are not free, however, to do what you want with the content, which is why this is tricky stuff. You can record yourself singing, playing the flute, banging pots together, but when you record a recording, thats 'stealing' because your now claiming anothers noises as your own.
But when the miners raw materials gets refined and built into buildings, some day that building will be demolished, and the scrap metal reused. The world trade center was made into a battleship. Its recycling.
That battleship had all the legal rights to be made from that steel, everyone encouraged it. But if they wanted to build a Mosque with it, they would have not allowed it.
Its alot easier, in 2009, to take a recording, sample it, and make it your own. And if you are sampling something widely recognised to gain recognition, without permission, then yes, you are a thief in my belief. However, there is a century of recorded material out there, so much it is hard to comprehend. Its not destroying the environment, but recycling some of it would only enrich the music of the future in my opinion. The equipment of yesteryear is become more rare and expensive, and may be lost, and the only way to get the sound of a 1950s recording desk will be by sampling a vinyl from your dads collection.
Sample away, i say!
(ms) What can you see in the future for the Australian electro music scene?
(dm) I hope for more innovation and more producers, less labels, more DIY mastering, promotion and distribution, kids really know whats up these days. Should be rad/
D Cup is probably most famous for his Yolanda Be Cool Remix of Afronuts, which featured on the Mashed album this year mixed by Miami Horror, how ever he's a couple more gems for the kids.
Night of the Hornheadz (D Cup Remix) - Act Yo Age
Sweet tune that you might already have but groovey as eff.
I Bought My Wife on the Black Market (D Cup Remix) - Pablo Calimari
Little known remix but a great take on the original by fellow Sweaters Pablo Calimari. Definately a tune every kid needs to have!
For more info check out www.myspace.com/dcupmusic , and if you like these tunes, more are available from beatport and the itunes store.