Our first Future Leader for 2017 is Australian artist Trinity, having closely followed since her much lauded debut album ‘Blinded by 1000 Points of Light’ co-produced with friend John Tzineris dropped in 2014. It Showcased nine tracks comprised of atmospheric melodies and deep chords, it traversed techno and minimal soundscapes – all recorded live. Part DJ, part live act. Part house, part techno. Part Sydney, part Berlin. The finished product is one that encapsulates all of the above.
When not running parties in her hometown of Sydney, she can be found playing in the dens of European underground techno clubbing establishments such as Tresor (Berlin), Studio R (Berlin), Kompass Klub (Ghent) to Harry Klein (Munich) in the summer. We caught up in Sydney Australia to dig deeper behind the artist Trinity, including an amazing exclusive mix (think Stranger Things meets Berlin after hours)
Hi Renae, thank you for speaking with us today, with a career over many years, do you remember your first gig? What happened?
Hi Damion, thanks for having me. Actually I do remember my first gig, it was on a rooftop of an apartment building in Surry Hills in Sydney. Within my first couple of mixes the police came to shut it down, to be honest with you I was quite relieved, it was quite a nerve racking experience playing my first set.
You are quite the regular on the Berlin techno scene each summer, playing at such clubs from Tresor to Griessmuehle, as an Australian not based there permanently, do you find it more difficult to open doors into the industry in Europe or is it just one big challenge you take on?
I remember the first year I was in Berlin was fairly difficult with gigs. I had some DJ friends living over there at the time, I asked a few of them for help and advice with contacts and it really opened my eyes as to how difficult it was to get booked. It was challenging enough for my friends to get gigs, even though they were very established and been living there for a while. Let alone myself who lived halfway around the world and had never played in Berlin before. I did find that once I started producing music and my music was available internationally, it was easier for me to perform in Berlin and Europe. After you play there a few times it naturally starts opening more doors for you.
In 2014 you unveiled your live techno set in the basement at Berlin’s fabled techno hub Tresor. It must have been an incredible experience, was there a lot of preparation leading up to the night and how did it go down?
Yes, it was a lot of preparation for my set at Tresor. At the time I was living in Berlin for six months and spending all day writing music, it’s something I’ve always dreamt of doing, taking time out in a creative city and focusing purely on music. Before I left for that trip to Berlin, I was working full-time In Sydney and I didn’t really have the time I wanted to spend on my music, so every second I was writing over there, I cherished.
I spent every day for about two and half weeks writing music for the live set. At that time I was doing brand-new live sets for every gig which really helped improve my production skills.
Mareena booked for that gig, she is a great DJ and I’m very happy that she believed me enough to play at Tresor. The live set went down really well, however unfortunately one of my controllers stopped working so I had to think quickly and play my set with the remaining instruments. I was 100% happy with the set, even though there was a little hiccup. That’s one thing about playing live, there is usually some type of technical issue, you just need to get past it quickly.
There is quite a large community of Australian expats trying to crack the music industry overseas, what advice would you give to anyone thinking of making the move?
I would definitely encourage Australians to go overseas and try to make a career in music. The scene in Sydney is small compared to somewhere like Berlin, so it’s a good idea to spread your wings. I think that the best advice I could give people from what I’ve seen in Berlin and in Europe, is not to have too higher expectations. Do your best and try really hard to do what you do, but don’t expect that it’s just going to happen overnight because it takes time, and sometimes it may not even happen. You don’t want to wake up one day feeling that you failed at music. Just be happy that you’re experiencing a new city and that your music got you there in the first place. Be happy to connect with other people in music and enjoy the wonderful music that Europe has to offer.
The other bit of advice that I would give is to not be too pushy with gigs, if your music is good people will notice, be humble and let your music do the talking. Go and support parties and meet people but remember that there are a lot of DJ’s over there trying to make it and I don’t think anyone appreciates someone being too overly confident or pushy. If you’re passionate and talented they will realise this, but it will take time, possibly years to get your foot in the door.
Let’s talk about the explosion of techno (moving from the shadows of the underground) in Australia recently. Do you think the market can sustain so many nights, should there be more diversity or will it eventually keep evolving?
Techno is very popular in Sydney at the moment there are a lot of parties playing that style of music. It’s a wonderful underground scene and community and I love being a part of it. I think eventually people will need a new source of inspiration, there’s so much techno music coming out at the moment, so much great music, but also a lot of average producers jumping on the techno bandwagon. It will get to a point where the pioneers get bored of making the same sounds and move onto something new. My new Nightime Drama Sydney resident, Matt Lush played an electro sat at the beginning of a techno party last year and it was really refreshing to hear something different at the night, rather than every DJ playing straight up techno. I’m hoping the next step for techno parties in Sydney is a bit more diversity through the night, maybe some electro, break-beat, Detroit techno and maybe even some trance?
You are kicking off the Sydney Nightime Drama label nights on Feb 3rd at Tokyo Sing Song, though sadly a topic that has affected many in the Australian music industry, is the lock out laws, for our readers in Europe, can you talk us through the effect it has had on clubs and parties over the years, has the industry adapted and where do you see it heading?
When the lock out laws first came into place they was pretty detrimental to Sydney nightlife. A lot of clubs closed down and there are no signs of them ever re-opening. When I was running my party 4our with Magda Bytnerowicz we noticed a drop in punters at our parties when the lock-outs came into place. At the time we were doing parties in clubs, there were so many new restrictions due to the new laws from the no-shot rule after midnight, a lock-out of 1.30am and no alcohol served after 3am, which meant punters usually left shortly after. It became difficult to break even from our events, so we decided to slow down with our parties.
However since the lock-outs have come into place there has been a surge of underground parties happening, from warehouse parties and bush doofs to parties in off-beat locations like car-parks. People are finding ways to party even with the lockouts. The scene has now gone underground again, which is a nice silver lining. The parties have better crowds too because you have to be in the know to be invited to these events and there is no walk-in traffic.
I’m not sure of the lock-outs will stay, I hope that they won’t, therefore I’m not really certain about where clubbing in Sydney is headed. In the early 2000’s the scene went to clubs and now the scenes going underground to warehouses ect, I could possibly see there being more festivals in the near future. Punters will want to get out of the city and out of the lockout zone to dance without the harsh restrictions.
For those that do not know, your husband is a prominent DJ and promoter in Australia, are there days where it is friendly rivalry between you both as to gets that latest white label first or booking?
First of all, there is no problem as to who gets the latest white label, as I’m not a vinyl DJ and Dave Stuart is. I was a vinyl DJ for years but moved to digital mainly due to travelling. I only play wav files and have access to some very good promo pools, including vinyl only releases. If one of us finds a great release, we won’t share it with each other as we are quite possessive when it comes to our own tracks.
There was some rivalry when we first started seeing each other because I was DJing for a lot longer than Dave, if he got a booking I wanted, I thought I deserved it more than him. However now there is absolutely no rivalry between us, I’m so happy when Dave gets a gig as he is very talented and he deserves them, one of the reasons I made him a resident at my new Nightime Drama party in Sydney.
In 2014, you dropped your debut album ‘Blinded by 1000 Points of Light’ co-produced with friend John Tzineris, can we look forward to a new album or releases in 2017?
I would love to do another album, it’s something that I have been thinking about a lot, and it’s my next project. I’m not 100% sure on the direction that I would go musically as at the moment I’m producing so many different styles, from ambient, dub-techno, techno, electro and Detroit techno. Release wise I have a few Eps coming out soon including a 3 track EP on Android Muziq with John Tzineris, a 2 track vinyl release on Nightime Drama with some lovely remixes and another 2 track EP with Eric Cloutier and Sigha on remix duties.
Can you talk us through the arrangement of your tracks and the details you focus on to make your music so unique?
The way I arrange tracks is always different sometimes I am just jamming the studio with hardware and recording and other times I am just using software with a midi controller and some headphones, mostly though, its a combination of both. I guess what makes my tracks unique is the melodies I use in my tracks, I like to give my tracks more of an emotive feel because I think that music should move you when you’re on a dancefloor.
Every artist grows with their music, how do you see your production style and technique change over the years?
When I started producing music, I was writing with production partner John Tzineris under Trinity & Beyond. During those five years I focused mainly on the arrangement and direction of the productions whereas John focused more on the engineering side. I was DJing and running parties at the time, so I felt that I was more in tune with what music that would work on a dance floor. John was more of a recluse and just liked spending time in the studio.
When I played my first live set I used all Trinity & Beyond material. I dissected the tracks into parts and then broke the parts into loops and started remixing the tracks on the fly using Ableton with various controllers. I also used some external hardware and effects pedals in my sets too. As time went on, I started making up new parts and loops for my sets and after a short while I was using 100% of my own material in my live sets. I began to feel what was working on the dancefloor, so I recorded my sets and turned the good parts of the live performance into separate tracks. Playing live really helped my production skills to evolve.
Do you think artists place un-achievable pressure on themselves to create a lasting legacy through their music?
I don’t know many artists that want to create a lasting legacy through their music but the ones that I do know are established artists and I think that they should be striving to create a legacy for themselves, as it makes them create better quality art. I also feel that in this digital and information age there is so much more music and artists out there, artists tend to be forgotten about more quickly than they used to. So unless you really make something very special and unique, its difficult to be remembered.
I think its more important to focus on how your music makes you happy in your everyday life, what new countries you visit to play your music, how your DJ or live sets move people on a dancefloor, the connections you’ve made though music and how you are able to express yourself creativity in a music studio.
The music industry at times can be quite brutal and some artists can doubt themselves at times. Is there any tips or advice you would like to share that has kept yourself motivated?
I think it’s important if you’re feeling a lot of self-doubt to just stop what you’re doing, walk away for that moment and have a good night’s sleep and wake up with a fresh mind. When I have a fresh mind I always know what I need to do to get back on track, whether it’s more practising with mixing or learning new production skills. I think that the most important thing as an artist is to be persistent, you can’t just give up every time you have self-doubt, there are so many people that are experiencing the same thing as you and the best way to get over these moments is to learn and grow as an artist because of them.
Musically, who would you say has been a driving source of inspiration?
Musically I would have to say that XDB is one of my favourite DJ’s, I love when he plays really long DJ sets too. I really look up to XDB, I think he’s one of the world’s best DJs. I also love Luke Hess, he is an amazing producer, live act and DJ and also makes very heartfelt music which I’ve been a big fan of for years. My other inspiration is Eli Verviene from Switzerland, her podcasts are always on point and take you on a music journey. She recently did a podcast for Nightime Drama which received a great response.
Eric Cloutier From Detroit his also another incredibly talented DJ. I love that his music’s a bit darker and deeper and I just love how he doesn’t conform to any particular genre. All of the DJ’s I’ve just mentioned are very nice and interesting people which is important to me because I like to be inspired by people that not only are talented artists but are good people as well.
If you were to do a ‘back to mine’ style mix, what tracks or songs have musically had an impact on your life would definitely have to be included in your selection and why?
I have been through a lot of different musical styles over the last 17 years. I first started DJing Trance and House, then Minimal, Chicago House and Detroit and dub-techno and now a bit of everything. I think that if I was going to do it back to mine start it probably would have tracks from all those different genres. I guess musically the genre that had the biggest effect on my life was probably Trance because it was my first love of electronic music and it was the music that introduced me to the dance music community and the rave scene.
You’ve put together a great mix for us, has the digital age made sourcing music more interesting?
From Nightime Dramas point of view, we luckily have an amazing distributor ‘Diamonds and Pears’ so our records are available in some of the best record shops worldwide. Not everyone has access to great record stores however. In Sydney for example, we only have a handful of record stores as many of them closed down years ago when DJ’s moved from records to Traktor/digital music. Therefore for Sydneysiders sourcing records digitally is a necessity. Bandcamp is a great example of a new-ish digital store that has made sourcing music more interesting, allowing fans to connect with the artists they love without the need of a middle man or label.
Thank you for taking time out to speak to us, lastly is there any news you can share with us for 2017?
Thanks for having me. 2017 is going to be another busy year. I have been booked for a wonderful festival in Europe in July, and playing some gigs in Berlin in August too. We have some wonderful projects in the horizon for our label NTD along with the launch of the NTD Sydney events on Feb 3rd. As I mentioned earlier I also have 3 EP’s coming out in 2017, working with some very talented artists including Eric Cloutier, Basic Soul Unit and Daniela La Luz and Sigha.
Photo credits Simon Mann / duncographic / Ivanna Capture You