Interview: Perth DJ DAWS Is Heading East & Pursuing Production
Playing in Sydney this weekend!
Music 11m

After establishing herself as one of Perth’s premium selectors, the unmistakable DAWS is heading East, and will be diving head-first into making her own original beats.

Having just signed to the Mutual Friends/Vita team, DAWS will sit alongside a roster of the country’s bubbling talents including Feki, Tigerilla and Gill Bates. She’s already played the likes of Listen Out and One Day Sundays over on the West, which might explain why she’s taking the next step into production – and if her sets are anything to go by, she’ll be incorporating elements of silky R&B, bopping electronica and the dancefloor appeal of house.

Before relocating to Melbourne later this month, DAWS will be playing this Saturday night at Sydney’s World Bar. Ahead of the gig, we spoke to DAWS about her recent signing and what we can expect from her original works. The East Coast should keep two eyes and two ears open – DAWS season is approaching:

You’ve recently signed with Mutual Friends/Vita. What prompted this move, and how do you think it will affect your trajectory from hereon in?

I’m super excited to be joining their team – they’ve a got a small but great selection of artists across a variety of genres. I think they caught wind from the West that a local DJ with a history of strong support slots and holding down dancefloors was getting into production. That sparked their interest to investigate by getting in touch. I sent them a few unreleased ideas I’ve had for remixes and they must’ve found it decent enough!

It will definitely lead me to meeting lots of new people – other producers, vocalists, dancers, designers – you name it! I’m also very open to the idea of collaboration, so it’ll help me mingle with the right people for where I want to go with that. Oh, and of course it’ll mean I’ll be playing more parties!

What has been the most difficult part of transitioning from purely DJing and into original production? Does it feel like you’re entering a new stage of your career?

Yes, most definitely a new and interesting stage. DJing has helped me understand what works well to be a juicy, successful, danceable track as well as constantly exposing me to a variety of fresh new music to keep my sets exciting and different. So now I’m splitting my time between digging for SoundCloud gems to play out, and finding cool sounds to work with in the studio.

I play a lot of different types of music out and I also enjoy a smorgasbord of different music. I have a flavour of the month where I’ll be really into one sound and then the next it’ll be something entirely different. So taking that into production means I’m trying to absorb and incorporate elements from all over the place – and not that this is a bad thing, but it can feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew.

Browsing endless bangers tonight at @_jackrabbitslims from 12 ? come boogie

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You said that your passions are house and dance, but nothing ‘too hectic.’ What classifies as too hectic? Steve Aoki?

Exactly – Anything that assaults your ear holes with any sound encompassed by the word ‘filthy.’ If you can’t play it at pres or listen to it without being cooked, then there’s a chance it might be too hectic.

How would you describe the music you’ve made so far? When are we going to hear a DAWS original track on your earholes?

It takes a strong melody with added funk elements on top of a house beat. I also like to collect sounds from all over the place and sprinkle them subtly throughout – be it walking down a busy street, eating a burrito with friends, or something in my garden. I love French house and artists like Kaytranada, Mall Grab, Basement Jaxx and Cashmere Cat, so I like to draw some inspiration from there.

I’ll have an original hopefully by the end of this year, or early next year!

You mentioned that you’re keen on collaboration. Who are some of the names that you’d love to work with in the future?

Ah, there’s so many! Especially home grown artists and fellow females – Maribelle, Kücka, Tkay Maidza and Young Franco to name some locals. Internationally, I’d dream of working with artists like Syd, Lorde, and A-Trak.

You have been DJing around Perth for some time now. How would you describe Perth’s clubbing scene in comparison with East Coast hubs like Sydney and Melbourne?

Well aside from Sydney, the East Coast starts and stays out way later. There’s still massive queues for clubs after 2:30am which isn’t something you wouldn’t see often at home. I don’t know how much of a thing ‘shower beers’ are over East, but that’s an indicator of how early people like to get started in the West.

Another Perth staple/style icon you’ve DJ’d alongside is Aslan. What would you say is Aslan’s most iconic outfit?

Oh, boy! This instantly brings to mind his raunchy real black leather pants. He’s also guilty of a fantastic all camo ensemble paired with some AF1s. His bold and gold signature lion Versace belt also creates a very strong look. The man also always smells great, so I’m sure he’d have some hot cologne tips on hand too.

I bought these pants coz they reminded me of Keira Knightley in Bend it Like Beckham and we all know that was life changing

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You will be making the move from Perth to Melbourne very soon. What are the things you’ll miss about Perth, and the things you’ll froth on in Melbourne?

Perth is a small city, so getting from A to B is usually a breeze, and the venues I play at are walking distance from each other. It’s nice to walk into a club and be friendly with all the staff because everybody knows everybody. There’s also a really great and supportive community of DJs and producers here. These people have ended up being some of my closest friends, so it’ll be sad to leave them behind.

Melbourne has way more 24 hour food options so I can’t wait to eat my way through those, and apparently 7/11 coffee culture is taking over in Melbourne, so $1 coffees instead of $5 coffees will be a treat. Also, touring artists can often leave the West Coast out, so it’ll be cool to see more shows!

Imagine you are DJing at a club and Rihanna randomly walks in. What do you do? What do you play?

Ooft, this is a tough question. I am obsessed with Kali Uchis & Jorja Smith’s ‘Tyrant‘ – I think that if she didn’t like it already, then she’d see how great it is and feel it. Or a reggae track produced by Diplo…

What’s on the cards for DAWS for the rest of 2017?

It’s nearly September, help! The rest of this year will see me splitting my time between study, DJing, and producing, so I’m always excited to move forward. I’ll be doing some sets around the country so keep an eye out and I’ll be in your city soon!

Words by Christopher Kevin Au August 10, 2017
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