It’s no longer news to anyone that Australian electronic music propelled itself to international spotlight in recent years. There is an infinite array of up and coming talent emerging from down under. Amongst them are the dynamic duo of DJ Sarah and Georgia Bird, known as In2stellar, whose collaboration started in 2017.
Their energetic sets influenced by 90s dance music, fusing gritty breaks, UK bass and proggy bass lines are a candid insight into their true selves that we are pleased to discover through this insightful conversation.
Hello Sarah and Georgia, thanks for putting together this stellar mix for us, it’s a pleasure to have you on the mix series. How did you go about choosing the tracks you’ve included?
We never plan our mixes much and like to “vibe it” as we go along, which can be risky at times and mean we have to re-record things, but on the day we recorded this we were really in sync and seemed to have been digging for really similar music to each other. There seems to be a groovy tech-house rhythm throughout the mix, with a lot of percussive elements pulling it together.
How was IN2STELLAR created? How did you two come together, on a personal level and a music level ?
We actually went to high school together but we were 2 years apart so didn’t cross paths much. We were definitely aware of each other, but really began to connect once we left school and both started DJing separately and realised we were both playing similar music. In a way the music brought us together, which over time really connected us on a really deep personal level too. We’ve been through so many highs and lows in our 6 years of working together that it’s almost impossible for us not to be as bonded as we are.
I have alway been curious to get some insights about the creative process of a duo behind the decks (or production wise).
How does the music chemistry work between you two ?
There are definitely times we have conflicting tastes, but after so long working and existing together our two minds have become one. We generally like similar music or are into similar artists, but one of us may get onto a new artist or genre before the other, or we may like different tracks but on the same record.
When we do have conflicting tastes, it can often bring out the best in each other as we’re constantly being pulled into new directions that we may have not explored without the push from the other. We DJ track for track, so one track each, every time we DJ which we realised years into our practice was actually uncommon but it definitely works for us.
Has your sound direction always felt natural for both of you at the same time or is one of you influencing the other at times and vice versa ?
Definitely a bit of both. It’s a bit of a chicken or the egg situation. We both influence each other constantly but also have a very natural connection, which is bolstered by so much of our shared experiences and shared context.
Melbourne has an interesting relationship with dance and electronic music, what led to your own relationship with the genre? Who influenced you? Were there any particular experiences which channeled the inspiration for you to get involved?
Sarah: I was interested in dance music pretty much as soon as I went to my first club. I always loved dancing and being out and I think hearing dance music in it’s intended context was what really drew me to the genre. This still happens when I get introduced to new genres of music and don’t quite understand the appeal until I hear them played in their appropriate context and then it often seems to click for me. I was definitely influenced by other women and gender diverse people I saw DJing, and in the beginning of my DJ career. I also loved mostly the local DJs we have here in Australia like Otologic, Sleep D, DJ Kiti, CC: Disco, Wax’o Paradiso, DJ JNETT, and whoever was playing at local clubs and festivals. It’s hard to pinpoint the particular moment I decided I wanted to be involved in the music industry. That came even before I left school. I was fascinated by the music industry from a young age and always wanted to be a part of it, I just didn’t know how it would end up happening so I’m always grateful to be here and involved.
Georgia: I think for me having an older brother who was partying and listening to club music while I was in high school definitely influenced me. I used to make playlists of songs he’d show me on my iPod nano and bring it to parties when I was in high school and everyone loved it haha. Like Sarah, I was also going to Wax’o parties and clubs like Lounge, Mercat, Hugs and Kisses (RIP) which was a huge reason I got into DJing. Nowadays I’m definitely so influenced by the local scene here in Australia. So many amazingly talented up and coming producers like Baby G, Amuwa, Axon Growth Factor, Mabel and so many more are popping up.
Australian music being in full bloom and getting a lot of international attention at the moment, how do you think this recognition is impacting the local scene in Melbourne?
We’re so familiar with the amount of talent and vibrancy within our local scene, so it feels so affirming to have that recognised globally. It’s inspiring for our local community to have their work and sound recognised and encourages other people to get into music which is a beautiful thing. It also makes us happy to have international DJs and producers want to come and visit Australia. It’s so far away for people to come but they usually have an amazing time here which helps us stay connected to the global scene.
How would you describe the Australian electronic music community?
In our niche of the Australian electronic music community we’re really tight knit and supportive of each other. There are obviously many different facets of the electronic spectrum but in our circle things are pretty progressive and welcoming. We all hold each other accountable and try to collectively create a safer and more equitable space for everyone to be a part of. Because we are so far from Europe, America, Asia etc we’ve have to really foster our local community especially during the pandemic.
The isolation from these other cities has forced us to create our own insular ecosystem which seems to breed a great sense of community.
Where is your favorite venue to play in Melbourne and why ?
Melbourne is pretty limited in venues at the moment so it’s hard to say. We’ve been having the most fun playing at events that are in new or regional places, like warehouses, festivals, anywhere outdoors.
On top of DJing, you also created the Neurotiq Erotiq party with guests from the likes of Helena Hauff, Or:la, Logic1000 and more. What is your vision with this event series ?
We’re about 5 years into running events and now that we’re even busier with DJing it’s hard to keep them as monthly parties as they’ve usually been, so we’re trying to do less parties, but make them bigger. We actually started Neurotiq Erotiq a few months before we became IN2STELLAR, which is something not many people know. At the time there were very few female promoters and we wanted to give it a go. We were pretty inspired by Discwoman in the US at the time and ran our first tiny party upstairs at Boney (which is now closed #rip). It was a bit of a slog for a while, and we’ve had a few hit and miss events but that’s definitely part of the journey of being a promoter. Now we have around 400 or 500 people come through each event and it’s been so cool to see it grow.
The parties have always been an outlet for us to showcase the kind of music we’ve been loving at that time and connect with other DJs in the community. We wanted to create a safe and inclusive space for artists to play in and punters to come and be a part of.
2022 was a wild one for you with a 14-show run through the UK and Europe. Was it your first international tour? How was the experience for both of you ?
It was our first international tour, yes! We had grand plans to come over in 2020 but of course the pandemic hit and our plans were temporarily shattered. Once we finally got over last year we were so happy to be there and pretty excited. It was definitely a far more intense experience than we’d anticipated with so much traveling, playing and of course partying but it was such a great time after so much time in lockdown. The best thing for us was connecting with producers and DJs who we’d only had as internet friends and finally meeting them in real life.
2023 is set to be even a wilder ride with the release of your debut EP (as well as another tour across UK/EU in August).
With some previous releases on various compilations and countless remixes, was it a logical outcome for you to now release your own EP ?
Definitely. We were really set on releasing this EP early this year because it felt like the natural progression for us. We had a bunch of tracks in the works and set ourselves Pitch Music festival as a hard deadline to have the EP finished because we wanted to play the tracks there. It’s so important for us to set deadlines for ourselves otherwise it’s really hard to get anything finished so we’re really happy we got that out. We’re working on the next EP now and trying to keep the momentum going that we’ve kicked off with this release. Definitely feeling inspired and motivated.
If you had to pick 3 tracks to listen to for the rest of your life, which would they be?
All I Need – Air
Nothing Can Stop Us – Saint Etienne
Inner Smile – Texas
I’ve Been Thinking Song – Cat Power and Handsome Boy Modeling School
Self Control – Frank Ocean
Why Hide – Mark Ronson + Diana Gordon
Where are you most excited to perform looking ahead?
We’re heading on an Australian tour in a couple of months which we’re looking forward to and then coming back to Europe in August which we’re so excited about. We had the best time in Europe and the UK last year and have so many friends from that trip that we are looking forward to connecting with again. It’s so thrilling going to new venues and meeting new people and playing for new audiences.
Order/ IN2STELLAR EP
1. Angus Mills – Yelp
2. Command D – 0-zone
3. Hame DJ & Roza Terenzi – Aura
4. Per Hammar & Olga Korol – Hibernation
5. Pistaccio – Now Who
6. IN2STELLAR – Euro Possum
7. Mark Farina – Talk to Me
8. Llip – Spheres of Pumby
9. Gene On Earth – Aston Martinez (Sweely Club Mix))
10. VOY Records – VOY 13 A
11. Anunaku – Andromeda
12. Jamida – Wad II (Luigi Tozzi Black – Eyed mix)
13. Syz – Burner FM
14. Electric Universe – Tiferet