Despite its intimate and insulated dance scene, Australia regularly produces exemplary electronic acts. Kam and Aaron of Night Tales are firmly on the map as the next act to watch from the land. Their deep emotive beats and introspective lyricism make them a singular act. Seamlessly combine a deep house aesthetic with a focus on songwriting. Much like fellow Aussie Rüfüs Du Sol, they’ve found that sweet spot between infectiously danceable beats and lyrics that capture the breadth of human emotion.
“There’s a melting pot of undiscovered talent in Australia. The electronic family is small and it’s a tight group,” Kam tells Gray Area. “A lot of the artists also work on the events side so there’s a lot of collaboration and helping people get gigs locally. The landscape is small despite the size of the country. There’s 4-5 festivals that host electronic music, and there’s only a couple cities that have serious clubs so there’s limited opportunity for artists to play. It was definitely part of the decision to move to LA, we know that a lot of our fan base is in the US and there’s simply more opportunity to play shows here.”
The two artists were working on solo projects in the early 2010s before a mutual friend introduced them and suggested they make music together. After sending some projects back and forth, Aaron and Kam eventually decided to link the studio together. Their first track, “Move You,” saw immediate success, and a friendship and dynamic duo was born.
“2017 is where it all began. We played a lot of local shows. A lot of hustling, a lot of no’s, a lot of rejection. We knew we were onto something so we stayed on it but there were so many setbacks," Kam explains as they recall the early stages of their journey together. "We’ve had about 2-3 managers. We started with Matt Denuzo who now works for Insomniac. He had to leave us to focus on his full-time job with Insomniac. We were on our own for a bit, and then we had a guy from Australia who wasn’t able to get us to the point we wanted to.”
“We had come to the states a couple times to build our network but nothing seemed to be coming of it. We started to look internally and ask, is the music good, is it resonating, should we go in a different direction?" Aaron said.
"Everyone we worked with along the way represented a lesson," Kam adds. "Everyone was helpful in getting us to the next step and helping us learn about what we needed.”
The Night Tales story is by no means a unique one for up-and-coming artists. Their perseverance, however, is what stands out. It would be easy to simply return to a day job and quit music. For Aaron and Kam, however, giving up was never an option. They felt that despite the continued setbacks, the reactions they were receiving from the music were strong enough to keep them going.
The offers for live performances were not coming through as they hoped, but their artistic vision remained strong, and their continued success with their music gave Aaron and Kam the sense that if they stuck to it, the success would follow.
“We knew we had good music between us. The tracks [their first two releases] almost take on a life of their own and grow naturally over time. It seems like people are finding our music on their own, not necessarily through Spotify playlisting," Aaron explains. "Our early live performances were very simple and we had less music to work with. There’s no mistakes when it comes to creativity but we have obviously grown over the years. The vision and sound become more consistent over the years. The approach to our music now is different as well. The live show has grown as well in terms of how we are presenting our music.”
As Aaron and Kam have focused on growing and learning, the world has noticed. A little over a year ago, they signed with a new manager based in the states, and it feels as if everything has clicked into place since then.
After receiving an offer to play at New York City’s premier dance music festival, Electric Zoo, in September of 2021, the guys were able to string together a couple of other shows to make the trip to the states during COVID worth their while.
What was supposed to be a two-week tour ended up being a three-month stay due to the lockdown restrictions in Australia. As a result, they spent most of their time couch surfing in Nashville, roughing it, making music, and taking any gigs they could find. Although this period was emotionally challenging, it helped Night Tales produce new music and accomplish things they didn’t think were possible.
After playing at Electric Zoo, they secured a coveted slot on a Brooklyn Mirage show and performances in Chicago and Boston before signing with an agency and a record label (CAA and Ultra Records, respectively).
Aaron and Kam have since moved to the United States to commit even further to their careers. They will be playing at Electric Forest this summer and a handful of other festival gigs before going on tour in the fall for their album. Coming off of a massive performance at Mexico’s Tecate Pal Norte Festival, Kam described their feelings about performing live and the future of their careers.
“A lot of our dreams came true with that trip. There’s a lot of styles of artists there so it was beautiful to be on that lineup. It was great to play and road test some of our brand new music as well as some unreleased music. The performance side is what we enjoy the most and we always feel so free on that stage.”
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