Since bursting onto the scene a few years back with his deft production abilities and raw aptitude for musicality, Alex Preston has firmly established himself at the helm of Australia’s underground house scene. DMCWORLD checks in with the main man as he releases his new EP ‘Ain’t Gonna Cry’ for Sonny Fodera’s growing Solotoko label…
Hi Alex! Where in the world are you right now?
Hi! I’m in my studio, which is in my house at Dee Why Beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
What made you want to become a producer/DJ?
I think it was my love of house music, my passion for making music and the enjoyment I get from playing music for people.
How is 2019 looking for you? Anything exciting you can reveal?
So far so good! I have just released an EP with Sonny Fodera’s label, Solotoko and I have another EP coming out next month (Feb) with Sam Divine’s label. I also have some cool live gigs coming up as well!
Your new EP, Ain’t Gonna Cry, came out on Sonny Fodera’s label Solotoko. Can you tell us how you working with the label came about?
My manager Jeryl has been working with Sonny on Solotoko. When I switched up my style about 18 months ago we set a goal of trying to work with Sonny’s label. Towards the end of last year, Jeryl fired some of my music ver to Sonny and he vibed and away we went.
What vibe were you going for with the EP?
I think EP represents what people can expect to hear from my sound these days as it really blends house / disco & classic vibes with a dash of tech house.
Live instrumentation seems to be something you’re doing really well. Can you talk to us about your background as a musician?
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 10 years old. When I was kid it was just something I could do, I could pick up a guitar and play any song by ear. I used to take my guitar to school everyday and jam in punk bands and Hendrix cover bands, so playing an instrument was always something I did everyday.
I’m really enjoying where my music is at now because I still get to pick up a guitar every day and jam on things.
What made you interested in mixing guitar with club music?
It kind of started when I tried it in the studio. I was just trying it out and it was giving the tracks a rawness and a different feel. So I made a few demos and I was like I can play these demos live in my sets and I can jam on them when I DJ. When I started to play the new songs live in my DJ sets, it was really weird people would really get into the tunes having never heard them before. I was like I need to do more of this! Also, my background in playing jazz & blues guitar means that my playing style is very improvised. So I thought it would be cool for club goers as well because I never really play a song exactly the same way twice.
Can you talk us through how you incorporate the guitar into your live sets?
Originally, when i started playing live I thought I would be just playing on maybe 6 songs out of 20 in a 1.5 hour set. So I used Ableton Live, a sound card and Native Instruments Guitar Rig in my live set up, along with the Pioneer DJ club rig. But audiences really got into the guitar part of the set so now I basically play nearly all my own tunes and I play guitar on basically every tune. This also meant I needed to switch guitar sounds a lot, so I now use a traditional guitar pedal setup that I can control with my feet. It’s also really important to me that the live performance is very much a DJ set as well. So I kind of plan what I’m doing before my set, but it really depends on the crowds response so I like to switch things up as well.
Where do you make music?
I make music at home in my studio with my cat haha! I feel really comfortable there, I’m in my own space, I can relax and make music whenever I feel like it.
What do you get up to outside of music?
I surf a lot. Some say too much lol, but we’ve had a real bad run of waves lately in Sydney so I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio! Jokes aside, I really love it because it takes my mind off music for a couple of hours each day.
What’s special in your opinion about the Australian music scene?
A couple of things; we are a really small industry; we are really far away from the rest of the world; &, we have really good weather here over summer. Put all those elements into a blender and you get the Australian scene. So yeah everyone kind of knows everyone. You also get peeps with some pretty unique sounds and approaches to music because they don’t get to play overseas much. And, we have some really cool outdoor events over our summer that a lot of the big UK / European house acts come and play at, which everyone here gets super excited about.
Any plans in the future to do more work with Sonny?
Definitely! Solotoko signed me for a couple of releases and I’m heading over to Europe later this year, so hopefully I will do a couple more releases with Sonny!
Alex Preston – Ain’t Gonna Cry is out now…