Fresh from a sold-out national headline tour, a residency with triple j and a support slot with Fred Again.., the Sydney based DJ, Club Angel, rides high into the release of his second EP, Soundbwoy’s Destiny EP. Still in his early twenties, he has already crafted a confidently distinct sound that invokes the freneticism of early 00s UK garage and EDM. His productions are entirely drawn from a deep obsession with dance music. It pulses viscerally behind every track, extending from his decks to the dancefloor.
Soundbwoy’s Destiny is out now on Astral People Recordings, accompanied by a music video for the track, Informer. With the spirit of early 00s club music, speed garage and bouncing jungle, the record is perfectly honed for sweat-drenched clubs, with an infectious beat sure to raise gun-fingers on dancefloors across the globe. We spoke to Club Angel (real name Gabriel Espinosa) after the release of the EP, in the throes of his seemingly unceasing momentum as he moves onto new music and a possible overseas tour.
Firstly, could you begin by just introducing yourself and the kind of music you make for those who don’t know?
Hey I’m Club Angel, a Sydney based producer and DJ capturing the essence of early 00s dance music and bringing it to the modern era.
What kind of music did you grow up listening to? Do any of these musicians or bands influence the music you make now?
I grew up listening to a lot of EDM (Skrillex, Deadmau5) which is why I always tend to write my music pretty technical and highly detailed! I also listened to a lot of UK garage and French house which plays into the more emotive side and genre I make overall.
What are some musicians or albums you’ve been listening to recently?
Heaps, I always make sure to listen to several genres to keep my ear fresh. Lately it has been: The Sundays, Reading Writing And Arithmetic, Fontaines DC, Dogrel, PVA, Blush, and 1010benja, Ten Total.
Your music is so danceable and made for clubbing. So, I’m wondering if you became interested in electronic music through live club nights, or if you were more interested, at least initially, in the behind-the-scenes production side of it?
A bit of both really, I used to dream of going to clubs as a kid because I was so obsessed with dance music. So, the only thing I could do until I grew up was to start producing.
How did you start making music yourself – are you self-taught? What do you think of some of the very first tracks you made, if you were to listen back to them now?
I originally started when I was 11 trying to remake Skrillex songs, the attempts from memory were not so great (laughs). I am quite thankful I can’t listen to any of them back! But I stuck through and taught myself everything through countless YouTube tutorials and just a whole lot of practice.
What would you say are some of the key characteristics of a Club Angel track?
I’d say swung drums and instrumentation, coming from that UK garage background it’s always a must for me, and usually just a lot of fxs and small details. I have a bit of an obsession for those!
Your music has been described as building on early 00s and 90s club music, but with an emphasis on its rougher edges. Could you expand on this a little bit? What do you like about this rawer style?
I guess there’s two meanings to the rawer style I go for, first being it makes modern harder tracks that stand out from everything else you’d hear in a set. The second being my attempt to capture that vintage sound you here on those early 00s records that’s a bit dusty and sub heavy. So, combining both you’d end up with something I’d typically write.
Before releasing your latest EP, Soundbwoy’s Destiny EP, you had already teased a few of the tracks during your live sets. Was this to kind of gauge the audience’s reaction? Does seeing or imagining how people dance to your music significantly influence its production?
Yes! It is mainly to gauge how the tracks fit in a set and the crowd’s reaction, which is why I love playing certain tracks of mine because I know they’ll land well. It does tend to influence the way I write now. I’ve been leaning into writing a lot of 4x4 tracks because they’re always received better than broken beat.
What does your production process typically look like? Do you work alone or does it tend to be more of a collaborative process with other musicians and producers?
Production has been very much a solo mission since I started, and I actually enjoy it that way. I’ll send my music off to others now and then for them to listen to so it’s not just my own ears all the time, but yeah I rarely ever collaborate!
You mentioned you’ve been sitting on some of the tracks in the new EP for a while now, so it must be satisfying to finally release them! Do you find this long process from production to release frustrating? I feel like it must be hard just to let the work be finished instead of wanting to endlessly tweak it before release.
Frustrating is an understatement (laughs), I am such a perfectionist at times that it kills me. So yes, it’s incredibly satisfying for me to finally have tracks out into the world. It lets me start writing the next record asap.
In the past couple years, you’ve really exploded onto Australia’s underground dance scene, selling out a national tour in 2023. Where is your favourite venue or crowd to play to in Australia?
That’s a bit of a hard question because I’ve loved so many shows for different reasons, but I’d have to come back to Pitch Music & Arts. It’s the first festival I ever played that really started it all for me.
You also recently supported Fred Again.., which must’ve been a huge moment for you. How did this come about and what kind of impact has it had?
I randomly got the call up to play a couple days before it happened. I was incredibly nervous which is rare for me since I don’t really get nerves from shows anymore but I’m so glad I did it. It brought along a whole bunch of new fans and beautiful experience to go with!
Finally, what can we expect to see from you in the future?
Taking my sound outside of Australia, I have never been more excited to play overseas and it’s in the works. As well as a lot more music, predominantly leaning into the more melodic side of my production yet still staying true to my UK Garage roots.