Hugh Harrison, AKA electronic music producer/DJ, DeeJaa-Vu, is barely old enough to get into the rooms he’s filling. But this annoyingly talented whippersnapper is ripping his way into the highly competitive Australian electronic music scene at an alarming rate.
Oh, and he can play approximately a zillion instruments, surf, skate, is a personal trainer, has represented Australia in triathlon and can grow a moustache. The boy does shit.
DSM got an all access pass to his bedroom/studio/love-nest recently to get the lowdown on how he does the shit he do.
HH: Through beaing completely absorbed in what I do. Living and breathing music leads to results, throwing myself completetly into what I do will ultimately mean that I can be my best. I dont aim for success, I just aim to make amazing shit and whatever happens, happens. And so far that’s worked out well for me, as I’ve been playing some great shows at great venues for great people.
DSM: You come from a musical background right?
HH: Very. Dad is a professional musician and has been recording for 20 years. I play bass, drums, guitar and keys, and have been playing since I was 5.
DSM: Acoustic instruments look difficult to play, but are pretty easy to understand conceptually, eg. ‘The drums make that noise ’cause the dude with the little pieces of wood hit them lots.’ Electronic music is a mystery to most people though. How does one even start producing electronic music??
HH: We make our sounds through the use of synthesizers and pre-recorded electronic sounds, and put them together on computers. Most people have no idea how the sounds are being generated, but we are basically working with a completely limitless and free soundscape.
I came across it at first through wanting to do something different to the music I’d grown up with. I did the Higher School Certificate as bass guitarist. But I wanted to develop further and see what else I could crack, just through sheer inquisitiveness. It has proved to be an extraordinarily difficult learning process.
‘Using the software we use is harder than learning any instrument I play. It’s like learning every instrument again all at once.’
There is just so much more to know. Musical theroy is put to work along side of technology.
Electronic music is very popular right now, so the timing is awesome to be exploring in this world. A lot of people have seen the expansion of the industry as a bad thing somehow. But I believe the more people involved the better! Everyone is saying that live music is dying. But while some styles are dying others are emerging. Electronic dance music production is ready to boom; it’s constantly evolving so it never dies. The stupid irresponsible new lockout laws have made a change in the city, but your bedroom will never have a lockout time so it’s no worries for me really.
‘I try do what I like, not what is popular. As long as you make what you like, it will be fun. Whether that’s ‘in’ or not doesn’t matter.’
DSM: When you’re on stage and turning a knob slowly and jumping around, do you see that as the same live performance as when you were on stage with a guitar strapped to your pelvis?
HH: Not the same. DJing is a lot easier in terms of live performance, although DJing well is a very fine art. The people who can be creative in their mixing style; that will attract attention. It’s like there’s two sides to your stuff. At the moment I’m working on combining the two sides, making the music and DJing, in performing my live set. But that will take years to learn how to do well.
DSM: How would you describe your sound?
HH: I haven’t quite found it, but it’s down the line of Instrumental House. I guess it’s unique because I’m not setting out to replicate anyone. I’m starting from scratch making sounds only I have.
‘Finding a new song for me is this like going on a road trip. You pack and choose a direction, but I’m open to whatever sounds I meet along the way, and that determines where I will end up’.
And it’s an awesome feeling, manipulating a crowd. With every drop you control peoples physical being. And when that reaction is to something you’ve made, that’s a massive addictive rush.
I’ve been lucky enough to support some of the biggest DJs around, playing the same decks as my idols, and there’s a big difference from the bedroom to the live. Being good in the bedroom doesn’t mean you’re good anywhere else. You’ve gotta know people as well as sounds.
Listen to DeeJaa-Vu on Soundcloud here.
Like on fb here.