Dirty South Goes Track-By-Track On His 'Favorite' Album 'Darko': Exclusive

Dirty South
Damian Guiney

Dirty South

If you could see your soul, what colors would it be? Art is an expression of our deepest selves and Australian-based DJ and producer Dirty South is a beautiful collection of jewel-toned shades. His fourth album, darko, comes just 10 months after its predecessor XV, but it begged for quick release. He called it his favorite album on twitter, and once you press play, you'll understand.

Its eight tracks reveal something sensual and invigorating. It's energetic without boiling over, a kind of tempered madness we carry inside ourselves until we let our inhibitions loose on the dance floor. It's music for the bedroom, for exploration, for kicking back or moving ahead. 

Billboard Dance caught up with Dirty South to get the story behind each track. It was an experimental experience for the creative, one he can't wait to share, so we're premiering darko a full a day ahead of its release below.

This was the last track that I made for this album. After it was completed and I was figuring out the best running order, it felt like a great opener for the album. It’s quite melancholy, and it sets the mood for what’s about to come for the rest of the album. I’ve played it to a few close friends, and it’s one of their favorites off the album. It gives me a sort of medieval vibe.

My favorite thing is trying to make these long “4-chord riffs” and making them work for duration of the song - or at least most of it. That was the idea behind "Kino," but also bringing in these cinematic slices to contrast the riff every now and then. This one works really well live. I’ve been playing it lots and always it gets an amazing reaction.

So this track started of by accident as an experiment when I bought a new delay plugin called Carbon Copy by u-He. I usually work in Ableton, but, once again, by accident, I fired up Logic and decided to mess around with Carbon Copy. I started making melodies and chords and used this plugin all over the session. Before I knew it, I was finishing off a brand new track. The track starts mellow-ish but slowly progresses, and all the sounds expand into the final climax towards the end of the track.

This track started off by a jam session between me and a long time collaborator, Rudy. He usually sings on tracks, but for this one, we both started jamming on a bunch of synths that I have in the studio. We would record lots of parts in until we got some magic. After collecting all the parts, I then went through the process of piecing it all together. I get this feeling like it could almost be in a science fiction movie. It’s dark and moody, just the way I like it.

This one is the groover on the album. It started off with a little preset sequence I found and then flipped beyond recognition. Added some cool chords in the breakdown, of course, the big horns and voila! Probably one of the earliest, if not the first track, I made for this album. Only a couple of tastemakers have had it and been playing it around, and it’s been getting great feedback. I feel like dancing every time I put it on.

So Lava has been a favorite from the DJs that have had an early copy. It goes straight to the point, I think. I wanted to make a strictly simple club record, but then, of course, I couldn't help myself, so I added a more musical piano-ish breakdown to give it even more character. The bass line is groovy. I used my trusty Moog Minitaur for that. I love anything Moog makes. Once again, it really works like magic in the club atmosphere.

This one is me just experimenting with a really simple riff and sticking to making a really simple club-oriented record this time. I made the main riff using Korg Minilogue, which I love. The whole riff and all the little intricate effects come from Minilogue, and it’s automated live just for some extra fun. It grooves, and it’s sexy.

This comes from another jam session with Rudy. Once again, we recorded a bunch of sounds, moving from synth to synth, and then I arranged it all as one cohesive piece. To me, it’s the most beautiful track on the album, and I wanted to end the album with it. The chords evolve and harmonies build all throughout the track to create this really cool tension. It gets a little crazy at times but still feels patient, and there is space for everything. Another one that’s been getting love from the early tastemakers.

Darko is out on Dirty South's Phazing Records on Friday (Nov. 16), but you can get wrapped up in its brilliant moods below, exclusively on Billboard Dance.