Your Paradise Festival Lineup Is Here; Read Our Interview With Akouo

Fiji’s dance music festival Your Paradise is back for its third year running, today releasing the stellar lineup, featuring a really strong range of local and international acts, including Anna Lunoe, Switch (Major Lazer), Slumberjack, Troyboi and What So Not among others.

This December, the completely unique festival will be home to live and DJ sets among the stunning backdrop of Fiji’s Malolo Island, during which festivalgoers will not only get to party on the “Fiji One” cataraman, but will be able to snorkel, surf, jet skit, skydive and more. What’s more, there is promise of island barbecues, fire dancer perfmances and even a traditional Fijian Kava ceremony.

The festival runs from December 10 – 16 2016, and ticket deposits are available now. While package tickets (including five nights accommodation at a resort and return flights from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane) start at $1999, you can put down just $99 and pay the rest throughout the year. Considering it’s all inclusive, it’s actually not that steep for a week-long Fijian getaway.

Peep the full lineup below, and head to the official website for more details and to purchase tickets.

Your Paradise 2016 Lineup

Akouo (DJ set) – Anna Lunoe – Breakbot (DJ set) – Cut Snake – Doorly – Hannah Wants – Justin Martin – L D R U – Miguel Campbell – Paces – Shiba San – Slumberjack – Surfdisco – Switch – Terace – Thomas Jack – Troyboi – What So Not – YesYou

Tasmania-based producer Akouo is one of the most exciting local acts to be featured, and we were lucky enough to ask him some questions about his recent releases, Your Paradise, and what he’s got in store for the remainder of the year.

I really love your new single Goldmine – it glides under the radar, especially with those low vocals. Can you talk us through the inspiration for this one?

It’s one of the darker songs I’ve written, but it’s also one of the most textural and colourful in production. It came at a time when a lot of people were struggling around me and all I wanted to do is shake them out of it and tell them that they matter.

Your other recent track Giving Into You has such a groovy beat, and it complements Ashibah’s rich vocals perfectly. How did the collaboration with the Danish artist come about?

I reach out to a lot of artists and vice verse, but my beats are weird and sometimes it’s difficult to really click with someone and be musically in sync with each other however Ashibah is such an incredible talent who thankfully gets my vision, so we’ve worked on a bunch of music together over the past year. Hopefully we’ll be able to release more songs together in the future.

You’re a prolific remixer, including recent remixes for Wet and Lazyboy Empire – what is it that you love about taking a track and adding your own touch to it? Any favourites so far?

I come from a traditional hip hop mindset when it comes to making beats, sampling has always been a big part of that. For me, remixing just never feels forced, it feels like a real natural response for me to flip a song that I like into something I can play in my own live or DJ sets. A lot of the time I’ll smash out a remix within 4 hours whereas original songs can take months or years to finish because I guess originals are what I want people to remember me by in the end. That said, I think my favourite – or rather the one I’m most proud of is my remix of Thief’s ‘Closer’.

Do you think that any song could be remixed, or should there be limits? If so, why, and what would be an examples?

I don’t think so much that there are songs that are sacred or untouchable, I do think there are songs that would be foolish to remix in regard to keeping your brand linear, though. I’ve turned down big commercial remix opportunities because they really don’t suit what I’m going for with my sound – I have to really enjoy the song to want to remix it.

It’s been such a huge year for new music already – could you list some of your favourite recent releases?

I mean, there’s so much out there right now, I’m trying to absorb everything. I’ve been listening to new James Blake, Gallant, Kaytranada, J Dilla, A$AP Ferg, Beyonce. I still need to get around to listening to the new Radiohead and Drake records though.

I saw on Facebook that you recently played a small hometown show – you noted how special it was after having toured the world before returning to your roots. Can you describe that night and how you felt playing to that crowd? What made it so special?

Launceston has been my home all my life, all my family live here, most of my childhood friends still live here and it’s really strange having music career ambitions when you live on an island with only 500k people on it. I often forget that there are people in my hometown that care about my music, so this recent show was a long time coming. I played my full live show in an art gallery and custom designed the whole production with a friend of mine. The crowd was so appreciative of my sound, it was such an incredible feeling to finally be accepted for my real passion after being a local DJ for years.

So you’ve just been announced on the Your Paradise lineup! What are you most looking forward to about the festival in Fiji?

The weather in Tasmania is terrible at the best of times so I’m looking forward to hanging out and listening to some incredible acts while basking in huge volumes of vitamin D.

Between now and Your Paradise, you’re also touring Australia with GANZ. Are you planning to work on any more new music in that time, or just focusing on playing live for now?

I’m constantly working on new material, and I’ll be heading overseas in June to write before coming back for the GANZ tour. I do have some remixes on their way, with a few select singles to keep things in motion until a full length project fully forms.

Watch the 2015 Your Paradise Aftermovie:

Image: Supplied