What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
Joss: Well, it’s a long, long story but I’ll keep it a brief as possible. I first started making music not that long after my parents had – wisely, as it turned out – told me I was going to learn a musical instrument. I must have been eight/nine years old. I started to learn the piano. Then one day I sat at the piano and wrote a “song” called Big Fish/Little Fish. Let me put it this way: the title was more inspiring than the music, if you can believe that! It really just kind of continued after that. Then, years and years later, a friend and I were trying to run a record label somewhere near the height of the clubbing scene and we put an advert in a music mag for tracks/artists. One of those to reply was Adam, along with his mate J, as Red & Blue. And that was the start of a long friendship…Adam and I had tried to make music together a couple of times over the intervening years, but it was only in 2014 or so that we really started working together. And that quickly became Tullamarine. However, we didn’t really push our first two albums (Code and And So We Followed Her Blindly Into The Sun) but we are with Frequency, and the preceding Stratosphere EP.
Adam: I remember hearing Jean-Michel Jarre’s Rendez-Vous as a kid – I think the first time I heard it I was on a Boy Scout camping trip. That album really opened my ears. Yes, he’s a bit looked down at now, but for me – and I know for Joss and other friends, too – he was the one that revealed a whole new sonic world. What has to be kept in mind is that this was way before the days of the internet and certainly the internet in terms of music. Once you found someone back then that resonated, you often felt like you were breaking new ground. I remember scouring local record shops looking for other albums he had released and then playing each of them endlessly. And then, years later I responded to an ad in a magazine…
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Tullamarine: Frequency, our new album that came out in February, is the culmination of a lot of work and a lot of understanding of how to work together, not only technically but artistically, too. Our first two albums led to this understanding. And a lot of happy accidents. We work in separate studios miles apart in London. This is what works best for us, being able to work completely separately but then the other person can pick up a track and work on it the instant the other says so. But while being as structured as possible, you have to make sure that you don’t engineer out the magic or overthink things. This is the skill. Frequency is a mixture of styles – all electronica – but with the same tone and feeling across it. At least we think so. It’s quite hard describing your own music. Really, that’s for others to do. Some of our club influences are on show, though it’s far, far away from being a club album. There are bits of Reich and Glass et al., not least from many nights spent at the Barbican and Royal Festival Hall in London. And there’s touches of Peter Gabriel and people like A Winged Victory for the Sullen. And even one track that has memories of a country lament. We’ll leave you to work out which track we’re referring to on Frequency. We are very excited about this album.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Joss: My influences are many and varied. As Adam mentioned above, Jean-Michel Jarre is an obvious influence on us both. Following quickly on from that was Peter Gabriel, particularly his early solo albums (including some slightly mad live stuff) and his soundtracks. When I first heard his soundtrack to Birdy, there were many moments of epiphany. Then there’s Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, and a lot of minimalism (Music for 18 Musicians is a standout). But there’s also a lot of club music: Sasha, Digweed, Deep Dish, a lot of the stuff on Ben Watt’s Buzzin’ Fly. And, of course, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. Oh, and Eno.
Adam: Beaumont Hannant (and co-producer Richard Brown) are probably the artists who changed everything for me. It’s fairly unlikely many people have heard of them. I had never heard anything like Beau’s first album on GPR. It’s by some distance the record that’s influenced me the most, deeply affecting the way I work and produce music and how I do that as Tullamarine. It was the whole approach to sound that really got me. It was my gateway into the world of Warp and the whole sprouting IDM movement in the early 90s. I spent the next three years of my life telling anyone who would listen that Beaumont Hannant was going to be huge. It still pains me that he never got the recognition he, and co-producer Richard Brown, deserved. Beau stopped producing music in ’97 and simply disappeared.
As I say, this was my way into the whole 90s IDM music, Warp and then on into the clubbing scene with artists like Deep Dish, 16B, Sasha…I could go on. More recently we – Tullamarine – have listened to a lot of minimalism across the ages and some modern classical. That has had an influence, too.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Tullamarine: Umm, good question but a hard one to answer without sounding like pretentious idiots. Our music really is quite wide-ranging. We’re genuinely not sure whether people would be able to tell that our three albums are made by the same duo. But then maybe we’re too close to them to tell. But our sound, certainly in terms of chords/structure/rhythms, really varies from almost-pop to soundscapes to minimalism, via a couple of clubs, and back to almost-pop. The key things (pun not intended) are space and time and not to shy away from melody when it’s required. It’s electronica but really, what does that actually mean? To be honest, it’s what listeners think that matters.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Joss: My three films are: Memento, The Year My Voice Broke and An Angel At My Table. Books? Z for Zachariah, Out Stealing Horses and The Clearing. And albums: Loveless, Selected Ambient Works 85-92 and the Birdy soundtrack.
Adam: My films are: Blade Runner 2049, The Fearless Vampire Killers and Goodfellas. With books it’s A Scanner Darkly, 1984 and Brave New World. Albums it’s Drumming, Basic Data Manipulation Volume 2 and Disintegration.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Tullamarine: This is any easy one to answer: we haven’t (yet) performed live, so the studio. We may do so in the future, but we’ve been so busy making music, particularly Frequency, that it hasn’t properly crossed our radar.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Tullamarine: Well, there are more than a few, but there’s one that springs to mind. This is years and years ago when clubbing was in full swing in London. A group of us had been out, including Adam and myself. We returned to my place in Brixton, all in various states of, erm, “disrepair”. At the time, me and a housemate made music and we had a massive amount of outboard kit and decks in our living room. We’d all had a go at mixing but the “disrepair” had got the better of us, so we were all spread out around the living room, with a couple of people lying on big cushions on the floor. The track – Underworld, but I cannot remember which track – had been playing off vinyl. It began to fade and then started to rhythmically click and crackle. We all began to nod along again in time, with someone saying, “I love this bit of this album. So sparse and yet so effective. Good groove, too.” A series of wise, yet mumbled, replies followed. About 20 mins later we were still listening when it slowly dawned on me this wasn’t part of the album, it was the end of the first side and we’d been listening to the play out grooves for 20 mins…
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Tullamarine: Umm, another good question. Possibly Cured from Frequency or Shadow of Light on And So We Followed Her Blindly Into The Sun. You don’t want to ask how that was produced…
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Well, Frequency is only just out so we’re gonna bask in the glory of that (😊). We are – as is everyone else in the UK and elsewhere – waiting for lockdown to end. We have some video ideas we’d like to pursue with @melaniechristinea, who helps with all our design and promo work, but we can’t at the mo. She’s ace and we’re looking forward to that. We also have some new music that’s close to ready that we’re eager to put out there this year. This is a bit different again from what we’ve done so far. To be honest, this lockdown has been very, very hard on everyone and our main aim is to enjoy freedom when it comes and take it from there.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Would you be able to tell the difference between a 3D printed steak and the real thing?
Tullamarine: Yes. Yes, we would!
(We probably wouldn’t but this is our question and our answer.)
Photo Credits: Melanie Christine Amengual
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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