Hailing originally from Armidale NSW, singer songwriter Dustin Tebbutt found his musical voice while living in Sweden, he returned to Australia and released his debut single ‘The Breach’ winning over fans instantly and earning himself a triple j Unearthed Award nomination.
In April this year, his collaboration with Danny Harley AKA The Kite String Tangle on a brand new track. ‘Illuminate’ was revealed, showcases once again Dustin’s angelic vocals, sparkling production and lyrics that aim straight for the heart.
We caught up with Dustin to chat all things touring, creating music and what coming next….
The official music video for ‘The Breach’ shows an artwork unfolding in a time-lapsed stop-motion video of chalk on a board. I also noticed from your instagram that there are some other artistic elements that seem to compliment/influence your musicianship: There’s an awesome snippet of a lit installation piece from Fiona Hall at the MCA with a song of yours dubbed over the top, and a still scenic photograph regrammed from Icelandic photographer Árni Víđir Hjartarson holds the caption “Started a new song last night that sounds like this…” What role does art/visual imagery play in your music/life?
I’ve always been pretty keen on the visual side of stuff, and although I ended up doing music instead, I was actually planning to study to fine arts at uni when I finished school. Growing up I lived on an amazing block of bushland and developed a pretty strong connection to the natural environment out there. From there I started doing a lot of abstract landscape art… I feel like those themes still run through a lot of the visual elements of the music I’m making.
Do you often visualize images when listening to/creating music?
For sure, sometimes they are really vivid, specific events and places and other times it’s something more abstract.. almost like a screen saver; just light and colour.. haha. With writing too, I’ll try to get as deep as I can into that visual world the music is suggesting.. the lyrics can then come from that place, as opposed to feeling like your pasting something over the top.
Are there any elements of/plans for visual aid in your live set?
Not at the moment, I’m still really focussing on bringing the sonic elements of the recordings to the stage in the right way, but that’s something I’m really eager to work with more. I’ve got some cool ideas for that side of things, but first things first.
If you had to show an image to an aurally impaired person, that best encapsulates your musical style, what would the image represent?
That’s a tricky one… it would definitely have to be a journey of some sort, maybe a shot out of a train window winding through the wilderness somewhere cold.
You’ve revealed an incredible collaboration with The Kite String Tangle’s Danny Harley on the release of ‘Illuminate’ and you’re about to tour together on a few dates later this month. How did this come about/when did the two of you decide that you wanted to make the collaboration?
Ah, thanks! Yeah, that came together really nicely. Late last year I was up in Brisbane for a show and had the day off, so decided to jump in a room and try to write something with Danny. That was it! At the time we didn’t really plan on it being anything, just an experiment, but we came out the other end with a track we were both really happy with, and it kind of rolled from there.
Is collaborating a process that you’ve seen yourself doing for a while now, or is this a new process that you’re beginning to try out?
I’ve worked with other people in different bands in the past when I was finding my feet, but with this solo project and for a while now I’ve definitely of been doing my own thing. Collaboration is something I’m really open to though. I really enjoy sharing ideas, and the creative process with people. I’d love to work as a more of a producer on some stuff too, taking more of a backseat musically and focusing on the tone and vibe of recordings in the studio.
How did you find the process, was it any easier/harder than initially thought?
It was really easy working with Danny. We were on the same page right from the start, we left our egos at the door and just had fun with it.
Any future collaborations that we could potentially see in the future for Dustin Tebbutt?
There’s always a few things in the works, but at the moment I’m really just focusing on my own writing.
Who, of artists past, would you have loved to work with collaboratively if you had the chance?
I’d love to see what Mozart or Chopin would do with some synthesizers and the aesthetics of modern music. That would be a lot of fun!
What can people expect from the illuminate Tour? More covers? Any potential live collabs with support act Joy?
Danny and I have both been working hard on our own sets, but we will be doing a few songs together for sure.
After heading out on your ‘Bones’ Tour last year, opening for Hozier on home shows in May this year, gearing up to play these almost all sold out ‘IIluminate’ shows this coming month, as well as Splendour in the Grass in July, you must be exhausted/completely occupied with touring and live shows, Have you had a chance to get any writing done/hit up the studio in amongst all this?
Actually the last few months have been really productive! I think sometimes having a busy schedule makes me write more, as I don’t have the time to over analyze tracks… you just have to go with it. There’s a stage where songs need that attention to detail and sculpting, but that can come later.. at the start its just about getting it out, getting it down somewhere and capturing the vibe as best you can.
When can we expect new music from Dustin Tebbutt?
There’s a bunch of stuff I’m putting the finishing touches on at the moment, and I’ll be trying some new songs at these shows, so hopefully soon!
Any movement in the way of a debut LP?
I don’t know about that yet. I feel like there is enough music around for that to happen, but where I draw the line in the sand to call it that.. I’m still figuring that out. It’s an interesting one too – although the format is still current, it’s rapidly becoming detached from the way most people, myself included, listen and interact with music. I’m not saying for a second that the album is dead, or that I don’t want to make one, but maybe there are other ways to release music that are more in line with what’s happening out there in the world.
THE KITE STRING TANGLE & DUSTIN TEBBUTT
WITH SPECIAL GUEST JOY
Sat 20 June – Brisbane – The Triffid
www.oztix.com.au or 1300 762 545
Thur 25 June – Sydney – The Metro
www.ticketek.com.au or 1300 795 012
Fri 26 June – Melbourne – 170 Russell
www.170russell.com or 1300 724 867