First Beige on how expanding into a six-piece influenced their creative process

First Beige on how expanding into a six-piece influenced their creative process

Brisbane’s First Beige produce technically proficient dance music utilising live instrumentation and vintage gear.

The six-piece band released two singles this year – ‘Details’ in March and ‘Desire’ in August – before dropping the Mirrors EP in late November. More than 2017’s Press! and 2018’s double a-side, Vivid / Images, the new EP matches bandleader David Versace’s vision for the band.

“It’s just so good to have it out,” he says. “It’s been back and forth with everything, but that feeling when it first comes out it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s done, that’s it, I can’t touch it any longer’.

“I always try to make sure we’re constantly reinventing and making stuff interesting and constantly switching it up. I’d like to be as diverse as possible. I think [Mirrors] really represents us right now and what we’re into.”

Mirrors was mixed and produced by Sampology, one of First Beige’s Brisbane forerunners. It’s a contrast to the band’s previous releases, which were more or less micromanaged by Versace.

“It’s always just been recorded in my room with some cheap gear, a little interface and some keyboards and instruments,” he says. “But I just really wanted to explore different avenues, since we’re starting to get out of Brisbane a bit more and take it a bit more seriously. 

“Working with Sampo was awesome because he has crazy knowledge of how to produce music, like, more than I imagined. He just walked in and he has so much gear, so much knowledge. It’s good because he takes his own little creative direction as well, which I really dig. He knows what we’re going for so it’s really cool bouncing ideas together.”

In another example of Versace opening up his practice, the release was co-written with synth player Oscar Borschmann.

“Oscar is also a really great writer,” says Versace. “That ‘Oscars Car’ track, the last track on the album, we’ve had that for so long – he wrote that like two years ago. But we thought, ‘Let’s beef it up’, so we took it to Sampo and re-tracked the drums and bass and stuff and he made it really special.”

There are six members of the First Beige live band – Versace, Borschmann, drummer Jasper Gundersen, bass player Julia Beiers, guitarist Cain Robertson and Troy Doolan on guitar, flute and percussion – but the project was founded as a vehicle for Versace’s songwriting.

The expansion into a six-piece band has altered his projections for where he can take the First Beige sound.

“I’m always open to collab-ing and everyone in the band is such a great musician,” Versace says. “I always want to make sure I’m not just taking full creative control all the time, but I do lead it, in a way. But it always changes through recording and writing.

“The way that my band members play influences the way I write. Jasper drums in such a unique way, but I catch myself programming a drum beat and programming it as how he would play. And same with pretty much everyone.

“Julia has such a unique way of playing bass and I always gravitate to playing a way that she would play, like a more simpler groove. It’s weird – it’s kind of a subconscious thing. I thought that was really cool, rather than just doing what I think.”

First Beige were a hit at BIGSOUND 2019 and they’re joining the likes of Matt Corby, Confidence Man and Jack River at next year’s Party In The Paddock – the Tasmania festival’s final-ever instalment.

“Party In The Paddock’s probably one of our biggest [festivals] so far. I’m very keen. I think I heard that we’re doing a really late night set, midnight or something. I think that’s going to be perfect for us, because everyone will be super cooked. That’s, in a way, the best type of crowd for dancey stuff – people who just want to have so much fun.”

First Beige come to Party In The Paddock when it goes down in Tasmania’s White Hills from Thursday February 6 to Saturday February 8. Grab your tickets and check out the full lineup at the festival website