Glam Adelaide caught up with one of Adelaide’s most eclectic musicians, electronic composer and experimental artist Tim Whitt ahead of the launch of his debut album, Giesel (out October 13.)
Glam Adelaide: We are really excited about Giesel. Sounds like this has been a long and rewarding, perhaps exhausting, process. How long has this project taken you all together and can you walk us through the recording, production and mixing of this album?
Tim Whitt: This project has taken around a year from start to finish. I started experimenting with creating rhythms from sounds I’d been recording in August last year and the whole album was finished and mastered at the start of August this year. The biggest push was at the start of 2017 when I received a place in The Jon Lemon Artist in Residence at St Paul’s Creative Centre and they gave me my own studio space for three weeks straight. I dragged in all of my studio equipment and set it up there. I worked 9am to 5pm each day which allowed me to take all of the little ideas I’d created and collaborate with so many different artists to gradually turn them into fully realised songs. I worked with Alex “Magic” Mader in the studio at Disk Edits to mix the album where he did a phenomenal job of wrestling all of the sounds and my far out ideas under control.
GA: Who are some of the collaborators in your recording process and what parts did they play?
TW: I ended collaborating with 11 different artists on the album from all different music styles and stages along their own musical careers. There was, Marcus McFly, Sam Snail and Matiah who are all on the rise in Adelaide’s music scene, Joel + Tom from The Beards who just wrapped up the band, Rich and Ben from Lucky 7 as well as Mary Webb, Zac Eden, and Kimonono’s Kado who are all well-established already. Though the most exciting for me was actually working with Sim Jones and Lastly who both used to be in bands but had fallen out of music for professional careers. They’re both amazing lyricists and vocalists and I’m now working with both of them to start producing their own tracks again. It’s just really great to see people getting into their artistic passion, especially when they’re so talented.
GA: What are some of the more unique sounds we can expect to hear interwoven into the music?
TW: Some of my favourite sounds on the album include a noisy exhaust fan at The University of Adelaide; the sound of train rushing overhead (the rails make this eerie sizzling sound as the train approaches and then the sound of the carriages just explodes); my friends playing beach cricket; and the hydraulic lifts at my car mechanic, they let me wander around the workshop taping things while they were fixing my car.
GA: You’ve sampled a lot of Australian nature, including some of our beloved fauna. How close did you need to get to record koalas and kangaroos?
TW: I worked on creating an audio guide for the new Wilderness Trail on Kangaroo Island so as part of that, they got me over to the island to record wildlife for a week. It was so awesome. I’d get as close as I could without disturbing the animals, so I’d approach kangaroos really slow while they were eating until they hopped off into the brush. I got right up to a koala as he was crossing the road and climbing into a tree but he didn’t make a sound! One the park rangers took me out after dark to record a frog-filled pond. We just set up a microphone and backed off to wait for them all to come out. When they all started croaking it was amazing to listen to.
GA: You’ve also captured crowd sounds from the AFL. Did you have to hide your microphone in case people gave you strange looks?
TW: People are always looking at me funnily when I pull out my recorder start pointing it at things. When I try and do it subtly, I just look more suspicious. My hand held recorder looks like some sort of measuring equipment so I think people assume I’m a safety officer checking something. The football’s the worst because people are drinking too so they just start accosting me.
GA: Your work with Waterslides seems to be the one which had a huge electronic composition component. How has that contributed to where you are today as an artist?
TW: I’ve always been drawn to making sample-based music, even from a young age. But with Geisel, instead of taking samples from old records that I’d found, I’m collecting sounds that I record myself in the real world and use them to piece together each track. I feel that it’s just a natural progression of my music, reusing music to re-purposing sound. Lately I’ve been making what’s called “impulse responses” where you’re capturing the reverberation or “sound” of a space itself, so you’re essentially able to “sample” a physical location. Even just thinking about what that means blows my mind!
GA: You’ve played some of the big festivals and supported acts like: Seth Sentry, Tkay Maidza, Luke Million and Regurgitator. What is the favourite bill that you have ever been on and with which act?
TW: My favourite support slot would be with Regurgitator. I grew up listening to those guys so being able to support an act that I idolised on a leg of their tour was just such a dream come true. The only downside was that right at the very end of the tour, I was saying goodbye to Quan while walking off stage (trying to keep cool) and as I went to leave, I accidentally kicked his digital projector with my shoe. Right in the lens too. He was really nice about it but I felt like a total asshole.
GA: Where can people buy Geisel when it comes out?
TW: I’ve teamed up with a local statup company to make Geisel available for free on a new mobile app called SoundPocket, which uses location data to play music to you when you’re in specific locations around Adelaide CBD. The whole album is made using sounds from around the city and written about experiences within the city so it made sense to release it in a way that it could be listened back in the city too. It will take the listener to sites within the city that they wouldn’t normally discover on their own and it really creates an immersive listening experience. It will also be available through standard channels like Spotify and iTunes for those who are less adventurous. But I highly recommend getting SoundPocket and exploring Adelaide.