Gear Talks: a chat with dœgægé

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Gear Talks: a chat with dœgægé

Words by Isabella Venutti

dœgægé sat down with us to chat about everything from his ranging influences, EDM production roots and abnormal approach to crafting guitar tones.

Aotearoa born, Melbourne/Naarm-based artist dœgægé (pronounced doh-gah-gay) has only recently announced the arrival of his debut EP, GOBLIN BLISS ETERNAL RELIEF, set for release on Friday 11 August, 2023. However listening to the first two singles the 21-year-old wunderkind has teased from the project, one is struck by the pristine clarity and sureness of his artistic vision.

Read up on all the latest interviews here.

Sophmore single ‘A DYING GNOME’  shimmers with a myriad of influences – from pitched up, distorted lead lines that conjure the vibrant chaos of Tokyo arcade music, to Caleb’s laissez-faire falsetto, reminiscent of some of Philly alt-rocker Alex G’s poppier cuts. It’s a pleasing menage of internet-centric sounds, parcelled in rock-solid indie pop songwriting that’s entirely addictive.

In the lead up to the release of his first major body of work, the multi-faceted producer, song-writer, model and animation/cgi artist sat down with us to chat about everything from his ranging influences, EDM production roots and abnormal approach to crafting guitar tones.

To start things off, I’d love to ask what kind of a musical background has lead you up to the first few releases we’ve heard from this project – with such a strong sonic and visual aesthetic right out the gate –  what kind of sonic palette were you working from when you began writing and recording this body of work?

My first introduction into music was from MTV & video games. I was immediately drawn to Radiohead, Foo Fighters & Nirvana. My sonic pallet is pretty inspired by grunge music, chorus tones and fuzz. Although at this point I had no desire to play music or write it.

It wasn’t until I discovered Skrillex in 2012 that started an obsession that led me to start djing + producing dance music (Around 13). ☆

The way you utilise guitar in your recordings is really pleasingly idiosyncratic – the interweaving of distorted lead lines over delectable pop hooks sounds fantastic. What has the journey of crafting your tone/textures been like?

I think because of my electronic music background my approach to crafting my tones/textures is very abnormal, it’s strange with heavy processing. My guitar playing style is also very unconventional. I’m completely self-taught. I have a naive playing style because I haven’t been so set in any conventional rules from the outset.

Tell me about your songwriting process – Is it a collaborative affair, do you tend to tinker alone and build from those skeletons, or is it a combination of both? 

I produce songs linearly, left to right. I would totally finish a whole section then building out from it instead of writing a demo with full structure etc. I generally make the highlight of the song first, then the structure tends to naturally fall into place around it.

I don’t really start with skeletons, I will build every layer to fill the section before starting on the support structure sections – even mixing as I go along. 

I do really enjoy collaborating with other artists, though this project is completely written, recorded and produced solely myself. I take pride in making every creative decision for this project – including controlling the mixing direction and the artwork/visuals.

Talk me through your recording workflow from demo to track completion. Do you begin in the bedroom or head straight to the studio? Any preference of DAW/special demo set up that goes the extra mile?

To me my bedroom and studio are often the same thing. I switched to Ableton from FL Studio 3 years ago, which has sped up my workflow dramatically. I usually start with a blank layout because I don’t really use any go-to signal flow or processing. I like to treat every sound individually and process them uniquely.

Which pieces of equipment are the most integral to you when it comes to translating the project’s essence from a recorded to a live context? Are you trying to replicate your studio sound when you perform, or do you prefer to let the songs breathe and find their own live groove?

I’m planning a showcase in August for this upcoming EP – I’m planning to do a deconstructed performance with a Traktor Kontrol S8, it allows me to mix stems live, extend sections, change bpm and apply effects all live on the fly ♣

Are there any pieces of gear you’ve acquired, be it something cheap that punches massively above its weight, or a less-wallet friendly splurge, that have tangibly influenced the way you write and record music to this day?

More than half the songs vocals were recorded on a dented Amazon condenser mic that I bought for $50 when I was 16. All the bass on the project is just electric guitar pitched down an octave because I didn’t own a bass guitar at the time.

A good friend Mason from the DMA’s gave me a Rode ribbon mic – it’s very beautiful and flat. Un-characteristic so I can use it with anything.

I used a stupid little Squier Mustang on every track DI into my interface. I didn’t have an amp to mic up so all the amp tones are using impulse responses + convolving.

I think even with the option of using a real amp I will still choose to use DI because I can have full control and process the cleanest signal in my own special way.

What are the visual mediums that you find best allow you to express yourself as an artist outside of music – is it important for you to be able to display your creativity in every aspect of this project’s output? 

Outside of music I’m very deeply interested in cinematography and animation, I modelled and animated all the visuals and artworks to support this project. I’ve also directed a music video that will accompany the release of the project. Fashion is another way I express myself as an artist that I feel coincides with my music. I’m currently designing some pieces with a talented designer & friend @feaath that I hope to have ready by the release of the EP as well ☆


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A post shared by dœgægé (@doegaege)

How do you recharge your creative batteries? What in your life inspires your music making process that isn’t related directly to it? It could be as logical as watching a film or listening to your favourite records, or as obscure as gardening, great conversations on a night out or taking long walks.

I’m realising now that I don’t have many hobbies outside of music. Most of my friends are talented musicians so when I’m not writing songs I’m going to shows or talking about music constantly. I like to unwind in nature, it’s harder to find in Melbourne but I make the effort to be there. That being said, it’s usual that I find inspiration from nature and want to run home to record it.

What’s on the horizon? What exciting things can we expect from you for the remainder of the year? 

I’m hosting a showcase for the release of my EP in August 🙂 It’ll be the first taste of a proper performance. Fingers crossed I can play some support shows later on. I’m really excited to see how the live element works and how it is received – I’m really really excited ♣

Other than that I’m already deep into writing my next project, I’ve grown so much from working on my debut EP, GOBLIN BLISS ETERNAL RELIEF, and I’m excited to release more & more music following this.

Keep up to date with dœgægé here.