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NuKreative is the music project and brainchild of Jamesen Re & Danny Bonnici, two of Australia’s most respected pioneers of the Australian Dance Music scene.
Their musical journey began as solo artists and under various projects in Melbourne over 20 years ago and in 2017 the duo joined forces, concentrating on their mutual passion for deep & uplifting, organic house music.
Since then, their rise up the global dance music charts has been rapid with consistent releases on acclaimed labels such All Day I Dream, Tale and Tone, Renaissance, Kindisch, Balance, Magician On Duty, Trybesof and more recently Beat & Path.
We caught up with Danny and Jamesen to talk about their release ‘Enigma’ coming out on Beat & Path. You can pre-order the release here.
Electronic Groove: Hi Jamesen! Hi Danny! We’re amped to have you back with us. How have you’ve been doing? Where are you based right now? What’s the situation looking like over there?
Jamesen: Hi, thanks for the invite. Currently I’m in Los Angeles. I went back to Melbourne, Australia for a few months to be with family and visit friends. The situation is pretty bleak there at the moment with covid 19 lockdowns. Challenging times indeed. Another world compared to how LA is treating the pandemic. Happy to be back with my kids and partner.
Danny: Hello all. Just in Melbourne going through another lockdown. It’s been tuff this time around in some ways. Still trying to keep positive. Music has taken a back burner whilst juggling kids and homeschooling. Hope to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Electronic Groove: So, we’re curious…You’ve both got quite a LOT of road under your soles…How did NuKreative come alive? What was the initial purpose of this union?
Jamesen: There’s a good 20+ years of history & friendship there. NuKreative was born under the guise of just wanting to produce good quality music with friends. I always knew the union would go places because I’m the type to make shit happen when I put in the time and effort. Danny’s a great producer so all it took was a simple call and a demo idea I had and our first EP on Open Records started the ball rolling.
Danny: Yeah, Jamesen is a doer. I was very quiet on the production front back then and was mainly mixing and mastering and playing piano. He kicked me in the ass to try and get some tunes off the ground. The style was easy to ingest and seemed like meditation for me so it was nice to work on a more chilled approach.
“I have a very different approach to making music. I’m very structured and like to realize my ideas first in my head before playing a note” – Danny Bonnici
Electronic Groove: Did you guys know straight away what kind of sound each would bring to the table and what would come out from that? Or was it the result of a long explorative process?
Jamesen: Over time my musical taste changed and I started to appreciate more of the organic sounding deep house. I didn’t know that when I started producing again back in 2017. I don’t like to guess what I do. I just do it and let everyone else decide. I knew that having another set of ears and eyes would only add to the overall production. I was always confident that together our music would go places.
Danny: I have a very different approach to making music. I’m very structured and like to realize my ideas first in my head before playing a note. There is always room for jamming but sound structures are already worked out. Jamesen likes that organic sound, so sticking to a certain sound stage made it easier to write. Arrangements are more complex and take a lot longer to flush out and I enjoy doing them as well as mixing and mastering the tracks, which I also like to do. Jamesen likes to make incidental sounds so there is always a lot of bits and pieces in our tracks.
Electronic Groove: Creatively speaking…what is the dynamic like? Do you guys usually have a go-to template to get things rolling? What are your individual strengths and weaknesses?
Jamesen: I don’t have a set formula. I go purely on how I feel when I sit down at the computer. It also depends. Sometimes I just write a 32 bar groove idea, other times almost a full track. Weaknesses would be mixing and musical theory. I play all by ear. Strengths would be my ability to catch a mood on how I’m feeling. My favorite part of the process is designing and finding sounds to go with the drums to complement the track.
Danny: Jamesen is spot on here. He likes to create a mood and I like to take that and develop it further. Sometimes the ideas presented to me are already way on their way and so it’s just a case of massaging the arrangements and mixes. I am a piano player so I usually start there with chord structures etc. Our process is not set in stone and it can flip at any time. This is what makes it interesting as it’s not a cookie-cutter style as our tracks are very different from each other. My strengths are mixing and mastering and I guess music theory. My weakness is patience. I like to knock tracks out quickly and could spend more time on sections, but I get bored, so I need to move on.
Electronic Groove: Speaking about the studio…you’ve got ‘Enigma’ out now on Beat & Path, congratulations! What’s the story behind this one? Where did you go for inspiration in such turbulent times?
Jamesen: To be honest, I can’t remember. I had worked on the initial idea and sent it to Danny. He finished it off and threw those beautiful melodies and keys over the top which was the icing on the cake.
Danny: Yeah, Jamesen sent this groove over which had a nice feel and inspired me to write chord progressions and a hook, in which I used a new process of putting it together. The sound design inspiration came from my Hydrasynth, as I only had it a few months and it was full of inspiration. But that groove could play in my head all day and I didn’t get sick of it, so it was super easy to write to.
Electronic Groove: And what did you make of the remixes? Were you expecting what Sanoi & Beacon Bloom delivered? Is it exciting to hear your music in another light? What’s your relationship with the guys over at Beat & Path like?
Jamesen: The remix stands up on its own. It’s interesting to see how your original piece is interpreted. It’s a great remix.
Danny: I’ve known the Beat & Path guys for a long time so it was nice to put something out on their label. The remix threw me off at first, as I thought ‘wow this is like a whole different track’. Awesome in its own right. But I like that about music and so it offers lots of variation.
Electronic Groove: Most people took this opportunity with the pandemic to shift down a gear, re-assess, and make some changes…Was that the case for you?
Jamesen: I took a break completely from producing and just put together our podcasts. The pandemic did not inspire me to get kreative. There was too much happening to stay focused on producing. I used the time to connect with friends over the phone and spend quality time with my kids.
Danny: Exactly what Jamesen said. This was a time for family and also reflection. What’s next is anyone’s guess.
Electronic Groove: How has the scene evolved in your eyes since you first started? What would you like to see more of? And less of?
Jamesen: I’ve lived in LA for 13 years and have seen the scene here change dramatically since I arrived. I had higher expectations when I arrived and became a bit disgruntled by the number of uneducated party goers. I’m proud to say that since then, I’ve contributed to its evolution in a good way from my experience doing parties in Australia and helped LA grow with the introduction of a lot of up incoming international artists.
Danny: Melbourne has always had a good scene in many different areas. People here are quite educated culturally. There were a few times there that the music was a bit rubbish but I feel it’s bounced back and there are a lot of good producers coming out of the scene again. There are a lot more people making music so there is more noise but the good stuff shines through, you just got to find it.
“I had higher expectations when I arrived (to LA) and became a bit disgruntled by the number of uneducated party-goers” – Jamesen
Electronic Groove: What else is there in store for NuKreative? What are you guys up to in the coming months?
Jamesen: Dunno to be honest. I’m busy with work and Danny’s working on a number of other projects. I have a bunch of incomplete tracks & demos so when the time is right, we’ll put something out again. It’s all very organic.
Danny: Agree with Jamesen on this. Music has to feel right when working on it and there has never been an agenda of success. We like to keep this flowing however it wants to. Jamesen is a doer though so I’m sure we’ll get back on the train at some point.
Electronic Groove: Thank you so much for your time guys! We hope to see you on a dancefloor soon!
NuKreative: Thank you EG and Beat & Path. Looking forward to the Enigma release and hope our fans love the EP.
NuKreative’s ‘Enigma’ is available for pre-order via Beat & Path here.