Liveschool alumni Donatachi (Doug Simmons) has burst back onto the scene with a bright and bouncy new jaunt, ‘A/S/L’. He’s teamed up with fellow graduate Tashka and Blair de Milo for this new jam that builds from where he left off.

A/S/L takes cues from the glassy synths and tightly wound energy behind A.G. Cook, Rustie, or Hudson Mohawke. But a thick bass and Tashka’s emotive vocals make for a darker mood, reminiscent of a Kelela/Kingdom aesthetic. Add in Blair De Milo’s feature verse and you’ve got a track that wears its influences on its sleeve, while nudging well into the unknown.

The tune has been making waves locally and internationally, with plays on Triple J and big praise online from Indie ShuffleAcid Stag, Stoney Roads, and Purple Sneakers. Nice one!

A/S/L went through a few iterations before it was ready for release. We asked Doug to give us a breakdown of how the track came about:

Making ‘A/S/L’ with Donatachi

First drafts

“With A/S/L I had sent a rough demo to Tash and Blair over a year ago and they both came back with vocal topline ideas for the track. I’d worked with them both before, we had become friends so they knew exactly what I was after and I didn’t need to give a lot of direction. The track sounded very different then, kind of UK Garage/R&B influence, which is evident in both Tashka and Blair’s vocal lines.”

Changing direction

“I reached a point where I couldn’t take the song any further but I knew it wasn’t fully fleshed out. It sat in my ‘ideas’ folder for nearly a year before I came back to it and realised it would be a waste if I didn’t try to do something with it. By this point I had experimented a fair bit with songs and remixes. Along the way I had arrived at a different stage creatively and I didn’t feel the production reflected where I was at.”

Streamlining production

“My aim for the track was tight, snappy and punchy beats with minimal elements so each part had space to shine. I made a conscious effort to not overcomplicate rhythms or layer too many elements so as to avoid it sounding sloppy and overcooked. I basically ended up completely gutting the track and essentially remixed it to be consistent with my current work and direction. I’ve since taken this approach of remixing my unfinished demos and it has kept me productive when I’m struggling to come up with new ideas in a creative drought.”

A huge thanks to Doug for the insights, we’re keen to hear what’s next!


Donatachi is a graduate of our Create + Destroy course. Check upcoming course intakes here.