Known for being retro without being reverential, Roland Tings, the moniker of producer Rohan Newman, makes luscious, club-ready dance music that’s slyly experimental and crammed with hooks that has you dancing throughout the night.
After years playing solo, the Roland Tings live show expanded to a two piece with the addition of a drummer, allowing for visceral freeform excursions into house, techno and beyond. This saw Newman bring singles like Higher Ground, Devotion, Hedonist and more to life in tours with Chrome Sparks, RUFUS and Laneway Festival. Now, Newman has expanded yet again to a three-piece live band, adding Julian Sudek on a hybrid kit of acoustic drums and electronic pads, and Yama Hondow-Wellby on keys.
“This time last year it was just me on stage playing a drum machine, and some accompaniment, and now I’ve got a drummer playing a live drum kit and electronic percussion,” he says, “I’ve also got another guy on stage who is playing guitar and making all kinds of noises and playing synths as well. It’s a whole new thing and there’s a whole lot of stuff to set up.”
Newman will premiere his three-piece live performance at this month’s instalment of Nocturnal, the transformation of the museum into an adult playground that sees the latest bands and DJs performing live in the museum, with open bars, great food, roving entertainment, discussions with museum experts and learning experiences across collections, cultures and time.
“That’s the first live show for the three piece which is super exciting, it’s such a cool environment for it. I’ve never actually been to the museum which is a bit embarrassing so this will be my first time,” he laughs. “Hopefully between sound check and playing, we’ll have a chance to actually look around.”
The performance will see Newman perform tracks from his latest EP “Each Moment A Diamond” (2017) which cross boundaries from euphoric techno to infectious pop songs and stargazing synthscapes, along with tracks from his self-titled debut LP from 2015.
“They’re kind of reinterpreted and with new parts added, and a bit more scope to be a bit more dynamic then what I had as a two piece,” Newman explains. “We can kind of take things in different directions and be a bit more free and give it a bit more life now which is cool.”
Coming into DJing a bit later in life, Newman was inspired to create music following the amalgamation of genres that was present in new music been released.
“It was sort of a similar time when I got into DJing, I was just playing lots of gigs playing party jams and indie stuff, and then dance music started filtering its way into indie rock. Bloc Party, The Presets, Cut Copy and those type of bands, they all started merging with dance music, and I was just blown away. But I also thought I could totally do this stuff, and I tried, and it was really hard,” he laughs, “but I kept going and I finally got it working and now I feel like I kind of know what I’m doing… but it’s taken a very long time.
“Now I’ve been working on some new music,” he continues, “I’ve been working on a new single that’s just so so close to coming out. It’s got vocals and lots of other stuff going on that I haven’t done before so I’m kind of treading on a lot of new ground.”
Nocturnal will once again be an evening of unheard sounds, unparalleled collection items and wondrous questioning. Alongside Tings, Annie Bass will also be along to woo the crowd with her heartfelt electronica and swoon-worthy lyrics, while Triple RRR’s Andras will provide the soundtrack between sets.
Written by Talia Rinaldo
Head along to Melbourne Museum on Friday November 3, tickets are on sale through the venue.
For more info visit museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/whats-on/nocturnal/