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Godlands on her debut EP '4 U Only', healthy minds & stepping outside of your comfort zone

6 August 2019 | 1:46 pm | Caitlin Medcalf

We caught up with Godlands to chat about her debut EP '4 U Only', her recently wrapped up national tour and not being pigeonholed.

A few weeks back, Aussie producer GODLANDS shared her biggest project ever with us in her debut EP, 4 U Only. After teasing cuts from the record for a few months, she finally unleashed the five-tracker via her new found fam in Dim Mak.

The EP traverses many different facets of her sound, each track never conforming to any one style of creating, but instead, taking cues from those sounds and being reinterpreted in her own way. It also saw her step out of her comfort zone and collaborate with other artists, making for a release that not only reflects her growth as an artist, but as a person too.

The EP opens with 'No Stress' featuring grime MC Jelacee spitting fire atop a beat provided by Godlands and JEANIE. As a contributor to Australia's ever-growing grime scene, it's an apt inclusion and one that sees Godlands push further than her usually attributed labels.

'Back Now' harnesses Godlands' knack for giving us a thumping, dancefloor ready slapper. Taking influence some of tech-house's contemporaries like Joyryde, it's one hell of a track that again sees her stepping outside of any one label.

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'Lowkey' with NXSTY and Lil Traffic is a knife-sharpening trap battlefield, while '2 Clips' harkens back to more big-room trap moments, complete with an EPROM-esque, low-end heavy, filthy ass drop and peppered in with jersey club moments. We're left at the EP's close with previous single 'Valour', featuring BOI, giving us something spectacular to go out on a bang with.

Godlands is continually solidifying herself as a frontrunner in bass music, her constant output of music giving us nothing but her full self in every aspect of the term. We caught up with her to chat about the EP, her 4 U Only tour and not being pigeonholed.

You toured the country in May, opting for intimacy over huge club shows. What sparked this decision? Did the tour live up to your concept? 

I wanted to get out of the club route and elevate to a ticketed show tour. I've been DJing for ten years and have only ever been a club DJ, so opting for a ticketed tour was extremely nerve-racking. However, I didn't want to get to a point where I was just in an endless cycle of club gigs for years, so putting on this tour was important for my own personal growth and growth as an artist. It was important to me to shows that felt intimate for my and old. I wanted to make it feel like a rave and something that people won't easily forget so I make sure to be as interactive as I could be with the crowd. They're like family to me and I'm always so grateful and taken aback when people want to come to see me perform.

There’s no one in the country doing bass music like you are right now. How do you maintain your energy as a producer?

Currently I'm focussing on being healthier. I've stopped drinking, which for a DJ is a near impossible thing haha. But I've found it really helps my brain and creative process and general mental and emotional state. I think growing older and realising this could be gone in an instant scares the shit out of me. I want to break the cycle of self deprecating behaviour. I cannot stress enough how eating well, less drinking and exercising can completely change how you think and create.

The EP sees you traverse a whole bunch of different genres like grime, g house, trap, bass and everything in between. What were you inspired by during the creation of this EP?

My EP is a lot like my sets, I travel between a lot of different genres because I love a whole lotta different music ha! I get inspired by so many different genres and I find it hard to stick to one thing, maybe it's the sagittarius in me. I'm constantly inspired by artists around me, every time I go onto Soundcloud, there's a huge influx of talent... it's hard not to be inspired by that.

Can you talk us through how your production techniques may have differed for the tracks on this EP compared to your previous releases?

I seem to always start with the kick and snare for the drop, then fx and percs, sub and bass. I tend to keep the same process however I try to learn everyday about new techniques on synth processing on YouTube. I find I'm always learning which is amazing. I don't think you can ever have too much info when it comes to producing. Everyday I find out new things and in turn it makes my production that little bit better. It's a process.

You’ve got a stellar run of features on the record, including contributions from Jelacee, Lil Traffic and BOI. Collaboration is a new thing to you. What was it like opening yourself up to this new mode of creating? Were there any sessions that you particularly enjoyed?

Collaborating was definitely a huge goal for me this year, but to be honest its actually really scary to send a WIP to someone in hope that they'd like it enough to want to collaborate with you. I've learnt that this year it's better to take the leap ("you miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky - Michael Scott), because at the end of the day we are all out here grinding. Producers are always very open to give you some tips and want to work with you and I'm so happy to have been able to work with such talented artists. Definitely something I plan to do more often. I loved being able to work with BOI and recording her vocals alongside Quinn, he really helped me with the recording process and we were all able to add our flare into the project.

What was your favourite track to put together on the record?

It's hard to say! I think the collaborations were always more fun because you're working with other people and it's exciting when the creative juices are flowing so much and you're both coming up with amazing ideas.  

Your visual aesthetic plays as big a part in the Godlands project as the music does. What was it like getting to develop the visual aspect of this release too?

Nowadays I think it's really important to have a strong visual aspect to your project. I love creating and being in charge of the aesthetic was imperative to me. I had a strong sense of how I wanted things to look even before the project came to fruition. Like my music, I get inspired by soooo many different types of artwork so I will say it was a challenge not to change things too often as continuity is pretty important to every project.

Photo by Neil Favila