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Emoh Instead on What So Not’s HARD Heritage

...And the final word on Flume’s involvement in the world-conquering project.

Nobody has had a crazier year than Emoh Instead. His collaborative project with Flume, What So Not, developed from a promising bedroom aspiration into a world-conquering party instigation grenade within a matter of months. "I haven't even had time to think about it," laughs Emoh. "I've just been on the road constantly in the past year. It's been pretty wild."

Their tale of ascent begins Down Under: "I met Danny Bell, maybe two and a half years ago in Australia, when HARD started hosting a stage at Stereosonic Festival. The next year, I was playing and met Gary [Richards, head of HARD] and was along for the whole tour. We all got along great and Gary was like, "I'm gonna put you on Holy Ship!!!," which at that point was only a couple months away. The line-up had already been announced. I didn't really take it seriously, but when the set times came out a few weeks later, he had shuffled the lineup around just to give What So Not this little half-hour slot! It was amazing. That was our first time playing on this side of the world. For Gary to give us that support was incredible. The ship was absolutely incredible and we've been on pretty much every HARD event since then."


When DJs say their schedule is hectic, sometimes we're prone to discount how hard it can actually be. But Emoh's itinerary for a jaunt to Lightning in a Bottle in April shows how nuts it can get. "I was in such a rush for that one," he begins. "I was in the middle of the mothership tour with Skrillex. We got three flights that day, drove thee hours, got to the festival 45 minutes before I went on, played, drove three hours back to the airport, slept for an hour, and then got three flights back to the tour. That day was te hardest run of the entire trip, but I don't regret it for a second because Lightning in a Bottle was one of my favorite events that i've done of the year."

There's been some confusion as to what Flume's role is in the What So Not project - We'd heard different things from different people, so I asked Emoh for a definitive explanation. He explained, "We've only ever done one tour together as What So Not. That was maybe a year and a half ago. It's always been me DJing and that was always my role. We just wrote the music together. A lot of acts do that, have someone that writes with them, but they don't make it public. We always wanted to make it public, Harley's part of the project. But people seem to expect that he's gonna be at the shows, but that's just not how we've done it from very early on. It's so great when he has time off and we're in a big city and he comes down, but it's kind of exactly the same show with him there or not."


What So Not Destroying as a duo

On a similar subject: Emoh's work with Flume has transcended beyond the dance world in their native Australia, and it seems an entire generation of sound-a-likes is popping up. "Flume got so big over in Australia, to the point where he's easily the biggest act in the country." Emoh Explains. "Once you get to a certain level, all the young kids writing music in their bedrooms are probably gonna be drawn towards that. It kind of flipped everything. Even the pop world over in Australia is starting to gear towards that sound. It's just awesome to see something new and different, not following conventional rules, being at the forefront of popularity. "

And it looks like What So Not will be maintaining the pace they've set. When I asked Emoh about upcoming colabs, he said, "We've got heaps! Every time I come over here, I probably jump in with like 5 different artists. We have a couple close to being finished: One with Dillon Francis, another with Skrillex."

You can catch What So Not at HARD Summer in Purple Tent on Saturday at 6:15PM

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