What So Not has solidified himself as a major player in the electronic music space releasing banger after banger. The time has now come for this producer to release his debut album, ‘Not All The Beautiful Things’. Having first met Chris on the ARIAs red carpet late last year, I was really surprised at how insightful he was about the world, and couldn’t wait to continue our conversation. There’s so much more to What So Not than just music, but seeing as though he’s releasing an album, read on for all the insight into his creative process and how he ended up collaborating with some of the world’s greatest artists.
How were your ARIAs? Did you have a great time?
I did! I found myself sitting there finding the whole thing really humorous; I’d never been to anything like that before. I found a lot of wining moments amongst all the inside jokes, and what goes on behind the scenes.
Are us plebs missing out not being there or is it still just as good watching it on TV?
You just get to see all the retakes and bloopers [laughs].
When we spoke on the ARIAs red carpet we explored some of your milestones for 2017, but it seems that 2018 has a big one for you too. Your debut album ‘Not All The Beautiful Things’ is set to be released. What does this record symbolise to you?
The meaning of album itself is the dramatic end to a lot of relationships. What I did throughout the whole process is that I wanted to develop interdimensional worlds to conceptualise and create the visuals, music, characters, and narratives, and parallel the relationships with a post-apocalyptic setting where everything is falling apart, everything you thought had life in the world had suddenly ended, and you’re trying to build with whatever remains and get some sort of civilisation back on track. I think a lot of people can relate to that feeling that when things happen so suddenly, like the passing of someone or the end of a relationship. This album is about that and ‘Not All The Beautiful Things’ itself is paying respect to things you lose along the way, and the things we don’t notice right in front of us, and how important they are.
You give a sense of reality to your music, and a way for your fans and music lovers to connect with you, and this album is a very intense look into your experiences. How do you then find the beauty in the ugliness?
It’s that age old saying: you need sadness for happiness and darkness for light. In my own life, I’ve taken on this mantra that if I feel sad, I feel sad and I don’t dwell on it, let it absorb, make me anxious or that I need to fix something; I’m just like I don’t need to do that today. Instead I’ll go outside, go to the beach, go see a friend, and maybe write a song if I feel better. In the moments I feel joy or happiness, and have good things going on I just lavish in that, let it exist and take it in. I really like that way of living and approaching life.
You’re stepping into the role of Creative Director as well, which is quite a pivotal move in your career. Why did you decide to take this step?
I had a bunch of people I worked with over the past years who were instrumental and gave me guidance through different things, and the more I started getting involved with the music videos and artworks and how they relate to the music, I realised how important it was to have an all-encompassing creative vision for everything. I’ve written music video treatments for every song on this album even if I don’t get to do them, I dived into co-directing on a bunch of these videos through this process, conceptualised the stage design for what you would have seen at Listen Out and Coachella, and I look forward to doing more of that with the tours coming up. I want to project the ethos of each song with many aspects of creativity so when someone sees it, they step into a world all of its own and feel a part of it.
Daniel Johns seems to be at the forefront of collaborations. How on Earth did this partnership come about? I love it!
I was so excited to work with some interesting people on this record. I made the distinct decision at the start not to simply have labels and managers send emails around to big artists to be a featured. I wanted to do it differently; only work with close friends who I saw eye to eye with creatively and was inspired by. I was lucky enough to fit into that realm Toto, Skrillex, and a bunch of friends like Daniel, BUOY and countless others.
Why did you decide to go with ‘Be Ok Again’ as the lead track of this album? What was it about it that track that really stood out to you?
It’s often more than just the artist’s choice when it comes to picking the lead track; it’s what everybody thinks is the best way. It’s funny that ended up being the first song because it was the anchor for me on this album. The underpinning narrative of the song is the underpinning narrative for the album. Creatively it was probably the best one to put out first.
2018: what goals do you want to set for yourself?
I actually don’t really like to set goals. I just like to go about what I’m doing and really give every moment everything I’ve got. I feel like things sort of happen in that fashion. Funny you say that too because the album is kind of the opposite of setting goals; it’s not saying don’t have them or dreams, but pay attention to the amazing things in front of you, and around you, and it’ll lead you to a path that you never thought possible. When you don’t have goals, your potential is limitless. I feel like what is meant to happen will happen if you pay attention to all the signs when they come to you.
What So Not is also headed out on his ‘Beautiful Things’ World Tour with a selection of dates in Australia. Tickets are available here.