Mini Album Walkthrough: Donatachi details the experimentation of donatachi.com
Two years after their last EP, Donatachi continues to prove their place amongst music's next frontier with an eclectic new mini-album.
So much Australian music feels forward-thinking, but perhaps none more-so than Donatachi. Since their arrival amongst PC Music's stronghold on electronic music experimentalism, the musician has consistently pushed sonic boundaries with their abrasive production and songwriting, whether it be their own work - with singles and EPs littering the last half-decade - or through their work with some of music's most eclectic creators both local and international, from Mallrat and LÂLKA through to Slayyyter and Dorian Electra.
In fact, Donatachi's forward-thinking experimentalism is so distinct that even when it feels like pop music has caught up, Donatachi is already years ahead. In 2019, their six-track Taste EP introduced now-favourites such as the aforementioned Slayyyter years before their eventual breakthrough, and with Slayyyter now a cult-adored pop favourite, Donatachi is one step ahead, uplifting artists such as Cowgirl Clue through their work. Then, there are the productions underneath it; hyperpop mixing with hardcore and saccharine sweet pop simutenously, unlike anyone else out there.
Released last week through etcetc, donatachi.com feels like a collection of tracks that captures this quality about Donatachi's glow-up better than anything else they've released thus far. It's a seven-track mini-album that explores the depths of Donatachi's evolving brilliance, from the most abrasive and hard-hitting - such as the album-opening pair of cry and buttons - right through to songs like the Chymes-assisted pisces rising, which could easily be amongst Donatachi's most pop-centric work to date, albeit if it wasn't for that bubblegum touch that gives the song its Donatachi edge.
Across the course of donatachi.com, you get the sense that the producer's vision is being shown on a level never before seen, as they encapsulate the growth of their last few years both personally and musically in a distinct seven-track duration. The ever-present influences on Donatachi's sound remain as versatile as ever - there are glimpses of everything from SOPHIE and Britney Spears to Orbital and Aphex Twin within the album's sound - but Donatachi's ability to combine them into something unique remains the core of donatachi.com, even when the album sweeps into unheard territory.
A great example of that is the Rromarin-featuring on ur mind, which takes the blissful vocals of the Kult Kyss members and jigsaw-pieces it above a production that's somewhere in-between 90s UK house music synth and PC Music sweetness, with touches of hardcore and trance present within its detailed fibres. Then, there are songs like the LÂLKA-featuring FWD, which go even further into the experimental musical matrix with its spiralling, oddly-sweet abrasiveness.
"donatachi.com is about embracing the ideals of a bright utopian future in every track," Donatachi says on the EP. "The sounds and references are nostalgic for rave, jungle + breakbeat but most of my inspiration came from their push towards the future and wanting to capture the energy of collective joy + literal ecstasy."
As they continue to explain, it's a theme that became central not just to the mini-album's eventual sound, but the collaborators that aided in bringing it to life. "Being part of the hyperpop community has helped me understand how powerful combined diversity can be, so while each song stands strong individually I love that they can be appreciated even more in the context of each other and the mini-album as a whole," they continue. "I've put more of myself into this than anything I've done before, and I hope you can hear the love I have for pop music and its future."
If anything, donatachi.com proves that the future of pop music is in fact Donatachi themselves, and you can hear it for yourself as you dive into the record below, alongside a track by track walkthrough from Donatachi, breaking down the record's sound and creation one song at a time:
I grew up in a tiny town with less than 100 people and being able to see these five weirdos on Rage wearing iridescent crop tops, platform sneakers and pink contacts absolutely shred really had such an effect on me. I’ve wanted to pay homage to this perfect pop song for so long and I hope that it can give a queer kid somewhere the same feeling of belonging The Mavis's gave me.
For the longest time, I've aspired to be like the artists I grew up listening to. I've watched interviews about their creative processes and often felt inadequate not being fluent in any instrument or music theory. The lyrics and melody for buttons literally came to me in a dream, I was enveloped by walls of tech and surrounded by screens with flashing buttons. The dream became this beat and it's the first time I've ever felt like the artists I admire.
Donatachi: I’ve spent so much time reflecting and reevaluating what Donatachi means to me and to the people that listen to my music. It's always been about creating a world that’s fresh and in some ways alien, but never alienating. Now more than ever I want my music to feel hopeful and aspirational, like a flash-forward into a bright and exciting future. Working with CC was really perfect going into this new era, we both wanted to elevate ourselves by making something that honoured our influences while pushing our own sounds forward. The soundscapes of 2000s Jungle and Drum & Bass had such an idealistic and utopian hope for the future, something that I want to explore and filter through a pop lens.
I’ve spent the last year considering the world I want to live in and the kind of artist I want to be, how I want people to feel when they listen to my music.
Cowgirl Clue: Working on B2B Heartbeat with Donatachi was like writing ear candy. When I first listened to the original instrumental, I instantly fell in love with the track. As we started to exchange ideas back and forth, I knew I wanted the lyrics to resemble the nature of an independent spirit with absolutely no limits, as the song sonically took me to this place. Figure Skating was the perfect analogy that tied a ribbon on the bubblegum quest and encapsulated the feeling that B2B Heartbeat evokes in me.
Donatachi: It's Donatachi on new age trance breakbeat, Australia's most talented Muki writing the hook and the pure, sweet vocal of Chymes singing about zodiac chart placements. I couldn’t have asked for better friends to create this unapologetic capital P Pop song.
Chymes: This song was a bop from the start. I wrote the lyrics with my friend and fellow artist Muki who is a genius, and together we made this cheeky, sassy tune that describes that slightly psychotic girlfriend vibe which was so much fun to create!
on ur mind
Making this beat I was inspired by late ‘90s new age trance and the idea of finding spirituality on the dance floor, of music being able to have a positive mental and physical effect on people. I couldn't think of anyone more perfect than Rromarin to help me realize the light and energetic vibe. I know Rromarin and I understand each other on a deeper level because she understood the assignment and sent it through a whispered vocal bridge without me having to ask, a true friend and artist.
Donatachi: This song really was the beginning of a shift in my direction artistically. The way I thought about music began to change from being something designed purely for escapism to something more. I wanted to provide solace and positivity to anyone who listened to my music, even if it was just for three minutes. I wanted to move forward with a hopeful and energetic attitude and felt in sync with the optimism of 2000s new-age electronica + d&b. Lalka’s frenetic energy is something I strive to match and I’m so grateful for her spirit in this song.
Lalka: When I first heard the instrumental, I thought of the title FWD. It provoked a feeling of nostalgia and a sense of momentum, rushing towards the inevitable. It made me think about having the rush of a crush, the feeling of vertigo when you want to kiss someone you really like.
forever + ever
By this stage of writing for the mini-album, I finally felt more comfortable in my own songwriting and wrote about my long term relationship, that no matter how much time passes it still feels new. I wanted the production to reflect the excitement and rush of the sentiment, so I drew from high energy sounds like rave, breakbeat and happy hardcore. sonically and emotionally it articulates the heart of everything on the mini-album. Using my own vocals and writing from my experience makes it the most personal song I’ve ever released, but also the most special to me.