Today we welcome Australian artist TAYA. to chat about his new release on Rebellion imprint, music production, and more.
Australian-born TAYA. has established himself as a key figure in the current electronic music scene, with releases on labels including Gorgon City’s Realm Records and Yousef’s Circus Recordings. His talent for creating organic, melodically-charged tech house is evident, and he draws inspiration from notable musicians and singers like Lee Burridge, Trentemøller, and Dubfire, to mention a few. Some people follow trends, but TAYA. creates them. International DJ and music producer TAYA was born in Australia and hails from the Byron Bay region’s beautiful rainforest hinterlands. Despite having 20 years of experience in the business, his career has only just begun. One of Australia’s most sought-after producers, DJs, and sound innovators, TAYA. is hailed as a rising star of the electronic music industry. Taya Mills began his musical adventure at the ripe young age of 9 by mixing records, and by the time he was 11 he had discovered his affinity for creating electronic music.
Hello TAYA., Thank you for joining us. How is the summer treating you?
My pleasure, thank you for having me.
The summer has been great for me. I actually moved my whole life from Australia to Vancouver, Canada!
The recent transition has been a huge growing experience, and it is exciting to have a whole new world of touring opportunities.
Let’s talk about your release ‘One Day Around The Sun’ that landed last Friday on Rebellion. The release is extraordinary and nourishing. What is the story behind the collaboration with Quackers?
Thank you! I’m glad you think so. Quackers and I couldn’t be happier with how the record came out and how the public has received it.
So, Michael (Quackers) and I met a few years back when we were both performing at an event at an incredible mansion that sat right at the edge of a vast cliff face in the rainforest overlooking the whole of the Byron Bay Shire.
He caught my attention with his solo live performance, where he bounced between playing the guitar, Moog Sub 37 & a Dave Smith Prophet 6! I thought, “this is someone that would definitely bring some flavour to the table,” in a collaboration sense. I remember praising Michael for his ability to work on all three elements at a professional level.
He’s actually a classically trained multi-instrumentalist but had only been producing electronic music in a computer-based environment for about six months. He usually plays his sets completely live, which showed me that he’s got some serious musical talents!
After that, we became good mates! We played some of the same gigs in Byron bay and hung with the same crowd of music enthusiasts. Soon after, I invited him up to my music studio in the rainforest to collaborate and see if we could make some magic happen…as you now know, the rest is history!
‘Elevate’ is a more melodic gem that also features vocals. What is your creative process like? Did you start from the vocal or song first?
I approach every session with an open mind and try not to restrict myself to a particular style or genre. If you listen to my back catalogue, you can hear how my productions are pretty diverse.
I’ll usually just start by jamming and making a beat on either my Native Instruments Maschine or just programming drums in Ableton until I come up with something that I start to vibe with, then see where it leads me.
In ‘Elevate,’ I made all the drum and melodic elements first but felt it needed something else to tie it all together. After being completely stumped for the better half a day and not really knowing how I would finish the track, but then the idea to add this groovy vocal came to me. So I did, and that instantly glued the whole song together!
We know that you have master’s certificates in sound design, music production and have trained in singing. What are the advantages of having all the essential instruments for a producer?
I don’t think many people realise this is a full-time job. Like any career, I believe it’s essential to know your trade like you know the back of your hand.
(You wouldn’t hire a plumber to fix your leaky pipe if they didn’t know how to use a wrench, would you?)
I’m constantly studying something to do with the art of electronic music production.
A) Because I love my job
B) To educate myself with new technologies and learn new skills in the career I’ve chosen.
Nowadays, every man and his dog is a DJ/producer, and it’s too easy for people to just slap a few loops into a project and call it done.
This is absolutely fine, but your music might start to sound a bit dull and static, so having the skills to actually program each element yourself, creating subtle modulating intricacies in your music so that your track doesn’t get boring, will help you cut above the over saturated market and will make your music more attractive to the listener giving you that point of difference that is needed to stand out from the crowd.
Also, it’s great fun to do things like program complex weird sounds and sequences you conjure up in your mind in your spare time.
You have released music on many respectable labels such as Circus Recordings, Realm Records and Outta Limits, to name a few. What are the next releases for the rest of this year?
Crosstown Rebels & Rebellion are up there with two of my favourite labels of all time, so most of my focus is on creating more music to release with them.
As well, I’ve been thinking of making something to pitch to Lee Burridge’s labels, ‘All Day I Dream’ or ‘TRYBESOF.’ I really resonate with that dreamy, melodic, organic sound and feel I could produce a great EP for them.
I also recently connected with the well-accomplished DJ CHUS after noticing his support on my previous single, “The Views Of Wellington,” on Open Records. Chus just happens to lead Redolent, another label that I rate very highly, and I would be thrilled to have tracks released on their label. So hopefully, we’ll see something there in the near future!
What does your studio setup look like?
As I noted above, I’ve recently made the move to Vancouver, Canada.
So, I actually sold about 90% of all my hardware synths before leaving Australia!
Definitely not easy to let go of your equipment, but the plus side delivered as I’ve had the freedom to start again and build a new studio from the ground up. It has given me good thought to what pieces I really need to achieve the sound I’m after.
It been four months in Vancouver so far and I’ve finally assembled a solid arsenal of instruments, including:
- an Elektron Analog Rytm MK2,
- Elektron Analog four MK2,
- Access Virus TI Mk2,
- Native Instruments Maschine Studio,
- Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol,
- Ableton Push 2,
- Dynaudio LYD 48 studio monitors,
- and, the most exciting part of all, I’ve built a nice fully modular Euro Rack!
If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?
‘Bookashade’ In white Rooms!
I could listen to this jam on repeat for the rest of my life and not get sick of it. It is absolute bliss to my ears!
Finally, what to expect in the future from TAYA.?
I’m someone who’s always striving for more by pushing myself to new limits and adding new layers to my career and success.
This time I’ve set the bar higher than ever before as a personal challenge for myself to level up in the music game and to create a point of difference for myself.
I’m currently working on a full live modular performance tour on hardware synthesizers and a euro-rack. I can tell you now that this is a huge project and indeed not an overnight job!
On top of that, I am moving my music mentoring online with the upcoming launch of Elevate Music Academy. Can’t wait to share both of these in the near future!
Purchase TAYA. & Quackers – One Day Around The Sun via this link