Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Chuey. Together we discussed their relationship with music, creative process, their recently announced album “DIPTYCH”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?
I’m doing well!!! Juggling alot of stuff rn with work, full-tume uni and my solo music project but that’s just kinda how it is!!
2. Mustard wonders what your relationship with music was growing up? Can you recall an early favorite memory?
I think music has been apart of my life since the very beginning, I’ve always loved it and grew to appreciate alot of genres because of how much variety was being played in the house, from 80s and 90s music, Pop, Jazz, Mando-Pop, Classical, it was a large range of styles!!!
3. When did you first begin playing piano? How shortly after or before did songwriting begin?
I started playing piano when I was around 5, and began songwriting at around age 12!!!
4. You’ve condensed your sound into four styles: Pop, EDM, Jazz, and Classical. How do each of these styles influenced you?
I think the most important influence I have to address first is classical music. I started piano playing classical; spent probably 12-13 years learning it, furthermore, before I started songwriting I was composing classical pieces under the guidance of the wonder late Richard Gill AO. On Top of that, my mum used to take me to alot of Opera’s as a kid, and continued to go to many orchestral concerts. Pop, Jazz were what I heard alot of in the house when I was a kid, and my personal interests of EDM made me want to write electronic music. Whilst I first initially wrote only electronic music, my interests in Pop and Jazz began to grow at around age 15 when I first discovered my fascination in jazz piano. From then on, I began songwriting alot more and started producing more pop centred music. That’s not to say that electronic music is no longer my interest!!!! I just have a very wide amount of styles I love
5. What is your creative process?
Since I’m a pianist alot of my ideas and processes start on keys. Other times however sparks might happen during sound design sessions, making drum grooves and very rarely when I’m noodling on guitar or bass. When it comes to the actual writing process, sometimes I’ll have days where I sit down in front of the piano with the goal to write something and sometimes I’d be noodling before something suddenly takes shape. It’s during those moments when I would most likely record it down on my phone and bolt to my desk to try and re-record everything into Ableton. As soon as it’s in there all hell breaks loose. I always end up trying to write too many sections at once and it gets very cluttered, but in the end I guess it works out? But anyways yes, there is a creative process but it is very much all over the place hahaha I have alot of areas I can pull ideas from!!
6. Is there a song or album that had a significant impact on you?
There are too many I can’t list them all but I think if I HAD to choose HONNE’s Love Me/Love Me Not is one of my favourite albums of all time and has forever been one of my biggest influences both for mixing and ideas. Another one is Tom Misch’s Geography which has also equally been as influential as that album.
7. You’ve collaborated with a ton of different artists such as Messiah, Elise Notle, and Leah Berry. Could you share more about your creative process?
Usually I would produce the track before I work on lyrics. After I’ve completed the lyrics I would get a singer that I think would fit the track before going into the studio to record the vocals. Finally, I head home, edit and polish the vocals before doing any further adjustments to the track before I mix and master. Elise Nolte and Messiah were a bit different because they were high school friends back when we used to write/make stuff for fun. I still make stuff with Elise tho!!! Leah is a friend from university, she’s an incredible singer and that process was slightly different because it was during COVID lockdowns, so I had to notate the melody on top of the lyrics instead of just playing it by ear in the studio. Furthermore, due to the isolation I also gave Leah alot more creative freedom to add her own harmonic layers in the song!!
8. Mustard has observed that Golden Eye is a Nintendo 64 game. Did this game influence or inspire your single “Golden Eyes?”
Hahahaha I wish it was!!! Unfortunately it wasn’t, Ive actually never played that game before but I do know about it!!
9. If you could have a dose of anything right now what it would be?
A dose of some really good creative juices.
10. Last May saw the release of your EP “Tableaux.” Could you share what it was like to put this EP together?
It was very very stressful not going to lie, but extremely rewarding and fun!!! This was because everything in that EP (including this one) was all done by myself; from the writing, producing, recording, mixing, mastering, graphics design, distribution, promotion, video editing, every single aspect of that whole EP (except the single cover photos taken by my friend Lee), everything was all under my creative control. From this you could probably tell, the whole release period was extremely hectic when you add in full time uni and 32 hour work weeks. Something I did that was unique (but I’m beginning to see this be implemented more frequently) is the concept of releasing every single song as a single before the release of the EP. Not only does this mean that each song gets the spotlight for it’s own period (and pitched to Spotify playlists individually) it also means it allows me to be able to stay more relevant in the social media scene for longer rather than just one big release and nothing else.
11. You recently announced the follow up to Tableaux – DIPTYCH. What can listeners expect from your upcoming second EP?
Expect alot more electronic music!!!! I think the most important thing I have to state about this new EP – Diptych, is that whilst it aurally comes from a wildly different space to my previous EP – Tableaux, they are both thematically connected. Both EPs converge around the themes of Water (Diptych) and Air (Tableaux), which are some main auditory ideas that I will continue to explore in my future works as they both have underlying meanings that would be a bit excessive to talk about in this hahahah. Furthermore, Tableaux’s EP concept revolves around the french art form (of the same name) of static living images, where in this case each track depicts a certain scene. Additionally, it also pays homage to one of my favourite romantic composers Rachmaninoff that I used to play a lot of, one specific influential collection of pieces aptly named ‘Etude Tableaux’. But speaking about the art form idea of Tableaux, Diptych proceeds to expand upon this idea with digital icons instead, almost presenting itself as the modern Tableaux “computer-fied”, with more electronic elements and influences as you mentioned. Additionally, one unique idea I tried to implement in this EP to solidify the Diptych concept is that each track from Diptych contains motifs from its “sister track” of the same track position in Tableaux. Furthermore, when both EPs are played together in the right order, it forms one seamless play that ultimately fulfills the title’s name, Diptych.
12. On your latest single you recently brought disco back. When did you discover it was gone? Could you tell us how you found it? Can fans expect more disco influence on your upcoming EP?
Hahahah it’s very funny you say this!!! I have to say the track name in itself was very much on the nose, it’s me almost parodying the common catchphrases you would hear in a usual electronic song before a drop. I genuinely think disco has had a resurgence recently in the past few years but no I’m definitely not cause of that haha!!!!, But yes, do expect to hear some more disco soon!!! I love disco so I think people should expect it to come back, but maybe not in the same way everytime cuz I love too many different styles.
13. A human gets to see you perform. How would you describe your live performance?
Alot of energy. I move ALOT when I play with my band, Chuey and the Dumplings, I’m always bouncing up and down or just being extremely enthusiastic when I’m on stage. In terms of the music, if it’s the band that’s playing, expect music from Tableaux; some heavy pop/r&b inspired grooves that make you move, mixed with strong elements of jazz improvisation and excellent singing. In terms of my soon to be planned solo show, be ready for the music of DIPTYCH; a whole lotta heavy sounds and super gritty & glitchy drops and things that make you jump up and down and not side to side (that’s for when you watch my band), but also expect a lil bit of jazz and some strong visual elements as well!!!
14. Do you have any last words?
I don’t think so!!! This has been alot of fun and It had been an absolute pleasure to do this interview . Love the funny questions you put in here!
15. Where can readers listen to your music?
Also come follow me on Insta that’s where I’m most active!!!
Also email for any inquires : email@example.com