Melbourne teenagers Mitch Stephens and Will Hyde are only young in the electronic music scene, but their duo, SŸDE (a mashup of their surnames) has skyrocketed more than they could have ever expected.
The 18-year-olds met at school in Year 7, but originally didn’t like each other – because of a girl (Ah, high school drama). Stephens was DJing at the time and Hyde wanted to get more involved in music. DJing brought them closer together.
SŸDE have only released two singles to date, but they have already won over many hearts, including mine. Their latest release was Above The Clouds.
“Sonically, we wanted to create something which was flowing, and so it’s a pretty easy-going song in that sense. We didn’t have a strict structure to stick to, so we just quickly wrote everything down and it’s a pretty organic song. We use more organic sounds, which is our style – so bongos and lots of organic, lo-fi sound to give that vibe,” Hyde says.
The accompanying music video was their first and what better way to kickstart a musical career than a bit of controversy?
The duo had received quite a few comments regarding the ending of the music video which had been labeled controversial in the sense they flipped the video on its head – giving it a cool twist – but I’m not going to spoil that for you. You’re going to have to watch it for yourself.
“It was filmed overseas which is always interesting, working long-distance. The process took a few months – a lot of tweaking – but a lot of fun. It’s definitely hard on a low budget, which Will and I are learning and trying to stretch our imagination. We get pretty creative at the start and then we have to bring that into what’s realistic. We’re pretty happy with the outcome and I think it definitely represents a part of the track’s meaning pretty well,” Stephens explains.
Above The Clouds came as a follow up from their first single, Orbit (Ft. ASHE) which scored over 13 million streams, which was a “pretty crazy” feeling for such young musicians.
“We made a song in Year 10, so we were only 16, not expecting anything at all with that. It was our first major debut release,” Stephens reflects.
Hyde adds, “I mean, we’d written a bunch of different styles before that and we figured we wanted to get into something more chill because it was just so much more fun for us to produce and we like that style of music. We started off with just the basic guitar idea and then expanded it there with the electronic production. We just put it out there at the time. ASHE was undiscovered at the time, so we got her on, and then yeah, it just happened to do well. It’s been cool seeing the success from that.”
While the duo recognises they are much younger than their competition, they haven’t let that get in their way.
“We’ve tried to keep our own vibe and not be too influenced by everything else that is happening around us, but I mean, being young, there’s definitely some things where it’s like we have to push our opinions through more than someone who’s a bit older in the scene, just because of age prejudice and stuff. But it’s not been too bad, really,” Hyde says.
But, we can’t forget the struggle of trying to play gigs when your age is a barrier to what venues you can access.
“We honestly haven’t engaged in the electronic music scene much because we’ve been underage and stuff. But it seems like we can go see some really cool acts if we want to, so the Melbourne electronic scene is definitely a pretty happening place in that sense. There’s definitely a lot of producers around here that we can always bounce stuff off to. But we’re just getting into the festival scene and trying that out.”
The Australian music scene has experienced a rapid increase in the number of electronic duos who have stepped into the spotlight and Stephens said the reason for this is simple – how easy-going the music being made is.
“We’re doing it all on our own accord. It all started from our bedrooms and I think people appreciate that it’s not made in such a strict environment,” Stephens said.
Hyde adds, “I think there’s a lot of songs that are made with 10 writers or something but I think there’s some sort of beauty in the fact that duos like us are just doing it with only us in a low-quality bedroom studio and still trying to make it work.”
Their “low-quality bedroom studio” consists of their laptops and low-budget monitors, but the duo both record live instruments. They’ve got a Fender Strat and an acoustic guitar, as well as using pianos and drums. However, what they wish they had was a Moog and real synthesizers.
“It’s a pretty versatile setup – we can work at it at both our houses. We also go into a proper studio to record track vocals when we can,” Stephens explains
Although music is clearly their forte, SŸDE have some other talents hidden up their sleeves. Hyde originally planned on playing volleyball full-time overseas while Stephens has quite the business mind and is heavily interested in the stock market. Who would have thought?
The duo are on the verge of greatness in 2018 and have no intention of slowing down their hard work.
“We’re putting our show together and then we’ve got some stuff to follow up with the video for Above The Clouds. We’re planning to start playing shows in the next month and we’ve got so much music we’ve been writing now that we’re out of school. So we definitely have a lot more releases to come,” Hyde said.