Vacatetheroom recently dropped his new EP on Lost Properties Records.
Vacatetheroom is a Melbourne based artist who blends dreamy melodies with analogue textures and breakbeat rhythms, in order to create atmospheric tracks with great energy for the dance floor.
The young Australian artist first made his debut with a remix of Daniel Joshua’s Hivemind, and is back with a new EP called “Telecommunication”, which has been much anticipated.
Ha has a diverse mix of cultural heritage to draw inspiration from, and we decided to catch up with him, so we could learn more about this exciting young prospect…
• Your recent EP Telecommunication was released about a week ago, tell us a bit about what your process was like, and what spurred the creative energy for this body of work?
I started throwing together some ideas around mid-2020 without knowing that it was going to become a project. It was at the time when everything was shutting down, you couldn’t see friends, you couldn’t attend live shows, university was online, the list goes on. I started to notice more and more our increased reliance on technology as a primary means for communication and whilst I found this quite confronting, I also became fascinated with how that could be represented in my music. Earlier this year I visited Western Australia for a couple days, turning off all social media and other forms of contact, with the sole purpose of creating music. During that period, I created the bones for one of the tracks on the EP, ‘Night Shift’, as well as a couple of others that didn’t quite make the cut. I had one of those moments of clarity where time, place, and actions all click together, and I decided that this feeling was the basis for a project. As soon as I got home, I began finishing and mixing the other ideas from 2020.
The process was very similar for all four of the tracks. They were all ideas started on my computer using Ableton Live. Once I felt an idea was good enough to be fleshed out, I’d replace sounds from my computer with different gear in my studio. From there ideas would go back and forth, using computer software as well as hardware. I like the combination of both and they’re equally as important to me.
• What was your background in music prior to the Vacatetheroom project?
I started playing piano when I was about 7 and then began to learn the drums when I was 12, playing in school bands and with friends. I was introduced to electronic music by a friend through DJing in high school and ever since then I’ve delved deeper and deeper into it. As a result, I studied music at the Victorian College of The Arts in Melbourne, working on different projects where music works with other media. I’ve been making music since around late high school but only began to seriously enjoy it after I finished.
• You’re based in Melbourne, a city with a strong music and creative scene. Have you always lived there? How do you feel the location has influenced your musical direction?
Yeah, I’ve lived here my whole life. It’s a pretty amazing city with a lot going on. I honestly think the biggest influence Melbourne has had is the people around me. I’m lucky to be surrounding by so many talented and creative people and it definitely pushes me to seek alternative routes when creating. I’m also very lucky in Melbourne to have freedom and the chance to see so many amazing artists perform here – it’s super inspiring.
• Can you give us a list of artists you were listening to during the writing of Telecommunication?
I found myself actually listening to a lot of softer music whilst making this. It was a nice way to break up all the loud parts of the project. Been loving artists like Clark, Biosphere, Max Cooper, Nicolas Jaar, Arthur Russell, Mark Pritchard, and of course Boards of Canada.
• Did you feel lockdowns and extended periods of time inside, made it easier to create, due to having more time on your hands? Or do you feel that it’s been more difficult?
It’s a weird one because I think it’s a bit of both. At the beginning of all the lockdowns, I felt very creative and had all this time to make stuff which was great. As time has gone on, I’ve felt at times quite uninspired, lacking external stimuli. I used to get pretty upset about it, however, I have learnt to be a bit more kind to myself, allowing time off if need be. Things have still been happening, the process can just take a little longer sometimes.
• There is a lot of brilliant swing in your percussion and great use of noise/foley sounding drums. Are you using modular equipment to achieve a lot of this?
Thanks! Some of it is modular and some of it comes from other processing hardware or software. Swing is a very human concept so to hear it come out of electronic instruments and sequencers is really interesting to me. I love using noise and foley because it feels like a trail left behind by the sound. If you put something through a cassette tape it can add unforeseen artefacts that you wouldn’t have thought about previously which leaves a sonic imprint on whatever you’re doing. The modular gear is mainly used for distortion and reverb that I couldn’t achieve otherwise. When you put something through heavy modular distortion, the subsequent degradation of sound gives you a whole new thing to sculpt on the computer. The best thing is you can do it over and over again to the same sound until it’s something that you’ve never heard before. Coming to think of it, that’s kind of the worst thing as well.
• Your first EP Monde Souterrain was more atmospheric/experimental than Telecommunication and it almost skirts various genres. How did you find yourself narrowing things into what now sounds like a very clear and distinct sound?
Monde Souterrain definitely felt like more of an experiment than an EP. I used a pretty basic online DAW to create it where there were huge constraints on what I could do. It made me think about how I can create an atmosphere in different ways, trying to use what little I had to make something I found interesting. It ended up being a really formative experience.
I think as time passed, I wanted to create that same otherworldly feeling in a way that felt more personal. As everything went pretty quiet in 2020, I had this urge to make something loud and abrasive. There’s a Brian Eno interview where he talks about making music that lives in the context which you yearn to be in, which I really like. As a result, electronic/dance music seemed to be what I turned to and I guess I’m just channelling what I’d like to hear in that context. I really like music that aims to create a sonic environment for its listeners, and that’s what I’m trying to work towards.
• Am I correct in guessing you still play the drums?
This is correct, yes.
• What’s a piece of gear that’s instrumental to your creative process?
I’d probably say the Fender Rhodes. That’s the way I sort out the structure and arrangement even in electronically-driven songs. I also love the sound of it in conjunction with other synths and drum machines. It’s one of those magic instruments.
• What’s an instrument you would love to learn but never really had the chance?
I’d love to learn the harp. It’s definitely one of the prettiest instruments to me. I think subconsciously a lot of ideas I have would work really well on the harp. I don’t know how feasible it is right now, but I won’t rule it out.
• Do you have passions outside of music… if so, what are they?
I love film, photography, museums, really anything creative. I also love cooking even though I’m not terribly great at it. It’s just another way to be creative, however this time you have to eat your creation, which isn’t always great for me.
• What are you hoping 2022 holds for yourself and the Vacatetheroom project?
I would absolutely love to travel next year and I’m hoping it’ll be possible. I’d love to get over to Europe for a couple of months. In terms of VTR, there’s a lot I want to achieve in the next year. One is to be able to play some DJ shows. Working on finalising a live show as well! I’ve got some new music, as well as some production for other people in the pipeline too. My label, ‘Lost Properties’ also has some new stuff to release as well as some future shows. There’s a lot to look forward to!
You can buy Vacatetheroom’s new EP on Lost Properties Records from HERE