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SixthSense Talks #7 – Doppel ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Hailing from our country’s capital, Canberra, Andy McMillan, or best known as Doppel, has spent years being Australia’s best-kept secret. Over a period of time, we’ve seen this lovely human being go from strength to strength, delivering mind-blowing dance floor experiences at our favourite Aussie bush doofs, all whilst consistently creating and putting out music that continues to redefine the structures of Australian festival music. Today he is one of the elite sought-after names in the global progressive and melodic techno scene, with continuous chart-climbing releases, support from an extensive array of A-list artists and recent signing to Einmusika, paving the way to his imminent debut album on Open Records. In lieu of his ‘Coil’ EP release on Bassic Records, we decided to catch up with the mysterious, yet mystifying human being that is Doppel. 

SS: So good to finally catch up with you Andy. How has this year been for you so far?

AND: Turbulent in many ways – I think it goes without saying – but very grateful to be safe and sound in Canberra through it all.

SS: Take us on a bit of a journey to where your love for electronic dance music started. What parties did you first attend and what artists did you first froth ? Did that inspire you to start writing music straight away?

AND: I started writing music when I was a teenager, but the music I’m writing today I’d say about 6 or 7 years ago? It was a two pronged thing really, I used to go to a lot of the big city festivals – Carl Cox & Danny Tenaglia at Summadayze in Melbourne of all places almost 10 years back was definitely an awakening. Loved trance/hard dance/d&b/used to listen to Random Album Title by Deadmau5 on repeat, all that kind of thing. Then there were the NSW bush parties and Dragon Dreaming / Regrowth around Canberra and through no uncertain twist of fate, Open records – which I am now happy to be intertwined with – which truly brought me out of my shell and focused my love for electronic music and the Australian bush.

SS: We’ve seen you grow exponentially as an artist. From your early releases on Bassic through to the groundbreaking ‘Melt’ EP on Open Records. We’ve also heard your sound evolve into a being of its own. What are the main driving forces of inspiration when you are in the studio?

AND:  Electronic music and performing / festivals etc. All came secondary to just throwing paint at a canvas in the studio – so to speak. I have always needed some kind of creative outlet and over time that morphed from visual art, painting, and digital art into music production. It’s all the same at the end of the day. I draw a lot of inspiration from the Aussie bush and from my experiences here, but honestly, a lot of it is just pure aesthetics with no rhyme or reason, or just an expression of raw emotion, or just making stuff because it feels or sounds good to me. 

Dancefloors are a huge part of it as well, I love writing a tune and then taking it straight from the studio to a gig, it’s a very satisfying direct line of communication with a crowd. I think filling a space with a piece of your soul via something you’ve created and connecting people through that is a very powerful experience.

SS: Let’s talk shop for a second. What’s your studio get up like? Any favourite go to plug ins, VSTS, analog synths etc?

AND: Ableton! Mostly using Push & AKAI APC 40, sometimes a bit of a noodle on the keys or guitar. I try not to overcomplicate my setup, I’ve learned that you can’t substitute good songwriting with sound design and sometimes constraints actually foster creativity rather than hinder it.

Having said that – I try to use samples in creative ways as much as possible. I think it’s easier to achieve unique, organic textures this way. I have handicapped myself in this regard though, a lot of electronic music sounds the same (hot take I know) so I’ve spent years going against the ‘song writing does not equal sound design’ mantra searching for something unique. Reigning that in now more and focusing more on simplicity, groove, arrangement and getting played on triple j.

  • Synths I use: Diva, Serum sometimes and some Kontakt drum libraries to achieve more organic drums.
  • ‘Love FX’ that can be used to achieve granular/organic textures – Ableton’s m4l granulator, 
  • Output’s Portal, SoundToys Crystallizer then resampling/stretching/re-granularizing that stuff.
  • Valhalla reverbs.
  • Mostly stock Ableton FX otherwise. Loving the waveshaper setting on the stock saturator. The new echo is sweet too.

Could go on for hours about this – hit me up if you want some tutoring !!

SS: We’ve seen you inject magic into dance floors all over the country for years now. Any favourite parties or moments that you’ve had that stick out as being the most special?

AND: Playing in the closing session of the 10th anniversary of Dragon Dreaming when it was basically the first festival I ever went to was very very special. Hard to go past playing the Market Stage at Rainbow a couple of times as well, the first time was the biggest buzz I’ve ever experienced. Esoteric at the start of 2020 was the last festival I played and a very special one as well, maybe we knew it’d be the last dance for a little while. Earth Frequency, Strawberry Fields, Elements, Elysium all have a special place in my heart too.

SS: 2020 has been pretty crazy, but you seem to have hit the straight with a fair bit of pace behind you, wanna let us in on a few projects that you are working on ? What can we expect from the Dop in the near future.

AND: I’m currently polishing off my debut album ‘Eucalyptograph’ – very excited about how it’s sounding. It’s due out on Open Records later this year.

Also putting the finishing touches on a project in collaboration with my good pals Tom & Jacob from The Journey and 333 music (purveyors of the Flow sessions)

 I’ve got a few more bits and pieces coming out between now and then. 

Photo taken by Key Witness Media

SS: Being a part of Open Records, which Australian artist has impressed you the most with the production?

AND: Hard to go past Funkform – he’s the master. I’m going to leave it at that because if I crack this question open it’ll be 2 pages long, suffice to say Australian artists are killing it at the moment. Good stuff guys.

SS: Anything much to do in Canberra ? What are your favourite past times other than being a top bloke.

AND: Lots of natural beauty around Canberra, I love being immersed in the bush but still having the resources and convenience of living in a city. It’s very peaceful. Have friends/family and dogs here which is more than enough. There’s also a nice little music scene here too, some great artists/venues and a thriving underground.

SS: What’s the ultimate bucket list goal?

AND: Well, it was to take my music on an international tour which was supposed to be happening this year but that one’s been shelved for a little while so I’m re-evaluating that list now. I think ultimately I want to build a really schmick studio out in the bush, grow some veggies and have a couple of dogs running around.

SS: What’s some good advice you can give to an aspiring producer looking to make a name for himself. 

AND: Don’t obsess about trying to get into a scene, make sure you’re in it for the right reasons, if something is built on a rotten foundation then the whole thing’s going to fall over. 

Try to achieve balance – focus on your health, your friends/family/whatever you have around you and stop and smell the roses once in a while. It’s easy to spend all of your free time staring at a computer screen making noises but it’s much harder to make that time focused and meaningful. You need input, not just output. 

DRINK WATER !! 

We are so thankful for Andy making time for us. His ‘Coil’ EP release on Bassic Records is currently climbing various Beatport charts. If you want to support Doppel, Bassic Records and Australian music, please purchase the EP through the link below:

Buy / Stream / Support : hyperurl.co/Coil-EP