We had the pleasure of having an exclusive interview with the Command Q boys with interesting insights into their New EP, their inspirations and their sound.
When and how did you guys get into making music?
We both did music through high school and loved it. It’s pretty impossible to stop once you’ve developed a passion. I (Shaun – non moustache boy) had always been experimenting with music software through high school and by the time me and Lou met at WAAPA, I had built a home studio with my Dad which we first started writing in. Lou and I both knew electronic music was something that really resonated with us deep down. We have degrees on acoustic instruments, but there’s something about having no limits on a computer that really appeals to us.
With your background as percussion students/teachers, how did that influence your style and where you sound is now? Did the local music scene influence your productions?
I think having such a diverse experience at WAAPA had led us to being overly diverse with our styles in the beginning. We were writing anything from ‘Big Band stuff’ to rap to electro house. So in a way it became a disadvantage at the start because we lacked direction. But now that we’ve found ourselves, the tribal feeling and drums definitely comes through. At WAAPA we performed a tonne of african, Papua new Guinean and south american percussion and we loved it. And we still love trying to incorporate it into the music as much as we can. Its so earthy and natural and it also means we get to bash drums much more.
You guys have lots of unique and weird sounds – where/who do you guys get your big inspirations from?
Honestly Lou listens to everything! I listen to almost nothing. A couple albums a year, some ambient music in the evenings every now and them. I think my biggest inspiration is Lou haha because of all the music he plays i can see how it has noticeably influenced the music that I make. So yeah it would be easy to say someone like Skrillex because everybody is influenced by him but, in reality the biggest influences have been the people close me like Lou and other producers and DJ’s.
What are some of your favourite plugins and production tricks that would really help out upcoming producers?
Oooohh! I can’t even think how to begin on this one. Umm let’s…
First piece of advice and probably the best production trick you’ll ever realise – Other producers are your greatest assets. I learned this way too late. If only I had let people help me finish my music or gotten more involved with other artists and studios, I feel i would have developed much quicker. These people hold so many secrets and shortcuts and useful connections. Never underestimate them and always be good to them. Secondly, an actual production trick I feel is quite useless without context. I use around 80 different plugins in each track and they all have specific purposes. So get to know your plugins, how they sound and what they work well with. A lot of the time I will be telling producers to work on their compression and EQ. This is super important for getting your music to pop! And not all compressors are equal. They are vastly different. My favourites are, Slate Digital Grey, iZotope Dynamics and FabFilter C2.
Your latest EP We Are Animals has been released recently. Tell us about the creative process behind the EP and what kinds of ideas you guys tried to push?
We decided 3 weeks out from release date that we would make an extra 3 tracks so that the EP wouldn’t seem stingy. We had already finished one of the tracks and the other 2 were almost done. So finishing the next 3 on top was a huge amount of pressure and something I hope we never do again haha! We wanted to push our style as much as we could – the tribal, earthly, epic feeling. We didn’t want anything to feel dishonest or like we were trying to sell albums so we worked really hard at trying to create new soundscapes and different instruments. I think one of the things that has really benefitted us is our huge collection of sound libraries and instruments. We we’re able to record pieces of metal, snare drums, vocals and then generate other sounds like the weird flute in “Duck Flute” by using software. The most enjoyable track i have ever written is “King of the Jungle”. You can hear its very unorthodox and doesn’t follow any typical music conventions. It just flowed out naturally without any hindrance. We’ve played drums our entire lives and sometimes we just want to have a bash on the drums and have fun. I feel King of the Jungle reflects this really well.
What is the weirdest thing to happen to you guys on tour or at a show?
Haha hmm what can i say that won’t identify anyone in a bad way. I’d say the weirdest thing has been coming back to the hotel after a huge night at 5am, carrying all of our heavy equipment, opening the door and finding our tour manager in our bed going at it with a girl from the show. It was hilarious and hugely frustrating. It was his job was to look after us and this was day 1 of the tour haha!
If you could collaborate with any artist ever who would it be and why?
That’s a really hard question. Sometimes its like, “if only we collaborated with Jack U, how much easier would our lives be”. And it’s true, maybe we wouldn’t have to work so hard all the time and we’d get to see how the 1 percenters of the music industry do things. They are pretty brilliant as well and don’t cut any corners. But, now we make a massive emphasis on ensuring both parties for a collaboration are on similar wavelengths and levels of knowing and understanding music production, just so then the time we do spend working with someone is not completely one-sided on either ours or theirs.
What’s next for the future of Command Q?
Oooft so much. We have already begun developing our sound into something new and have more tracks on the way towards the end of the year, plus some big collaborations coming next year. And! There’s a new secret project in the works. And its more gentle and will help listeners drift away from reality. That’s all I will say! The rest is a secret. Maybe…
What are some of your indispensable touring items?
Underarm roll on! Airports don’t let you take aerosol cans! Can’t go out into the day without BO protection. Earplugs and plenty of spare drum sticks as well. We snap so many sticks and a club stage is soooo loud. Hearing protection is a must.
Is there any weird or strange ritual that you boys do before your live sets?
Nah we have been performing since high school. It feels pretty natural to us now. A little bit of positive affirmation between us and that’s about it plus having our video/marketing dude roughing/pumping us up prior to getting on stage is something I suppose haha!