INTERVIEW: Perth’s Adrian Dzvuke speaks on his artistic journey & his love for performing live
We spoke to Adrian Dzvuke about his journey from spontaneously becoming a drummer and learning to produce music, to being a blossoming Australian artist creating beautiful blends of Afro-pop and R&B. Dzvuke also speaks on the cruciality of live performance to the way an artist is able to present their music as a form of artistic expression.
With an incredible array of musical talent on his side, Perth artist Adrian Dzvuke is shifting the expectations of Australian music through his upbeat and soulful sound. Dzvuke is down to earth and wields a delightful attitude as we chat about his music journey beginning in church when he was 12 years old. “My dad used to play keys and be the band leader in church, so he used to go to practise every weekend. He’d just be around music the whole time and then it got to a point when he began to drag me along and then I was just always there.
“One time, there was no drummer at the church – the drummer didn’t show up – and my dad was like, “You’re gonna play drums” and I’d never played drums before in my life.” Dzvuke explains how being thrown into the deep end prompted his adoration for music to quickly blossom.
“I’d always loved music and [my dad] knew that, so I think this was an opportunity for him to be like “Maybe you should try this out”. It was in front of the whole church of roughly 50 people, I think. I played drums that week and it kind of went well. I had rhythm and I was able to keep a groove going although I didn’t have the technical skill. From there on I was like, “Wow, I really like this”. I always liked music, but I had never participated in it.”
Dzvuke explains that ever since that moment he felt the ambition and desire to play again and to be a part of the music rather than just be a listener. “I wanted to be more involved and every weekend I would go to rehearsal, hoping the drummer’s not there so I can play. Most of the time they were there, I’d just be watching like, “I wanna play I wanna play I wanna play”. It got to the point where I was just there all the time, and I eventually became the church drummer. I then began to play keys, teaching myself how to play.”
That turning point was critical in sparking Dzvuke’s pursual of music. “My friend had this thing called Mixcraft. It was an old software and he used to play around with it, and I was like, “What is that?”. I googled it and downloaded the free version. It’s this software where you can put loops together and can make beats and shit. I was like, “Oh cool, but I wanna make my own loops”. I learnt how to play keyboard through YouTube and of course my dad played keyboard as well. He taught me a little bit, but he never really sat down with me and the music that he played was so different from what I liked, so I just used YouTube.”
Dzvuke levelled up, upskilling himself to produce beats. “I used to just make beats for other people. I was like 15 and I remember I was making beats for the older generation of rap in Perth, the guys I would see online who would be like, “Oh my god, send your beats” and so I was just sending everybody beats. I started becoming this kind of ‘go-to’ little kid for beats. People were taking me to their studios, I remember my first studio session with this guy, who’s actually passed away now, Rest in Peace. His name was Fadi Majik and he taught me how the studio works and how to record and things like that. He used to take me to all his studio sessions because I used to make his beats so he would just bring me along.”
Since then, Dzvuke has transitioned from being a young producer to writing his own music and singing his own songs. He released his debut EP ‘Phone Me When You Lonely’ in September last year, gaining listeners from all over Australia and beyond. “I would probably describe my music as a mix of Afro-pop and R&B and pop. I think it all has really ‘pop’ elements, but it does also incorporate Afro and R&B.”
Live performances are a highly powerful component of being a musician and, in Adrian Dzvuke’s opinion, the way in which one’s music is performed for an audience matters. “The live elements of my shows are very integral to me as an artist. I’m very much a performer. I know there’s a lot of artists who don’t really care about that side of things and just want to put out music. I’m very like, “Nah I want to present my music in a certain way live” and that’s so important to me. The way that you perform your music is a form of expression.”
Dzvuke will be supporting Omah Lay for his Perth concert in his world tour on the 8th of April, and will also be a supporting act at the Out Of The Woods Festival in Busselton on the 23rd of April. Out Of The Woods will be Dzvuke’s first festival performance since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. “I feel like this one’s quite special because it’s my first big festival since COVID. When COVID hit, I was at the point where I’d played Groovin’ The Moo and I was getting booked for all these other shows, right? Big festivals. But everything got cancelled. This one is special because it’s the first big festival Perth has had since then, pretty much. I’m really excited.”
Adrian Dzvuke hopes to have his own tour towards the end of this year. He also says he has new music on the way. “I’ve been working on some really cool stuff at the moment. I can’t really say when anything will come out because there’s been a lot of big things that have happened in the last month in terms of my career, so I don’t want to speak on it too much. But there is new music coming out and it’s going to be crazy.”
Adrian Dzvuke is ambitious and passionate about the art he creates. His catchy, uplifting, and soulful music makes it clear why he is earning the attention he is and we’re excited to see what else is in store for this artist in the future.
Photo 2 & 3 by Michael Tartaglia
Words by Liv Declerck