inkswel talks


Inkswel first caught our ear with his release on Unthank – replete with a heavy Funkineven remix, lead track LFO Bounce became semi-ubiquitous on it’s release back at the end of 2012. Since then, the Australian machine funk maestro has gone on to release through the likes of Rush Hour, Faces and most recently Burek – with the No More Suckas EP. We sat down for a chat with the man himself to talk about his drum machine collection, (kind of) breaking through and flying through reverse time zones to play records… 

Firstly, tell us a little about your journey into music. Within your sound you seem to have a blending of a number of different styles. Have you always had broad influences?

I was involved heavily in the the hip hop scene in my hometown before broadening my horizons so to speak. Early influences from b-boying, breaks, my dads music collection and the now defunct “b sharp records” in adelaide really moulded and shaped my tastes. I guess with age comes progression and as i grow older i became more interested in the roots and with these various types of music. This formulated my movement into boogie,funk,disco,house,techno and all the variants- and I guess I naturally saw connections with all the genres that made me find some kind of vibe for it all. 

Here in Europe people may not know that much about the early days of electronic music in Australia. How did this music from the US and Europe start to filter in?

Australia has always been fairly behind. But at the same time i think it trickled through in the early days due to the mass american culture influence we have had here since the late 40s/50s. For me I saw this first hand with hip hop culture, a lot of tapes were passed on from new york radio shows and I have had friends tell me the same thing was happening with house music around this time. We had some early pioneers in my hometown like DJ madcap representing the hip hop side of things and HMC the more techno and house based stuff- both of them with connections overseas that really spread the music at the time. Outside of this I’m not too sure. I guess it all changed when the internet began. 

So on your RA page you claim to be a drum machine obsessive. Talk us around your fleet of drum machines. How deep does this obsession go?

Drum machine obsessive yes, but that doesn’t mean I’m rich. I circulate through various gear. I’ve owned 707,727,626, Alesis hr16, sequential circuits and many other bits and pieces. For me its the sound, squashed 8 and 12 bit drum sounds! 

How about the rest of your set up? How do you approach writing a track?

I use a combination of machines, samples, different gear etc.  I don’t have a strict approach to things, I just do what feels good and sounds good at the time. 

Your music seemed to get picked up pretty quickly by some impressive labels. Tell me a bit about how you broke through. How did you reach the ears of the labels that you first released on?

Broke through? I don’t really know if that’s the best way of putting it. It’s still the underground, its not like I’m wearing a gold suit and driving a benz! haha. Thing is, most of the people in this whole underground club scene worldwide are lovely, humble, approachable people. I guess I’ve just got to know a few different people over the years and you build up relationships with people through others, networking so to speak. I was living overseas for a while also, which put me physically in a better situation to network. This is how I met the guys at Rush Hour, Faces, Firecracker etc, outside of that its just the domino effect i guess, one thing leads to another and the network expands. Early on I simply just asked people if they would listen to my music, I guess having faith in what I was doing was enough to get peoples attention. 

You seem to be globe trotting an awful lot these days. How does this nomadic lifestyle suit you?

It doesn’t! haha. Australia is very far away from everywhere, so this makes things tricky. I try to get overseas and tour as much as possible, but its not always easy travelling 2 days to a reverse time zone to play records! But i guess its part of the package! 

How did you link up with Burek for your recent EP?

The Burek guys were fans of my music and hit me up direct about their agency, at the time I was looking and then we moved on from there. They later asked me to do a record and the rest is history. Very proud of the music we have done together and grateful for the support from those guys. Really dedicated team of guys who really want to push interesting club music! 

Finally, tell us something about yourself, not necessarily music related, that might surprise us.

I used to be a chef, have worked in a 711, been a bicycle courier, and studied philosophy at university. I have many interests outside of music, but little time to really do them! 

Interview: Joe Europe

Inkswel’s No More Suckas EP is available on vinyl here.

Keep up to speed with all things Inkswel over here.