The journey from demo to finished song can be a long one. For daste., it’s also essential to letting the song find its way. The Gold Coast-based trio– Braxton Tahi, Tyler Harden, and Callum MacDonald– approach songs equally, putting no pressure on adhering to a timeline. The patience has paid off, as their singles and recent debut full-length, dusk&dawn, have attracted a steady amount of eager listeners (including us at Sofar). We talked with the old friends about their democratic process of making chill electronic R&B, and what it was like to put their first album out during 2021.
Braxton: From our first collaboration we just clicked. In terms of how we arrange our work, I think it all turns out to how long we put time and effort in. We like to take the time to really draw out what we want. If we have something, we always bring it to the table and go from there.
Braxton: The demo from [our first single] “Thinking Of” sounds nothing like how it is [now]. We always try and caress the song to get it where it needs to be. It’s always important to keep an open mind to see where that goes. Things change, and sometimes changes work for the better.
Callum: We’ll have the demo, whether that’s just something from a phone or we created together, and me personally, I’ll listen to that in the car, and might’ve listened to an artist just before that, and ideas come. It could be six months after [we] started the song. But you just get that certain idea, and are like ‘I feel like we could turn the song into something more like this,’ but do it together, just try it. And when it does click it’s really cool. That’s just one example, there’s been so many different ways the song changes direction for the right way.
Tyler: There have been times in the past where it’s hard to know whether everyone’s on the same page with a song. With our single “Sober”, I actually thought it sounded too much like “Thinking Of”, even though it doesn’t. Thank god I was outvoted because the song was released and it was successful. It’s very democratized, if it’s two against one, so be it.
Tyler: A lot of the things on the album basically are about staying resilient in hard times, not letting the bad things in life get you down. A lot of that was influenced by covid, everybody was in a bad situation and you had to hope for a good future. It definitely influenced the album.
Braxton: On the day we released the album I had a terrible day, so it was good to listen back and think, ‘hold on.’ As [Tyler] said, everyone was going through hard times, me especially, and it’s good to see where it is now. I’m proud of us having an album under our belts.
Braxton: It’s really good. We always say you can’t have one without the other, studio time and going on tour, it's all part of being a band. It’s always fun playing live.
Tyler: It was different for us. We’ve gone through different phases of how we run our set. We use Ableton and use a laptop on stage but did run into issues, so we wanted to get away from that. Sofar was straight up instruments– us and our musical ability. That was intimidating. It was fun [and] good for us to experience something like that.
Tyler: We have a lot of demos, it'll be good to go back and look. I don’t want to say too much, because it won’t turn out how we’re thinking now. Just have to take it as it comes I suppose.
Photo credit: daste. photo by Dom Gould