Introducing the artists of coalesce, a new label pushing electronic in exciting directions
The newly minted label has already signed its first three stars, each one pushing boundaries on the fringes of electronica.
A label like coalesce has been a long time coming. Formed earlier this year, it's become a hub for artists on Australia's outer edges; a home for the collection of artists that don't fill the conventional mould - the standard set of sounds - that is pushed by radio and streaming services, those artists that because of this, are left to discover and gain popularity within their niches by themselves. It's an incredibly difficult place to be - just ask all the artists whose music is sidelined for being too 'weird' - but coalesce is built as a place to make things a little less difficult, so to speak.
Introducing the first three additions to the label (all announced with the label's introduction earlier in the year, with the promise of more to come), you get a better sense of the type of talent the label strives for, and the sounds and experimentalism that sit within the label's fibres. There's cookii, the semi-anonymous hyperpop star who has become a real force to be reckoned with over the last few years; there's Lonelyspeck, the adventurous sound-explorer who fuses together a variety of sounds to create their art; and, there's Hearteyes, the Sydney-based producer who already has songs with some of dance music's pioneers.
They're all artists who centre their sound in different niches and different sub-genres, but yet, they're all artists that come together for the shared search for creative experimentalism and forward-thinking musicianship; something that each cookii, Hearteyes, and Lonelyspeck have in common, and something that will no doubt be shared in the future signings in coalesce's future. Everything is centred around pathways otherwise unexplored, and it's all something we're incredibly excited to see come to life.
In fact, it's something that already is coming to life, and sure enough, the excited-ness checks out. Take our love, the energetic two-minute burst from cookii that combines their glitchy soundscape with a touch of intimacy that draws back the curtain, bringing you further into their world but without giving too much away. Then, there's Hearteyes, whose F.U.A. single in June led to collaborations with two electronic titans: Brodinski on the COUCOU CHLOE-assisted BUSTDOWN ENTRAILS, and Jordon Alexander - a.k.a. Mall Grab - on his new single ELECTROBOY.
There's a lot to dissect and love within the coalesce crew, and to better introduce the artists that call the label home - as well as to better introduce the label itself - we sent them all a couple of questions, to ask about their journey through experimentation thus far and what they have on the way in the future. Take a dive into it all below:
Hello pals! We’re pretty familiar with all of you at this point, but just as a little catch up/reminder, would you like to introduce yourselves and what you’re working on at the moment?
Lonelyspeck (L): I’m Lonelyspeck, I’m a producer/singer/songwriter based in Adelaide, Kaurna land. At the moment I’m working on a new body of work, as well as a bunch of production and collaborations with other artists. All of which I’m very excited about!
cookii (C): Hey hi! I’m Cookii from Melbourne making pop style tracks. Lately, I’ve been working on a whole bunch of songs and have some exciting things cominggggg.
Hearteyes (H): I’m hearteyes and I’m about to release a mixtape called HEADBANGERS 2.
What space does your work occupy amongst the rest of Australia’s music scene?
L: I’m never really sure. It's changed over time but I think it’s always been in spaces between a few different things.
C: I guess my music would occupy the “hyperpop” / “pc music” scene here. I never really went into the project with any scene in mind or direct thoughts on how the music was going to be perceived but it seems it’s resonated and naturally been liked the most in that world and I love that lots.
H: I don’t think it even exists in the Australian music scene. I don’t participate within any scene, so I think it just exists in a vacuum where someone on the internet comes across it, irrespective of location.
There’s a lot of support and encouragement given to artists within a particular set of genres and sub-genres in Australia, but it feels like everything else outside of that realm gets… a bit ignored, or not the same treatment. Have any of you experienced this / witnessed this as people making music outside of those traditional ‘Australian’ genres?
L: Totally. Not even saying this out of personal grievance but I just think it’s very obvious that it’s like that. I also think the Australian scene tends to be much more trend-following than trend-leading and this kind of thing contributes to that. In my experience, the most truly forward-thinking music communities in the country are often very small and scattered and don’t even really expect support from what we’d call ‘the Australian music scene’. They just don’t feel attached to that world and are more likely linking up with overseas scenes they feel more attuned with or are focused on a more local community.
C: Absolutely. I don’t mean to be rude or anything but there is definitely some type of favouritism for more indie / alternative / rock genre based music here. The only way I can kind of make sense of this is thinking back to growing up and how embarrassing it was to listen to pop… Like, if you admitted you liked Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift you weren’t cool anymore haha. I can’t really tell if it’s an Australian scene-specific thing but sub-genres of pop in Aus seem to kind of get the cold shoulder more than alternative genres to at least some degree. I feel like maybe this mindset stems from people perceiving “pop” to be something less creative than a lot of other genres seeing as the genre is so baked in traditional songwriting conventions. Personally, I think because we’ve heard so much of it for our whole lives when you hear someone able to make something interesting out of pop it’s way more impressive.
H: The term ‘music industry’ is a dichotomy, separating artists who create music for personal enjoyment with no set outcome, and those who willfully participate in a strategy that aims for profit in its function across branches of commercial capital. Those that make music for pleasure, and those who make music for car commercials. Neither is more altruistic than the other, it’s just about knowing your place as an artist and understanding why you make music. If you make industrial neo-folk and complain that the surf rock band got the beer sync instead of you then you’re making the wrong music. Horses for courses.
Do you have any advice for developing artists that are perhaps unsure of what to do with their sound, because it’s one outside of this ‘norm’ sound?
L: I would say the best thing you can do is just be the best at being yourself. Everyone has a unique mind and experiences to draw from and I think the greatest artists are the ones who can refine that into their own creative language. Figure out the specifics of what inspires you, why you love what you love, and use that to drive your process. Lean into everything that sets you apart, even if it’s stuff you’re self-conscious about. There’s no right way to do it and there’s no substitute for a boldly defined artistic voice.
C: I guess whether you’re doing something outside of the norm or inside the norm just always do what you enjoy. There’s no point in chasing something inauthentic regardless of whether it’s conventional or unconventional. Cookii has become something very therapeutic for me because it allows me to just have fun and really write whatever I want. Which for me turns out it means experimenting with different genres and sounds without fussing too much about staying inside the norm.
H: Don’t worry about your counterparts. There’s eight billion people in the world, someone’s gonna listen and enjoy your music. I suppose find the online community that best embodies your personality and go from there, collaborating and sharing your music. If you can’t and still think your music fits outside any type of subculture or movement, then I suppose you’re on to something special, so keep going. Just release music.
What are some artists within this that people should be paying attention to? If there’s anyone you want to shout out!
L: Cheekbone, Lupa J, Emily Glass, Karnaboy, Darcy Baylis, Chakra Efendi all stand out to me as artists making really interesting and special music that I feel doesn’t really sit in the larger Australian scene… also I want more people to listen to Marcus Whale’s recent (and upcoming) solo output!
C: Lonelyspeck and hearteyes lol not biased. Also, Donatachi, Darcy Baylis, Trophie, yergurl, horlin - there are more but that’s some quick Aus faves there :)
H: 3NDLESS & CrazyMike, Donatachi, RXK Nephew, Polo Perks, BabyxSosa and all of Surf Gang.
Coalesce is a new label formed to nurture, validate and capture these sounds. How have they helped you throughout the process since signing to them?
L: Well I’ve mostly just been hunkered down working in my own little world since signing haha. But it feels awesome to know they’re fully invested in these more futuristic and chaotic sounds, especially because what I'm working on now is probably the most genre-mashed stuff I've made. I’ve thankfully never felt discouraged from going in a particular direction by anyone I've worked with but I’ve definitely been conscious of how my music tends to have a different flavour from most of my peers and label mates, so it's super exciting that Coalesce is all about embracing and moving with this different edge in the music scene.
C: It’s been really nice working with Coalesce as I’ve been aligned with the Coalesce/Good Manners fam for a long long time. To be honest, I’m a very scatter-brained person and bad at just organising myself lol so it’s been insanely helpful to have a team there to remind and push me. They’ve also helped gather my thoughts in general and come up with creative ideas in a major way. Being anonymous turned out to be harder to create content than I ever imagined so I’ve needed help there and it’s been amazing. Musically, they’ve always supported basically anything I’ve shown them so it’s really nice to have that validation and know that they enjoy the thing that they’ve signed up alongside me to do. Bless the team, best team in the game.
H: They’ve helped in connecting me with collaboration opportunities that sit outside the box. Furthermore, realising the potential of the vision I’ve had for my music.
What do each of you have coming up that people should be keeping an eye out for?
L: I don't know how much I can say but I’ve been doing some production for Daine and we have something frankly bonkers on the way that I can’t wait for people to hear. I also have a whole lot of new material I want to start sharing as soon as I can!
C: More music obvs but also building on cookii as a character more openly. This next rollout is definitely one to keep an eye out for - behind the scenes there’s been a lot happening and I can’t wait to show!!
H: HEADBANGERS 2
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