Over the last couple of years, Melbourne DJ and producer Mell Hall has released the single ‘Knock Knock’ featuring Thandi Phoenix, teamed up with Babert for ‘Can’t Stop Now’, and remixed tracks by Spacet Cadet and KLP and Peking Duk featuring Nicole Millar. Hall’s latest single, ‘End of Time’, features lead vocals from Brisbane singer-songwriter Sahara Beck.
As a solo artist, Beck makes theatrical pop music, and she’s recently been applying this versatility to a range of collaborations. Prior to ‘End of Time’, Beck appeared on ‘Devils Cup’ with Toby Romeo and ‘Can’t Get Enough’ with Purple Disco Machine. Music Feeds got Hall and Beck on Zoom together to chat about ‘End of Time’ and their respective tastes and inspirations.
Mell Hall – ‘End of Time’ (feat. Sahara Beck)
Music Feeds: How did ‘End Of Time’ start? Do you know each other well?
Mell Hall: Sahara and I have never actually met in person. This is the first time we’ve spoken online. But I had a bed for ‘End of Time’ that I’d been sitting on for a while. I’m signed to Club Sweat/Sweat It Out and there was a lot of discussions going on around vocals, and I had envisioned a female vocal for the record.
So, talking to the guys at Club Sweat, Sahara’s name had come up. Obviously, I knew who she was and that she had just done a record with Purple Disco Machine, which is right up my alley and the realm I’m in. So, we sent it off to her.
I don’t think we sent a real direction. I wanted to let her take creative lead on what she wanted to sing about. And what she came back with was brilliant. Then it just came back to me and I chugged it up a little bit. My sound had changed during that time – I’d become a little bit more dancier. And her vocals are so easy to work with, so it was actually really simple.
Sahara Beck: I feel like you sent me the song and you weren’t like, “Oh, I’m envisioning that it should be about this,” you were just like, “What are you hearing for this?” And then I went and visited my friend Jay [Bovino] and then we went back and forth on some stuff and just sent it back to you and you were like, “Great.” And then you were like, “Can you just change this two second vocal part?” and I sent it back to you and you were like, “Sweet.”
Mell: I like to let the vocalists or people that I work with have creative control as well, and then they feel a part of it as opposed to being like, “Here’s the lyrics.” And with this one, it turned out to be really natural.
Sahara: And you were in a situation where you’d had the song for a long time and you probably went, “Oh, I don’t really know anymore where it’s supposed to go.” I do that all the time – I have so many songs where I’m like, “I have no idea what this is actually supposed to sound like anymore.”
Mell: Yeah, for sure. All I knew was that I didn’t want it to be as poppy as my other records. Again, your vocals are so easy to work with, so then [it was just about] speeding everything up and putting it more into a dance floor kind of main room set as opposed to just a warm up-type vibe.
Sahara: I reckon it turned out awesome, too. I’m stoked.
MF: Seeing as you’ve never met in person, Sahara do you have any questions for Mell about her process?
Sahara: Yeah, I was just going to ask what inspired you to start producing and making music?
Mell: I’m Melbourne born and bred but I’m currently in Adelaide, escaped during Covid. For me, growing up in Melbourne, obviously it’s a huge dance scene and when I first started going out there wasn’t a lot of females in the scene. I’m mid-30s now, so there was not a lot of female producers, DJs floating around. So I have to give a big shout out to a DJ called Jen Tutty, who was the first female resident at OneSixOne in Melbourne.
She’s still in music – she’s a lawyer as well, so she writes a lot of the contracts that float around the Australian music industry. But I grew up watching her and always knew I wanted to produce down the line, but obviously started DJing. I was DJing for nearly a decade before I ever touched anything production or sent it out to the world, just because I wanted to be good and I didn’t want to jump on a trend at the time and then regret it ten years later.
What about you – what was your inspiration?
Sahara: I honestly never wanted to do music, really, and then I saw the Cat Empire performing one time and I saw Harry James Angus singing and I was like, “Oh my god, he’s got the best voice I’ve ever heard.” It just moves everyone and I looked around and I was like, everyone in this room is totally forgetting what they have to do tomorrow and what they did yesterday. And I was like, “I want to make people feel like that.”
Purple Disco Machine – ‘Can’t Get Enough’ (feat. Sahara Beck)
Mell Hall’s ‘End of Time’ ft. Sahara Beck is out now via Club Sweat.
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