- The Northern Rivers/Melbourne electronic duo behind huge single Merewif – that’s had over 1.5 million plays - release a brand new single, Dvaraka Pt. II on Pilerats Records
- Premiered on triple j’s Good Nights with Linda, sophomore play Home & Hosed with Dom Alessio, added to triple j Rotation
- Willow Beats on tour: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane & Perth dates this month at Listen Out Festival + additional Adelaide show
Willow Beats - the Northern Rivers/ Melbourne based uncle-niece partnership of Narayana Johnson and Kalyani Mumtaz - have commanded a heap of attention with their distinctive, other-worldly tunes. Their most recent magical monster of a hit Merewif, received a whopping 1.5 million plays to date. At last, we have new treasure from musical mystics! Pilerats Records are proud to present Dvaraka Pt. II (pronounciation:dvwah-r-kah) - a melancholic yet vibrant single. A nostalgic soundtrack for the forgotten ancient city of Dvaraka; a once-glorious, tropical paradise with palaces and treasures of unimaginable wealth… now buried deep at the bottom of the ocean.
The track’s fast become a firm favourite of national radio tastemakers triple j, who’ve added it to the station’s rotation following a groundswell of support from listeners. Willow Beats will premiere Dvaraka Pt. II live when they bring their forest rave to the city; playing Listen Out Festival dates across the country this month, as well as a standalone show in Adelaide. The Listen Out shows will be the first national appearance for Willow Beats since 2015, when they delighted audiences at festivals Beyond the Valley, Strawberry Fields Festival, Lost Paradise, Wonderland Perth, and The Big Top, as well as nailing a national headline tour in support of their Water EP.
2016 has been a year of productivity and growth for these creative sprites, who’ve spent the year in retreat at their Northern Rivers treetop studio. They’ve been focusing on evolving their sound and writing a body of work, of which Dvaraka Pt. II is the first to surface. Narayana (the duo’s producer) on the style of the single: “I love the way tropical house feels (emotionally) and this track definitely borrows from that space.” Built on a syncopated tom-drum bassline, Dvaraka Pt. II begins with a simple melody that morphs into a series of harmonies as things become progressively more layered. Field recordings of native bird calls are scattered throughout the track. “I re-sampled the lead melody through an old Sony Walkman I picked up at a garage sale,” explains Narayana, “That’s what gives it that old grainy sound…the shakers received the same treatment.”
It wouldn’t be a Willow Beats track if it wasn’t thematically inspired by fantasy, mystery, and the stories of Indian Vedic mythology. ‘Dvaraka’ takes its name from a city where Krishna lived and ruled as a prince. An enormous city of unimaginable wealth, Dvaraka boasted 900,000 royal palaces, all constructed with crystal and silver and decorated with huge emeralds. The city was forever filled with the sounds of birds and bees flying about the parks and gardens. Its lakes were filled with blooming lotuses, swans and cranes. Alas, it is now underwater, but its majesty is momentarily brought to the surface with Dvaraka Pt. II. Vocalist/Writer Kalyani suggests that “Dvaraka is a bit angry, and also sad, but will get you dancing and feeling contemplative.”
Willow Beats can also share that they're nearing completion of a new body of work, and have enlisted the mastering and mixing skills of Grammy/ARIA-nominated engineer and producer Andrei Eremin, who has worked with Chet Faker, Hiatus Kaiyote, Ta-Ku, Japanese Wallpaper and more. New material witnesses Willow Beats moving towards a more complex sound; one that’s rhythmically diverse and harmonically intricate. “Structurally, we have been working in very classic song format rather than dance music format,” offers Kalyani. In a new move for the duo, the release will feature guitar (layered organically with synth), as well as “more field samples than ever” says Narayana. “I recorded myself swishing a pole through a big container of scrap metal. I have about three minutes of this sample which I then cut up and used for most of the hi-hats in the record. It gives the new work a very metallic sharp cutting feel. They are sounds that you would never want near your ears in real life but somehow they are arranged in a pleasant way. They kind of tickle your ear drums…” Kalyani adds a reflection: “I think our music is a good metaphor for the modern age - very human, yet expressed through a shiny laptop.”
Fans will get their first chance to hear Dvaraka Pt. II live, along with more of Willow Beats’ new material, when the duo hit Listen Out Festivals around the country from this week. Vocalist/Writer Kalyani on the upcoming tour: “We have been working on our set which is great because I finally convinced Narayana to play the guitar live, and it sounds so beautiful. I’ll be bringing a keyboard along too.” The duo will play Listen Outs in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane, followed by a show in Adelaide at Rocket Bar, with further live shows and festivals on the cards this summer.