With his fourth album ‘Joyful’, arriving on Tim Sweeney’s beloved Beats In Space imprint, Melbourne producer Andras delivers one of his finest works to date, capping off a decade of music under a variety of aliases that flits cordially between beat-driven club music and deeper ambient sounds. Often his Australian identity feeds heavily into his music, though as Andras explains, it’s also accompanied by a certain amount of ambivalence.
In this sense, it’s uncomfortably fitting that when he speaks to DJ Mag, it’s at the same time that the world is watching in shock as Australia is ravaged by deadly bushfires. “My world’s on fire, how about yours?” Andras starts the conversation. “When I wrote ‘Joyful’, I was preoccupied with unpacking fairly nuanced cultural histories, but that baggage is hard to place in front of your mind when the country is burning.”
Known otherwise as Andrew Wilson and born in late ’80s suburban Melbourne to Australian-Hungarian parents, he’s also notably one-half of the duo Wilson Tanner (positioned more on the live-ambient side of things). He points to his adoption of the Hungarian version of his name ‘Andras’ for his dance-focused material, as a reflection of embracing an ambivalence towards his home country, which runs like a thread through much of his music.
“I make Australian electronic music,” Andras says. “An Australian identity is something very hard to swallow, and has given me plenty to chew on. I like teasing out small contradictions in how Australians record and present music. For example, why use the call of the common Eurasian loon bird within studio tracks, when we have the greatest diversity of songbirds anywhere on earth here in Australia? Why call our music Balearic when we have over 50,000 kilometers of unique coastline of our own? “Australian dominant cultures have paraded under the banner of ‘young and free’ while stomping all over some of the oldest and richest lands and living cultures on earth. I want to learn how to tread lightly.”
‘Joyful’ represents the first time he’s released with Beats In Space. (Oddly, a musical relationship that he says began after, “Tim Sweeney came to see me perform at the Abbotsford convent in Melbourne many years ago.”) Beyond sounding mellow and lovely, it’s an album that’s driven by a cool conceptual idea, exploring what he’s identified as a through-line between ’70s folk and ’90s rave. If this sounds like a bit of a stretch, Andras requests that you bear with him.
“Both emphasized melody, simple but sentimental themes, of joy and regret,” he explains. “Lyrically, comparisons are easy to draw. ‘Feelings go up… and come down.’ Applicable to someone pouring their heart out on a folk record, or pouring sweat inside a warehouse. Love and fluff. Platitudes are spoken over and over until they break, sweet melodies to almost make you sick.”
His new album is also rather special, because Andras is taking the chance to give a little back to the country that so inspires his music, via donating a portion of proceeds to the Invasive Species Council, which he chose after engaging Australian biologist Tim Low for his recommendation. “During recovery from these current catastrophic bushfires, land management organizations will have a hard job managing feral species and weeds,” he shares. “I wanted to help native pollinators.”