Secluse is an electronic music duo from Melbourne, Australia. Their entire public persona is steeped in mystique and intrigue. Like any true artist, they want the music to create it’s own atmosphere in your mind without being sullied by any preconceived notions conjured by their image. Their sparse visuals featured in the video for their newest single, “Strangled by the Thought”, are abstract and arresting in a way that perfectly compliments their sonic landscapes of pitched samples and lush female vocals.
They’ve released a couple of singles and an E.P. titled Transform along with a number of popular remixes on their soundcloud account. But, their music is promising of wide commercial appeal. Evensound is extremely happy to have learned of this immensely talented duo (comprised of David and Andrea) before the rest of the world. We’re honored to have them pull the curtain back and let us in on their process in a brief Q&A.
How did you and Andrea begin making music together ? What are your musical backgrounds? Your bio mentions previous projects. What were those like and how did they bring you together to form SecLuse?
Andrea and I met at a workplace about 5 years ago. I left the job and went on to other projects for a while.
I was a rock guy for many years and when I moved to Australia from my home of New Zealand, I decided to start looking further afield for inspiration. This lead to a year or so in a Folk Bluegrass Band.
Andrea was also more into the rock scene at that point. She was fronting an indie rock outfit called Ibis Rookie. Both our projects finished and we were left wandering in the musical wilderness.
I had an idea to create electronic music in the vein of Bjork, Portishead, and Massive Attack. But I was also a massive fan of more traditional songwriters like Peter Gabriel, Neil Finn; etc.
So, the idea for a melodic down-tempo project came to life. I was short a singer though. I had a really clear idea of what I wanted, a female singer with a very clean and pure voice. I thought of Andrea and gave her a call, she was in the mood for a new project as well and the vision of what I wanted to achieve really appealed to her. A few coffees later and SecLuse was born.
How do you feel about the current state of indie electronic music ? What is the scene like in Melbourne ?
Indie in general is going through a real renaissance. This makes sense though, with the major record companies development budgets shrinking the scene was lending itself to more entrepreneurial musicians.
Indies have always had to be relatively self reliant so it made sense that the music they made would gain more presence.
It’s a very exciting time to be a musician, although the income is hard to come by this is balanced by the amazing amount of new ways to deliver your music and connect with the fans. Sites like Soundcloud, Beatport and even more traditional social media sites like Facebook have allowed musicians to really target their fans with a very limited budget.
And one of the best places to be on this new wave is in Australia. The scene in Melbourne is extraordinary. The amount of great quality, new music being created is astounding. We have about 450 registered live venues in Melbourne, so there is always something going on. We are very spoiled for choice, it’s a good problem to have.
Your music features sprawling electronic sonic landscapes with wonderful melodies, harmonies and vocal samples. I saw a video of your selection process for a kick drum sample, will certain sounds inspire song ideas? Will you build a track around a vocal melody? What is your process like?
I really take cues from almost anything. Sometimes a bass line will start the song, or sometimes it’s a melody that came from another song which is much better by itself. I might take a cue of what Andrea is doing and change the song accordingly, it’s kind of whatever works.
“Lawless” was based on a 3 chord progression I liked, I basically wrote the whole song in an 8 hour marathon. The amount of sounds you can generate now is a blessing and curse, as you saw in the video I will often get into a never ending loop of choosing sounds.
I have made a conscious effort to be a lot harder on myself when I’m producing. Basically, when I get to a “that sound is good enough” stage, I bounce it and commit. I learned with the early songs it’s so easy to get bogged down on the details.
A great song is a great song, spending 12 hours on a bass sound isn’t going to hold up a weak song.
You’ve mentioned contemporary artists, Bjork, Beck, Death Cab for Cutie, and Chemical Brothers as influences. How do you draw upon your collective influences in developing your own sound ? Are there any rules you abide by in your creative process?
There a two main things I try to stick to when I’m writing. I’m a firm believer that 99% of songs are a Singer with a backing band. What I mean by this is that the greater population connect with the singer and melody first and foremost.
So the music, whilst having to be of an excellent standard, is secondary to the vocal and the melodic hook. The other belief I have is that the song has to say something, it has to elicit and emotional response of some kind.
It doesn’t really matter what emotion it generates as long as it does something to the listener. Andrea and I are getting much better at this aspect with our new songs. We both hate writing lyrics but we take a lot of care with what we write now compared to when we first started.
If you have this framework in mind when you are writing you’re on the right track.
Any aspirations for performing live ?
We would love to, and the aim is for later in the year doing a few Youtube streaming shows. We both have families so life on the road is a no go for us at this point.
Having said that, if you are a promoter and want to put us on a stage in front of 40,000 people…
What is the status of your current projects and plans for 2015? New Single ? Possible Full Length?
We are working on new songs now for our first album in late 2015. We just released a new single called “Strangled by the Thought”.