Photo Gallery: SLUMBERJACK take us behind-the-scenes of their new EP, SARAWAK
The Perth pairing are one of our electronic scene's most internationally adored, something their new EP, out now, confirms.
Slumberjack ha come a long, long way. Back in 2014, they were regulars on the Perth bass circuit - playing side-stages and Red Bull vans (we actually booked them to close a Red Bull side-stage at a festival back in 2014, where they clashed against Nina Las Vegas and Kele Okereke). From there, they have grown and grown, changing styles and adapting to a changing market as they continually explore and evolve into new sounds over the five years since, continually making a point to remain on-trend - or, in front of the trend - in a time where much of the bass music scene was lingering behind. They brought their signature, clashing sound together with guest vocals before many others - enlisting KLP, Daniel Johns, Vera Blue and others over the years; toured a live set-up before much of the bass scene started to implement the same thing, and the list goes on.
SARAWAK - the duo's first EP since their 2017 Fracture release - sees this forward-thinking rhetoric fully fleshed out, bringing friends close and afar on board for an expansive and versatile five-track release that encompasses their sound while also setting sights at new twists and shadings, whether it be the more emotive side of the Machine Age-featuring Daggers or Solid, which twists and churns with a production aided by TroyBoi. The EP was primarily inspired by its namesake, Morgan's home-land of Borneo's Sarawak, which is where the duo found themselves after a long, tiring stint of touring. "There’s been a lot of touring in the last year, all over the globe, and it’s been unbelievably incredible, but it’s left us feeling digitally isolated and has strangled creativity," says Fletcher on the EP and its creation. "This cycle desperately needed to be broken, so we decided to travel… again. But this was different – we went somewhere that was very familiar to Morgan and extremely foreign to me. Somewhere we could spend time living fully in the present, experiencing the natural beauty of the rainforest and sampling the unique sounds of the jungles, caves and traditional instruments we came across."
Arriving ahead of their biggest tour to date, which will see them joined by rising bass force Blanke and SUPER CRUEL, SARAWAK feels like SLUMBERJACK's most defining release yet, encompassing who they are - in sound, and Morgan's background - in a way that has been mostly left unexplored by their peers thus far, proving their tendency to say one step ahead of the curve. Listen to the EP below, catch them on tour with dates, tickets and more information HERE, and get some behind-the-scenes insight into the EP's themes and creation with a photo gallery put together by the duo from Sarawak.
This is just outside of the Fairy Cave where we took a bunch of audio equipment and recorded what’s called an “impulse response”. It captures and saves the sonic DNA of the space so later in the studio we can make anything sound like it was recorded in that cave.
Not surprisingly, the Fairy Cave is also a really great rock climbing spot, so we took the chance to try out a few routes Morgan grew up with. It was great to climb on some real rock faces for a change; we’ve been climbing at an indoor gym which just isn’t quite the same. Definitely sweaty palms galore.
Having driven five hours out of the main city, we’re waiting at the small dock to jump on a long boat which will take us up the river to the Iban tribe’s longhouse.
I think it’s safe to say this is the furthest point I’ve ever been from civilisation and the prospect of giant crocodiles was definitely playing on my mind. Was wonderfully peaceful though, and I was pretty excited and nervous to get to the village we’d be staying at.
After such a long journey, it was truly amazing to stand out here and catch the sunset over the lush jungle landscape. These makeshift jetty structures surrounded the longhouse along with countless boats used to navigate the network of channels and streams that work their way through the jungle.
When there are mosquitoes and bugs the size of 50 cent coins, giant wood drilling bees and countless other mysterious and strange looking insects, long sleeves were definitely a small comfort. While it’s hard to really capture it on camera, the conditions in SARAWAK were pretty intense. It was sometimes 35 to 40 degrees at 100% humidity and there’s no respite at night time. Out in the jungle, there’s no power infrastructure either so you can completely forget air conditioning and the humble fan is a distant dream.
We’ve been doing a lot of meditation and mindfulness exercises over the past year and it’s really helped with slowing down and letting creativity flow. This shot perfectly captures what it’s all about, learning to notice, pay attention to and derive joy from the small things happening all the time all around you.
Working on music while being on the road can be pretty eclectic and its especially tough to get the motivation to open your laptop and work on music after a day of airports and freeways. We’re back on the road in the US now (and heading home to AUS soon too!) but it’s been a real blast working on new music with the experiences of SARAWAK in our mental banks.
The SARAWAK EP is finally finished! There were many nights, just like this one, spent staring at the screen listening back over the records again and again trying to nail down that one extra little thing that was needed. You can’t rush creativity, and we both feel that the hours and hours we put in on countless revisions and tweaks really show in the final product. We can’t wait to share the work with everyone and finally be able to play it out live on the SARAWAK Tour. Exciting times ahead!
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