If you’re a regular over here on The Dankles then you might have taken to notice we love turning people onto new artists//producers they might not have stumbled across if we didn’t put them right beneath your feet. Understandably all of these unearthed gems might not be up your musical alleyway but that’s why we keep rolling them out for you guys! Today we have a feature on Sounduo, a couple of new recruits to the highly esteemed bass imprint Gravitas Recordings. These two producers come to us from the east coast of these lovely United States yet they encompass a sound that would have many of you thinking they’re coming out of the west coast. Procuring a sound that is unlike many other producers in the game today these two are looking to bring their listeners over the cusp and into the realm of uncertainty. Into the realm of the future! With their debut ‘Live for the Future’ EP dropping on Gravitas today you can listen in to see what exactly we’re referencing here while at the same time get to know Sounduo a little better by breezing through the lax Q & A they were kind enough to sit through!
The Dankles: Lets get things rolling nice and easy, can you start us off by telling those unfamiliar readers out there little about yourselves (Name, age, where you’re from, etc)?
Sounduo: Sounduo is comprised of Zach Morillo on drums and Will Mills on guitar/synths/glitch and dub fx. We’re both 25 and Zach’s originally from Orlando while Will is from the DC area. The band formed in Miami in 2011, where the two of us met in college, and we’ve been touring nationwide off and on for the past year.
TD: How did you two wind up getting into the music scene in the first place? Can you tell us a little about your projects prior to this?
S: We’ve been playing music together professionally in various projects since 2006 and we’ve both had separate experiences playing and recording with a variety of artists from Grammy-award winners to local acts in South Florida. Our first main collaboration was working with a local reggae/rock/haitian band from Miami called Jahfe. We really cut our teeth with this project, playing all over the world and learning the writing, recording and production process from a pro level.
TD: What about joining forces to produce, how’d that come about?
S: We’ve both been making electronic music since we were teenagers and it was a natural progression to move from recording live instruments and bands into collaborating on beats. We began making Sounduo’s initial tracks for fun without really having any direction and after a little while we had enough material to begin playing gigs. We wanted to use our background in live music to enhance the music we’d created and thus, Sounduo began.
TD: What kind of influences push you guys in the direction of making the sort of music you do?
S: We’re extremely open when it comes to music and tend to be intrigued by new ideas and combinations of sounds. We both initially connected over a love of old school dub like King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Lee Perry but we’re kinda all over the place. We love the improvisational aspects of jazz (being former jazz students at UM), heavy hip-hop beats, world music, high energy rock, drum & bass, early dubstep, but especially reggae and dancehall. Forward-thinking artists such as Squarepusher, STS9, and the Glitch Mob really helped push us into live glitch music and consider the possibilities of performing electronic music in different ways.
TD: Has music always been your passion or were you minds once focused on other goals?
S: We both started playing music from an early age and its been pretty apparent for but of us that we were going to be doing something with music for the rest of our lives. Teaching is another aspect of music that we enjoy; the process of learning can really teach you a lot about yourself and your processes while enriching someone else’s life.
TD: Your ‘Live for the Future’ EP drops soon on Gravitas Recordings; is your first time working with Gravitas on a release?
S: Yes and we’re super stoked about it! Gravitas has been putting out a ton of great records lately and we’re honored to join the family. It’s refreshing to find a group of people who share our interests musically and are working to push upcoming artists like us. Labels like this are the future of independent music. Definitely want to shout out Chris B’s latest release with them as well as Ill-Esha’s newest gem.
TD: You seem to have conjured up a pretty unique variation in sound throughout this whole release, would you like to shed a little light on what went into getting this EP together?
S: These tracks came together over months of touring and testing on the road. Then we took the ideas we knew worked well onstage back to the studio and refined them. We knew we wanted to highlight the elements of our sound which are unique as well as touch upon some of our favorite grooves and vibes. I think that was the most common idea we kept repeating while we were writing; we wanted it to have a vibe, something that you could put on and be transported somewhere. We tend to not really aim at what’s popular or trending; we make music that we like first and foremost and relates to our influences.
TD: This has become a pretty standard question of ours, what kind of equipment do you sit down with to produce in the studio? What about in a live show setting?
S: Our studio is essentially an Ableton Live setup, some soft synths, a sampler and a few hardware toys like synths, touch-screens, etc… We approach producing more from a hip-hop point of view where we are physically playing most of the beats you hear and literally playing the keyboard and bass lines that you hear as opposed to programming them in. Between Zach’s background as a drummer and Will’s background in guitar and piano, we are more comfortable and work quicker with this process.
Live performance is really where Sounduo reaches to our influences. The studio tracks become the basis for us to produce the tracks live differently every night. It’s similar to the old-school Jamaican dub guys who would take existing reggae tracks and rework them with drop-outs, effects, etc… to make something new. We take this a step further, utilizing the craziest glitch and digital effects available and combining it with live instruments to allow us to make a completely new arrangement of a song on any given night. It lends itself to our jazz background; we like to improvise and keep it fresh and it’s better for the audience too as they’re hearing something that will never be heard again. We like to have this unique connection with the audience, and sometimes we are surprised by what comes out of the speakers as WE don’t always know what a particular effect or combination will sound like. It’s a high-energy affair….we like bass drops!
TD: When music isn’t occupying your days what are another couple other things you guys like to do?
Will: Yoga and meditation, researching wacky things, eating heathy, aliens, hangin’ wit friends, fresh herbs, practicing jazz piano.
Zach: Hiking, exploring, traveling, hanging with good people, thinking.
TD: Summer is quickly approaching what are you plans for the next few months?
S: We already have the next set of tracks ready so we’ll be looking to put those out after our release with Gravitas. We’re already booked at several festivals this summer on the East Coast (The Big Up, Bear Creek so we’ll be hitting the east coast with some dates in late summer. Look out for us!
TD: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, any last word for the viewers out there?
S: We love what we do, we hope you dig what we do, and we are working to have the opportunities to bring what we do to a venue near you. Stay close!
Last time you attended a show you didn’t play at:
Will: Psymbionic + Heyoka show in Baltimore
Last time seeing something you weren’t suppose to:
Will: Titties. old ones.
Zach: I was there for that too.
Last CD/vinyl you bought:
Will: Miles Davis – Decoy
Zach: The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
Last track you listened to:
Will: Tie between City Lock – Aswad (Breakage remix) and one of Ital Tek’s mixes.
Zach: Geode – First Contact
Last time you were forced into something:
Will: The bar scene
Zach: Eating fast food for 2 weeks on tour.
Last time leaving the country:
We were both in Europe this summer playing music and we’re going back to Haiti this May for the 3rd time.