Moonbase on his musically diverse ‘Avalanche’ EP & UK rave
It’s been a while in the making, but today is the day that MOONBASE shares his Avalanche EP with the world via his label Trench Records. The EP is more than just a professional milestone for the Sydney producer, but a personal one too.
The release is the first major one he’s shared with the world since he was hospitalised early last year. After being diagnosed with brain cancer, he spent the better part of 2018 in and out of surgery, recovering and getting back to doing what he loves.
In his own words, “The EP marks a transitionary period in my life and acts as a point of renewal. Named after a recurring dream I had during my journey through brain cancer, Avalanche is the first of a series of EP’s that I will be releasing in 2019.”
You may recall his previous works, ranging from bass-heavy stompers like ‘Greyhound’ to punchy hip-hop on ‘It Don’t Matter’ with heavyweight Anderson .Paak, to his comeback track ‘Rebound’, with grime MC Merky Ace. Now in 2019, we’re getting set to enter a new era of Moonbase that starts today with his Avalanche EP.
Spanning four tracks, the release gives us four different sides to Moonbase, all encompassing either a nod to early UK rave sounds or his furious talent for throwing down slapping bass tracks. The first track throws us straight into the grime-frenzy of single, ‘Everyday Raver’ with Eyez. Pairing Moonbase‘s penchant for big bass stabs and Eyez unrelenting flow, ‘Everyday Raver’ pays homage to the sound’s history whilst aptly looking forward.
The first lady of Trench Records, Miss Blanks, features on track two, ‘Flavour’. Serving up trap sensibilities with a dancehall beat, Miss Blanks‘ steady flow brings sass and finesse to Moonbase‘s carefully crafted soundscape.
Track three harkens back to his earlier Moonbase Commander era, serving thumping bass that’s guaranteed to make the dancefloor absolutely shake. It’s the only track without a feature and aptly so; it’s Moonbase doing his thing and doing it damn well.
And finally the new single and also the last track on the record, ‘Over U’ with DVNA, is something entirely different from Moonbase. Teaming up with the Brisbane artist, this classic UK garage track is 90’s reminiscent, but with a touch of Moonbase. The piano chords in the verses and the bulging bass stabs in the drop have him written all over it. DVNA‘s silky smooth voice delivers Sunship-esque vibes, making for a track that is both dedicated to this era and also pushes the genre forward.
With the EP officially out today, we put a few questions to Moonbase on the record’s diverse palette and where he’ll head from here.
Very excited about your ‘Avalanche’ EP. The first thing that strikes me about the record is the diversity of every track! You’ve got a bit of grime, rave, hip-hop, classic Moonbase bass, hints of metal and garage. What inspired you to put together something so diverse?
Yeah, I would definitely agree, Avalanche has a very diverse palette. It’s been quite a stretch of time since I last dropped an EP, and I think the tracklisting reflects that. Initially, each track was written just for the sake of making that sound within the moment – it wasn’t until much later that I decided to group the songs together.
It’s your first big release back after your recovery. How did your experience shape the way you put this release together?
After I went through the hospital with brain cancer earlier last year, I started a long recovery process – a journey that is still ongoing. I was forced to take a big step back from everything and re-evaluate. Making music was my way of coping through a lot of that. Avalanche marks a transitional point for me – a point of rejuvenation, resurgence and renewal.
You’ve got an all-star cast of collaborators featured on the record in Eyez, Miss Blanks and DVNA. Can you tell us a bit about the collaborative process for you?
Personally, the collaborative process differs from track-to-track. What’s most important is finding that mutual vibe – Whether it’s working together face-to-face in a studio or through Facetime calls, continents apart. Every artist I work with has a unique energy and I try to hone in on that as best I can.
You give nods to various corners of the UK underground on the record. What’s your history with these sounds?
I grew up listening to a lot of producers working out of that part of the world. In many ways, a lot of the tracks on Avalanche are love letters to those UK sounds, in one way or another.
‘Twisted Metal’, is that a nod to your love for metal as a genre? Can you tell us a bit about how this track came together?
‘Twisted Metal’ is one of my favourite tracks on the release. It’s probably the most straight-up classic Moonbase track out of the lot – from the stretched out, artifacted horns, to the obnoxious 808 distortion. I’m a big fan of metal music, but the name ‘Twisted Metal’ comes from a deadset gem of a PS1 game!
I can see ‘Over U’ sitting neatly in a DJ set right next to the Sunship edit of Sweet Female Attitude’s ‘Flowers’. What are some of your favourite garage tracks?
That’s a huge compliment! Some of my all time favourite classics are Sovereign‘s ‘Truly’ and Dem 2‘s ‘Destiny’ (plus anything from Sunship, of course). Apart from those evergreen tracks, a lot the inspiration for ‘Over U’ came from the newer heads like Conducta, Mind Of A Dragon and Albzzy.
It’s rare to see you working with a singer! What kind of challenges did you face putting this track together?
The process of laying down the track with DVNA was actually super chill. She’s insanely talented and her vision for the track was absolute.
What kind of goals have you set for yourself in 2019 following the release of the EP?
I plan to unleash heaps of more music into the world. Some stuff I’m really excited about, so stay tuned!!!
Interview by CAITLIN MEDCALF