Gold. So much gold in this chat between Melbourne muso mates Yeo and Angus Dawson. Realities, expectations, dreams surrounding the release of your music, keeping it interesting through being diverse in your work skills and experience, saving money by learning how to do production and marketing yourself, bouncing ideas off your friends and figuring shit out as you go – Yeo and Angus cover it all in this insightful conversation.
Yeo asks the questions first:
Yeo – A remix EP! How does it make you feel when producers pop the bonnet of your creations and stick their hands inside?
Angus – Mate, its not something I ever gave too much thought to. It was just a passing idea one day, and I sent a message out to a few friends to see if they’d be up it. I was flippin’ pumped when they agreed, especially yourself! It what definitely one of the more satisfying processes of the EP, hearing someone else put their spin on my track was rad, I kinda wish they were the originals now! Probably because I’ve heard mine so much, it nice to get a fresh perspective, also because y’all are genius’.
Yeo – You’ve been busy. I’ve seen a very slick live video of your song Atticus Finch doing the rounds online and you also completed a tour not long ago. What’s next for Angus Dawson?
Angus – Busy indeed my man, I’m gonna take a lil bit to try and write some music! See if I remember how to do it. I think I wanna get myself into a really creative headspace and just smash through a whole bunch of music – finishing off projects, collaborations, covers, whatever! Maybe I’ll go back to uni and get me an edumacation? Do a bit of travel, just life ya know!?
Yeo – When you and I hang out, we often chat about the slog as a musician in Australia. As we progress, we naturally diversify our skills so we can survive and keep things interesting. I’ve seen some great photos of you working in communities in remote locations. Can you tell us about what you’ve been doing out there?
Angus – You’ll have to come on one so you can see for yourself! The company I work for is called Desert Feet and we basically facilitate music in the remote Aboriginal communities of WA. We have a massive truck/stage/recording studio that we fang way off road, park it somewhere real pretty and just do music for a couple of days or a week. We also have a school holiday program that I run. It’s sick man, the amount of learning that goes on is astronomical, the kids sometimes learn stuff too. Really makes you question why we don’t learn more about this amazing culture in schools.
Ye0 – Speaking of remote locations, your music evokes two things in me – stunning visual imagery and savage emotion. Say, a very shit life-changer happens to you and you’ve got 6 months to come up with a new album. Your budget has no limit. Link me to the AirBnB you’d rent, list who and/or what you’d take with you, and describe the tragedy you’d be trying to exorcise from your mind.
Angus – Firstly, hats off man, best question I’ve ever had!
I think it would be a piano album. And the budget would be pretty much spent on piano lessons haha.
Where: I think this is in Alaska? You get the idea haha.
What I’d take: A really noisy lovely old (in tune) piano and a real simple recording setup.
The Tragedy: Game of Thrones ending.
Yeo – OK don’t get too carried away, it was only a hypothetical. Real talk now – when operating as an independent musician, what’s a super useful way to save money?
Angus – Too late, already booked. Sounds a bit obvious and unhelpful but learning to do shit yourself! I produce all my tracks, mix and master most of them too. I make most of my own videos and take my own photos most of the time too. It’s so easy to sink buckets of cash into music, especially as a solo musician. Learn the skills! Also, don’t get stuck in a gear hole. Some people care way too much about recording through the most wizz-bang shit or using a guitar that Jimmy Hendrix himself once licked on acid, thus imparting his psychedelic genius into it. If you have the funds, go for it. If not, just use what you have, I’m sure the difference won’t be significant enough to matter!
Okay Angus go for it:
Angus – You’ve done it, Desire Path is out. Big congrats my man! What was the hardest past and the proudest part of making it?
Yeo – I think the hardest part was opening myself up to collaborating so much. I don’t really like to do things half-assed so this time I made a real effort to trust a lot of people and let them put their stamp on the record. The proudest part was when the vinyl arrived. It felt like everything had finally come together and I had a classy 12″ record to show for it.
Angus – I remember listening to Girl in my bedroom all those years ago, still a banger. What do you think is the biggest difference between that Yeo and this Yeo?
Yeo – I’ve become less shy with my voice. I’ve taken a bit more ownership of it. I still don’t really like it and think that a lot of people could easily sing my songs better than I can, but I’ve finally accepted that my voice is what makes my music sound like me in the midst of all the different sounds I use.
Angus – Anything left on your musical bucket list?
Yeo – So many it would be impossible to list. What I’m really keen to do is take my team overseas. I’m so envious when I see all my musical peers flying around the world playing shows and stopping at weird and wonderful places along the way. Also one day I’d love to attempt a movie score. Science fiction please.
Angus – You’ve been a bit of a guru to me. Why don’t you sling a hefty slice of that wisdom to any up and coming muso’s out there.
Yeo – Guru?! Nah mate, we’re just pals figuring shit out as we go along. It’s nice to bounce opinions off each other. I would say that the best way to simultaneously advance and protect your career is to do as much as possible by yourself. Accept good help when it comes, but keep in mind that the more you’re involved, the more understanding you’ll have behind the scenes. The cold and hard side of music business will be less likely to yank the carpet out from underneath your feet.
Angus – I know there can be a lot of expectations, hopes and dreams when releasing something. If the album could achieve one thing, what would it be?
Yeo – Market interest somewhere overseas. I love living in Australia and will probably always base myself here because I appreciate it for what it is. However I think a new place to explore would recharge my batteries and give me even more motivation to continue.
Thanks to legends Yeo and Angus for the chat! Honest, insightful and valuable convos are always welcome here. Now, listen to Angus’ excellent Ellesmere Street Remix EP, especially Yeo’s take on Ocean In The Sky.