The huge crew collaboration featuring Duan and Melbourne rapper ThatKidMaz front-and-centre tackles big issues with ambient beats and funk-fuelled flows.
Melbourne rappers DUAN and ThatKidMaz partner up with Elysia Gomez, Kobe White and Julia Lostrom to release their first single ‘WAYS’ – premiered on Beat before its release everywhere tomorrow – off Duan’s upcoming EP Momentum, out later this year.
‘WAYS’ aims to bring a smooth bounce to your day, with both artists’ rapid-fire delivery taking a topic very close to home.
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“It was recorded in a hired-out office space in the dingy suburbs of the outer city,” Duan says. “We saw drug deals, street fights, arrests, public masturbators, alcoholics, the ones literally shooting up on our doorway, which I soon got accustomed to.
“But despite such chaos, it was the management of the studio which was the most challenging. Luckily I had the support from my producer collective back then, PRPL, along with other creatives and entrepreneurs sharing the Good Old Days studio/office space. We produced and wrote a song about finding our own unique way out of such an entrapping lifestyle.
“Back then the space was an investment towards our skill sets, by chucking ourselves in a DIY studio environment. There was not much money to be made, but I have done the math and found that it was a lot cheaper “studying” through here than it was to go to Uni, especially since my former Sound Production course had teachers going on strike. I would go as far to say that I have learnt a lot more simply by chucking myself in the deep end of this industry. That was the balance I found back then, which has solidified the foundation towards myself currently operating as a freelance producer and artist.
“We produced and wrote a song about finding our own unique way out of such an entrapping lifestyle. A way to get out by applying ourselves to our craft whilst staying true to our own honest and kind selves. The saxophone was live, the piano live, the backing vocals were all recorded in that office space. Five of us collaborating, adding our own unique ways into ‘WAYS.’”
Duan is the moniker of Daniel Sun Yuan, a Melbourne based music producer and artist who is becoming a recognised name within the Melbourne music scene. His diverse collaborative works and raw, ethereal soundscapes mix hip-hop grooves and strong basslines that move your chest and feet.
‘WAYS‘ follows on from two previous releases the duo have worked on together. ‘Glow Up’, and ‘Doc Marty’, both of which received Triple J and Triple J Unearthed air play and support. In 2020 DUAN released ‘Care’ and ‘Boba Tea’
Having started producing music from a young age, Duan started performing as a radio host for SYN FM at 16. Drawing inspiration from the sampling culture back in 90’s East Coast Hip Hop, legends like DJ Premiere, Pete Rock, and the RZA from Wu-Tang have inspired him to seek sounds from various genres, and to clip them into something new.
“I have noticed there is a beautiful cycle to hold yourself in, where you create to uplift yourself. Your enlightened self goes out around the world and seeks interesting events and opportunities for yourself, which then cycles back to advancing your own creation. It is a lifestyle and a healthy trap, addiction of behaviours that I have myself in.’
With a deep connection within the Melbourne hip-hop and RnB scenes, he invites various artists to shine on his works and meticulously collaborates with them to bridge the gap between pop and indie beat maker instrumentals.
This isn’t Duan’s first collar with Julia Lostrom, while Duan and ThatKidMaz have a long-standing friendship, which exudes itself within ‘WAYS’. A clear fan of the team approach to hip-hop, he’s also previously worked with the likes of Jordan Dennis and Krown, always aiming to display his versatility with his production, whilst maintaining a strong presence for his collaborators to shine.
Duan says that epitomises what people can expect from the upcoming EP.
“Collaboration, and the value it brings,” he continues. “Most especially, what it can achieve here in Melbourne. With so many various cultures in the metro area, collaboration was the glue to our music community, whilst also the catalyst towards the evolution of our artistry.
“Collaboration isn’t always about writing music together, as it can involve the sharing of ideas, engaging in insightful conversation or even through partaking in a listening party. And when paired with an attentive ear, an empathetic yet flexible understanding of each other, one can see the humanity that tethers us all no matter how different we may live our lives.
“‘WAYS’, along with my upcoming EP, is a celebration of such thoughts, and a display of what can be achieved when we can organise our own unique ways, into a cohesive piece of work.”