They're only 19 but electro-pop Auckland duo SACHI is aiming for the top

Nineteen and on fire

Electronic duo SACHI aka Nick Chrisp and Will Thomas, were plugged by Diplo back in 2015. Now, the 19 year olds are poised to be the next big thing.

In the early days of mixing beats, Nick Chrisp and Will Thomas used music sharing platform SoundCloud to get their tunes out into the world. That was in 2015, when they boldly handed mega-producer Diplo a USB and he ended up playing their single ‘No More’ on his radio show. Now, just two years later, a lot has changed: the electronic, pop-sounding duo have a string of singles under their belt, a fresh EP and are set to play this summer’s festival circuit. Having met in primary school, they’ve been writing and playing music in their bedrooms for most of their teenage years. They’re best friends and business partners and technology is the key player in their practice. “All we need is our laptops, really,” says Thomas. “Our entire sound is technology, it’s all electronic.” It’s fitting, then, that they’ve partnered with HP. Their HP Spectre is a one-stop-shop for getting their music out to their ever-growing fanbase. Here, we sit down with the creative pair to chat about their sounds, inspirations and plans for the future.

What have you guys been up to lately? Will Thomas: We’ve been doing a lot of stuff for our live show, because we’ve got a bunch of shows for the rest of the year across summer. We’ve got four shows with Alison Wonderland in Australia and an MTV Beats and Eats show, then Rhythm and Vines and Bay Dreams, so we’ve been working on that, trying to get that real good and putting in new music and arranging stuff differently. 

Nick Chrisp: And writing.

How does the writing process work? 
NC It usually starts separately or we’ll start from scratch and then just see it all the way through. Or otherwise we’ll send each other ideas and start something, and then the other person comes in and throws stuff on that. Then we’ll come together at the end when we’re doing the real polishing of it.

And going back to the beginning – how did you first cut your teeth as producers? WT We just learnt off YouTube tutorials. Pretty much everything we’ve learnt has been from YouTube tutorials or working it out as we go along.

NC Teaching each other stuff. When we were learning we were kind of learning at the same time and I remember we’d sit down and Will would be like, “oh you can do this thing called side chaining” and I’d be like “oh shit” then I’d learn how to do it, and I taught him stuff.

So without having mentors, who did you look to for inspiration?NC Flume was a big one for us earlier on, Chet Faker, a lot of the Australian music scene, like Wave Racer, Hayden James, Touch Sensitive. 

WT Yeah, all those guys who were coming out 2012/2013. That was when we started getting into it and we took a lot of inspiration from them. Now, we’re more into dudes like Chromeo and our sound’s become more groovy, you dance to the whole song, because a lot of the early, trap-influenced stuff you’d only dance for 10 seconds but now we’re trying to make people dance for three minutes.

And speaking of being groovier, how have you reinvented yourselves, musically? WT I think ‘Shelter’ [a single] is way more minimal, we definitely used fewer elements and made every element have its own purpose in the song. I feel like with songs like ‘Hold On’ [from the EP Lunch with Bianca] and stuff like that, we were layering stuff just for the sake of it, because we didn’t know how to make things sound bigger, essentially. We would layer heaps of stuff and there’s so much going on you don’t really know what to focus on. So, with ‘Shelter’, it’s super stripped back, for the first 20 seconds of the song all you’re thinking about are the vocals, which is what we really wanted to be the main part of that song. 

And meeting with people and collaborating on your songs, how does that collaboration work?WT With ‘Shelter’, we made that in Nick’s bedroom at his house, with Nika who features on the song and this guy called Alex, we all just sat in a room… the version of the song we made on the day, [and] the version that came out is entirely different. It was 50 percent slower and even pitched down, we sped the whole thing up then reworked it a bit.

On a road trip, what would be on the mix tape?

WT Probably Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ and also the Borat theme song. Picture me with my arm out the window in a car with no roof, driving down the coast listening to this with some old-school sunglasses on and my flannel shirt open, with an ice cream dripping down my hand.

It’s a vivid image. And finally, where would you like to see yourselves in five years?

NC Probably playing shows and festivals all around the world and touring our music and yeah, just kind of continuing to write music that we love that is really boundary pushing.