Photo Credit: Justin Vague
Late last week we were given the chance to chat to a duo coming out of Melbourne who continue to excite us with whatever they do; from their awe-inspiring live NGTV shows to their remixes and now original productions, Naysayer and Gilsun are a worthy follow up to last month’s King Krule feature to say the least. Sam Gill (Gilsun) and Luke Neher (Naysayer) invited us to their studio to talk about all things past, present and future for the project..
I OH YOU: Thanks for taking the time, guys! I wanted to start with something a little left of field if that’s okay. Your creative output in the public eye so far has come in many forms; is it a case of ‘you either end up playing into your fans expectations’ or ‘you progress in the face of backlash’ from some?
Sam: That’s a tricky one. Yeah, I think we’ve kind of tried a lot of different things over the past few years because we love to branch out creatively. We’ve kind of come to the point now where we don’t really feel any kind of restraint about how we explore those things and explore those interests under the general banner of Naysayer and Gilsun. I guess we really found success initially from a very specific kind of thing and a very specific kind of material and performance. It was a lot of cut and paste and mashup stuff that progressed coherently into something else. That’s continued despite some people’s distaste, though I think we’ve reached a point where those creative interests have fallen into a place where they’re really clear and defined as opposed to something which is experimental. Some people found it a bit jarring but we are interested in progression and being interested in what we’re doing and providing something interesting and new.
I OH YOU: Is it an encouraging thing to see the same fans who were with you from the start following along with the natural progression of the project as opposed to winning new fans over with things like the NGTV shows?
Luke: Yeah, it’s encouraging to see people that were with us from the start really trusting us in that sense of following the push into new creative endeavors. At the same time it’s an incredibly exciting thing for us to branch out and see new fans coming along. That’s really a big part of what keeps us going.
I OH YOU: Are there any key experiences you’ve had with electronic music in the live setting which have given you inspiration for the current show or future ambition for it?
Sam: I think seeing Four Tet play Meredith last year at 3AM is something that I know I keep coming back to as a real point of immense inspiration. Just given the way that he controlled the mood and presented his music. I really love the way he puts his sets together because most of the live elements are clearly improvised yet he maintains this amazing sense of coherence and clarity to the way that they end up coming out. In terms of NGTV, it’s been a process to find a structural method through which we can keep peoples attention but also maintain that same kind of thematic coherence and fluency moving between what can often be stylistically disconnected material.
I OH YOU: How do you think the Melbourne electronic music scene is placed at the moment in the context of being working artists as a part of that community?
Luke: Such a difficult question! I think it’s really growing into something, but probably outside of the ‘Melbourne sound’ there’s no Melbourne sound to speak of (laughs). I think it’s more of a community than a scene, in that if you looked at it from the outside it would be hard to pinpoint it down to one style of electronic music production. From the inside it’s going from strength to strength and we definitely feel like we’ve made a lot of great friends who are heavily involved with electronic music and that certainly makes for an enjoyable time.
I OH YOU: We were lucky enough to be in attendance for your billing alongside Jamie XX earlier in the year, how valuable are these experiences in terms of moving closer toward your vision of the project?
Luke: It’s really important. We were very excited with being asked to play with Jamie XX because he’s an artist we really like and it’s always a great experience to not only play alongside somebody like that or to meet them, on a totally self interested level it’s great because it also means you may get to do something else cool. Yeah, I won’t beat around the bush but it’s a great motivation in terms of the fact that being able to support one good act means you’ll probably be able to support more in future. It’s a lot of fun; it makes us giddy when that happens (laughs).
Sam: In a different way as well, getting a gig like that was kind of where we wanted to be exactly for a long time and it’s a great example of the sort of thing we wanted to do. We really wanted to be able to play shows like that and it felt like it was so far out of reach for a while. Getting to do something like that was a dream.
I OH YOU: Do you feel that the praise, which has been placed onto the NGTV shows, translates into any form of pressure with the All That Good Work/Blue EP? Is that a separate thing?
Sam: I don’t know. I think we’ve both been kind of, at first nervous and then just curious as to how people would receive it. As Luke was saying before I think we’ve learnt over the past few years that we’re very lucky in that there are a lot of people who have a great amount of faith in us, sometimes more so than we have in ourselves (laughs) and will just kind of go with us. The nerves of starting something like NGTV; I mean we thought it would be good but we were scared shitless about it. When we did it first, we didn’t have a trial run and that first show was it, whereas now we’ve learned to relax a lot more about it and know that we’re happy with the songs. Hopefully people like it.
I OH YOU: The EP itself shows a real variation in the capability of you both, what was your intention in terms of the big picture when you wrote these tracks?
Luke: It was lucky. It was lucky that the label, Club Mod, were interested in the tracks and it was lucky that the two songs work together as a pair. It was also lucky that the remixes fit and I think we got a really coherent package out of it. Yeah, it’s like an EP with almost a mission statement to it but a lot of it was luck on a subconscious level and that was retrospectively a style and sound that we were probably working toward but didn’t realize it.
Sam: Everyone who’s involved in trying to build it up and build the act into something more, especially with DJs, it’s always a focus on what the single is or what the next track is. That’s a pressure that we had around for a while but that translated into something really positive because we’ve been playing around with original productions for some time now and that positive pressure translated into us actually focusing and in the end creating something which we’re really proud of.
I OH YOU: I’m really curious to know where the vocal sample in ‘All That Good Work’ is from. Can you shed some light?
Sam: It’s from a radio show that we really love. It’s very popular and I’m surprised it doesn’t get sampled more because there’s a certain quality to the interviews and the way that it’s produced which makes it kind of timeless in the way that it sounds.
I OH YOU: What do you want people to take away from it, and what can they expect in future?
Sam: Well we feel way more confident in backing ourselves with our own production now. I’m not sure what people will take away from it, but hopefully they like it and they see it as being individual and not so much ‘safe’. Adding to that I think with the leap from us just DJing and making mixtapes and then onto NGTV, we did that very deliberately slowly and safely in the hope that people wouldn’t feel as I said before ‘jarred’ by the transition. Partly because of where NGTV is placed at the moment in terms of the focus in terms of the material, I think this is a bigger leap. It’s an exciting prospect for us to see how people go with it.
I OH YOU: As Luke mentioned before, this EP is the first release you’ve had on Modular’s ‘Club Mod’ imprint, was it an important step for you both to release the EP with a label that you trusted?
Luke: I think we were really wondering what to do at first when we started producing. We went through a process of wondering what labels we should shoot for or whether we should do it ourselves if that didn’t transpire. In the end we pitched it to Club Mod and they really liked it. Now, looking back on it, we couldn’t see doing it any other way. It’s a cool label with cool acts and a huge attention to detail. There’s no going back now!
I OH YOU: We were really excited when we saw that John Roberts and Eliphino were on remixing duties, how did this come about?
Sam: Well, it’s kind of the ultimate geek fantasy situation. We had the people at Club Mod asking us for our list of dream remixers and we started at the top with the most ridiculous things we could come up with and worked back a little bit. Not too far, given that we got John Roberts and Eliphino, because they’re two producers who we’re both huge fans of and have been for quite a while. Even the experience of discussing those things with the label and for them to have the power and the clout to open those lines of communication was mind blowing to us. To now be in a position to sit there and listen to two reinterpretations of our work from artists that we love, it’s crazy.
I OH YOU: Is that a nerve-racking thing when you finally receive those tracks back to be able to hear what has been made as an extension of your own work?
Sam: Yeah, it’s one of the weirder things. It was like Christmas morning. I don’t know why I felt nervous about it.
Luke: I was nervous that I wasn’t going to like it, so I guess it was lucky that I did!
I OH YOU: It’s nearly that time to get back out on the road again, the tour features two NGTV shows, one each in Melbourne and more immediately Sydney for this Sunday’s FBI 10th Birthday celebrations. It’s fair to say that you have been DJing a lot more than in the past, how have you found that as an alternative to the live shows which are perhaps more concrete and pre defined?
Sam: The NGTV shows are at a point now, especially because Luke has really nailed the technical design, that we know it’s viable financially. It costs a decent amount of money but we know what we’re in for. The first time we did the show we were driving round buying curtains and PVC and building our own screens because we couldn’t afford to do it any other way. Those shows are a big deal to us and it’s stressful but it has a method to it, yet at the same time it’s going to be so nice to just be able to go out to the other cities and just DJ without worrying about meeting up with tech guys and stressing about set ups in rooms where we don’t have the same pull as we would in Melbourne. We had a lot of people graciously host us and support NGTV across the country last time but in retrospect I think we did that prematurely and we played a lot of rooms where we were asking way too much of the people there in terms of their attention and patience. Hopefully it’ll be more relaxing and fun this time!
I OH YOU: It sounds like the DJ sets are going to be a lot of fun to catch the both of you in a different mode! This coming Saturday you’ll be hitting Sydney’s Goodgod Small Club with Club Mod label mates Wordlife and Club Mod DJ’s themselves for an all night affair, what can people expect for this one given that it’s the first show of the tour as well as the lineup?
Luke: I think it’ll be sweaty and long and a lot of fun! Like you said, we’ve been DJing a lot more lately. I think we’re really getting around it, basically! I’m thrilled to have the chance to jump on and play for a long time and really build the vibe!
I OH YOU: Sam and Luke, thanks for taking the time to chat to us at I OH YOU!
Sam/Luke: ‘Muffled reciprocation as one spoke over the other’.
Naysayer and Gilsun Tour Dates:
07 SEPT – GOODGOD, SYDNEY (DJ SET)
(w/ wordlife & Club Mod DJs)
08 SEPT – CARRIAGEWORKS, SYDNEY (NGTV)
(w/ The Presets, Seekae, Worlds End Press & more)
21 SEPT – ALHAMBRA LOUNGE, BRISBANE (DJ SET)
27 SEPT – HI FI, MELBOURNE (NGTV)
(w/ Otologic & Two Bright Lakes DJs)
04 OCT – MONDO, PERTH (DJ SET)
05 OCT – FAMILY, NORTHBRIDGE (DJ SET)
06 OCT – RHINO ROOM, ADELAIDE (DJ SET)