Bangers, World Music and Elderflower: An Exclusive Interview with SLUMBERJACK
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Bangers, World Music and Elderflower: An Exclusive Interview with SLUMBERJACK

The Story Behind the Electronic Aussie Duo's Dynamic Chemistry and the 'Fracture' EP

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Bangers, World Music and Elderflower: An Exclusive Interview with SLUMBERJACK
SLUMBERJACK Facebook Page

In the past few years, the electronic music industry has seen the emergence of talent from Australian producers and artists such as Flume, Alison Wonderland, What So Not and it's about to welcome yet another act to the ring. SLUMBERJACKis the newest Aussie genre-mixing duo that has been turning heads with their eclectic hard-hitting style. Comprised by Borneo-born Morgan and Vietnam-born Fletcher, the two met while attending school in Perth, Australia and have since fused their distinctive perspectives into SLUMBERJACK. Their music has garnered over 40 million streams, gaining the support of industry giants Skrillex, Diplo and Porter Robinson.

Just this year, SLUMBERJACK released their newest EP Fracture on Mad Decent and embarked on a tour supporting TroyBoi. We caught up with Morgan and Fletcher during their New York show at Brooklyn Steel to understand how two individuals from completely different worlds succeeded in creating a sound uniquely theirs.


So you guys are on the second half of your tour. So many shows packed back to back, how has it been so far?

Fletcher: It’s been absolutely incredible, everyone on the tour has been so amazing. It’s like a big family right now. The first half is over in 3 days, but yeah we’ve just become such good friends with everyone through playing 5-6 shows a week. We spent a day in Montreal just as friends, it was nice.

Morgan: We saw Kingsman 2.

The shows without Troyboi?

Morgan: We started with Denver Block Party.

Fletcher: We’re also doing Emerge in Vegas.

Let’s talk about the Fracture EP released earlier this year. At what point did you guys decide it was time to release another EP?

Fletcher: It’s just when the music was finished really. We had Fracture and a whole bunch of tracks that we thought were gonna be in the EP. Just because of standard label issues, it got pushed back. But eventually we found these tracks and after working on Fracture, it kind of changed the type of music we wanted to make.

Morgan: Fracture was a turning point for us. We wanted to make chill shit and then we decided that we still like bangers. We tried to marry pop and vocal friendly stuff with bangers and we tend to do that alot in the Fracture EP. I think we found our balance.

What did the production process for each of these tracks look like? In general, what’s the creative dynamic between the two of you look like?

Fletcher: "Fracture" took 2 years…"Afraid, Unafraid" took 2 days, "Cradle to the Grave" took 2 hours. It just really depends on the track. For example, “Horus" was another one that was 2 years in the making.

Morgan: We also don’t start the tracks together. A lot of people think duos go to the studio and go like, “we’re gonna write a song”. But it doesn’t work that way because we’re so critical of one another. So when we’re both in the studio, even before writing anything I’ll say, “Fletcher that sucks”. We start separately, then go through a 3-part process. If Fletcher starts something and he thinks it’s cool it has to go through Test 1 when he shows it to me and I have to think it’s cool. Then onto Test 2 where I work on it and I show it back to him and he has to think it’s cool too. During Test 3, we both jump in the studio and work on it and both of us have to look at each other and say this is it. We call it “the moment”.

So you both grew up in incredibly different environments. How did you come to find the appreciation for music, and electronic music that you have currently?

Fletcher: For me, both my parents were into electronic music but I thought it was kind of lame.

Morgan: Tell them why you thought it was lame.

Fletcher: Well I thought it was lame because all the other kids parents were listening to pop music. I was like, “mum, your music has no words in it, where are the lyrics at?”. Then I realized eventually after putting some of the CDs into my computer like, hey some of this stuff is pretty cool. “Satisfaction” by Benny Benassi…the first time I tried to use production software I tried to remake that song. It's so hard.

Morgan: In Malaysia, I grew up with a lot of world music and I did classical music for a bit. All my friends got forced to do classical music, but it was the other way around…I had to force my parents to let me do it. I was doing taekwondo and wingchun and all these martial arts stuff. My dad said, “if you’re going to do music, you’re going to have to stop martial arts because you’ll fuck up your knuckles”. But I tried both and it kind of worked. I had to prove myself.

When did EDM come into the picture then?

Morgan: Skrillex. And Tiesto. “Traffic” got me. First of all it’s 2 notes. From there I was like, "if that guy can do it, one day I’ll be able to do it." I can play the piano and he can use 2 notes to make something insane like that.

What were your initial impressions of each other?

Morgan: We briefly met at this dance music awards night and we jumped in the studio 4-6 months after we met. We shook hands and took one shitty photo and it’s still circulating now…I remember Fletcher was super organized and had good work ethic because I always had trouble working with people. We both went to the same university. Fletcher did chemical engineering and I was in the business faculty so we never saw each other, but when we did group assignments we liked to work by ourselves. But when we met, we realized we could work together.

You guys have mentioned before that the EDM community in Australia is different from America in that it’s smaller and more selective. Has this brought you closer with fellow Australian artists?

Fletcher: Yeah it’s definitely way smaller. We know everyone. It’s so easy when there are 5 major cities and you have that access. While touring, we met everyone. We’ve gone on tour with Alison Wonderland and What So Not.

Morgan: Now it’s like we all moved away from Australia and we’ll just catch up with What So Not for pho and won’t even talk about music.

Question for Morgan: I heard you have synesthesia and can taste sounds! How often do you hear a sound that you can’t pinpoint the taste to?

Morgan: That was SLUMBERJACK for a while. I never really pinpointed it until Fletcher’s girlfriend brought some elderflower. Ever since we started in 2014, I had this weird taste that I didn’t know what it was. But every other song that we put out, as long as I had that taste I would be like that’s the moment. Elderflower with a bit of syrup and champagne is a nice taste. I always thought SLUMBERJACK had this whack taste, but Elderflower is kind of classy so I’m glad. It would suck if we tasted like fish sauce.

Fletcher: I think that’d be pretty tight.

What tastes do you associate with these 3 artists?

Troyboi?

Morgan: Oooh that’s hard. More pastry because he’s not that EDM-y, he’s very bouncy like dough. Croissant maybe.

Flume?

Morgan: Elderflower too. It’s a flat smeary sound.

Porter Robinson?

Morgan: Oooh that guy is weird because he tastes plastic-y to me. Although plastic doesn’t taste good, but the smell of it is what Porter sounds like to me. You know, Tamagotchi? When I was younger I used to put it in my mouth and breathe it. It gives me this plastic, battery taste. That to me is Porter Robinson.

What’s does SLUMBERJACK have planned for the rest of 2017?

Morgan: This tour!

Fletcher: It’s till the end of the year. We actually just moved out to LA and we were there for a month before the tour started. We did heaps of music and a lot of collabs. I’m not gonna say now, but we have a lot of stuff with Aussie, New Zealand and LA artists.

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