Immersing himself in the cultural landscape of Berlin has paid dividends for the artistic direction of the upcoming album C()D3X for Brisbane based producer Danny Harley. The finishing touches were put onto the album there, while embracing everything the cultural centre has to offer.
The opportunity to work in Berlin came after The Kite String Tangle won the prestigious Grant Mclennan Fellowship in 2018. This is already generating results, with the track ‘P()L4r’ winning electronic/dance track of the year at the recent Queensland Music Awards. Everything is moving in the right direction for The Kite String Tangle. After speaking with Danny Harley, you get the impression that he has certainly found himself as an artist, and that his time in Berlin was pivotal in influencing his latest release.
“Yeah, it was awesome”, suggests Harley. “I ended up spending four months getting involved in the arts and music scene over there. It’s such a unique opportunity, as there is so much going on all of the time. Everyone is always pushing boundaries, and it’s a really great place to immerse yourself, and there is a huge electronic music scene there as well.”
When you hear Harley discussing the process behind the creation of C()D3X, it’s hard not to seize up with jealously – for any electronic artist, the recording seems like an absolute dream come true. Having the opportunity to spend time connecting with the cultural vibrancy of the Berlin, while fine-tuning his musical vision.
“We ended up doing a lot of the mixing there, even tracking some vocals in an Airbnb with my U87,” says Harley. “Then I mixed the album with a friend, and it worked out pretty well.”
Talking more in depth about the production process, Harley reveals his working methods, which primarily resolve around an in-the-box production approach. “Ableton gets the song done, then I bounce stems out from there. I record vocals and mix in Pro Tools though,” Harley explains.
The outcome of all of this is a smoothly produced electronic album that competes commercially with the best of them. His new single ‘North’ features driving dark synths and an anthemic chorus. Without a doubt this track will be hugely popular with existing fans, but has a very accessible sound that could translate into increased exposure.
“I was listening to a lot of techno in the clubs over there. That is definitely going to come though in the music. I reckon it brought a darker edge to it,” Harley suggests, noting that the underlying darker narrative of C()D3X in turn influenced the record’s sonic nature.
“I think sonically - the space that it’s in, even in the reverbs used – they (the songs) can be quite warehouse. It feels like it’s in a certain space through the sounds and the artwork. I feel like that stuff is really important… to have a concept before you start writing, especially for an album.”
It’s undenaible that C()D3X has emerged from a very productive period for Harley. The cohesive and thoughtful approach he engages with throughout his production process is a shining example of the high-level results possible in the electronic production sphere.
Despite everything that’s happening in the world, Harley also mentions that he’s currently exploring production options for The Kite String Tangle’s live show, which at the time of writing, is set to kick off in May and head around Australia. Harley says he’s aiming to create a much darker and more electrifying experience this time around to solidify the concept of C()D3X to those witnessing it in the flesh.
“We’re definitely making a conscious effort to not just take the same show out on tour again,” he says. “We’re trying to make a show that’s cohesive and next-level for us, and we’re really excited to put this together soon!”
C()D3X, the new album from The Kite String Tangle, is out now via Warner Music Australia.