The rising talent from Australia takes on the Balance Series Compilation as he showcases 2.5 years creating a work comprised entirely of his own material! We caught up with Uone to discuss life in Straaaaya, this year’s most memorable festival moment, and Balance Presents Uone, an extraordinary project two and a half years in the making. As one of the most hotly-tipped leaders of the new school, Uone follows in the footsteps of Kölsch, Patrice Baumel, Alex Niggemann, Danny Howell, and Darius Syrossian to deliver a stunning two-part mix for the Balance Series that was two-and-a-half years in the making, and is composed entirely of his own material.
Not limited by boundaries, nor borders, Uone truly is a global citizen. Having spent more than a decade living a nomadic existence, he has soaked up an array of influences and cultures whilst searching the globe for the best parties and most inspiring, like-minded folk along the way.
Uone what brought you around to putting together this amazing Balance 2 CD mix? How did you choose the progression and flow from the first CD to the second? Is there a particular song that you would want your fans to really pay attention too?
Uone: I grew up on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, around 90 min from Melbourne city. I remember listening to Balance Music compilation CDs for hours on end on my long journey on the train to buy records every week at DMC in Prahran. The actual process of traveling, moving forward over land leaves me feeling inspired and this is what I tried to encapsulate in the mixes. The flow of the mixes came about one night after I decided to have good old fashion rave in my bedroom for one person – just me and a bottle of scotch and 21 tracks on the CDJ’s to mix together. If there was one track I could point people to would be ‘Bongo Porn’, the vocals for this track came from a dear friend of mine Jay Haze.
It’s clear that you didn’t come up with all the tracks in one weekend but its several years of music and experiences. As you tour and perform globally where do you find your inspiration? Is it experiences, scenery other artists you meet?
Uone: The beautiful part of traveling is you get to see, hear and feel the culture. You might be in the back of the taxi and hear music you have never heard before and instantly this can open up doors and ideas for your own music. When traveling you become isolated with little to do which allows me the mental space to focus on listening and studying music.
You have multiple tracks that are collaborations with other artists. Is there any funny or interesting story behind how a track game together? I heard that you feel that the days of just getting a couple buddies into a studio and messing around are not as common but it’s becoming very business like instead of just a hang out sesh that can lead to great spontaneous beats. Where there any of those moments for a track in this compilation?
Uone: A couple of moments really stand out in the completion of this project. On the track ‘Space Between Love’, I got Briony Taylor-Brooks to do vocals. She arrived at my studio and was carrying a wedge tail eagle feather. At this point, I ran to get my own feather and when the two feathers met, I knew something special was going to be born from our collaboration. Her voice reminds me of Dolly Parton or Stevie Nicks and matched perfectly with the track.
Another special moment was meeting Adam Freeland by chance when I played the final Secret Garden party last year. I told him how much his music had inspired me and while we were chatting he mentioned he was coming to Australia in January. I invited him to visit my Ranch-O-Relaxo studio during this period, alongside Mojo Filter and Jamie Stevens, who I knew had been a friend of Adam’s for 20 years. We watched the blood moon eclipse together and then the next day all wrote ‘After The Blood Moon.’
Can’t leave collaborations without asking this question. If you had a personal army of ninjas that were ready to get any producer/band/musicians into your studio who would it be and why? Or has this already happened?
Uone: This is such a great question! I would love to work with Depeche Mode or get wild with The Doors. Hanging out with friends for days on end with nothing else to do but music is a dream. Both Depeche Mode & The Doors have been major influences in my life. I constantly listen to their music and find inspiration and find ideas to take into my music. Although it would be hard to work with them today, in some way just by listening to their music or discovering rare Youtube interviews or music clips, this in some respects similar to actually working with them (they’re kind of mentors not in the physical, but in a sonic/spiritual way)
After listening end to end through the Balance and other mixes you have on your SoundCloud, I can hear both an amazing DJ and production talent. What came first was it interest in becoming a DJ or Production? Was your current style always so smooth and groovy or is there a secret punk rocker, band geek or metal head past we don’t know about?
Uone: I am and will always be a DJ. The first love of DJing came from early age, around 13. Being lucky enough to grow up in a bed & breakfast/backpackers environment in country Victoria I was surrounded by travellers from Europe, America & United Kingdom. Travellers would arrive at the hostel loaded with tapes and CDs. Naturally parties were happening a lot and I found myself most nights in charge of the music. Selecting sounds to make people dance is my passion, production came second. I would always want to catch or loop a certain part of track and emphasize it more so I begun to make my own edit of tracks and play them out. I never want to pigeon hole myself into one particular genre, this is so important for me to have diversity.
You have toured the world playing from Boom Portugal, Fusion Festival UK to Burning Man no need to mention where that is because if you don’t know…you just don’t. Were there any inspirational moments at an event this year that lead to you growing as an artist?
Uone: There is one particular moment for me, it was in 2012 at BOOM Festival in Portugal. I was scheduled to play 90min set on a Tuesday afternoon from 12-1.30pm, the stage was set to close after me, but the organizers could feel and see how much of vibe I created on the dance floor and allowed me to continue playing for 5.5 hours. I had trained and worked all my life to get this point so took flight. I ended up closing off my set with Noze’s remix of Dapayk & Padberg feat Caro. Time Youtube Video that captured the closing moments.
Uone @ BOOM 2012, Alchemy Stage:
Is there a festival or event that you are currently eyeing and hoping to add to your travel list in 2019? Or is there something in the works for 2019 that your fans should be getting ready for maybe something from Vision Hound?
Uone: Indeed there is. On 14th December 2020 there will be a total solar eclipse happening over parts of South America. I have been chasing solar eclipses since 2001 and have helped produce two events to help celebrate the occasions. For the 2020 edition, I will help to produce and curate an event with the Nomade Festival crew in Chile. We will produce an event that aims to bring artists from all over the world together to share and celebrate as one collective consciousness. In the process, we will enrich indigenous communities in the area, as we are producing the event by supplying infrastructure that had not previously existed.
Australian artists have been on the rise in the last 3-5 years getting much international recognition. What do you think is leading to this? What about Australia do you think is causing such a boom of musicians lately? And any advice for upcoming talent from the homeland?
Uone: Electronic dance music is booming in Australia, it’s taken some years to catch up to the rest of the world but finally artist, promoters and event organizers can make a living out of doing something they love. People love to dance and music is soul food for many of us. Blessed as we are in Australia, we have so many opportunities to chase your dreams.
Is there any Australian talent we should be keeping our ears to the ground for? Favorite tracks recently from home that you would like to shout out?
Uone: Two years ago I started a record label called Beat & Path with my homies Out Of Sorts from New Zealand. The intention of the label was to harvest young emerging electronic music producers from Australia & New Zealand. One artist, in particular, is MOONTIDE from Byron Bay. The artist is pushing the boundaries of combining organic tribal rhythms whilst pulling together elements of different cultures and bringing it into a modern musical form.
You have your label, releases on other labels, your Vision Hound Production company. It feels like you are always immersed in sound? What is your escape, what do you do when you need to get away from it all?
Uone: I like to call this a digital detox. There is a beautiful place in Thailand on the island of Koh Phangan called The Sanctuary. It’s a detox health retreat that’s nestled on its own beach. Once a year I elope here for 2 weeks of rest and reflection. There is limited internet access, so it forces you to switch off, read a book and get back to one’s true self.
What was the stand out event you were able to play, organize, run this year? For 2019 what should we be looking out for new label release, a big new event, something with vision hound?
Uone: I personally curate and organize a boutique 3-day gathering in the Victoria countryside called CHI WOW WAH TOWN. It’s an arts, music, food & camping event. We donate $2 from every ticket to Multiple Sclerosis Australia. I have personal favorites Steve Bug, Andreas Henneberg, Jimi Jules, BONDI, Innellea, Sunju Hargun, David Hasert, Dreems & Von Party coming to play music. CHI WOW WAH TOWN is a creative outlet for the community of artists that surround me.
To close our interview, what was the breakthrough moment for you? Was there any moment that you would say almost made you get out of the music scene and what kept you going? Any mentors in the community that you would say kept you in the game even in tough times.
Uone: Professor Jamie Stevens & Head Master Danny Bonnici have been there the whole way for me whilst putting the mix together. Jamie and I worked closely on the final mixdowns, whilst Danny was the mastering engineer across the whole project. Their wisdom and music talents stretch far out in the cosmos. If it was not for these two gentlemen the mix would not have come together.
Balance Presents Uone [Preview]:
For his superb debut for Balance, he’s distilled these globe-trotting experiences into a two-part mix, that bears his distinctive sonic fingerprint throughout the 21-track work. Indeed, every track comes from Uone’s production studio, whether it be an original, remix, or collaboration, this sees him going above and beyond the usual mix CD remit to create something truly special. The Balance compilation series also provided an important formative touchstone in his musical education, with his inclusion in the cannon making for a pleasing full circle. His twin mixes feature reworks of progressive house and trance classics (PQM, Jam & Spoon) and references to his home country’s thriving scene from his nascent years via his re-work of the highly-revered, once-mighty electronic band, Infusion.
Collaboration is a defining factor here with the majority of the tracks created in partnership with other esteemed producers. “I love the diversified outcome of these deeper explorations with more hands and minds involved” he explains. Uone sees the collaborative process as being equivalent to that of working as part of a band.
“Collaboration is something that I feel has been lost in production with the electronic age. Back in the day the best magic was produced in bands with people coming together and weaving the collective vibe into one sound.”
With this ethos, Uone has mastermind collaborations with the likes of Jay Haze (aka Fuckpony), Adam Freeland, Mihai Popoviciu, Mojo Filter, Jamie Stevens, Jonas Saalbach and Flow & Zeo along the way, making for an acutely diverse melting pot of ideas.
Balance Presents Uone is available, HERE.