Alice Springs-based artist Resin Moon (aka Dave Crowe) launches his long-anticipated debut EP ‘Salt’ today. Foldback Magazine had a good hard listen to the release and then caught up with this nuanced singer-songwriter for his reflections on his musical journey leading up to this first release and his diverse influences in creating his subtle brand of electronic music from the Central Australian desert.
By Steve ‘Habibi’ Kelk
Resin Moon is certainly more than just a curious blip on the Australian music scene radar. He has over the last three or so years caught the attention of the wider Australian and indeed international music communities with his releases winning awards such as the International Songwriting Competition and the Australian Independent Music Awards. More recently, he has gained recognition for his appealing and instantly recognizable musical motifs on national television commercials for the likes of Medibank, Tourism NT, Mitsubishi and Australia Post and, most recently, won NT Song of the Year for the title track off what was to become his debut EP, ‘Salt’. This track was picked up instantly by national broadcaster Triple J and received high praise from that station’s presenters as well as from overseas commentators.
Music has always been part of my life. I shut it out for quite a long time while I was working and travelling.
Now aged 32, Dave has been playing keyboards since he was 4 and writing songs since he was 7. Early electronica heavily influenced his tastes and he continued his love affair with making beats through his youth and university studies. Work and travel intervened for quite a while before he found himself drawn back into his first love. A medical scientist, he took the risk of foregoing his vocation to devote himself to his music full-time in 2013. The risk has paid off. His travels and travails have matured his songwriting skills such that he now is able to produce work of great depth. Dave explains further:
“Music has always been part of my life. I shut it out for quite a long time while I was working and travelling. It’s not something I regret because I think that time of my life when I was travelling and experiencing a lot of the world, meeting lots of different people, has really given me that life experience, rich experiences to draw on for writing music and creating music. I feel like when I was eighteen I didn’t have a lot to write about as much and I didn’t have such a rich variety of experiences and influences to draw on. So I feel really lucky, privileged in a way to have jumped in, in the last few years, into music full-time.”
This EP is electronica for sure, but Dave Crowe is also quite adept at organic musical expression with simply his guitar and voice in front of a live audience and this comes out in ‘Salt’, giving the EP a grounded quality that is not often seen from artists of the same genre. Dave’s work on this debut is subtle, almost understated in parts (as is the man himself). There is a measure of the surreal which is effective and not over-exploited, again maintaining that grounded feel while at the same time exploring an otherworldly musical landscape. The splendid isolation and magnificence of the Centralian desert, coupled with Dave’s geographical and personal closeness to indigenous culture and spiritualism, seeps from between the clever and thoughtful electronic sine waves of sound, creating a blend of ancient and modern that few others could accomplish.
The landscape brings out emotions in people.
Dave came to the Northern Territory ostensibly for work but also for that sense of adventure that only a ‘last frontier’ like the NT could afford him. In Alice Springs he discovered a thriving community of musicians and artists, like minded people who he believes came under the thrall of their remote desert surroundings which heavily influenced their work and ultimately his own. As he says:
“There is something in the landscape and the harsh environment that artists draw on all the time. It’s hard not to. Raw and extreme and in your face, its hard not to draw some of that nature and landscape into your art. The landscape brings out emotions in people.”
Personal experiences and environment have melded to formulate the tracks on the EP, both musically and lyrically. Recorded in such diverse locations as Alice Springs, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Resin Moon has interwoven his loves and losses, his self acceptance and growth, his divestment of past woes and finally his enlightenment and finding of inner peace into these tracks.
There were times when I felt like an equal which was bizarre.
The emotional turmoil of the first and title track ‘Salt’ is evoked lyrically by the semi-oblique reference to drying tears, symbolized by the direct reference to the salt lakes of the desert in which he dwells. The tracks become steadily more joyous as the songwriter evolves and matures emotionally, ending in the playful ‘Catch Me’, a short, sharp, staccato affair co-written by Sally Seltmann and Franc Tétaz that truly has the potential to become an anthem. This track is mildly Gotye-esque in its catchiness, perhaps unsurprisingly given the involvement of Grammy winner Tétaz, who co-engineered and mixed Gotye’s groundbreaking ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’. Working in Los Angeles, Tétaz also produced the EP with Resin Moon and their combined professionalism shows. Dave discussed with us working with Franc Tétaz, a man he has admired for many years:
“It was a dream come true. I was pretty nervous meeting him because I have so much respect for him. But what I hadn’t realised was that he’d produced a whole bunch of other records that had defined my teenage years and early 20’s, like Lior’s ‘Autumn Flow’. His attention to detail and his commitment to taking a song as far as it can possibly go…is so unbelievable and inspiring.”
As to the dynamic of the up-and-coming artist working with such a production legend:
“There were times when I felt like an equal which was bizarre because I wasn’t expecting that. I think Franc really respected the direction I wanted to take with the songs but he wasn’t afraid to jump in and take control at certain times and I was pretty happy for him to do that. I wasn’t afraid to sit back, listen and learn.”
Resin Moon is an artist of great depth and potential who has attracted the attention of other artists, professional producers, advertisers and the music-loving public. He has produced a stunning work with ‘Salt’. That he has done so from the isolated Red Centre of the country belies the myth that one has to necessarily base oneself in a major coastal city to do any good in this industry – quite to the contrary; the desert serves as his muse, it’s ancient landscape creating modern echoes that can be heard around the world.