K Exclusive: a Q&A with Aussie trio, daste

By Caroline Peacock

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Gifting us their debut 5-track ep Palette, Aussie trio daste has left quite the first impression. Formed in 2018 by band members Tyler Harden, Callum MacDonald and Braxton Tahi, daste has already established itself as a presence in the indie-electronic scene and will undoubtedly maintain it. Both aesthetically and musically, they radiate stylistic simplicity. Their sound is understated and stylish, consisting of sensual vocals, tranquilizing beats, and thoughtful lyrics.

Transcending the Australia-America time difference, the Kollection caught the guys for a Q&A, touching on the making of Palette–which perfectly embodies who daste is–and their style and influences. But before you peer into the minds of this ultra-creative, highly impressive trio, queue up Palette and lose yourself in the groove.

What is the creation process like? Group effort? Individual? Do the songs start as little inklings of a sound, or are they carefully planned out?

The approach to our songwriting is always different; we’ve never been the kind of people to have a set recipe that we use to get a track done. In the early days of a song, the idea will usually come from one of us individually as a solid foundation but can also come from someone’s chords or scribbled melodies that we all then work on together. As the track progresses into the production phase, the collaboration between us really comes to life and this is when ideas start to flow, and you can feel the wholeness of the project coming to fruition. It definitely wouldn’t capture that daste sound without all of us adding our own spice.

What were you guys listening to while creating and recording? Specific artists, general genres, etc.

Moving into our first session I remember Tyler referencing a lot of sound design from Tora’s Take A Rest; an album I’d been surrounding my life in. This created an instant understanding of what he was envisioning and led to us bonding over other artists such as HIGH HOOPS, LEISURE and Mild High Club who ultimately laid the groundwork of what daste would be.

Tell me about the recording process. What is it like in the studio? Do you guys record everything in one fell swoop, or in increments? What is the vibe in the studio? Excitement, stress, relief?

Once everything is ready for recording, we work on the tracks section by section. We try not to get too worried about things getting messy cause there’s always time to go back and refine what we’ve done. What’s most important is that we get all the ideas down because sometimes your brain gifts you something magical, and within a moment, it’s gone. We always have a great time in the process because of the energetic chemistry that’s been between us since our very first session together – I guess there are elements of stress toward the mixing phase, but that usually stems from overthinking it and being too invested in the art.

 

Can you describe the feelings you had the first time you heard the final product of Palette?

Proud. We put a lot of sweat into this whole EP and every small element of detail sits behind hours and hours of thought and deliberation to deliver something full of purpose. On the day it was finished we went for a cruise in the car and listened to the EP in its entirety. We started to reminisce on the memories we made during the whole ‘making of’ and were just very content that we made something special.

How do you think the Australian music scene has influenced your sound?

I think the scene out here has encouraged us to be independent in our art and our approach to the industry. Australia has a hugely supportive music community with people like Triple J Unearthed embracing the artists taking the DIY approach, which is defined within our sound. Everyone here is so invested in supporting each other’s work and the artist community really admires seeing bands take everything on with their own style, which is really encouraging for us.

How did you guys get into music? Which artists did you grow up on?

Music has always been close to us. Outside of releasing and producing we’re drummers, pianists, guitarists and bass players, and the idea of creating a project together stems from the artists we grew up listening to. This includes acts like The Beatles, ELO, and Pink Floyd and to this day you’ll find us listening to them and drawing inspiration from their songwriting and even visual aesthetics.  

Based on your instagram, you guys have a very distinct, though simplistic sense of style. Do you think there’s a correlation between your style and your sound?

Absolutely, and it’s all intentional. We deal with a lot of space in our sound, remembering that it’s the absence of sound in a particular moment that adds to the overall groove of a song and this translates into our style as we always try and use minimalism to its fullest potential.

How do you think you guys stand out amongst the many other artists releasing music right now?

When we released Thinkin’ Of at the end of last year we definitely stood out locally. Our hometown, Gold Coast, is mostly known for its surf rock so it can be surprising to some when they see electronic music emerging from here. However, we always felt that our sound fits nicely next to what a lot of great electronic artists like Tora, Golden Vessel and HIGH HOOPS are doing, although the difference comes in the various genres we’re fusing into our sound and our correlation between music and visuals.

What’s in the future for daste?

More music, more shows, more content. We’re doing a small run of shows down the east coast of AUS with a Sydney sider friend of ours called Billy Fox, then we plan to go back into studio to re-emerge at the end of the year with something fresh. We’re looking forward to getting together to explore where the next phase of music will take us and would love to look into more collaborations.

To keep up with daste, follow them on Instagram

And if you liked this Q&A, be sure to check out our exclusive interview with fellow Aussie, Golden Vessel! 

 

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