Recently, Chris Sammut caught up with Del Lumanta. Del has been part of many our projects here at I.C.E. for a while, including All Girl Electronic, Close Enough, New Age Noise and now I.C.E.HAUS, but Chris wanted to chat specifically about growing up out west, finding your community, how to work outside of the industry clap traps, and avoid gate keeper loserinos.
Tell us a bit about where you grew up, how you got into music and some of your musical history.
I grew up in Blacktown. I always listened to music obsessively and there was usually something around that was all ages to check out whether it was a hardcore show, other school kids gathered at the station free-styling, or P!nk playing in Westpoint. I was lucky to have made some older friends outside of school who were into seeing music, so it was normal to me. A particular gig that felt magic was Bloodlust 4 at Blacktown RSL in 2004. Astriaal (QLD) and Psycroptic (TAS) played some of the best metal I have ever seen to date and Brett Lee’s funky band was playing down stairs. Feels really funny to think about now, there was plenty of different things going on.
I didn’t start making music until I was in my mid 20s in a garage rock band called Family with Mia Grosz (Basic Human), Daniel Grosz (Dead Farmers), Daniel Kawalsky (Dead Farmers) and Jack O’Brien. After that band I started an electronic project called Video Ezy with my good pal Nina Buchanan where we began to look at synthesizers and drum machines.
Did any artists in particular inspire you to follow this trajectory.
Plenty! Definitely Naked on the Vague, Nicola Morton, DJ Gemma, Cured Pink, Rule of Thirds, Kiosk, The Friendsters, Scraps, Brainbeau, Superstar, Love Chants and Holy Balm and all of their associated projects over the years. Inspo from recent times comes from Nina Buchanan, Papaphilia, Various Asses, Lucreccia Quintanilla, Coco Solid, Laura Jean, Stone Fruit, Ailsa Liu, Milkffish, Wytchings, Clarissa Mei, Madboots, Etchings Wound, Under A and Fanau Spa.
What support did you need/have when you were starting out?
I just need a community tbh, I’ve been really lucky to have one.
You have a lot to do with the New Age Noise Collective here at I.C.E. Tell us a bit about it. What do you think can be done in Western Sydney to help artists evolve?
New Age Noise is a free music production and skill-share workshop series lead by myself and Nicola Morton. Over the last four years we’ve shown each cohort different things about music including how to use Ableton, record and sample sound, use effects, collaborate, throw the rule book out and feel okay with making something you didn’t expect etc. etc. We’ve been helped along the way by some amazing mentors who’ve all been generous enough to share their stories, including highlights and woes. They’ve shown us some cool tricks too.
I don’t think western Sydney artists need to do anything besides stay true to what makes them buzz. It’s conservative culture industry gate keeper loserinos who need some help to evolve, haha!
Where have you played or performed that have been memorable?
Raj House in Adelaide for the last Bungsound Festival was fun. A smoke machine set off the alarms in the building during a Call Compatible set and lots of firemen were hovering around the inside the building in their garb with extreme torches while I played. It was a nice unexpected performance to the music.
Basic Human at Beat Disc, Parramatta was another good one! I was so stoked to live out my teenage fantasy of playing there.
Steam Vent for Intense Nest at Lucy Cliche’s house. I think this show really solidified my leap into ambient music and what I’d like to be doing with those projects. I got to watch people drift off and fall asleep to my set.
You were / are also involved in running the independent record label Paradise Daily and work on Radio Skid Row. Tell us a bit about that and what is it you love about being involved in a D.I.Y culture?
For PDR, Ela Stiles and I teamed up with label-head Jaz Brooking. We wanted to help out with managing the label. I mostly wrote about the releases and looked for places to publish interviews and record reviews. It’s a difficult task to catch the attention of folks outside of a scene or community. We wanted to be less insular. We weren’t looking into hooking into any big shiny marketing teams either (ew). We just wanted to let people know about releases through trustworthy sources. It was a big learning curb for all of us because there weren’t many options other than some small magazines, blogs and community radio. It’s even way more bleak now than a couple of years ago.
At Radio Skidrow I manage the youth collective G.A.N.G. (Good And Nice, Great!) GANG. We’re very new and still finding our feet in the station but the point of the collective is to get young people in the space making the kind of radio, podcasts and videos etc. they wished existed in the world of media.
I like being involved in the DIY world cos it’s just waaaay more interesting, relaxed and localized than something that has been forced through the matrix of an industry or institute. I see DIY culture as a type of resistance too, like, not everyone can afford to pay for a hi-fi production or expensive gear. And it’s amazing how some people actually believe there isn’t any space or time to support folks who operate outside of this wack “emerging” or “established” artist framework (it’s a clap trap!) It really tells you a lot about a person! It’s special to be able to approach someone after they’ve played a set and tell them you liked it – instead of, going to a show, being entertained for three hours and leaving. There is a real sense of community, really amazing discourse around DIY organising and lots of space for people to contribute. It’s also incredibly diverse without the superficial, self-congratulatory language that is co-opted by groups and organisations who are actually just clueless, neo-liberal punishers. I think DIY culture’s strength is not being convinced by these people and I’m all for it.
Image: Basic Human @ I.C.E.HAUS by Lyndal Irons, 2019