An interview with Colin Kleyweg (CK) and Mathew Sallur (MS).
What first attracted you to the act of making music?
CK: I grew up in a family where music was on all the time and this was an inspiration. During my teenage years I wrote lyrics and used to imagine the type of music I wanted to make. My goal then was to make some of the music which fitted the soundscapes in my mind. Finally with Projekt Inertia I believe thats happening, some 20 years later…
MS: When I first discovered 12″ mixes. I was amazed that you could manipulate music, mix it and remix it. From then on I would always search for alternate mixes to any song i liked, remixes would break music down to elements which lead to thoughts of creating my own elements and eventually as bad as it first was, original productions came into fruition.
What were your earliest musical influences?
CK: Rolling Stones, Beatles and others from the 60’s inherited from family. My first music loves of my own were New Order, Simple Minds, U2 and Midnight Oil. My major influence however happened late 80’s early 90’s with The Charlatans, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Blur, Oasis and then the dance movement that followed.
MS: I was first influenced by great remix artists, mainly of pop songs, artists such as Shep Pettibone, Lil Louis, Ben Liebrand, Nick Launay etc Then I found dance music and all of a sudden pop was no longer acceptable.
What’s your current musical manifesto?
CK: No boundaries, to make music which is inspired the feelings and sounds of the moment. We are writing predominantly using guitars and pianos, so each song is coming out different atm – exactly the way Mathew and I want it.
MS: I have several, there is “SALLUR” which is totally self indulgent but rare with some releases on Beatport.com, Im working with a couple of vocalists on experimental pop/cheese (hopefully a money spinner) and of course PI which is just amazing, its music over beer & pizza, leisure with pleasure and the musical results reflect the fun we have making it.
Who/what influences your music making now?
CK: What I like at the moment, is Mathew and I have probably the closest similarity in musical taste now when compared to our career together. We have been inspired recently by stuff as diverse as Deep Dish, Tiesto and Snow Patrol, but we are very interested in listening to varied artists to pick up sounds, rhythms and feels and the sources are varied.
MS: Although I dont go clubbing anymore I still like to keep up with the latest in good quality tech & house, I need something to reference with our tracks as far as beats & bass are concerned, for this purpose I am on a few promo lists. Other than that I dont believe we are influenced by too much at all!
How does Projekt Inertia differ from Inertia?
CK: Our range of influences is much wider and varied now. I felt we got stuck too much into a particular sound. Also with dance music, the quality of your equipment and samples is king. Where before we were influenced by making hard edged breaks which left marginal room for melody, we are working together now on crafting and understanding a song which has a hook to it. The way we record mechanically may be the same, but the ideas and thought processes are completely different and I think we both feel revitalised by the whole thing.
MS: We have better techniques, better sound resources, better recording equipment, less pressure, no expectations, good food and great weather.
What is playing on the Projekt Inertia sound system as we speak?
CK: I love Motor Ace’s album 5 Star Laundry. A classic under-rated Australian indie rock album where the quality of songs is great all the way through, (except for the 1st track which is horrible – sorry guys). My goal is to produce an album, fully listenable from song 1 to finish, where you think, gee I’d like to listen to that again. Motor Ace did that 3 times out of 3 – bravo to that!
MS: Oooo some stuff from Thug records, Adam Jace in particular, Snow patrol (still!!), Fleetwood Mac, Hernan Cattaneo mixsets, Digweed Transitions, M.A.N.D.Y. But this could change radically tommorrow
What is your usual approach to producing music? Has it changed over time? If so, how?
CK: Our approach to writing has changed only slightly, but it is a massive fundamental shift. Before we would concentrate on the beats then put music around that. Now we are writing using guitars, pianos, synths, strings and then layering our beats and bass to suit afterwards. As I say, its such a small change, but it now means the music drives the song, not the beat and bass, and in the end I think this is a big shift.
MS: Our usual approach involves Colin learning new guitar chords and laying them down with some beats and then by the time we get the synths, bass and vocals in we trim away 90% of the original guitar. For some reason this works 🙂
What item of gear have you found hard to part with, and why?
CK: I have to admit we arent your a-list tech type band. I cant think of anything which isnt expendable. But we would be rooted if Mathew’s hard drive died and he couldnt back up our work!
MS: The PC, we’d be up the shit without it. WE’d also be stuffed without the Shure mic, guitar leads and mixing desk.
What is the ideal place to listen to Projekt Inertia?
CK: This is a great question, because this is one of our unspoken goals. We were making music for pubs / clubs before, and that made it difficult to appreciate in other areas. because of the change in style, I believe the music is versatile. It has the rhythm to be good in the gym, its nice for commuting to work and of course its ok in the home, but still works when pumped up. I’m pretty happy with what we have produced this time around.
MS: At iTunes, and then you buy it and then you listen to it everywhere!!
How is the electronic/dance/pop music scene now in Perth, compared to 10 years ago?
CK: No idea. Not involved at all. This is the other benefit of what we are doing. In Sydney we were being influenced to push our sound in directions which we werent capable of at the time, by virtue of live pereformance. Because we have kept our music largely to ourselves and not been involved in the local scene at all, we havent had any outside influences which have clouded our judgement or made us question what it is we are up to. I think this has been very positive for us. We simply believe now in what we are doing, if it sounds good.
You’ve been involved with a range of music delivery models over the years. Drawing from your experiences with labels, publishers, online radio, collectives, and in light of today’s blogs, YouTube, Myspace, falling CD sales, and the resurgence of niche vinyl, what do you think is the trend for bands/artists to follow to give access to their material and yet get some return?
CK: ummmm….. the future is definitely electronic, but it is so difficult to be noticed amongst all the noise online. There will always be an important element for traditional promotion forms, but with the hope that the bulk of purchase will be through the cheaper electronic formats.
MS: I think eventually people wont be expected to pay for the actual music itself but concert ticket prices and merchandise will continue to skyrocket.
Describe a day in the life of Inertia – circa 1999. Share some general thoughts on Inertia – 10 years on.
CK: 1999 was an amazing year for us where we reached our full potential under Inertia Mk 2. We won some amazing gigs and support slots, we enjoyed excellent press support for Time, Light and Motion, but somewhere in 1999 we lost our way in the studio trying too hard and forgetting that music is and should always be an art. We worked too hard and the 3 of us felt pressured in the end. The time just wasnt right for us in the end…
MS: I did everything i ever wanted to do around 1999. We had supported major international acts such as Bjork, Carl Cox & Paul Oakenfold. I was doing radio as well as Dj’ing clubs, I was getting smashed and having a great time. I never became rich from it but i consider myself successful because I succeeded in doing what I wanted to do. People loved the gigs, people loved the music, people bought the cd’s and magazines wrote about it, the difference now 10 years on is that I couldnt give a fuck about gigs, sales & magazines, im just producing because I love producing.
What are your favorite 2 (Projekt) Inertia tracks, and why?
CK: There is something in each of the finished products we like, but personally the songs I am most gratified with are Someone Like You and Underneath Us. Shine Like A Star has a strong personal meaning and was written for Mila, god bless you little one. I like how we have written an upbeat sounding song on that particular topic – it matches my feelings – I was privileged to know. I strongly believe in fate and karma and her life will never be forgotten, she shines like a star every night.
MS: Someone Like You, which will probably be a single, just rolls along nicely and leaves you wanting to hear more, it has just the right elements for an alternative pop song and of course Shine Like a Star (and remixes).
Interview conducted by and © Dennis Remmer, February 2009. May be reproduced only with permission.