Sydney DJ and producer John-Alexander, dubbed SangLien is soon to release his new single A Little Darkness. Just in time for winter, this song is going to help you get through the colder months with some dark but comforting tunes.
From playing a synthesizer when he was three years old to DJing at music festivals Australia-wide; SangLien is back with his experimental electronic sounds. About to drop another important tune, this one holds a much deeper meaning.
Using music as an expressive outlet for mental health issues, A Little Darkness explores the darker side of life when growing up. Featuring vocals by Dale Randolph; the glitchy, downtempo grooves supported by Dale’s ethereal voice is sure going to be relatable, as Dale furthers, “I’ve had countless conversations with friends about how at some point in your 20s, it seems like the expectations and pressures of life don’t line up with reality and our mental health can take a big hit."
Take a step into the dark(ness) June 1st, but in the meantime check out the Interview below with SangLien and Dale Randolph.
Hey, can you introduce yourself?
JA: Yessir. My name is John-Alexander but you can call me SangLien. I have been producing music for God knows how long and I love it. I also DJ.
How has 2018 been treating you so far?
JA: Pretty great, actually. It’s been a big growth year for me with some phenomenal opportunities coming my way, like getting to play at heaps of music festivals around the country as well as making a lot of new and important friends. I’m excited for the rest of the year!
When did you first start creating music, and what continues to drive you?
JA: My earliest memory takes me back to the age of three, when my parents got me a toy synthesizer. I played on that thing until it broke from overuse! It was the most fun in the world to me, and still is (synthesizers that is, not that particular toy ha-ha).
I’ve always loved music and I always will; It’s something that I find hard to explain because it’s so core to my sense of self and understanding of the world around me. But what specifically drives me? I guess failure. Or at least the fear of it. If something isn’t going as planned, it really pushes me to get it right. If everything’s going smoothly, it usually means something’s up.
You have been busy working on a new single ‘A Little Darkness’; what was the creative process behind this song/how was it conceived?
JA: It’s a long and rather complicated story… First of all, I had an instrumental demo I was working on and showed to a close friend of mine, he warmed up to it straight away and asked for a copy to take to a multi-day festival and exposed it to numerous people. It became a ritual to listen to it on that adventure – I can definitely see a camp fire crackling to it, or at least something lighting up. Taking that meaning back with him when we had similar social gatherings throughout the year; It became THAT song.
But there’s also a completely different side to it, which is how the vocals came about.
I’d been working in a supermarket for years stacking shelves, but due to an injury I was unable to continue (a blessing in disguise), I don’t think I ever would have quit… I’d gotten too comfortable. It felt like everything came crashing down at once, but I took my savings and went traveling around Europe, starting with Bristol and Berlin. The idea was to experience all the different music scenes across the continent pinpointed by those two meccas of electronic music. I found myself in Paris, I then found a bar and as I went inside to order a beer (in French) the bartender replied (in English) “I think we went to high school together.” So that was Dale, a friend of mine from high school where we played together in bands. On the other side of the world. With me. In a bar. In Paris.
Instantly bonding over music and sharing stories, I discovered that Dale is now a successful singer/songwriter. We shared a whole bunch of demos around, but I purposely left out the first demo from before, as it was a little too sacred for me. It wasn’t until the end of that year that Dale came back to Sydney to visit family and so it was convenient for us to catch up again. That’s when he found the demo on my computer. I was a little worried to see his reaction – I think I actually left the room. (I often do this when sharing my music in person). But when I came back, he pretty much had the song down. His voice was perfect for it.
Can you explain the title behind this track?
Dale: It’s literally the first thing that came out of my mouth when I started writing on the track and I think it perfectly reflects the emotions J.A. was able to create here.
The experimental electronic melody supported by emotional lyrics to me express that this song holds a deeper meaning. What is the message you are conveying and is there a connection in to your personal life?
Dale: As soon as the first line came out, the rest just kinda fell into place. That definitely doesn’t always happen, but sometimes it just feels right. The main theme is very personal to me, and essentially deals with the time I realised I wasn’t immune to depression. On a wider note, I’ve had countless conversations with friends about how at some point in your 20s, it seems like the expectations and pressures of life don’t line up with reality and our mental health can take a big hit. So yeah… It’s pretty dark, but I’ve been told it’s good to talk about these things.
Can you briefly fill us on the singles artwork?
JA: A friend of mine, Stoyan (rapper) introduced me to the artist RadMax and was immediately inspired by his strange collages. A Little Darkness has a seamless blend of organic and electronic elements much in the same way RadMax’s art fuses photorealistic images with abstract images. Dale and I agreed on a crow’s theme for the art to match the lyrics – something we also found being used on the artist’s website.
Your previous songs have been accompanied with some artistic and alluring music videos, can we expect to see one for ‘A Little Darkness’?
JA: Yes, It’s coming and with a really great team as well!
You recently performed at Paisley Days Festival; any other upcoming festivals, gigs or perhaps a launch show for the release?
JA: Yes indeed! There’s going to be a launch for it at Valve Bar, June 1st – the day of release, courtesy of Surveillance Party, who I did a radio interview with not too long ago. I’ll also be playing at Wavyland shortly after, with some radio guest spots in between. Come check it out.
What is music for you?