Interview with Dizz1

SoundLab music project - Photo Credit: Lisanne Schulze

SoundLab music project – Photo Credit: Lisanne Schulze

Melbourne, Australia-based turntablist, producer, drummer, and teacher Dave Norris is known in the electronica genre as Dizz1 and he collaborated with an international cast of artists for the music project SoundLab.  The creation of material for this project took place at a tiny eco-resort about an hour away from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the aim of the artists was to facilitate interaction between local and international musicians and promote the electronica genre.

Hello Dizz1!  It’s so great to touch base with you about the SoundLab music project that you are spearheading.  Can you spill some details about this collaboration?

Fifteen musicians from South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand all came together in a magical jungle wonderland to jam, create, eat, swim, and relax for 10 days! There was such a mix of interesting characters, all with an abundance of culture and musical wisdom to share, so it was “on” from the moment I got there!

The space we stayed at is set up on a hill in the jungle of Malaysia, about an hour from the city, and it’s such a contrast from the urban sprawl. You are literally in a resort in the jungle, but it’s really something you have to see for yourself, as is the case with most things in this realm; words just can’t do it justice!

Was this the first time you were creating music in such a unique environment? How did this transpire? 

Yes, very much so! The surrounding jungle sounds were right there in the recordings, so each artist’s music really resonated his or her own version of what that felt like! Right down to vocal takes with crickets, frogs, and monkeys howling in the distance, to rain tracks which I made sure to add even subtly, to everything I wrote up there!

I had a mic out recording the jungle for a good chunk every day and depending on the time, the sounds were always evolving which in turn inspired new ideas and moods!

SoundLab artists at work - Photo Credit: Lisanne Schulze

SoundLab artists at work – Photo Credit: Lisanne Schulze

What was a typical SoundLab session like? 

I wake up at dawn with the sun, so I would do some yoga and then come down and work away in headphones in the main house which had all the instruments (drums, guitars, bass, amps, and synths, etc), which is where I spent most of my time.

As it’s a guest house, three of the other participants were sleeping in there, so I would don the headphones and get all the ideas I could together before they woke. As they started waking I would slowly bring the tunes up in the main monitors and slowly hear “Morning, Dave” from them all (depending on who had the biggest night, this order varied).

Then it was brekkie and pretty much straight back into it! The great thing was everyone had their own way of working and their own set-ups, so we could all just jam at our own pace and then bring ideas to each other when we needed it!

Would you say that the jungle altered the sound of the music and the writing process? How did it do so? 

Most definitely! The energy up there was really special and unlike anything I have experienced, especially when writing music. This and the fact that it was so relaxed there really brought everyone together without any real outside pressure to perform or “work”, so the whole thing just flowed really organically!  Also, the fact that everyone was from such different walks of life helped to inspire ideas that sitting alone in your lab could never do!

The Malaysian jungle - Photo Credit: Lisanne Schulze

The Malaysian jungle – Photo Credit: Lisanne Schulze

How did the “Dizzko” track come about?  How would you classify the music genre it falls into? 

I was chilling a lot in the main house with a fella named Dea from Indonesia. He’s really big into disco and has released quite a bit on his own label Frisbee Records. It was his idea to lay down something at that tempo.

Koh from Malaysia, who is an absolute boss on bass and guitar, and myself on drums were naturally jamming quite a bit anyway, so we went on a few tangents and made sure to hit record!

I ended up going in on one of those recordings and arranging it once I got back to Australia.  We are going to do a vocal version of it too with some chants, etc, so make sure to keep an ear out for that!

What were your top five moments from the SoundLab experience?

Wake – Write – Eat – Swim – Write – Sleep – Oh shit, that’s 6…

What did you take away from this project? 

Folders full of brilliant ideas and some of the best musical memories of my life!  Thank you to all involved in the making of this wonderful experience! I’m still pinching myself!

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