The World Welcomes The Sargents
An interview that unveils the tremendous success of one of Australia's biggest names
By Mi2N [05-31-2010]
From live performances that comprise an array of drum machines, synthesizers, and controllers that go with an Ableton Live setup to a DJ act that can make people travel throughout an endless amalgam of Progressive House and Techno goodness for more than six hours, The Sargents are here to stay.
Having released just their fourth single on Beatport last 22nd of April, Melbourne-born Jason Forte and Jefferson Sheppard want the world to know why their first track ever released, “The Overflow,” became an underground sensation last July on more than 5+ online stores. The track became either a Best-Seller, featured track, or charted anthem on any store possible.
With Amphibian, a single that includes remixes from Melbourne-based audio guru Timothy Allan, Tampa’s favorite DJ Tony Puccio, and Feenixpawl, the act of the three chevrons has just started to redefine what a blend of Progressive House is all about. The Sargents, one of Australia’s freshest duos and possibly the biggest name after TV Rock and Dirty South, to name a few, have been rocking countless clubs in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane for more than three years.
And with a U.S. Tour that came to its end the 10th of January and saw the duo playing an special NYE set alongside famous singer Keri Hilson at Karu & Y (one of Miami’s biggest nightclubs), Jason and Jefferson strike back and sure want the world to welcome them.
Still in the chrysalis of their burgeoning career, The Sargents are concentrating on developing their sound and continuing to push and transcend genre boundaries, while mixing their love for performance with their compositions.
We had the opportunity to interview them and let all the Beatport, Beatportal, and EDM community know who will receive the torch this year.
During the last years we’ve seen how so many talented producers, rising from every genre possible, succeed and take the world by storm. Some examples are Deadmau5 and Wolfgang Gartner. Do you think your approach is different in terms of music direction?
We’re really concerned with pushing our own sound and trying not to emulate any particular artist. Both Deadmau5 and Wolfgang Gartner have obviously done really well - Deadmau5 is a household name now. We have made a concerted effort not to just play commercial crap when we DJ, but rather make music that we'd love to hear, and if other people enjoy it, it's a bonus. We're not going for radio play or anything like that. Trying to emulate someone else or being something you're not just ends in failure, and you can really tell a track that is trying to be something it's because it lacks soul.
You sure have released less than five singles and are already touring Australia and the United States. You have also had three Best-Seller singles on a couple of stores and heard Jerome Sydenham is going to remix one of your tracks. Is all this happening somehow fast? What do you expect from this year?
It does seem fast and you have to be prepared for it. We've been lucky with traveling so far but it's just the beginning really. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, though; we’re just putting our heads down and concentrating on making good music. If success comes, that's great. We love what we do so we're happy just going down our own path. This year, we want to release another 3-4 EPs and continue to remix. And of course we'll be traveling again: we've got tours to Colombia and Eastern Europe lined up for later this year.
Do you want to make all this The Sargents concept with the three chevrons the next big live thing? Have Deadmau5, Daft Punk, or Plastikman ever influenced you?
Initially we never thought of the concept as being anything more than a stage name, but we're slowly developing The Sargents "brand." Branding's really important. That said, I can't see us wearing military suits or anything on stage (or wearing a giant foam mousehead or helmets). There's a real balance between using the brand as a platform for recognition and then just being cheesy. We'd rather want our brand be known for representing good music.
Your music sounds to bounce between Progressive House and Techno. Do you want to stuck to a particular genre or want to show with your music any kind of range as long as…?
We never try to sit down and say "I'm going to make Techno now." We just try to make music we'd want to hear in a club. Sometimes we're in the mood for some melodies, sometimes we just want real grinding, tough kicks and basslines. At the moment, we're definitely leaning towards the Techno side of things.
Is music nowadays changing as aggressively and fast as weather?
Music’s always been that way, things changing quickly. Genres are just part of the human need to classify and categorise everything. For example, House is making a comeback at the moment, which is great. No doubt some other style will come up soon enough. Again, it's why you need to be flexible and not lock yourself in to one particular genre.
Who is your biggest influence right now?
We look up to producers like John Digweed, Carl Cox, Umek, Oliver Huntemann, who have always inspired us. But also guys like Mark Broom, Marco Bailey, Speedy J, Gui Boratto, Fergie – the guys that make great dancefloor music that gets the crowd going. On the more melodic side: Eric Prydz, but that goes without saying. He’s been an influence for both of us ever since he (and we) started.
Is there any DJ, singer, or songwriter you have always liked to work with?
Apart from any of the above producers, we've also been looking at vocalists recently for a few melodic tracks we're working on. We'd love to work with Emma Hewitt, who did Carry Me Away with Chris Lake, especially after we found out she's from Victoria. So Emma, if you're reading...
Your new single “Amphibian” has been just released. It’s clearly a little bit different from some of your previous tracks such as “The Overflow” and “La Lacuna.” What do you think about this track and what do you wanted to transmit with it?
We actually made “Amphibian” in between making “The Overflow” and “La Lacuna.” It starts off with a bit of a techy feel to it, and then the big stabs come in. Like most of our tracks, we try to go for the big finish with a really tough last kick. It’s a definite big room track. Hopefully we get to play it to thousands of people in a stadium one day!
Is this track a real amphibian? Does it metamorphose from some genre-defining sounds to other ones?
You could say that! The name came from the fact that when we started the track we called it "Barracuda" after a hard drive that I had sitting on my desk. After we changed the track from being very melody-based to more techy, we decided to change the name, and "Amphibian" sort of seemed fitting.
Have you already played this track live? How’s been the reaction?
It’s been great so far – we’re pleased with how it has worked on the dancefloor.
What’s your favorite remix of all times and why?
Eric Prydz’s remix of Paolo Mojo – 1983. It takes the best bits from the original and morphs them into a progressive masterpiece. It's "epic" in all senses of the word.
Tell us a little bit about your DJ/live and production setup.
We produce on Ableton Live – there’s been no real need to change so far and the program is so flexible that we’re constantly learning new techniques to improve our tracks. All our instruments are software-based; we don't have enough room in our studio for huge synths. DJing, we try to use four CDJs to keep it interesting, three for tracks and one for acapellas and FX. We’re really looking forward to using the CDJ-2000s because it seems like they could really take creative DJing to the next level.
In our livesets, we’ve been using Live as well, cutting up all our originals into loops and layering synths over the top of it. We use a MicroKorg for the synth sounds and a Behringer controller to control Live. And we’re about to introduce a drum machine, Native Instruments Maschine, into the mix.
What’s your favorite synth?
LennarDigital’s Sylenth – so analog, so fat and uses up very little CPU. Massive fans of Spectrasonics' Omnisphere as well.
Name one thing you simply have to have/use when producing music.
A few beers always go down well when you're settling in for a long studio session!
What are your plans for the next couple of months? Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming releases?
We’ve got a lot in the pipeline – a lot of tracks hopefully coming out in various styles. We've got a collaboration with Morale called "Kjongaa" which is going to be huge, really chuggy with big arps. We've also got a few tech house releases coming up, as well as our follow-ups on Long Distance Recordings and Alicia Music Group. It's going to be a busy couple of months!
At what event/festival have you always dreamed to play? Why?
We’ve always wanted to play Ultra Music Festival and Global Gathering – but playing a festival at home, such as Future Music or Summadayze would be awesome. Playing in front of our friends and local fans would be quite special.
We’ve been told you’re currently working with DC Project on a couple of remixes. What do you think about these guys?
DC Project are great - we recently remixed "Learn To Fly" which is a huge tune. They're releasing heaps of tracks this year and we're sure they'll be very successful.
Define The Sargents in less than four words.
Best yet to come..
Thank you for your time. We look forward to listening to your next bomb!
The world has sure started to welcome The Sargents. There is plenty more on the way. One thing's for sure - the three chevrons aren't going anywhere but up.
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