INTERVIEW: Roland Tings

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ROLAND TINGS is apart of a long list of exciting electronic music producers who are currently coming out of Melbourne. We decided it was a good time to hit him up for a quick chat ahead of his appearance on the Red Bull Music Academy stage at Splendour In The Grass. Here’s what went down!

Over the past year or so you’ve spent quite a lot of time touring your hometown of Melbourne, as well as Sydney. Can you please describe to us how the clubbing experience differs between the two cities?

I haven’t really spent that much time out in Sydney. I think to really understand the vibe I need to attend as a punter. When I’m playing I’m focused on making sure I don’t unplug something, or making sure one particular person in the crowd is having a good time, so I’m too busy to assess the overall picture.

Obviously there is the lockout bullshit which I think can really create a negative atmosphere where people are forced into a mindset of temporal and social restriction. It is the exact opposite of the freedom that should be contained in a nightclub, so I guess the difference is the media and political spin cycle in Sydney. I imagine that this will become a regular thing, the restrictions will be lifted and imposed again and again over the years for quick political points.

Who are your three favourite artists from Melbourne and why?

Andras Fox for his dedication to the fringes of popular culture, Michael Ozone for the rigorous conceptual grounding to his work and Tornado Wallace for being the nicest bloke going around.

What about Sydney?

The perennial legends Canyons are always doing it for me. I’m pretty pumped to check out Hannah Lockwood sometime, her stuff on SoundCloud sounds pretty wild and I’ve never seen Gardland but I dig their recorded stuff, I’d love to catch them sometime.

What inspired you to start producing electronic music?

So many things. Mostly a curiosity about what electronic music actually was and how it was made.

Do you have an album in the works?

Yep, it’s all done. It should be out in August on Internasjonal!

You are known for your energetic live shows. For all the technical geeks out there, what hardware and software do you use during a performance?

Right now I’m running a Eurorack modular setup for synth parts with a sequencer and synth module from Intellijel. Those can be programmed on the fly or fed sequences from my computer. This runs into a Space Echo pedal which is used for delays and even some distortion. Drums are done on the fly using a Roland TR 8 which can do 808 and 909 sounds depending on what the mood is. I also have some stuff running out of the computer (Ableton triggered with a launchpad), all into a standard DJ mixer so I can use the FX and filters.

Has there been a particular show this year which has stood out for you so far?

Playing at MONA was insane. There were so many people and I played on such a huge stage. My most recent show in Melbourne was really good as well. It was the first time I used my new setup which allows a lot of room for improvisation.

You’ve worked very hard over the past couple of years to get where you are now. Do you have any tips for the young, emerging producers out there?

Be patient. Don’t be that guy/girl uploading the thing you just finished to SoundCloud. Sit on it and come back in a week or a month and see how you feel about it. Don’t sweat people with your half baked stuff. Think about the line between being humble and asking for feedback from someone you have a relationship with, and just hitting someone up out of the blue and asking them for a favour.

Other than that, the most important thing is educating yourself. I’ve found it helpful to learn about the history of communication, information and creativity. It’s one thing to have an idea for a track but it helps if you can think about where your ideas fit into the progression of creative thought. To know about the ideas that made it possible for you to make a wobble bass sound. Some nice general books include ‘A Technique For Producing Ideas’ by James Webb Young and ‘Present Shock’ by Douglas Rushkov.

At Splendour In The Grass this year you’ll be playing on the Red Bull Music Academy stage, along with an impressive list of names such as Nicolas Jaar, Peanut Butter Wolf, Andras Fox, Africa Hitech and many more. Who on the Splendour In The Grass bill are you most excited about seeing and why?

I’m mostly excited to be up there with all my friends on the bill. The last time I went to Splendour was in 2005 and I spent most of the time having a shit time by myself. I think I just went to see Mogwai and I didn’t really enjoy any of the other stuff I saw. It rained and there was nowhere to sit down. Someone gave me a valium one morning and I took it not really knowing what to expect. I was in bed for the rest of the day. I’m hoping for a serious turnaround on that vibe.

Finally, what can people expect from your own set at Splendour In The Grass?

New Age Sound Healing & Trance-like arpeggios anchored by big kick drums.

Words by Tony Kingston

SEE ALSO:

OUR SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS TOP FIVES
SOUNDCLOUD WRAP: ROLAND TINGS
CHET FAKER ‘1998’ (ROLAND TINGS REMIX)

About:

During the week Tony works in a busy retail corporate office. Once day becomes night, there’s a good chance you’ll see him at a gig or DJing at a house party.