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At the age of 20, Sydney’s Dro Carey, real name Eugene Hector, has a production history that started in 2010 with his impressive bass-heavy and footwork-leaning debut ‘Venus Knock’ EP on The Trilogy Tapes, home to thriving and consistently exciting artists like Dean Blunt, Kassem Mosse, MGUN, Madteo, Ben UFO, and a label operated by Will Blankhead, who reportedly discovered Eugene on YouTube via his video channel. Since then, he has securely fixed a place on the label, while also releasing numerous singles on Ikonika’s Hum + Buzz, Tom Kerridge’s RAMP as well as his native Templar Sound.
As well as Dro Carey, he’s also known as Tuff Sherm – a floor-friendly but still night-driven project started by Eugene in 2012, bringing two albums on cassette labels Opal Tapes and Reckno, as well as returning to Bankhead’s TTT with a brilliant three-track single, ‘Pharmacy’. In November, he has self-released a fascinating full-length called ‘Shrapnel Maestro’, which gravitates towards the sounds of experimental jazz and funk.
This month Eugene will make his Tuff Sherm debut at Boiler Room in Sydney. In addition to his brilliant mix for Dummy, a dark and atmospheric half-hour recording that consists of a handful of his own productions, we caught up with Eugene via email to see what he’s been up to recently.
Hey Eugene – how’s life?
Pretty good. Over Christmas I got news that I was accepted into Screen Music at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. So I’ll be doing that this year and it should provide some great opportunities to expand on what I’ve been doing musically. However, I guess its not really the best “Dro Carey” news, as it does mean I won’t be able to tour for long periods or do many weekday shows.
Congratulations! Regarding this mix, what did you hope to achieve in it? What will it do to our heads?
I guess this mix leans more toward a detached or sad feel. Not necessarily head-expanding but I hope it’s something people can enjoy in some kind of hybrid chill out/ brooding scenario.
You’ve included quite a few of your own production in this mix and we’re feeling it. Can you highlight a few tracks included and why?
Loser Noir is probably a succinct description of the mix. That track is kind of a tribute to Burial and El-B. That dark garage style is obviously a hugely influential blueprint for myself and many, many electronic music producers. I find it kind of funny, though, how people deride the ‘manipulative’ elements of brostep, i.e. big drops etc, when, you know, this other side of dance music exploits emotional soundtrack/sound design moves – vinyl crackle, wet weather, elegiac female vox samples. So then I was thinking, if it resembles a soundtrack, what kind of film would it accompany? There’s no murder, only mourning. Something like a potboiler but with an impotent protagonist, solving a mystery that doesn’t really exist. Loser noir.
Ditko is named for Steve Ditko and I am glad he got a credit in the recent Amazing Spider-Man film.
We’re also loving the music you put out as Tuff Sherm. What inspired you to start a different project?
Sometimes I wonder about whether the Tuff Sherm title is necessary for that work. The idea is that a Dro Carey track can be anything, whereas Tuff Sherm productions reside around 120 BPM. Though some people are skeptical about the use of an alias when it inhabits a similar experimental electronic space as Dro Carey, I’d say the use of the name has encouraged me to increasingly distinguish the TS productions. I think
creatively it helps to pretend to be someone or something else.
On your tumblr you’ve previously posted plenty of juke and footwork-leaning tracks. How does the Australian crowd respond to the genre?
I think it does pretty well in Australia. There was an Africa Hitech track, Out In The Streets, which, while not purely footwork, was – and remains – very big amongst all the heads here. So I guess a lot of people can hear that it relates to that tune.
However, I’d say my Fad TMB project is mainly for home listening; at the end of the day you’re not going to find many footwork sets in clubs here.
How important is creating new sounds?
Not particularly important if you want to make money. Important if you want to be remembered.
What’s your day job?
I’m becoming a student again, as I mentioned, at AFTRS. Generally I do music all day every day, though I also do some nannying work.
Who are you digging at the moment?
Madteo, Napolian, DJ Nature, Trinidad Jame$, 2 Chainz.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Sydney?
Sydney’s pretty good for restaurants. I’m into eating.
And finally, what are you most looking forward to in 2013?
Justifying my petulant autonomy.
Dadub – Endless
Pariah – Signal Loss
Block Beattaz – Trill
Dro Carey – Ditko
Dro Carey – Loser Noir
Dro Carey – Farce
Dro Carey – Vaporous
Dro Carey – Liquor Store Guard
Chambray Cartel – Faint Paint
Ecclesiastical Scaffolding – Thoughts Long Forgotten
Tuff Sherm – Drainpeeker
Mobb Deep – Survival of the Fittest (Remix)
Quartz – Bloom (Slackk Remix)
Tevin Campbell – Can We Talk (Remix)
Torn Hawk – Tarifa
Trey Songz – Chapter V (Intro)
LV – Last Night Feat. Joshua Idehen
Dadub – Endless (Reversed)