Minimal Aesthetics artist Requiem presents his answer to the Digital Era, his latest EP titled Digital Blues. The Northern Territory based artist, who use to call Melbourne home has released the EP as a free digital download. We catch up with Requiem to talk about his latest offering and discuss the changes the digital music age has brought about.
1) New EP released through Minimal Aesthetics titled Digital Blues, explain to us the concept behind this release?
When making the EP I wrote a song called Digital Blues and as it was the strongest topic covered I named the EP after it. Basically ‘Digital Blues’ is lamenting the new era where most people would rather pirate your music than pay for it. But at the same time it’s embracing it, because I put this EP out for free to go with the flow. I’d rather more people hear my music and share it around than try to make a buck off it.
2) Do you think people have a more disposable point of view with music now that it’s in the digital format?
Not really, I think it’s just more portable. Music can go with you anywhere now that it’s digital. Sure there used to be discmans and walkmans but digital makes things easier to carry if it’s just on an mp3 player, for example. I think it’s a positive that people can access music easier; I still love artwork and liner notes though and I think it’s important artists make sure they still deliver the full package even when the music is digital.
3) What do you think some of the benefits of releasing music digitally now?
Following on from above, I think CDs are fast becoming landfill. Digital music saves space, saves the environment, and as I said, you can bring it anywhere. I try to live minimalist, hence my record label Minimal Aesthetics, I live by the idea that I want to be able to pack it all up and leave tomorrow – I don’t want to own too much that I would find it hard to keep travelling. If you have 100s of CDs or vinyl that’d make moving hard, I like that digital you can easier take your music collection anywhere.
4) There’s cover artwork was done by Third Half Design, do you think cover artwork is an important factor in releasing an album today and how did that design process reinforce this?
Quality cover art is essential. Big ups to Chad Mann from Third Half Design for the great work he did with the Digital Blues EP. I judge “books” by their cover all the time. That can be movies, albums, actual books, anything. Graphic design and art is very important to me. Releasing an album or an EP or anything like that is a whole package thing, you can’t just make great music it is art overall that you are making and your finished product has to reflect that. The artwork is the first thing someone sees in a store and in the digital world might be what is shown on a blog to catch someone’s eye. I’m inspired by art more than anything else, actually. So I made it a point to have dope artwork for the EP.
5) The entire album was produced by Beat Butcha, how did you team up with him?
I heard of Beat Butcha through the internet, he was working with guys like Jehst and Micall Parknsun. I heard he was working with Trem and then he did Fallout Shelter with Brad Strut which caught my attention. So I’d been a fan for a while, and I wanted beats that took my music up a notch. Around the time I was looking for beats, a couple of years ago, he was sending around his latest catalogue, from that I picked a beat, then I thought “why not do a one producer release?” and so I went on to grab them all from him and we corresponded through email to get the arrangements right.
6) We also see a few features on the release including Rival MC and Joshua Tavares, how did you go about picking these features?
Previously I’ve worked with female singers for any hook I wanted to have sung. The ladies I’ve worked with have been friends from Melbourne. For this EP it is even more personal and I thought if I was to have someone else sing the hooks for me, since I can’t sing, they have to be male because the songs are from my perspective, a man’s perspective.
I got in touch with Joshua Tavares through Facebook funny enough, I asked people who is a talented male singer from Melbourne. They also had to be from Melbourne for ‘Love Affair’ because it’s a song about that city. Anyway, we talked over Skype about ideas and eventually met up when I was next in Melbourne. We went out drinking and found out we shared similar taste in music so it all worked out. I got Joshua in the studio and we did it organically and he was down to be in the video too.
For ‘World Wide’ I wanted a deeper vocal, I had a few singers in mind and Rival MC was the one who came through. He was really professional and had it all finished in a week or so. I got in touch with him via a mutual friend, James Mangohig from Sietta, who recommended his singing ability. I’m really happy to have both artists on the EP.
7) Love Affair (featuring Joshua Tavares) was released alongside a sweet film clip, why did you pick this track to turn into a film clip?
‘Love Affair’ was chosen as the lead single with a video clip because it represents where I’m at now. I’ve chilled out a bit in the years since my last release. When I put out Grassroots Anarchy I was in a dark place, that record speaks on a lot of anger with politics and personal life. Sure, on Digital Blues I rant about the industry still and there’s serious tracks like ‘Til Death’ but day-to-day I like to appreciate life and what I’ve got. ‘World Wide’ also speaks on this but ‘Love Affair’ suited a first single better I think. I love Melbourne and miss living in that city. I’m up in Darwin these days which is great but Melbourne holds a special place in my heart.
Some people took a shot at me for the song and video clip because they thought it was generic to be rapping in laneways full of graf and at coffee shops but that’s exactly what Melbourne is to me and that’s why I love it. We didn’t set out to tick all the boxes of clichés, we just wanted to highlight what makes the city so vibrant and most locations happened to be at bars and laneways. I’m really happy with how the finished product came out. Hopefully some people relate to the song.
8) What’s next for Requiem?
First off I want to get Digital Blues heard by as many people as possible. It’s a free release so there’s no excuse not to check it out at least once. I’m going to keep pushing this and letting more people know about it. I’ve been doing gigs up in the Top End fairly consistently and we’re just putting on more shows and building the scene up here with the local crews.
I’m looking at writing some new songs now too, I want to work with Australian producers for this next project, there’s so much talent locally I can’t look past it. It’d be good to maybe work with some producers from the older releases too. It’s exciting to hear the high standard of production coming out at the moment.