A track-by-track ~ the making of Melt.


1. Sparkly

The first Young Magic song. Recorded in Melbourne during a particularly melting summer. Melati was escaping from a New York winter and we spent the week near Byron Bay (where the video was eventually shot) at our friends property halfway up a mountain to celebrate the new year. One week later I was back in Melbourne, inspired. It took weeks of playing around, figuring out how to use this new instrument, feeling out the sounds (I'm still learning, an infinite path of improvisation). This is the first song Melati and I wrote together. We'd wrangle friends who dropped by the house into singing on the chorus, adding layer upon layer of vocals. I’d had a pretty tumultuous year, and this song definitely had a feeling of starting new beginnings. It felt kind of natural for this to open the record. Isaac


Northern NSW, Australia. Photo by Melati Malay


2. Slip Time

Recorded in the San Juan Tlacotenco mountains, Mexico. At the beginning of the year I spent 2 months housesitting a place called La Casa En Las Nubes (House In the Clouds) friends Colby, Leif and Melati. The house was a secluded property high in the mountains next to Tepoztlán, Mexico (photo) a place the locals actually call magic town. It was a quick change from the squat in NY and came completely out of the blue at the best possible time. The town is home to a 600 year old Aztec Temple that sits atop the mountain overlooking everything. I met some of the most beautifully strange characters one could ever expect to meet in a lifetime ~ Yugoslavian Shamans, expats with warrants for arrest, national geographic photographers, hash smoking corn worshippers. In San Juan no-one spoke English and my Spanish was poor, but the people who owned the house were amazing to accept strangers into there home as family, and made our time there unforgettable. I spent this time working on their farm in exchange for rent and would hike or hitch my way down to the colourful markets in Tepoztlán, getting lost on mountain paths, eating some amazing food, and recording. These sounds and many others came during this time. Isaac


Downtown Tepoztlán, Mexico. Photo by Melati Malay


El Tepozteco Temple, Mexico. Photo by Isaac Emmanuel


Isaac and the cacti. San Juan Tlacotenco, Mexico. Photo by Melati Malay


Leif Podhajsky at the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacán, Mexico. Photo by Isaac Emmanuel


3. You With Air.

This one happened fast...sometime during a few weeks spent in Melbourne before leaving for Europe. It all spilled out in one long afternoon that quickly turned into a lucid evening of stargazing, heartbreak, Japanese whiskey and cigarettes. Have you ever had the feeling when your head is on that plane already? A part of me was spilling out ~ the verse vocal was a one-take ramble in this state, I kept it. The chorus a simple cut - the sound of kids in a playground. I joined in. A song for the ghost spirits. Isaac


Springfield, IL. Photo by Melati Malay


Bed-Stuy. Photo by Melati Malay


Air space, New York. Photo by Melati Malay


4. Yalam

What started in Melbourne, was added to through Europe and Iceland and finished in Brooklyn. Many of these sounds come together like this...little fragments collaged over time. At the beginning of the year Michael flew into NYC from Brazil, Melati and I from Mexico and the three of us rented an empty warehouse above an illegal 20's burlesque Shanghai themed opium den. They threw extravagant parties, but we had the whole space upstairs to do what we wanted, so we built some walls and set up a little studio where we rehearsed and finished the record, putting all the sounds we’d recorded separately during the last year together like some intricate puzzle, with the help of an extremely talented producer and dear friend Trent Gill. Isaac


Byron. Photo by Meesh Longton


Berlin. Photo by Meesh Longton


T Gill, New York. Photo by Isaac Emmanuel



5. Jam Karet

This song came together slowly over the space of several months. I started on this beat the night before I was due to leave for Europe when Isaac and I were living in the East Village (the same time Night in the Ocean was recorded). For about a month, we would wake up and lose ourselves in respective recording bubbles. The working title on my computer was ‘who’s throwing glass bottles from the window’ because the night I started this, we were accused by the landlord of throwing glass bottles out the window of a 6 story apartment building on St Marks Place. Two months went by in Europe and nothing really developed on this track until I found myself traveling through Iguazu Falls in Argentina and living on the shores in Rio, Brazil. Completely inspired and humbled by the sheer beauty of the South American people and landscape, I found myself writing the rest of the track. A few months later I met with Isaac and Melati in Brooklyn and we put down the vocal melody and some percussion. Michael


Iguaza, Argentina. Photo by Michael Italia


Sofie somewhere off the coast in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Michael Italia


6. Night In The Ocean

From the same apartment just off Tompkins Square Park. Looking for a breakthrough. Down and out. They say New York City kicks your ass when you first get in. I haven't met a soul here that hasn't slipped on the whirlwind downtown before it winds you back up in some unimaginably beautiful way. Michael and I shared a tiny room without any furniture, making songs in our respective headphone worlds before we knew it would someday all come together. Dreaming of late night jaunts in the whitewash, some pure escapism. It could transport me straight back there in a second. Michael was also brewing so many lush sounds during this time that I didn’t even hear until a year later...music that ended up on Melt or the mixtape. Isaac.


Mornington, Australia. Photo by Isaac Emmanuel


Bergen Street. Brooklyn. Photo by Michael Italia


The Mirror, Brooklyn. Photo by Melati Malay


Isaac, East Village. Photo by Michael Italia


7. Watch For Our Lights

Born in Bristol and polished in London. I was staying with Melati’s brother Michael who lived with two professors that collected West African instruments in quaint little house with a giant nose sculpture attached to it's side. I walked into a lounge room filled with kalimbas, mbiras, drums and a huge balafon they had somehow managed to ship up to the UK. The sample is cut from this balafon... hours of just leaving the record light on and having fun. We mixed it in Melbourne with Trent, aiming to give the effect the track is imploding on itself, so we dubbed it to cassette and re-recorded it back from the stereo, increasing the gain with a broken pedal until it was almost too much to bear. Isaac


Toto in Islington, London. Photo by Isaac Emmanuel


Bristol Pad. Photo by Isaac Emmanuel



Empty Tube. London UK. Photo by Meesh Longton

8. The Dancer

The beat was made on a plane somewhere between Australia and Berlin. It’s titled Qatar Beat on my computer, so it must have been on a stop over in Doha. I slept on it, only to revisit it in Melbourne again a year and a half later. We finished it on the south coast of Australia at a little beach house, Melati would send through vocal takes from New York while Michael and I would lay down percussion and vocals on the other side of the world. Isaac


Sydney. Photo by Melati Malay


Abandoned Hospital, Beelitz-Heilstätten, Germany. Photo by Meesh Longton.


Abandoned Spy Base on Teufelsberg (Devils Mountain), Berlin. Photo by Isaac Emmanuel


9. Cavalry

The day I arrived back into New York City, new fallen snow blanketed the city like fresh whitewash and coated the entire sidewalk in ice. I was staying in a little apartment just off the L Graham stop with a friend from Melbourne. I remember looking from my bedroom window and seeing thick plumbs of white smoke pouring from chimneys amid grey skies and thinking of the stark contrast to my bedroom view of the beach in Rio. Feeling somewhat uneasy to be back in New York, I had a sleepless night. The following evening I stayed up all night from the jet lag and recorded Cavalry. The following week Melati and Isaac recorded some guitar and percussion. Michael


Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo by Michael Italia

10. Sanctuary

Born in Spain, raised in Brooklyn and Melbourne. I started this track while I was traveling with some friend’s around Spain. We rented a car and drove around the entire country over the course of a month. Towards the end of the month, we found a little beach cove secluded a few hours hike from a small town called Las Negras in Andalusia. Here we spent spent a few days reading and swimming under the stars. When I arrived back in Brooklyn, Isaac and Melati put down some vocals. Then it was put away for a while until we travelled back to Melbourne and nestled ourselves away in a little beach house on the Peninsula coast and put down some percussion. Michael


Somewhere in the sky between South America and New York. by Michael Italia


Spain. by Michael Italia


Bed-Stuy, Photo by Melati Malay


Wings at the Gate, Brooklyn. Photo by Melati Malay


11. Drawing Down The Moon

The last song from the House In The Clouds, Tepoztlán. I remember a night of clarity, stuck at the stereo listening to acapella records, unable to move. I woke up the next morning cleansed and inspired after a crazy few months in the city, and wrote this lying down on the floor in the sunroom, looking out over Cuernavaca. There was a guy called Roberto who would pop by occasionally to play his flute, while we sipped matte and tea from the garden - everything was crystalline during those weeks. It felt as if this song in some strange way had a hidden link to Sparkly... it was from the same place. It was a bookend to this chapter.


Tepoztlán, Mexico. Photo by Melati Malay


Schoolgirl in the town square, Tepoztlán, Mexico. Photo by Melati Malay


Near the shady cops, Secret Spot, Mexico. Photo by Isaac Emmanuel


Hotel Monte Carlo, Mexico City. Photo by Melati Malay


Museo Diego Rivera, Mexico City. Photo by Isaac Emmanuel