Interview with Duel Native
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Music was always playing at home - I’m fortunate to have a very musical family.
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I am an architect and I also write fiction. Being able to create a world - either physically or metaphorically is really helpful. I also focus very heavily on making our world a better place - particularly environmentally.
How long has your band been around?
DUEL NATIVE is the artist alias of me, Stephen Choi. I have an band - or as I call them, an ‘ensemble’ - that records in the studio and plays live shows, amongst other things! The first DUEL NATIVE single was released in July 2021.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m currently based in Naarm (also known as Melbourne), which is one of the best places in the world for connecting with creative people! It has a very deep cultural history and a very active live music scene.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
The word “native” has so many meanings - being the place or environment in which a person was born or a thing came into being, or one of the people indigenous to a country - and I guess I am a little bit of a foreigner to everywhere. I’m happy being a citizen of the world!
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
In my previous project, I once played a live set in front of an MTV crew, which was nerve-wracking and world-changing. That was the best. The worst? I think those shows have been removed from memory…
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
Our first ever show in Melbourne was for Red Stitch Theatre, set in a beautifully lit park, where the play itself was inspired by a DUEL NATIVE song. Think - live theatre meets intimate music festival - over three nights.
I am excited about playing in a candlelit church or crypt somewhere next...
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Assuming the lineup has to be made up of people who are alive in this world today, I would say… Bob Dylan, Björk, Blur… and those are just the artists beginning with the letter ‘B’!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Reflect upon, and then articulate your expectations of being in that community. What do others expect of you and what do you expect of others? It’s kind of called culture.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Don't stay in the ‘wrong’ relationships for so long.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
What a question! Right now I will say ‘Sacrosanct’ - it was my first single, and really the launching pad for something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
It is very venue-dependent… Only a few shows in, I would say it’s a song called ‘Where I Was Last Found’ that a lot of people have come up to me to talk about. It hasn’t been released yet…
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I usually write the very heart of a song in a meditative state, on my own. Sometimes I dream of songs when I’m in bed, and then I wake up and record a rough version as soon as I can. When I think a song’s ready to stand alone, I take it into the studio and empower others to contribute.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
It’s probably this: deeper connection - in its many forms - is actually what’s important.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
They’re usually solved by jousting - like in a medieval tournament - hence the ‘DUEL’ in DUEL NATIVE. Seriously though, I would say that any healthy relationship has disagreements. It’s about removing the ego as much as possible and communicating with a clear conscience and heart full with positive intent.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Two more singles this year, then back into the studio!