Photo courtesy of the artist.
The name Tornado Wallace might seem like an ironic handle for the Berlin-based, Melbourne-bred DJ and producer born Lewie Day. Upon sifting through the bulk of his discography, a collection of EPs for labels like ESP Institute and Music From Memory, you're treated to a smooth spread of subdued, levitating numbers that ebb and flow through momentary dashes of harder electronics. Earlier in his career, his productions regularly dipped into disco house. So wouldn't a name centered around the gentler weather systems of nature be more fitting? Like waterfalls, or clouds? If you dig deeper into his work, though, you'll see that the moniker refers to his torrential output of records on a wide selection of underground labels, year after year. With a packed schedule of party-ready DJ sets at clubs and festivals, Lewie Day has been tearing it up like the phenomena he's named for. Now, after numerous intriguing touchdowns worldwide, he's finally releasing his debut album, Lonely Planet, on Gerd Janson's acclaimed Running Back label.
Once you crack open the record's jungle-tinged cover, you're treated to seven tracks that speak to the natural world's many sonic reverberations. There's playful balearic, sections of ambient interspersed with chanting a bird sounds, and some edgier analog noodling that could send curious ripples through an open-minded dancefloor. It's an album eagerly awaiting the chance to settle your crowded headspace and the unnerving bustle of even more crowded cities. Along with a full stream of the LP, we had a brief chat with Tornado Wallace below about the new full-length, his frequent migration between Berlin and Melbourne, as well as the scene in greater Australia.
THUMP: Can you describe your frequent migration between your home of Melbourne and Berlin? What exactly sparked the move?
Tornado Wallace: I moved to Berlin to shake up my lifestyle and move a little out of my comfort zone. Things were too good in Melbourne so I thought I should make it a little more difficult for myself by moving to the European center. My annual retreats back to Melbourne for a few months over the summer here consist of playing shows, catching up with friends and family, getting a bit of sunshine, and—sometimes desperately—trying to keep busy.
There's a lot amazing music coming out of Melbourne and Australian as a whole right now, paired with a lot of difficulties in the clubbing scene. How do you think the scene there can continue to flourish and grow in tandem with the various hardships?
Melbourne's scene is really strong and—for what I'm into—is one of the best in the world at the moment. So long as the younger generations keep looking to the underground, I think the future of parties are in safe hands. Perth has really been seeing some great things happen and Canberra is now stepping up to the plate too. Sydney's well documented Government-imposed scene strangulation has certainly had an effect, but music and the underground are an ever-flowing stream, and a boulder being dropped in the current merely creates a rapid next to it.
With the album's recording split between Melbourne and Berlin, how did both cities influence the of the LP?
I think the music I make in Melbourne is generally a result of jamming and experimenting with music gear, whereas in Berlin I usually go digging in record stores for weird samples/ideas to try build a track around. In that regard, the record stores in Berlin are quite influential, and my old synths/drum machines/FX in my studio in Melbourne have a big impact impact there. Otherwise location isn't a big factor on the music. It's my mind that does the traveling, not the passport.
From the album cover to album title and a few of the track names, the LP seems to theme a bit about the natural world. Is there any sort of underlying narrative you can expand on a bit for us?
I don't want to predispose any listener too much to my personal narrative, but I do think it's handy to contextualize the music with some vague imagery. So I'll let the artwork and the music speak for themselves and each other, and hopefully people will drip for a similar trip.
What's next for you?
I have a month left of "summer holidays" in Melbourne, playing some cool things here and there around town before heading back home to Berlin, and seeing how deep the 2017 rabbit hole goes.
Purchase Tornado Wallace's Lonely Planet on Juno and Bandcamp.