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MEET: Borderland State

He took out the Triple J Unearthed DMA'S remix competition last year, cameos as a lawyer during the day, has signed his debut release to Kim Moyes’ (The Presets) label Here to Hell, and is a current participant in the Industry Connect program. He goes by Borderland State and is worth keeping your ears open for.

We sat down to speak about the direction of future musical projects, how winning the DMA’s remix competition led to a crucial connection, and why engaging with the wider music community is an important part of his process.

A lot of the time being a musician can be an incredibly isolating process where you feel like it's you against the world. These workshops prove there are people out there who want to help and be part of the journey. It's awesome and totally reassuring. Plus you just flat out learn things you wouldn't otherwise learn if it weren't for these workshops. Things that are crucial to making music more than just a hobby. So that's really cool/important.

BORDERLAND STATE
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Tell us a little about Borderland State...

Borderland State is the musical project of myself, Luke Middleton. I've always played/created music in various forms. Mostly as a guitarist in a number of different bands over the years. My initial introduction to the love of music came in the form of post rock music and instrumental music. This probably explains my love for the ambient/cinematic style that finds its way into my music. I don't really have an answer for why I started making music... it's just what I've always done. It keeps me sane.

The name, Borderland State, comes from an early iteration of what the project has now become. Initially when it started in 2017 it was planned to be music that you could sleep to. Think of artists like Hammock, Olufar Arnold, Lowercase Noises etc etc. The "Borderland State" is the state you are in between REM sleep and waking up. It's where you have all your dreams. It's a little pretentious... but I liked it so it stuck. As the project grew I found myself wanting to incorporate more beat elements and structure to the songs, and this is how it ended up where it is today. My day to day job is as a lawyer, so coming home and making music in my bedroom is essential to my sanity.

You released 'Collider' a few months back, is that where the project is heading? In a very instrumental direction?

Collider certainly gives a good indication of my sound, but I want to build on that. Instrumental music will always be a large part of the project, but I also love collaborating with other musicians including vocalists. I have a few demos on the hard drives at the moment with vocalists on them and will hopefully be releasing them in the future! I don't want to say no to any opportunity because it might not "fit with the project" so to speak. Sometimes the best creations come from the unexpected, so I really want to leave myself open for that.

Last year you won the Triple J Unearthed DMA'S remix competition, what was that like and did you find it led to new opportunities for the project?

It was incredible. Triple J for me has always been this mythical creature of sorts. The music I have always created/listened to doesn't necessarily sit with the typical Triple J listener so I always thought it would be a stretch to ever get noticed by the gang at Triple J. When the remix comp opened I thought it would be the ideal situation to mix my sound with something that their listeners already love (DMA's). It worked out much better than I could have possibly imagined. It gave me so many opportunities. The people at Triple J genuinely want to see the small independent musicians succeed, which is awesome. Obviously meeting Kim from The Presets was unreal too, and I learnt so much. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that if it weren't for that competition, Triple J and Kim Moyes, I wouldn't have any of the opportunities I've had this year.

How's the rest of your 2019 looking? What are you working towards...

Good! Busy! I'm writing like crazy at the moment. I'm still working full time as a lawyer, so spend all my nights and weekends writing. I want to use the tiny amount of momentum I have at the moment to keep pushing forward. It's a bit of a weird period because I don't really have anything to show the wider public because it's all stuff I'm working on behind the scenes. It'll come to light soon though! I'm wanting to have an EP or two out by the end of the year/start of 2020. There are a few remixes in the works too, plus I have a couple of shows in May supporting some absolute legends, and hopefully more shows towards the middle of the year!

Why did you decide to come along to Industry Connect? How have you found the workshops?

It looked like an incredible way to meet other musicians and some great/well respected industry people... and it totally was. The people that run it so obviously want to see up and coming artists succeed, and that's really awesome to see. A lot of the time being a musician can be an incredibly isolating process where you feel like it's you against the world. These workshops prove there are people out there who want to help and be part of the journey. It's awesome and totally reassuring. Plus you just flat out learn things you wouldn't otherwise learn if it weren't for these workshops. Things that are crucial to making music more than just a hobby. So that's really cool/important.

Check out the workshops

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