Melbourne duo ACAXIA craft elegant and evocative electronica with strong roots in the natural world. Their latest EP The Shaman is a perfect intro, ripe with samples sourced from ancient hymns, indigenous instrumentation and field recordings.
After spinning the EP for the first time and hearing about the pair’s recent travels to mid-Australian communities, we caught up with Christian and Emanuele for a chat.
Despite its electronic sound, ACAXIA’s new EP The Shaman sounds as if it sprouted from the earth itself. We catch up with the Melbourne duo to find out all about it.
HAPPY: Hey guys, what are you up to at the moment?
ACAXIA: We spent most of the last 1.5 years writing new material but this year has seen a shift in our focus to the live show element of our outfit. We are planning our next release, mixing down the single after that and getting creative in between.
HAPPY: Really dig The Shaman, it’s electronic but feels so natural. What made you want to create music like this?
ACAXIA: We have made it a focus of the project as a whole to get a balance between electronic and organic sounds. We both have a deep love and respect for nature and spend as much time there as we can – especially before we write. We spent time in country Victoria at a spot called Mt Beauty writing The Shaman EP and feel that it really assists with the shaping of our sound.
HAPPY: The Barunga trip looked really amazing. How did this come about?
ACAXIA: Barunga trip was super special. We have a close friend that manages nine indigenous communities in NT and we were talking about this for some time. The right time came and we were able to make it happen. We are focused on bringing our workshop to other communities within Australia and are currently in talks to do so.
HAPPY: Where do you source your natural samples? Are you out there field recording or is there a lot of online digging involved?
ACAXIA: We used a field recorder in Barunga and have used other methods to record live nature sounds in other tracks too. We listen to a lot of ancient healing music from indigenous cultures from around the globe and make a conscious effort to include these kinds of samples and instruments in the music we make – whether it’s birds chirping, kalimbas, didgeridoo or insects having a great time.
HAPPY: Tell us about your favourite sample on the EP.
EMANUELE: For me it has to be the South American female vocal sample on Twin Flame – this was further edited to make it super catchy and feels like it could have been recorded thousands of years ago.
CHRISTIAN: I love the drum samples we used in The Shaman. Some were recorded in and others were samples. They’re unique and work so well with the rest of the track which I feel makes the groove so hypnotic.
HAPPY: Aside from Barunga, where are some of the places you’ve travelled to as a band? Anywhere that felt really special?
ACAXIA: We do travel quite a bit together to get our nature fix. Barunga was really special but we are lucky enough to have one of the most special spots is less than five mins from our home in Melbourne. We’ve got hundreds of Kangaroos at the Historic Park close by – we spend so much time there and also love finding new spots of historical significance around Victoria.
HAPPY: Are you environmentalists outside of your music?
ACAXIA: We have a keen interest in sustainability and believe the condition and preservation of our environment is of utmost importance – we will continue to raise awareness of environmental issues throughout our careers and aim to connect with like minded people on this.
HAPPY: The Shaman has been out there for a minute now. Any plans for a new release or are you still riding high on this one?
ACAXIA: Next single All I Need is locked and loaded. The top-line vocal from Emanuele is hard to get out of your head the first time you hear it.
The Shaman is out now.