SPECIAL INTERVIEW: VOIX

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up with the boys from VOIX for a special interview.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

Andi – I was always around a wide variety of music from a very young age. My parents and 4 older siblings introduced me to everything from classical (Vivaldi, Beethoven, etc) to 90’s Grunge, Rock, Indie, all the way to modern pop and boy bands (Backstreet Boys are my personal favourite). Listening to music always made me feel so much and provoke such mood, both positive and negative. I dabbled with piano at 5 years of age, happily accepting the odd lesson from a close family friend until I picked up a guitar on my 8th birthday, thanks to my dad. Once I started playing music for myself there was no looking back; I knew what I wanted to do with my life, it just made total sense.

Mike – I’ve been interested in music for as long as I can remember! My first CD was Michael Jackson, Off the Wall so had a fascination with the soul and groove in music from the age of 8. In the words of Alex of Blur, every house should have a £100 piano, and my parents had just that! And old, out of tune piano that I learnt to understand pitch on. Guitar shortly followed with all the usual power chord shapes and learning every available Nirvana song. The first pop record that caught my ear was L.A.M.B by Gwen Stefani. That is when I realised that there’s way more behind pop music than most people and I really thought. 

We both met in our mid 20s after growing up in the same small town and going to the same schools and playing all the same venues, somehow managing to avoid each other!

When we finally met, whilst producing for local bands, we totally hit it off and decided that one day we’d have to make some music together. And here we are!

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

Andi – It has to be the love and passion that I feel towards the creative process. I want to be able to make people feel something special through the sound of what we create, and although it’s probably impossible, it drives me to create and never stop. There have been so many opportunities to give up in the last 15 years of the musical journey.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

Andi – I would love to take our music around the world and share something special with people from all walks of life. As far as “career” aspirations, it would just be nice to have our music exposed to a wider audience and whatever outcome that creates, is perfect for me.

Mike – Id very much like to develop a company to help develop artists, like an old traditional record label but with a modern twist. We love working/collaborating with other artists and this is like an extension of that. 

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

Andi – We plan to release 3 more singles and a remix between now (September) and January 2021. We would love to play some DJ sets next year and get out and about, but due to the current pandemic, we may have to do a raincheck.  

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

Our newest single is called, ‘Hard to Find’. It’s a high energy and uplifting dance-pop track, taking influence from Synthwave and 80’s style drum machine pop. The song itself is a story of love and loss, which contends with unrequited emotions and an uncertain outcome in a relationship. Something about the mystery of the unknown in our songwriting seems to be appeal because we keep doing it. 

We feel like our music could be described as positive, emotive and powerful. We aim to create feeling in our tracks and we hope that it comes across.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

We write in a few different ways, but it usually starts with either a vocal memo/melody that is sung in to a phone, or a produced track/idea that we have, which we then write to. Sometimes it’s random inspiration and we just have to try and capture the idea that comes to us. 

Once we have something solid that we feel good about, it’s a matter of creating the right production to match what we want the song to represent. Some songs just flow and we end up with a finished idea really quickly, other songs are more complicated and have to be produced a bunch of times until they match our vision.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

We try and leave the meaning to listener; there are a many different ways that the lyrics can be interpreted and that is no accident.

Success, what is the secret to it?

I’ll let you know when we arrive…

Define success… to create music that we love and have other people love it too, which feels a lot like success.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Somebody recently told us that our music helped them heal and pulled them out of a long depression. That felt amazing.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

Andi – There are so many great talents in the music industry at the moment; I think Jacob Collier is hugely inspiring to me…

Mike – Although a tad predictable Id have to say Max Martin, he’d managed to do something completely unheard of in an industry where it seems everything has been done. And relatively under the radar! 

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

We have plans to direct our music towards a more collaborative project, whilst developing ourselves as a label. We are collaborating and writing/creating for other artists and labels at the moment and we’re looking forward to the challenges of the next chapter.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?

We would love to be working alongside other artists and champion the next generation of musicians/producers if we’re in the position to do so. 

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

Favourite – Creating music together and spreading a positive message to others.

Least Favourite – Administrative duties, lack of support from others in the early stages.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Flume – unbelievable producer with such an interesting style and take on modern EDM.

Sia – definitely one of the most accomplished songwriters of this generation and such an great voice.

Parkway Drive – one of my favourite metal bands that I’ve followed since 2005, Byron Bay represent!

The Broadcast Fiasco – They’re led by a friend of ours, Rob Howe who is a real talent. Check ‘em out! 

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

It seems much harder to grab people’s attention nowadays. Social media is so noisy and apparently there are in excess of 40,000 songs released on Spotify each day, which makes independent music like finding a needle in a haystack.

It’s challenging when a lot of the support outlets for new artists, such as blogs, radio stations, etc, don’t seem to champion upcoming talent and are only really interested in exchanging support for profit, this is a bit sad, but it seems to be the nature of the new industry.

In a more positive light, never has the artist had more creative control over their product. If you get it right and manage to find some investment early on to build a real fanbase then you could have a career without having to relinquish any control. Which would have been impossible decades ago. 

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

We’ve always aspired to learn and grow as musicians, producers and managers of our own project, and I’m sure we will continue to put our best foot forward. Hopefully, if we create something meaningful for long enough, we will have the opportunity to reach a lot of people with our music.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

We do collaborate and are really looking to do a lot more of it. Wish list… hmm… Max Martin? 

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Work really hard and set some clear goals to focus on, no matter how big or small. Stay hungry to improve and remember that you can only fail if you give up.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

Thank you so much for supporting our music, we really hope you enjoy what we do. You can get in contact with us by DM on Instagram @wearevoix

Any last words?

Huge thanks to theaussieword.com for the support.

Support your local radio, blogs and venues, they’re the ones that have enabled the world’s greatest artists to continue making the soundtracks to our lives. 

SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Neon Pattern Sundial

Singer/songwriter Ben Rizio of Neon Pattern Sundial stops by THEAUSSIEWORD.COM for a special interview.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

I guess just between the ages of around 8-15 I slowly realised that this is what I like doing more than basically anything else. When I was 13 or 14 I downloaded FL Studio and got into production and I became particularly excited by it all.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

Well I’m definitely inspired by a lot of other artists, whether they’re musicians or visual artists or whoever.

But I’m also excited by the idea of trying to make something unique and exciting to my own taste, and to push listeners a little more beyond what they’d expect. Like trying to incorporate unlikely combinations of styles in one song, or using a style of sound design or production that typically doesn’t align with the context I’m putting it in, or putting two songs next to each other on a release that I don’t think people will expect.

I also have a fixation on larger works such as albums or EPs, but also series of albums/EPs as opposed to just individual songs. I feel like with larger works like that there’s more space for the aesthetic or themes to come through. I love artists that are extremely committed to an aesthetic, that’s one of the most inspiring things to me.

I get a lot of enjoyment out of brainstorming tracklists for albums, and imagining what the mood or style will be for each track as well as the titles and artwork associated with them. I think aesthetic concepts are often more exciting to me than even lyrics or melodies.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

One of my ‘goals’ is an immersive AV show. Visuals, lighting, and a setlist that consists of alternate versions of the songs, medleys, and all sorts of fun stuff like that. I’ve always loved hearing live versions and unreleased music at shows of my favourite artists, to me that’s one of the most exciting parts about live music.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

I don’t imagine any touring in the current world but, there will be a new single soon and some very exciting news to come along with that. I can’t wait to play some shows once we see this all through, I’ve got some ideas for that too.

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

‘Wendouree’ is a song that took a long time to finish and still often confuses me! But I’m proud of it and its uniqueness. To me it’s about trying to be more involved in the present as opposed to dreaming about a change of scenery in the future, because our lives are never going to be the way they are today. So let’s try soak it up before it passes!

I think I better understand how to describe my music once people describe it to me. It’s been described as poignant which I love. To me it’s just guitar-driven alt-pop scattered with synths and electronic production.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

I definitely work in unpredictable bursts, which I’d say usually means I’m quite slow as a writer. It’s almost laughable… I’ve put quite a bit of thought and effort into trying to cultivate my workspace all nice and whatever, but I get a lot done sitting on my girlfriend’s couch hunched over my laptop screen, after I opened a project because I “just wanted to give it a listen”, but then it’s been a few hours and I’ve got two new sections to a song. And then… I don’t touch it for weeks! Months even! Apart from playing the demo on repeat of course.

In all seriousness though, I do also spend a lot of time making lists of what I need to fix in a demo I’m working on and then going and fixing those things and then repeating the process with many many iterations of lists. It’s a combination of those two processes that eventually gets it done for me. It’s quite a system I’ve got going.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

Not necessarily hidden meanings (yet), but definitely links between songs and releases. As I release more music I’m sure a lot of people will work it out pretty quickly.

Success, what is the secret to it?

Hahaha haa ha… The secret to success is to define your own! Make sure that it actually aligns with your values and not just looks or seems pretty. Stadium tours with full AV production are pretty cool, but also seem pretty intense and stressful. I don’t think I’d call that success… If I can just live off my music and go for a nice walk that’d be sweet. You know?

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Hmm well, it’s been an incredibly short career so far, so I’ll mention an experience from my old band Echo Mono… Over the course of about 9 months or so we worked our way up through the Battle of The Bands competition in Victoria, and performed at the St Kilda festival here in Melbourne. We were on the smallest stage in the afternoon, and we started with just a few friends and family watching. But there was a point where we realised that an enormous crowd of passer-bys had stopped to watch us. I have no clue how many people it was but it really had us all smiling at each other on stage. Holy shit! People actually like this song we made!

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

Justin Vernon, Matty and George of The 1975, Amber of The Japanese House, Jon Hopkins, Madeon, all come to mind pretty quickly.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

Absolutely.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself in a few years?

Oh man, really the only thing I’m sure of is what I want to release in the next few years. I’d love to do a few shows around Melbourne before hopefully branching out to Sydney and some regional areas. Doing some production for other artists would be awesome too.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

I love writing and producing, trying to build an aesthetic around my music, and trying to expand my processes a little bit all the time. I also love playing shows and can’t wait for that to happen again, as I’ve never performed as this project!

Unfortunately I’m not particularly enjoying occupying my social media profiles, which is a relationship I hope to improve. Occasionally I’ll have a great interaction and it’s great to hear from someone who has enjoyed my song, but for the most part I would rather just be working on new music.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Apart from my super talented friends I have a real soft spot for Golden Features. There are so many great Australian artists I wouldn’t know where to start.

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

Personally, I don’t love social media. I definitely wish it didn’t exist sometimes. But it makes complete sense as to why it does exist and why I need to be there. Peoples attention is always going to gravitate towards the most bold, fast-paced, bite-size form of media that they can digest quickly, so it’s no surprise that the newest platform that’s making waves has a maximum video length of 60 seconds, and a focus on snappy, loud content.

This sort of thing has obviously impacted the music industry hugely in terms of the way musicians are marketing themselves and gathering an audience. It’s all become very casual and improvised. Which is by no means a bad thing.

But there are certain platforms I don’t want to exist on despite knowing that they could result in a lot of benefit for my music. Social media is already something that affects me in a largely negative way, and it comes down to if I want to take up that trade-off at the consequence of me having to spend more time creating and interacting with content.

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

One step at a time… I’m just gonna think about Melbourne first!

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

Everything that I’m releasing this year is the result of working closely with a few of my friends. Particularly Marc Scollo who recorded and mixed everything. I bounce all my ideas off him now from very early in the process, and he let’s me know when an idea is really dumb. I’ve also got a song coming out this year with my friend Jonah Orbach who’s a member of the band Blue Belly.

There’s plenty of big and small artists that I’d love to work with. The artist Goldwater interests me a lot as I delve more into electronic music again. I would also love to work with another vocalist and produce for any rappers.

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

What’s on my mind right now is that being an independent musician involves acting as a few different roles. And it takes a bit of work to figure out how to dedicate some time to general admin and your social media presence, while still remembering that the music comes far above all else. Especially if you’re trying to do your own PR, artwork, production, etc.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

Instagram messages are chill.

Any last words?

Thanks everyone for the support so far, it’s been really really awesome. And thank you Brian at the TheAussieWord.com for having me! I’m particularly excited to share the next few drops and the music I’m currently working on 🙂

Website: neonpatternsundial.bandcamp.com

Facebook: facebook.com/neonpatternsundial

Instagram: instagram.com/neonpatternsundial