Interview: Roland Tings

The journey of Roland Tings is as interesting as the off-centre electronic music the Melbourne producer has dished out so far.

A late musical bloomer who started producing at the age of 23, Tings broke through with the banging house single, ‘Pala’, which received rave reviews on Triple J Unearthed and gained regular airtime on Triple J.

The experimentalist further cemented himself with the darker ‘Hedonist’ and feel-good track, ‘Floating On A Salt Lake’ and supported fellow Melbourne product Chet Faker, before performing at Splendour in the Grass, Listen Out and Paradise Music Festival in recent years.

He returned from support spots with Aussie favourites RÜFÜS and US producer Chrome Sparks in the States recently, before he took the crowd on a trip into the New Year in the Dance Tent at this year’s Beyond the Valley.

roland-tings-008Photos by Arianna Leggiero

Autosea’s Mitch Guy hopped backstage at Beyond the Valley to chat with Tings about his surprising new pop music experiment and his busy tour schedule.

Autosea: How did you start producing music?

Roland Tings: I guess there’s a lot of different ways I started, a lot of things kind of drew me into making music.

I’d never done any musical stuff until I was like 23 and now I’m 32.

I’d always been into instrumental music like post rock but I’d never played music.

I remember seeing a few shows that got me thinking ‘Oh I could probably do something like that’, and then I started trying and it was heaps harder than I thought it was going to be.

It took a long time to bubble up in my brain.

Autosea: How would you describe your music as a genre?

Roland Tings: Someone once said something like dance music that’s not quite right.

It’s a bit off, I don’t really know what I’m doing, it just kind of comes out and people are like, ‘Oh that’s a weird choice for a kick drum’ and I’m like ‘Is it?’

It’s not random, it’s considered, but I’m coming at it from a very naive or amateurish perspective.

Autosea: What’s the difference between your live sets and DJ sets?

Roland Tings: The main difference is for a DJ set I’m playing other people’s music and for a live set I’m playing my own music.

If I’m DJing I might play a few of my own tracks but for the most part I’ll be playing other people’s stuff.

Roland tings-003.jpgPhotos by Arianna Leggiero

Autosea: Do you check out many gigs in Melbourne?

Roland Tings: I haven’t spent much time in Melbourne lately, the last year or so I’ve mostly been touring.

I’ve been in America for the last couple of months, I’ve been over there with RÜFÜS and Chrome Sparks and it was long.

I did a national tour with Chrome Sparks which was like 30 dates and he’s a sick dude.

RÜFÜS was cool, I just did six dates with them through the mid-west which was cool – they were really lovely.

Roland tings-005.jpgPhotos by Arianna Leggiero

Autosea: What’s next for Roland Tings?

Roland Tings: I’ve done one album, I’ve got an EP coming out in March and another single coming out in a few weeks which I just finished today.

I worked with a vocalist for the first time ever, a girl called Nylo from LA and I recorded that a few weeks ago – it’s like a pop song.

The other stuff is my idea of dance music and this is my idea of pop music.

No doubt people will say that’s really weird and that’s not how you do it.

Is the new song an attempt to break into the mainstream audience?

I don’t know if that intention is there, it’s more that I really love those sorts of songs.

I love big pop songs like Carly Rae Jepson and Tegan and Sara, and stuff like that.

I wanted to try see if I could make something like that.

You can catch Roland Tings in Melbourne next at Laneway Festival on January 28 or at Boney for a DJ set on February 11.

Upcoming tour dates:

JANUARY 20 – Nightquarter, Gold Coast w RÜFÜS

JANUARY 21 – Big Pineapple, Sunny Coast w RÜFÜS

JANUARY 22 – Summer Dance, Sydney (DJ Set)

JANUARY 26 – Laneway Festival, Brisbane

JANUARY 28 – Laneway Festival, Melbourne

FEBRUARY 3 – Laneway Festival, Adelaide

FEBRUARY 4 – Laneway Festival, Sydney

FEBRUARY 4 – Mona Vale Hotel (DJ Set)

FEBRUARY 5 – Laneway Festival, Fremantle

FEBRUARY 11 – Lost Weekend @ Boney, Melbourne (DJ Set)

FEBRUARY 18 – The Garden @ Grand Hotel, Wollongong (DJ Set)

FEBRUARY 19 – Marco Polo @ The Ivy, Sydney (DJ SET)

FEBRUARY 22 – Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns w RÜFÜS

FEBRUARY 23 – Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns w RÜFÜS

FEBRUARY 24 – Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns w RÜFÜS

FEBRUARY 25 – Street Party, Townsville w RÜFÜS

FEBRUARY 26 – Magnums, Airlie Beach w RÜFÜS