Updated: Feb 5
The first official release from Noosa's own psychedelic sun-strokes, DEAR DOONAN.
Soultana (High on a Cool Wave) began as an addictive jam, composed by the band in their early stages. It consists of a driving funk bass groove played by Julian Patrick Homewood. Accompanied by a heavy set beat performed by Jamie Devers on the skins. StinkinJim Smith brings the 'blaps' to the funky rhythm guitar as Steve Summers leads the psychedelia with his wahh-too-fuzzrocious guitar licks. Scott Montoya fills the void with his humble, sound-building banjo rolls, and Zachariah Norton fronts the noise with his visceral lord-like lyrics. The overall composition is chaotic, addictive and fucking fun. It will capture you like an invisible lasso and drag you across a desert full of water. Do yourself a favour and turn this one up loud!
Dear Doonan are...
Zachariah Norton | Jim Smith | Jamie Devers | Scott Montoya | Julian Homewood | Steve Summers
This project formed in early 2017, after a few of the guys met, and realised they had was a lot more in common that initially met the eye. Singer/songwriter Zachariah Norton (a Banjo, Sitar, Lute and Dojo player), the wandering, bearded surf-gypsy, with no fixed address, writes amazing folk songs with pop-infused lyrics that really capture the audiences attention. He loves to perform and strives on filling hearts with his lyrics. Jim Smith, FKA Stinkn' Jim, is one of Noosa's newly adopted favourite sons. His many talents are well known across the surfing community, and now in musical world. Whether is Drums, Guitar, Keys, Trumpet, or a pair of barbering scissors, Jim can pick up anything and make it sing. Jamie Devers, another of the band's multi-instrumentalists, and a Noosa heart-throb. Jamie varies the direction of the bands sound, offering psychedelic beats, vocals and off-axis guitar ideas that give the band a whole new writing style. Scott Montoya, the youngest musical mind of the group, but the most enthusiastic. Scott has built a Banjo sound like no other, slotting his style comfortably into the band's psychedelic realm. Julian Homewood, FKA Jewlion Spacejesus, is Dear Doonan's groovy foundation. The BassJesus holds a prominent role in the band's newly found persona, with grooves and transitions that consistently astound audiences. And then there's Steve Summers (Yours Truely), lead guitarist, harp player and the bands producer.
Together, Dear Doonan have played a bunch of amazing shows, hosted some epic parties and have a diversity in their sound that will potentially captivate the world. But for now, baby steps. After 8 months since forming, Dear Doonan dove in and worked on their first release Soultana (High on a Cool Wave).
With almost no budget, we were quite limited with studio space and equipment. So we did what we could and made do! We reached out to our musical friends and gathered what we could to get the job done. We recorded in my (Steve's) little granny flat, which was a really workable space. The room had a pitched ceiling and obscure room devisions and aesthetics. Timber floors throughout, and enough space to track live drums. The house has lots of glass windows and doors, so we did our best to dampen the reflective surfaces by leaning mattress up against them. We also had a lot of old rattling furniture, so we dampened those too by wrapping them up with swag mattresses and cushions. We used day-bed cushions for bass traps and couch pillows to stop any other vibrating objects.
As you can tell, the room developed a bit of a smell from all the old tattered mattresses. It took us a week to track three entire songs, so the house stayed like this for a while. My girlfriend was very over it by the fifth day, and for that reason, we worked 12 hour days, testing mic placements, tracking and editing everything we could, until we set the house up back to normal.
First and foremost, the Drums. We began by setting up the kit in the middle of the room, then tuning the kit till we were happy. I preempted using the Glyn Johns drum mic technique, which comprises of four mics, a KICK mic, a SNARE mic, and two overheads. One of which is positioned directly over the snare, and the other one positioned towards the right, over the RIDE cymbal. Both have a 40 inch measurement from the centre of the SNARE. Then we set up an Omni-directional Room mic, on top of the kitchen bench, for a little more room blend.
After toying with the sound for a while, I found I was getting some phase issues, with the RH overhead mic in particular. The RIDE cymbal seemed to be cutting through the mic polar pattern, almost like a knife, which in turn sounded like it was cutting in and out. I did some research on the technique to see if there was any fix to this issue. Recorderman explained it perfectly!
He states that the overall physics of the cymbals is what effects the mic pick up. Cymbals have almost no resonant sound coming from the cymbal edge, so when stuck, the cymbal cuts through the mic polar pattern like a knife, eliminating the sound source for that small period of time. So to avoid this issue, I lifted to mic a little higher than your common Glyn Johns layout, focusing more on the top of the cymbal than the edge. This worked wonders!
We tracked a heap of different stuff. Percussion instruments, Dojos, Banjos, Bass, Electric Guitars, Vocals and Backing Vocals, all in the space of a few days. We experimented with different mics and placements, as well as using the kitchen bench room mic, which gave us the room blended we needed across all elements.
After weeks of bouncing back and forth between edits and mixes, trialling different processing and effects, and getting feedback from other commonly creative minds, we were happy with the tune, and it was time to get it mastered. We used Tony Mantz from Jack The Bear Mastering based in Melbourne. For $150, they did a fantastic job of the final master. We couldn't be more stoked with the outcome.
We decided to go with CD Baby for our online distribution, releasing the track on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music, and many other streaming services. We also created a BandCamp profile, which has allowed us to sell the song without any middle men taking a cut. These platforms have helped us reach a vast, world-wide audience.
Spotify has allowed us to monitor where Soultana (HOACW) is doing well, using its Spotify for Artists app. Since its release in March, we've had nearly 2,000 streams on Spotify alone.
Here are some of the stats, showing listeners from different countries:
We were a little naive with this release. We didn't really put together a whole PressKit package in time for the release date. We did have plans to, but a few things kept us from doing it properly. Work commitments, time frame disciplines etc. We are still working on artworks, video clips and merchandise for this track, but at the time, festival applications were out, and we figured we just needed something on the web for venues, booking agents, managers, and the fans to listen to, so we released it as it. It will be interesting to see how the song does, when another release takes place. This time we'll do it better!
Although, with the lack of promotion and persona the track had, it still has gained some viable attention. The track has fallen into some important laps, and has gain a bit of momentum all by itself...
I was lucky enough to have met and worked with Adam Harriden, Advertising Guru and founder of GoodSurfWax. So what is it?
GoodSurfWax is a global surf wax company that use's a sustainable, hand crafted process to help preserve a natural resource and keep the environment in tact. Established in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast of Australia, GSW work in collaboration with local bee communities. Their aim is to help reduce plastic waste ending up in our oceans. They don’t use any nasty chemicals, but instead source Organic Coconut Oil and Beeswax to form that ultimate sticky product, trying to help keep the air cleaner. Their green ethos starts with the Bees and Trees and ends in packaging made from plants not oil. Closing the loop on our preservation strategy.
We all love our community, we all love our surfing, and we all love our ocean, so this opportunity was a no brainer for us. Adam and Josh Rufford RuffordArt, teamed up to create an amazing animation for a GSW advert. Monster Children magazine has jumped on board, along with many other surf brands and communities. They loved our track Soultana (HOACW), and found it to be a perfect fit for their idea. Adam also asked me to record the voice over for the advert, which I was more than happy to do. Check out the final product, with a special little mention for Thomas Records at the end. Things like this make my heart full, and it has giving me more drive to produce more and more music. Who knows, music for advertising could be a prominent avenue for $$$.
Check out these Links:
Monster Children Magazine - https://www.monsterchildren.com/75881/good-concept-good-design-goodsurfwax/
GoodSurfWax - https://goodsurfwax.com.au/
Josh Rufford Art - https://joshrufford.myportfolio.com/
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