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Artist Highlight: What So Not On His Debut Album ‘Not All The Beautiful Things’

Monday 5 March 2018

Artist Highlight: What So Not On His Debut Album ‘Not All The Beautiful Things’

In a world where everything seems to go around in circles, here’s What So Not, an artist who makes the unknown, known and the non-existing, exist as far as his music is concerned.

Formed in 2011 as a duo with Flume, What So Not is now a solo music project of electronic music producer, Emoh Instead. Asked about how the music project started, Emoh spilled: “It was an idea born out of trying to connect something that wasn’t yet.” Despite Flume’s departure from the project in 2015, Emoh doesn’t think he works solo at all. “I always bring in people such as to add a little flare to it. I’m really excited to be connecting to different creative aspects of the project,” he said. In fact, he sticks to creating music that is unique and non-formulaic.

Last November 2017, What So Not released his single ‘Be Ok’ featuring former Silverchair frontman, Daniel Johns. “This whole song came in...I wrote the production. I ended up singing into my phone and recorded it. Nervously made Daniel Johns listen to it. He actually loved it—it’s vulnerable and raw. He encouraged me to keep my voice on it,” he narrated. The track—equal parts smooth and brilliant—is only the tip of the iceberg.

‘Be Ok’ is part of What So Not’s upcoming debut album. After years of spinning tunes, gracing festivals, touring across the globe, What So Not has established himself as one of Australia's leading electronic artists, and now on the brink of releasing ‘Not All The Beautiful Things’ due out on 9 March. Not all records are a light-bulb moment, though. When asked why it took him long to release one, he said: “It isn’t totally common in dance music to have an album, mostly EPs. It was time for me to do it. I’m confident in developing my own music.” He also admitted that he’s feeling a “whole wave of emotions” with the release. We guess it's that nervous feeling and the frequent questioning how the public would take it.

So what about the album, you ask?

‘Not All The Beautiful Things’ is a 12-track collection, perfect for those who are rocking the night out in a club, or for those turning down bottles of wine and having a good time in their own arcane space. Featuring old and new collaborators like Skrillex, Slumberjack and rock legends Toto, the album delves with themes of transformation and metamorphosis. It opens with the pounding beats of ‘Warlord’, a collab with Slumberjack. Then, the album introduces the vocal elements as it moves down the track list. Buoy’s sparkling yet howling vocals bathed ‘Stuck In Orbit’ with emotions while Toto gave ‘We Keep On Running’ a rock tinge.

‘Monsters’, which features Michael Christmas and Tobi Lou, is probably the most hip-hop influenced track in the album. Describing the song selection process as “brutal”, What So Not revealed that he had to choose from over a hundred preliminary demos just to find the final 12 songs that best represent what the album means to him.

In conclusion, ‘Not So Beautiful Things’ is a delicious entree of club bangers, peppered by some of music scene’s first-rate acts. It is a high-calibre production that clearly displays What So Not’s creative genius.

To top it all off, What So Not is hitting Australian roads this June in support of the album release. He is sure to kill sets in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane after the North and South American leg of his ‘Beautiful Things World Tour’.

As someone who has long joined the list of amazing producers in the country, What So Not has definitely become an inspiration to a bunch of talented people who want to make it into the scene. So what can he tell these aspiring producers? The maestro says: “Be different. Be unique. Put yourself into it.” Not the type to forget fans, What So Not also thanks his fans for caring about what he does.

With a new album, new music, a world tour and a genuine artist quality, what’s not to love?