If you like your big boppers effortlessly smooth and full of warm, bouncy production then look no further than Chinese/Australian multidisciplinary artist-whizz Dugong Jr.
If you’re already familiar with his music then you’ll know about his unique knack for genre-bending wizardy. It’s electronic music but it’s also so much more than that, and the real beauty is the seemingly effortless way Dugong Jr works his craft.
He’s just dropped his new EP Polite, and it’s chock full of exciting, moody jams and collabs with some super-talented fresh faces, all wrapped in 22-minutes of syrupy, irresistible, easy listening.
It might only be eight tracks long, but Dugong Jr packs a lot of diversity in there. There are dancefloor heavy moments made up of lofi house beats and rubbery basslines, while other moments are dark and glitchy. Layer on some smooth vocals from the likes of IJALE, Blush’ko, and Jezzabell Doran, and you’ll be left guessing through every magical twist and turn.
This EP is about my experiences growing up in Australia with a Chinese/Malaysian background. I generally felt that a polite demeanour was both expected and tolerated. From a young age I understood that a way for me to stand out was through my artwork. Without having to be the loudest in the room, It was a polite way for me to not only have my voice heard, but have people reflect on themselves. The Polite EP is a journey strained spiritualism, contemporary surrealism and reclaimed identity. To me it represents both a maturing of my art and music, and myself.Dugong Jr
In 2020, Dugong Jr released his EP Pleasure Principle, featuring collabs with artists including Melbourne rapper Jordan Dennis and Kult Kyss vocalist Rromarin. On the live front, he’s already taken over stages at Splendour In The Grass and Groovin’ The Moo, and with his new record in hand we can’t wait to see what the rest of 2021 delivers.
To celebrate the release of his new EP Polite, we sat down with Dugong Jr to get to know him a bit better and learn about the tools that are essential to his creativity.
Check out Polite EP by Dugong Jr:
From the beginning
“I first started playing guitar at about 13, and had lessons for about a year before I quit because my teacher refused to teach me any more Blink 182 songs. Then I did the whole band thing during high school up until I was 16-17, after that I got really into electronic/dance music. Looking back, this was around the same time that I got a fake ID and started going to nightclubs lol.”
What you’ll hear
“My music is a melting pot of House Music, R&B, and Electronica. The tempo, more than anything, decides the genre of each track, but I always try to incorporate influences from a wide range of genres into my work.”
Influences & inspirations
“I listen to a lot of music new and old – one day I might start listening to The Smiths and then end up listening to Deftones, and the next I might be listening to Kaytranada and then start digging into the samples and end up down a rabbit hole of old Brazilian disco artists. Going genre digging is always inspiring for me and it’s so exciting when you find a whole bunch of new artists.
“Outside of the music sphere, some massive influences of mine have been people like Mark Gonzalez, Flying Lotus, Spike Jonze, Kanye. Their all people who pushed their skillsets out of their comfort zone and traditional line of work and were able to find great success. I find that really inspiring.”
For the love of music
“I love the creative freedom of it – you can make literally anything you want and the only boundaries that exist are the ones that you put there yourself. It’s a constant learning experience from both a technical and introspective point of view.”
Creative essentials according to Dugong Jr:
Being able to listen to music as it was intended to be heard on good headphones is definitely an essential for me. I’ve got a pair of Bose QC35ii that I really love.
Pen & Paper:
Writing ideas down, drawing, and generally taking some time to look away from the screen once in a while.
Can be good for playing Blink 182 songs lol. Also can be good for making music.
Rock Climbing Shoes:
Very random, but I’m really into bouldering. I find it really helpful for my creative process to totally switch my creative brain off and concentrate on something super physically demanding. It helps me come back to things with a fresh perspective.
As much as I hate to plug Apple, I definitely couldn’t live without my Macbook. Being able to take it anywhere and create something whenever I feel inspired is a huge luxury.
Giving my ears a break from music once in a while and listening to creative people talk about their process and inspirations. Also taking the time to listen to some more mental health podcasts during these lockdown times has been really good for me. I’ve really been enjoying ‘The Blindboy Podcast’ recently.
Teenage Engineering OP-1:
It’s a tiny little synth/sampler by a Swedish company called Teenage Engineering. It’s really fun to use and super portable. Definitely an essential part of my workflow.
A Good Space:
Having a space to work out of that I feel comfortable and creative in.
Structuring and planning my week so that I have dedicated ‘free play’ time to explore new ideas or try and learn new skills. It sounds like the most uncreative way to be creative but it’s really helped me over the years since I’ve implemented it.
Dugong Jr – Ceramic (Ft. IJALE)
“IJALE and I made this track during lockdown, and when I sent him the instrumental I had named it ‘Ceramic’ because my partner had been making ceramics all week so it just crept in subconsciously. Usually tracks get renamed after you come up with the chorus or hook idea, but when IJALE sent me back the hook that had incorporated the filename I was totally blown away. He’s an incredible lyricist and extremely talented, I can’t wait for his blow up in the near future!”
“Standing at the alter with my heart out in my hands, and you can have it, just don’t drop that shit cause it’s ceramic”.
Dugong Jr – Slow It Down (Ft. Jordan Dennis)
“A track I did with the homie Jordan Dennis. Another crazy talented rapper from Melbourne who I’m glad is getting the recognition he deserves. The hook/main line in this song ‘We could slow it down for a minute’ actually came about because we recorded it at a different tempo, and then slowed it down and built the track around it, which is why it has that transposed pitch to it.”
Dugong Jr – Amphibious (Ft. Jezzabell Doran)
“I was already a huge fan of Jezzabell Doran for her work with Flume on Sleepless, so when she reached out to me earlier in the year to work on some stuff I was super excited and humbled. She’s super talented and I really admire her willingness to experiment with her voice and sound.”
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