Interview: First Beige want to make you groove

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Photo by Ellanor Webb

Brisbane-based collective First Beige is on a mission to make you groove. Led by multi-instrumentalist and producer David Versace, the project has moved from a solo effort to then expanding to a five-piece and now a six-piece. Fresh from the release of the ever-so-enchanting single ‘Details’, I chatted to David Versace about the project’s initial days, his early influences and how ‘Details’ fits into the puzzle of what he’s hoping to achieve with First Beige.

Prior to forming First Beige, Versace found himself drawn to an array of influences. He said, “ I was listening to heaps of jazz, disco and stuff like that. But, I wanted to mix everything I liked into one big mixing pot because I loved 70s funk and jazz." This enticing blend is not only heard in ‘Details’, but also previous singles such as ‘Vivid’ — it’s his knack for reviving these vibrant sounds of the past and blending them into his unique production that has captured the ears of people across the world.

Though he also cited the likes of Flying Lotus and Jai Paul as current influences, he also noted that he grew up in a family of classical musicians, “I started as a classical musician. My family are all classical musicians, so they all could play in an orchestra." Classical music may run in his veins, but he craved the need to dive into something new, he said, “through school and uni, I realised that I wanted to branch out from the classical stuff into a more energetic sound. So then I got into playing keys, synths and bass, and it kind of just went from there." The desire to experiment with different sounds eventually led to the formation of First Beige.

Despite adding members to the project, Versace writes the majority of First Beige’s material at home by himself. However, expanding the band has helped him immensely with his creative process, he said, “It's good now because I've got a team of musicians that I really trust. So, I'll take it to them and say, "Okay. What do you think about this? What do you think should happen? Should I change this? It's good to gain their feedback rather than just doing it all on your own."

According to the cover art of ‘Details’ (which was also designed by Versace), he notes the additional help he had with the single from the band, along with his family, who helped with the strings. He’s a keen collaborator and enjoys the process of surrounding himself with other musicians. On collaborating, he said, “I enjoy it a bit more because when you're up in your own world, sometimes you get lost and get too specific on things. It's good to have a bit of output from other people." Versace has brought Julia Beiers, Oscar Borschmann, Jasper Gundersen, Troy Doolan, Cain Robertson into the world of First Beige, with each member just as talented as the next.

Last week marked the release of First Beige’s first single of 2019 ‘Details’, which premiered via HighClouds. The single is a smooth, yet explosive, wonderland of enticing sounds. The track merges elements of 70s disco grooves, jazz undertones and psychedelic pop and the end result is heavenly. Through the lyrics, ‘Details’ encourages listeners to fight self-doubt and to find the confidence to do what they want.

According to Versace, the process of working on the single took approximately three months, “I worked on it in stages, like, I wouldn't touch it for a couple of weeks. Then, I'll work on it for like a whole two days." He also acknowledged the importance of working on material, leaving it and then returning to it, “I need to leave material or else I'll go crazy. Because you just get so into it and need to step back and let it breathe. Sometimes you're just sitting there with your headphones on, just looping one bassline or something for an hour, then you need to have a little break."

Versace mentions that he usually doesn’t work from a demo and that he enjoys the natural and instinctive process of starting a song from scratch and building it from there —  which is what he did with ‘Details’. On the single, he said, “I had the frame of a song and I had the chorus down, but then I needed a verse. We were jamming on something at rehearsal, then it just fit into the same chords pretty well. The band wrote half of that groove. We had sounds flying in from everywhere and it just made ‘Details’.” The collaborative and spontaneous process of creating the single can be felt in the ease of the track’s instrumentals.

At this stage, First Beige will continue refining their sound and adding to their collection of singles before considering a new larger project like an EP or LP — but 2019 will see the collective deliver more music to the world and that’s something we’re incredibly thankful for.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can catch First Beige live at their single launch:
May 11th - The Brightside, Brisbane
Click here for information

Other live dates:
April 14th - Twang! Tour, Komune Resort, Gold Coast (Free Entry)
April 18th - Salty Sounds @ Yamba Surf Club, Yamba 
April 27th - The Zoo, Brisbane (w/ Mildlife)

Listen to 'Details' by First Beige below: