Next Wave #1161: Angus1

Reflective pop with a novelistic edge...

Straddling upbeat electronic music with bags of introspective lyricism, Angus1 is an artist and producer with a sonic palette that defies convention. He may be a newcomer to the scene, but his music feels both refined and forward-thinking. It’s also deeply personal too; his project’s raison d’être became solidified after he confronted lifelong mental health struggles through therapy. With the arrival of his debut EP ‘Open for Business’, not only does Angus1 put his music on the map, he also shares the unfiltered chronicle of his transformative personal journey too.

“Something I haven’t really shared is that this EP was finished a little while ago, but I wasn’t mentally well enough to release it,” says Angus1. “It just wasn’t possible for me to put myself out there, hustle the music and be perpetually online. To finally have it out in the world feels like a real turning point, both musically and personally.” 

From a young age, playing by the rules was never quite part of Angus1’s agenda. Instead of writing classical sonatas like he was encouraged to at school, he gravitated towards trance, house and NRG buying his first CD at the age of 10. It was the beginning of a journey that prioritised creative exploration over traditional instruction, which remains a core facet of his artistry today. After spending time DJing in Syndney and refining his craft as a mixer, Angus1 soon began making music of his own. His 2020 single “Champagne” offers a great entry point into his ethos, epitomising his diverse creative curiosity. “While I was studying musicology at university, we had a class that was designed to push our concept of what ‘music’ was,” says Angus1. “The lecturer played us all kinds of things – noise music, atonal music, cacophonous sounds – but when they played a collection of songs sung by the Wodaabe tribe, a small nomadic subsect of the Fulani people and one of the last truly nomadic tribes in the world, I immediately fell in love with the sound… I’m excited by learning about and appreciating other people, cultures and music, and that curiosity is what usually drags me into other cultural worlds.”

Similarly broad sonic reference points are also infused in Angus1’s debut EP ‘Open for Business’. From the French house inspired ‘Over the Hill’ to the energetic yet introspective ‘Run’ and the UKG beat focused, EP standout track ‘The Path’, this purposeful amalgamation of sounds provides a vivid insight into Angus1’s creative psyche. “I’ve never aligned myself with a specific genre… I’m a cobbler and a collager and will likely always be,” he affirms. 

But more than that, when paired with the kind of lyricism that he feels is often reserved for more “traditional” styles of songwriting (highlighted especially through his ebbs with depression in ‘The Path’), it makes for a body of work that’s both club-ready yet emotionally charged in equal measure. “I know some people love lyrics and tuning into the story, and I know other people are all about vibe and let the feeling of a song wash over them without thinking too much about it,” he says. “I’m happy for people to take and leave whatever they need from the EP. That said, I do hope some people relate to the themes buried in these five tracks and feel seen or more understood when they inevitably encounter those blurry, hard-to-put-your-finger-on moments of reflection, confusion, discontent, irritation, exhaustion – whatever it may be.”

‘Open for Business’ is out now.

Words: Jamie Wilde

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