A chat with Adelaide's Dr. Chemtrails...
Introducing Dr. Chemtrails, the multifaceted artist hailing from Adelaide, Australia, who is steadily making their mark in the electronic and minimal music scenes. With a talent that spans both the DJ booth and the studio, Dr. Chemtrails is a dedicated enthusiast in the field.As a seasoned music producer and DJ, Dr. Chemtrails has honed their skills through countless club and afterhours sets, delivering performances that resonate with audiences. Their productions reflect a commitment to crafting hypnotic soundscapes that move both body and soul.Dr. Chemtrails is also the driving force behind Orbital Drift, a boutique record label gaining recognition in the industry. Their debut release, "Carrier EP," is set to drop on the 22nd of September, promising a sonic journey you won't want to miss and showcasing the exciting potential of this emerging artist. We caught up with the man himself recently to learn more...
Let’s kick things off by chatting about your early beginnings in electronic music. Outside of the amazing music, what made it so special and enticing for you?
The like minded people I met at the club and the altered and euphoric states of mind experienced early on definitely made it special, and i guess having decks from a young age also made me take more notice of what the DJs were doing and playing so i guess i also had an intense desire to seek out the best music like they were.
You’re originally from Adelaide, right? How do you rate the scene there in comparison to the likes of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth? Is it less reliant on international talent do you think? Is that a good thing for the local scene?
I’ve been living in Adelaide most of my adult life. Adelaide is pretty different from other Australian Capi, the underground scene exists but there isn't a great deal of good venues to choose from so it mostly exists in the form of local artists playing free park parties thrown in the parklands that surround the CBD. Internationals stopped when covid started and there are a lot less coming through nowadays. As far as I'm concerned any international artist coming to Adelaide is a good thing.
With rents so high in the aforementioned cities, is it a bit easier to make a living as a musician in Adelaide? Or is it the same story there too?
The rent is cheaper than other capital cities but all of the other costs of living are still quite high. If you are djing underground electronic music it is hard to make a living doing so in Adelaide.
Aside from yourself, can you tell us a bit about some of the other players in the local scene? Who should we watch out for?
Recently there's been a massive surge of producers and labels coming out of the woodwork in Adelaide. Slip system and Acetic records are up and coming Adelaide labels to watch, both with insanely hard working individuals running them, Acetic has an entirely Adelaide made compilation coming out very soon.
This is a pretty up to date playlist of music with both currently active and no longer active Adelaide artists:
Artists to check out/keep an eye on include Featherstone, Demo DC, K.Solo, Cruise, Every artist on the Acetic compilation particularly Nicholas and Research Project. Adelaide Acid is doing some cool live stuff as well!
So, let’s say we’d 24 hours to spend in Adelaide on a music tip. What club, record store, clothes store etc should we get to? And what else do you recommend about your home city?
Go see Hans at Transition Records, He has a very good selection of minimal house and techno and is a very good selector and record store owner. No need to go anywhere else for clothes, they sell Transition Records t-shirts as well! Then ask Hans what is on. He will recommend going to an Inside Out or Visitors party most likely. So you have your night planned and you need a haircut, head down to Closer Closer Closer and get your hair cut by Glen while listening to vinyl playing through an Adelaide made Condesa mixer and coming out of Funktion One speakers. Buy records, drop off stuff at hotel, head to Inside Out, party, walk to parklands, check the insanity unfolding at the visitors party, head straight from visitors party to the airport, done, 24 hours. Oh and go down to Maslins beach if you have time. It's beautiful.
Going back a bit, who inspired you on your early journey? What was it about them that so influenced you? And who continues to inspire you?
Lenin Paunovic from Inside out was definitely a local influence for me starting out. He was always super supportive and would actually listen to music I sent him.
Rob Koster from GMAudio is the best producer I know and he has always been there for detailed constructive feedback on my tracks. He also makes insanely useful high quality M4L devices that I use on almost every channel in every track I've made.
Also youtube videos of Romanian music festivals have always been inspiring to me.
Is there anyone in particular you look to on an artist and label manager whose success you’d love to similarly replicate? And if so, what is it about their agenda and way of doing things that really resonates?
Dave (Venda) from Sydney. Great bloke, great producer, great DJ and an absolute weapon in most aspects, especially minimal music.
On the opposite side, how important do you think it is to establish your own sound and voice in electronic music? How long did it take you to get to a stage where you felt really comfortable with your own sound?
I think I've always done my own thing. I've been producing pretty heavily for about 7 of the last 9 years but only truly have felt comfortable with my music for the last year or so.
And how would you describe and categorise your own sound?
Driving Minimal tech house, with deep themes.
You keep your internet presence pretty low I’ve noticed. Is this a conscious thing? Do too many artists rely on an internet presence for bookings etc?
It's necessary nowadays I think, but I do ponder over how many additional skills that aren't just making music one will need to have in order to get their music noticed.
Do you set yourself goals and challenges as an artist? Or are you more someone who goes to the studio and sees what happens?
I’ve always felt the need to put in immense amounts of time into music production, i have rough goals, but my way of thinking is that if i do it and keep doing it then i will eventually succeed and if i don't then i've got a huge unreleased tracks album to upload to Bandcamp in 20 years time 😛
Talk to us a bit about your unusual - but brilliant - moniker. How did you come up with the idea of Dr. Chemtrails? And does everyone understand what a ‘chemtrail’ is?
It’s a secret hehe, I’m not a conspiracy theorist if that is what you are asking!
ORBD001 is a really inspired record and we’re absolutely loving it. ‘Carrier’ especially! What was the vibe you were going for with that one?
Carrier was made on a day with perfect weather after my last shift at a job I had for way too long. Just sat down and it made itself. I feel like I captured how I was feeling at the time pretty well.
Your productions sound like they’ve been made with someone with decades of experience. How long have you been producing? And how important is patience with a view to releasing music do you think?
I've had a few big breaks from production in the last 10 or so years. Other than that I've been producing every spare chance I get. At the moment I spend approx 3-5 hours per day on production. I don't know if patience is a good thing as good songs do get forgotten. Having music released feels nice and is getting feedback is a great and encouraging feeling
Finally, what’s next - on a personal and music level - that you’re really excited about?
Music, music, music and more music forever ❤️
Keep up with Dr. Chemtrails on Bandcamp
Discover more about Tom's Orbital Drift label on Linktree here
Buy/isten to the release here