FISHING are from that deep green inland sea just 38 nautical miles west of Sydney, known as The Blue Mountains. You can hear it in their music too. Deep, beat driven ocean-scapes that sweep you far away while keeping your feet firmly tapping something catchy.
Over the last year, this ocean infused style of beat making has taken the duo across the country. Playing in multiple clubs and bars as well as supporting some of Australia’s and even the world’s most exciting new acts – Fishing are slowly but surely cementing themselves as one of the countries most prominent electronic acts.
On top of this the guys have just penned themselves a deal with Yes Please and have dropped their first new material in a very long time in the form of new single, ‘Choy Lin’. There seems to be no stopping these two, but luckily Tom Hutchins managed to catch up with one half of the team, Doug Wright, for a quick chat about the inner workings of Fishing.
How is the local beats scene for you guys?
For us, Sydney is the best place to be right now. It’s a really social and friendly music scene, and we’re constantly amazed and influenced by what other Sydney (and Australian) producers are putting out. It also seems to be really diverse. Even though I guess everyone among this particular circle of producers falls under the Beats label there’s an awful lot of diversity. I mean, when you look at Guerre, Collarbones, Albatross, Nakagin, and there are countless other names I should rattle off… everyone has really different approaches, which is nice.
How have you found gaining exposure in the scene?
We’ve been helped along by the fact that there are supportive blogs, venues, and people in general. There are so many people that are pushing this type of music right now that are making it work, making it easy for people to find good music and go and see it. People like Joe Hardy who is behind The Gate, Jarred Beeler that writes Life Aquatic Blog, the fact that Astral People are bringing out really big names from overseas, (speaking of this, we’re pretty excited for the OutsideIn Festival that they are curating with Yes Please). It’s also great that people are coming out and seeing this sort of music live, that has traditionally been more of a lonesome bedroom activity. I guess that also comes down to technology, and the fact that there are more and more ways to perform this sort of music in diverse and interesting ways, and more and more performers are getting comfortable doing this.
You released a number of your first mixtapes/EPs for free; do you feel you wouldn’t be where you are today if you didn’t do this?
It’s hard to say. Russ is just so damn prolific that I don’t know how we could have coordinated releasing all of it if we didn’t just give it away! I think it was a good process to go through as well, because we now have a very clear idea of what we want to do from this point. I think it was a teething process, and now that the HOOKZ series is done and dusted we’re more confident in putting together an album.
How do your originals come about?
Hot jams. Usually just ideas that either Russ or I have tinkered with, and then we bring them together to flesh them out into complete songs. Sometimes we work well together, sometimes we just end up being generally unproductive and eating donuts. It’s usually a combination of bouncing ideas off each other, working together, and working apart.
What equipment is used when you do record?
A pretty regular setup of computers, a drum machine, FX units, a few synthesisers and some other old keyboards.
Has it been difficult to translate your recorded material in a live setting?
Yes and no. Some songs are more difficult to adapt than others, but it’s actually a lot of fun to figure out how to map everything out to play live.
The live set has been getting major kudos for your beat making techniques, was it a conscious decision to play most parts yourselves rather than relying on a set of loops?
I think it’s been something we’ve been very careful about since starting playing music together. We both started out playing in bands and were very conscious of the fact that computer music is difficult to recreate as an engaging performance, but it’s pretty much our goal to make sure that we can actually play out the songs as much as possible rather than just letting loops run on a laptop and queueing up effects. We want to be a band, not just a pair of producers, and the best way to do that is to make the live show as live as possible. Plus, the greater the margin for error, the more fun it is to perform
In the last year we have seen you guys support some massively hyped acts, such as Knxwledge, Oliver Tank and Snakadaktal. Has there been a standout experience for you?
It’s just been nice to see how down to earth they all are. Everyone is in it because they’re just really into making music, which is how it should be.
You have just released a new single, ‘Choy Lin’, which is seems to depart from your past works – was this a conscious decision or was it just natural progression?
I haven’t really thought about ‘Choy Lin’ as a departure from anything we’ve done before. So maybe that means it’s natural? If it sounds different, then it’s probably what’s more representative of what we’re going to be putting out on the album next year.
What’s next for Fishing?
We’re working on an album at the moment which should be out earlyish next year. Actually, right about now we’re trying to hook up a bunch of collaborations for a few tracks. We haven’t really worked with other singers or instrumentalists before so we’re really excited about it. Apart from that, we’re heading out on a tour of club shows in November to support the release of the Choy Lin 7”, which should be a heap of fun.
Words by Tom Hutchins