Written by Maya-Rose Torrão
What happens when you take two internationally acclaimed electronic music producers/DJs/tastemakers – namely, Yahtzel and LDRU – and put them together to create a musical super-duo that fuses EDM, bass, trap and electronic sounds to create a cross-genre masterpiece? It’s not a trick question, the answer is Carmada. With their respective solo projects, Australian artists Drew Carmody (LDRU) and Max Armata (Yahtzel) have been making waves, but together, they are unstoppable.
Carmada’s debut EP, released in 2014, was an instant success, hitting number 1 on the Australian iTunes album charts with support from a myriad of musicians and publications, including dubstep-hero Skrillex and tastemaker station triple j. The newest track from the duo, the high-powered ‘Lay It Down (feat. Georgi Kay)’ was released last month and already has garnered a great deal of support from high-end music publications and musicians themselves. This new track follows on from their track ‘Ready For It’, which is the first single from their second EP, the first time LDRU and Yahtzel have been back together as Carmada since 2015.
Listen to Carmada’s latest single ‘Lay It Down (feat. Georgi Kay)’, below.
We caught up with the talented pair that make up Carmada and chatted about surprising playlist choices, touring and a cheeky Nando’s in the non-so-distant future.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
Well I (Drew) used to be a carpenter until I fell off a ladder and broke my back, I was bedridden for nearly a year and I had nothing else to do but teach myself how to produce. I was extremely lucky to find the silver lining, worked out pretty well.
I’ve (Max) always wanted to be a musician. I taught myself how to play Guitar, drums and piano from a young age. There’s some embarrassing videos of me on youtube covering songs with a KFC bucket on my head when I was about 16 haha.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
It really depends on who we’re working with, if we have a singer in the session we generally build the song around them. If we’re just working by ourselves, Max generally comes up with some cool melodies on the keys and I build the production around that. 9 times out of 10 we end up losing focus halfway through and start making rap songs.
What’s on your current playlist?
Haha this is going to throw some people.
ACDC – ‘Thunderstruck’
Portugal. The Man – ‘Feel It Still’
Two Feet – ‘Go Fuck Yourself’
Kayex – ‘Toe To Toe’
Golden Features – ‘Runner’
Matt DiMona – ‘Old School Turntables’
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
We love our fans. We try to make it out into the crowd after every show to hang out and get photos. Some of our best mates were met side stage after a show. These days we play a lot of festivals and it can be annoying at times because there’s so much disconnect between us and the fans. We’re about to embark on a 15 date club tour. We want to go back to where we began, we want to be able to reach out and touch the crowd, watch the sweat dripping off the walls, that’s a real show. No matter how tired or hungover you are, the energy from the crowd always puts a smile on our face
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what we want to do”?
I (Drew) used to sneak into clubs when I was 17 and DJ. Getting a reaction from the crowd for the first time gave me a feeling like I’ve never felt before, I think that’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do.
I (Max) was about 8 years old and walked into a music store with my Mum and found a drumkit, I was hooked straight away.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Our Manager/TM so he can light our ciggies and get us drinks.
Any fresh faces or emerging artists on your radar?
Where do we begin, there’s so many. Australia is a hub for talented producers/musicians. We’ll try to keep it short, Oriental Cravings, Kayex, Perdo, Bijillionre, Tsuki.
What gets your creative juices flowing? What gets Carmada in the mood to create music?
Hearing these young up and coming producers continually pushing the boundaries, gets us excited. We also get a lot of inspiration on the road, playing shows and seeing the crowd’s reaction makes us want to create more music.
Your new single features singer-songwriter Georgi Kay – how did you find the experience and process of collaborating?
Georgi is fantastic, working with such a talent like her is amazing. We all learn and grow from each other and it makes the creative process so much more enjoyable.
You’ve got loads of exciting shows coming up in Australia for your tour – what has it been like touring your home country?
We haven’t started our tour yet, but every time we tour Australia the support is overwhelming. We get to see familiar faces and make new friends. We love playing overseas, but there’s nothing like a hometown show.
Does Carmada have plans for a European tour one day? Is there a specific country or venue that you’ve always wanted to play?
We would love to play in Europe. I think London would be cool; there’s a substantial Australian expat crowd there. Also, Amsterdam 😉 and Germany would be awesome.
Tell us about one of your favourite shows. Why was it so special?
I think our favourite show would have been our debut show at Splendour In The Grass. We were a change over DJ, and it was the first time we played together as Carmada, the response was overwhelming. The tent was overflowing, and the crowd was chanting for us to come back on after we finished. That’s when we knew we were onto something.
And a show experience that wasn’t so great?
I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad Carmada show, there was a Yahtzel show where a huge fight broke out in the carpark of the venue and as I (Max) drove off in the van, some guy grabbed my hair through the window and tried to pull me out of the car. That was pretty wild haha.
Any side projects you’re working on currently?
We both have our solo projects LDRU and Yahtzel.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Refined? I don’t think we have haha, I think we still do the same old thing we always have. Just get up there and party. We recently debuted our live show Carmada by LDRU and Yahtzel. That was a mix between live and DJ set; we have a drummer, bass player and Max shredded on the guitar. Check this little after movie out 😉
Break down the news for us: what can we expect from Carmada this year?
Jeez, the pressure is on, the year is nearly over. We have another single ready to release so keep your eyes and ears out for that one. It’s a collaboration with a big UK producer and UK singer/rapper. I’ll give you a clue; there’s a video on Youtube with him rapping about Nandos 😉