Australian DJ/producer GOLDEN FEATURES (aka Tom Stell) has released his new single Do You and Telescope (Ft. K. Flay) today on BEATPORT. In an exclusive conversation with BEATPORT, the masked DJ/producer describes the state of festivals in the U.S. and Australia and much more. The full interview can be found here.
He returned to the U.S. this past week for CRSSD Festival in San Diego at Waterfront Park on Sunday, October 11 alongside The Flaming Lips, TV On The Radio, Bonobo, AlunaGeorge, Zhu and more. Before CRSSD Festival, he performed a special show Friday, October 9 at Social Hall in San Francisco. This January (3-6), GOLDEN FEATURES will set sail aboard HOLY SHIP from Miami to Coco Cay, Bahamas alongside Kaskade, Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus, Odeza, Steve Aoki and more.
Officially released July 24the, 2015, GOLDEN FEATURES’ new EP “XXIV” is available now via Warner Music in Australia and iTunes worldwide. “XXIV” expands on the darkly beautiful electronic beats GOLDEN FEATURES has become known for in his native country. “XXIV” features tracks Baxter, Telescope Ft. K. Flay, Do You?, and first single No One Feat. Thelma Plum. Listen to the deep, sexy track which spans London, Berlin and Detroit dance influences and yet, is purely and uniquely Australian:
British DJ Pete Tong of BBC Radio 1–who just had GOLDEN FEATURES on his “Evolution” radio show–is playing the song, while French DJ Tchami added the single to Spinnin‘ sessions and the song is now on high rotation at Triple J Radio in Australia.
Recorded in GOLDEN FEATURES’ studio in Kings Cross, Sydney, the “XXIV” EP–which follows his critically acclaimed self-titled 2014 debut EP–is entirely self-produced. “The idea behind this EP was to elaborate on the first release,” says Sydney’s masked producer. “I decided to create a set of guidelines to work within and the goal was to create a body of music more refined and thoughtful. Its purpose is to end a chapter and depart from strict club format.”
2. No One Ft. Thelma Plum
3. Telescope Ft. K.Flay
4. Do You?
After sold-out shows Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and two consecutive nights in Sydney, GOLDEN FEATURES made his U.S. festival debut at HARD SUMMER alongside The Chemical Brothers, Porter Robinson, Jack Ü and more this summer (August 2), blowing audiences away. GOLDEN FEATURES won the 2015 In The Mix’s “Best Breakthrough Artist in Australia” award.
Read the GOLDEN FEATURES exclusive Q&A with BEATPORT in its entirety below:
Q: This past summer brought you stateside for your first North American tour and festival gig. What was your perception of the US and its dance culture before coming here, and how did they stack up to the experience?
A: The U.S. is a crazy place because of the enthusiasm behind dance music right now which I haven’t really seen anywhere else. There’s just an insane energy at all the festivals. I went to Miami in 2013 and my entire impression was formed around that trip. I just assumed it was a lot of EDM guys and “where’s molly?” shirts, but I was lucky enough to play at HARD this summer and I was blown away by how wrong I was. The HARD team continues to takes risks on artists and they’re killing it by being different.
Q: You’re almost two years removed from your self-titled debut EP. How has life, both professionally and personally, changed for you since then?
A: The obvious stuff I guess. Quitting my job was the main one professionally. I guess it was the first time it signified that this wasn’t a hobby or whatever. Personally, it’s essentially the same, I’m a fairly quiet person.
Q: You mentioned your new EP, “XXIV”, is about elaborating on the first one. Given their dark and mysterious sonic themes, what sort of story are you looking to tell?
A: There was no real narrative behind the music that’s been released so far. It was more of just a feeling I wanted to capture in sound. I had a moodboard full of pictures, mostly black and white stuff, but it all felt grim, yet beautiful. I wanted it to sound like what Helena Bonham Carter looks like.
Q: This year, you sold out a series of shows back home in Australia, and you just recently headlined a stage at Listen Out-a big moment, considering you were opening the festival just last year. What are some notable similarities and differences you’ve noticed between Oz’s dance/festival culture and America’s?
A: Australia’s is dying while America’s is thriving. I don’t really know what happened in Australia, but a lot of festivals stopped. When I was young there was literally 9 or 10 touring nationally, annually and maybe only 2 of them are left. It’s sad to see but on the flip side boutique festivals like Listen Out are replacing them and we’re seeing a lot of niches being filled.
Q: There’s been a huge surge of Aussie representation on the international circuit. Where do you see yourself fitting into this movement?
A: I don’t really know to be honest, I’m not sure what the movement exactly is. All I know is that I’m kind of done with DJ formatted music. I have no problems with it, but it just doesn’t excite me like it used to.
Q: You’re heading back to the U.S. soon for two West Coast shows: a club show in San Francisco at Social Hall and CRSSD festival in San Diego. Do you approach club sets any differently than you do festivals? What and where is the ideal Golden Features environment when you’re performing?
A: With festivals I try to go a bit more grandiose and attention grabbing. Clubs could be anything though, it really depends, you know? Like the 2000 person main room clubs get very different treatment to the 250. I love it all to be honest, too tough to pick a favourite.
Q: In a previous interview, you mentioned one of your idols being Porter Robinson, who continues to make a bold statement post-“Worlds” release with his live show. Do you foresee see a Golden Features album and/or audio-visual live show in the near future?
A: I’ve got a bunch of love for Porter because he will inevitably do whatever it is that he thinks is the right idea. 99% of people out there wouldn’t have had the balls the do what he did with “Worlds”. I look up to anybody who does what they want to do no matter what. I’ve just started working on an album. Once the music starts coming together, I’ll definitely start planning a live show specific to the new album.
About GOLDEN FEATURES:
In March 2014, Australian DJ/Producer GOLDEN FEATURES (aka Tom Stell) dropped his self-titled debut EP brimming with originality and teeming with brooding touches to create an inimitable wall of sound. In the year that followed, Tom was named as one of In The Mix’s Top 25 producers and MTV Australia’s “Artist To Watch”, he performed at major music festivals including Splendour in the Grass, Beyond the Valley and Field Day. GOLDEN FEATURES quickly became recognized by his EDM peers, including Porter Robinson. LESSTHAN3 described his remix of Porter’s Years Of War: “Golden Features effortlessly transforms Years of War from a breezy, floating ballad into a fist-pumping, floor-busting machine. Holding onto the vocal work from Breanne Duren, the Aussie producer swaps out Porter’s airy, ethereal mix with his signature style of teasing beats and heavy bass. The Australian mystery man has been a known favourite of Robinson’s since releasing his self-titled EP back in March.”
“When the first Virgin Galactic flight takes off for its maiden voyage into space, Golden Feature’ new EP “XXIV” might be the perfect soundtrack. Jangly bass, dark synth stabs and ghostly voices float over a persistent house beat keeping your booty moving through the galactic mist. I was very excited to check out Golden Features aka 24 year old producer/DJ Tom Stell at his very first American festival set at HARD Summer. He didn’t disappoint as he played a very ethereal but body rocking set mixing almost all his own tunes, which is a rarity for such a new artist.”
— Jeremiah Alexis, DEVOUR MAGAZINE, (August 7, 2015) HARD Summer review.
“If you aren’t yet familiar with Golden Features, a couple minutes into the mix, the mystery behind the metallic face plate will be trumped by the mixtape’s selection, technique, and originality. Working through syrupy trap beats and into static, bouncing house cuts, Golden Features weaves together a 45-minute session priming fans for his coming HARD Summer appearance with a taste of what to expect from one of the brightest talents emanating from down under right now. From tribal rhythms to wiry, ambient grooves, the forward-thinker lets the mix do all the talking, without allowing the anonymity of the project to be an overshadowing feature.”
–David Klemlow, DANCING ASTRONAUT (July 20, 2015)