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TALKING LO-FI WITH HIGHTEA.

A future urban project.

Photography by Cwolf
Answered by HighTea.’s Matt On The Moon

Tell us about your bedroom and live set-up. What hardwares and softwares do you use? Why do they work for you?

Our set-up revolves around DAWs at the moment. We use Maschine, Ableton Live and Pro Tools 10 predominantly, with FL Studio and Logic Pro 9 making occasional appearances. They all work for us depending on what we’re trying to achieve: chops in Maschine or Ableton or FL, mixing in Tools, composition/MIDI in Logic. More often than not we use several DAWs together in varying ways. We’ve got an MPC Renaissance on the way and an MPC 1000 in the mix. For live we’ve just been rolling with Maschine through a Kaoss Pad 3 until the Ren arrives. We use our samples as instruments so we’re working towards making it as ‘live’ as possible.

You both work full-time. How do you balance work and music? Do you have a routine?

Productivity is a bi-product of spreading ourselves thin. When you don’t have much free time you make the most of it when you have it. I guess you could say we have a routine. It’s pretty much when we’re not at work we’re working on music. We go with feel so if we’re feeling it it’s on but if not, no stress.

You live together. Does this ever have a stifling effect on your creative process?

Nah. We go way back and we’ve continued to create under many different circumstances. We’ve grown up with and grown with music making. Plus we have our own bedrooms now. We used to live in a two-story warehouse that didn’t have such luxuries so you could say we’re comfortable living with each other. Creativity is not an issue.

You both create music outside of HighTea. How do you juggle all these different outfits?

It’s easy. When it’s HighTea — it’s HighTea. We don’t overthink it. We know what we want to hear essentially. We just go with that feel. What comes out is our brew of music.

You went with a DIY approach for your debut EP. What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of this bedroom-recording set-up?

We weren’t thinking about advantages or disadvantages at the time. We were focused on creating. We have some audio knowledge but that’s not the be all and end all. The art form speaks for itself regardless of quality. Lo-fi is great because it’s honest. We’re not trying to hide the fact that we aren’t the best engineers or whatever. That was what we could do then and hopefully our next EP will be different. Not better but something else. Because we’re so close to the music it seemed like the best way to go about it. We really enjoy the process of building up an idea into a realised track or concept. Having it sound decent enough to listen to on multiple playback mediums was our goal and we’ve gained valuable experience from doing it ourselves. It’s all good.

Do you have a particular method when it comes to song writing or is mostly improvisational?

Improvisational. Lyrics tend to come through me, often spawned from a melody or some phrases I string together upon listening. I follow my intuition.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

I move on. We’re working on a lot of material right now. There’s no rush. I keep my mind active with other projects, other areas within music or just get my mind off music completely.

You’ve played regularly at venues like Kenobi, Lounge and The Espy. In your opinion, how valuable are these venues in both the development of your profile and fan base, as well as the profile and exposure of the Melbourne beats scene?

These spaces are awesome in that they allow for it to happen live. It’s a different beast entirely in a live setting. Interacting with the audience face-to-face is invaluable. We don’t focus so much on developing profile and fan base. That comes with looking at the main objective — live the moment. When we’re on stage we’re in it and put all our energy out there. If people vibe with that —sick: that’s who we’re talking to. It goes without saying really but profile, scene, fan base, all that comes from people who just do what they believe in. That’s the stuff that’s important to us. The boxes aren’t.

What is the best advice you can give to aspiring producers in Melbourne?

Do YUH thing. Believe in your ability. Love and give all that you can. You get it back tenfold.

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