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Indian Summer


Gabe Gleeson has had a charmed year as one half of Indian Summer. After signing with electronic label gods, Sweat It Out, he and long-time collaborator, Chevy Long, have been featured by Splendour In The Grass, had tunes premiered by THUMP, and two national tours. They’re coming to Perth on Wednesday, August 27 for their whirlwind Shiner tour. The crazy workload isn’t anything new for these boys, as ZOE KILBOURN discovers.

Gabe Gleeson’s in good form, given he’s just returned from Indian Summer’s post-Splendour tour of NZ. “It was an exhausting trip, even though we were only there for one night,” he says, fairly chirpily. “The kids out there are so supportive. NZ was the first overseas trip for Chevy and me, so it’s really cool to have some support over there. They have a great radio station over there, George FM, which I suppose is their equivalent of Triple J – they’re really good at pushing electronic stuff from Australia, so they’ve given us quite a bit of love.”

Indian Summer have emerged at what may turn out to be a golden age for Australian bass music – alongside Sweat It Out mates like L D R U and Yahtzel, they’re making the kind of weird, wobbly electronica equally at home on iPods and festival stages. “People like to call it ‘Australian sound’,” says Gabe. “I’m more comfortable with calling it Australian club music. I feel like what it comes down to is Australians filing in from UK house music and American hip hop and sort of mixing everything to make it our own. I’m definitely not uncomfortable with us being put into that sphere.

“What’s going on over here is really quite unique and special. It’s awesome to be able to play music festivals around the country and have kids receive what we do and automatically understand it. And it’s awesome to have this amazing fraternity of artists who are kind of all just great mates that we can kind of hang out with so frequently around the country at various events, it’s just super fun. Everyone’s amazing.”

As at home as Gabe feels in this particular wave of musicmakers, Indian Summer resist any real classification of their work – on soundcloud tracks reminiscent of trap, ragga, and UK garage,  Indian Summer insist on the genre descriptor “weird” (occasionally accompanied by a shrugging man emoji).

“The singles we’ve put out over the last year have been all over the place style-wise, so I don’t think it’s really like that. There’s stuff like No Use which is 115, dancey, house and Pin Tweaks that is 110 BPM that’s a lot harder; Foreign Formula, which we like to think is super, super slowed-down disco. Stuff like 1.01 My Heart Drops which is 140 weird hip hop. I don’t know if I would call what we do strictly hip hop or chilled out hip hop. I think that gives it a lot more credit than it deserves, I don’t think we’re that organised,” he says.

“All that comes down to Chevy and I not wanting to define what it is we really do. I mean, we really like to think of ourselves as making predominantly bass music, solid bass music for club kids, I guess. There’s really no rulebook. We love 808 sounds and we love weird synths. We’ve been really blessed recently to find some vocalists we really love working with. On our last single, the single we’re currently touring with, Shiner, we worked with Ginger from a band called Ginger And The Ghost. She’s got this weird awesome Kate Bush thing going on which we loved when we first started, we really wanted to work with her. What she ended up doing we’re still proud of.”

It’s unfair to call Indian Summer unorganised, though. These boys have a grueling work schedule –  Gabe writes for Purple Sneakers and curates a digital radio show when he’s out of the studio. When they bring their act over west for the Shiner, they’ll be playing two gigs – Wednesday, August 27 at the Newport and Friday, August 29 at Ginger Nightclub. That isn’t the most hectic portion of the week, either.

“That week, we’re going to be playing a club in Perth on the Friday, and then leaving the club with our luggage, going to the airport at 3am, and playing a boat party the next day before driving to another gig in Sydney later in the evening,” says Gabe. “I guess we’re just used to that. Last New Years Eve we played three different festivals in three different states in 24 hours. It’s just a case of after everything just going back to the hotel, closing the blinds, turning our phones off, turning the internet off and sleeping for a good 72 hours.”

Gabe explains that it’s down to his derring-do. “I’m really bad at saying no to things,” he says. “Even the smallest, most insignificant opportunities, I’m always eager to jump in and make the most of. That’s what’s made it – just doing it relemtlessly and repetitively and enjoying every minute of it.

“Before I left, I was studying graphic design, and I was in a band, and I worked two jobs, and I was Djing five nights a week – I was doing way too much with myself. I’m kind of back to doing too much work with myself now – everything’s a bit in line. I write a music blog during the week, DJ with Chevy, make music and travel on the weekends, so it’s kind of like a big circle of life – each thing I do kind of shakes each other thing’s hand, if that makes sense.”

Oddly, Indian Summer was birthed out of a moment of calm. Chevy and Gabe have made music together since high school, but it was a come-down session in Morocco that gave him the clarity of mind to pursue music.

“We actually went there during Ramadan, and we weren’t aware of that. We just knew there were no bars to go out to – it was actually a really nice experience, being there for a couple of weeks completely sober and just spending the time seeing beautiful stuff around the country. It kind of cleared my head a bit in terms of coming back to Australia and figuring out what I wanted to do with myself.”

Indian Summer are back in town in November for mysterious boutique festival, CoLab. “Yeah, we’re really looking forward to that. I just saw the poster for that festival and it looks like a lot of fun. We just had a really vague date put into our calendar. I don’t know much about it, but we love playing in Perth – I feel like it’s our second home even though we haven’t been there in quite a while. Even in the really, really early days, we’ve found that Perth audiences have been so helpful and so accepting and so awesome to us.

“Dudes like Sable are blowing up at the moment and absolutely killing it – obviously Ta-Ku has been doing his thing for ages now and is still and amazing performer and DJ and producer. It’s great to see so many little guys from Perth popping up and doing amazing things.”



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