Updated: May 23, 2019
Sydney's classically trained Karmel Jäger has dived into the eclectic world of Electronic production. Jäger has explored everything and more within the music industry, including lending her talents to outlets such as the blockbuster Marvel film franchise. Jäger has been pushing out incredible music, and has recently released her own new track, ‘Trafalgar Square.’
I had the privilege to speak to Karmel and ask her all about her journey from Classical Singer to Electronic Pop artist as well as an insight on what is yet to come.
Karmel, thank you so much for making the time to sit down and chat with me! Now firstly, you’ve had such an extensive and rewarding career. What made you move from performing and training in classical music to electronic music and Djing?
Thanks for interviewing me! It’s actually very specific, and I remember very clearly the turning point for me. I was recording vocals at Abbey Road Studios (which is always amazing) and we were recording video game music by the composer, Jessica Curry, and it occurred to me that I had never recorded music by a female composer before! And all the jobs in the studio are usually done by men too. There are men everywhere! I decided that I wanted to get back into composing and be another female in that space. When I went home I started composing a classical piece of music. That lead to looking up competitions to help me stick to a deadline and actually finish the composition! Instead I found a songwriting competition online. So I picked up my guitar and started writing a song and literally that was it, it happened within a day! I wanted to write songs, which led to producing them and that lead to Djing and it was just this quick, tumultuous turn for me.
That’s such an inspiring reason to have decided to move from something that you grew up with into something you saw needed change and growth. Was the move back home to Sydney from London the result of there being a much bigger demand for Electronic Music in Australia?
It was actually completely unrelated... My partner wanted to move back to Australia and I ended up moving, one of us had to lose out with that decision. But, Australians love Electronic music; it’s such a hotbed for Dj’s and electronic producers so I got a bit lucky with that decision.
It was definitely a lucky move for you! Before coming back, how was your experience abroad? How was life in London?
It was pretty amazing. It was pretty surreal actually. I just wanted to make the most of my British Passport to be honest and to see what the classical music scene was like and whether I could get any work over there. It just worked out better than I could have ever imagined! I was auditioning and performing and after a while I didn’t have to audition anymore and it just became word of mouth! I started doing session work with London Voices and we recorded either a capella or with the London Symphony Orchestra. We recorded Hollywood films places like Abbey Road and AIR Studios, it was just so crazy. Touring around Europe, being flown places and sight seeing, it was just such an amazing experience. It was such a healthy work environment too - people actually wanted to see classical music and so there was always work.
From having so many pinch yourself moments in London and working within your classical roots, do you think this gives your music an edge now and has it influenced the way you write and compose music?
I hope so! haha I’m really used to quite complex music, it’s what I’ve listened to for a long time. The music’s really complex and there are a lot of different vocal layers and beautiful harmonies. And I’m not trying to sound like anything in particular really, I’m just kinda writing what I feel like. I know I don’t want to do anything boring, I just want to be adventurous and do unexpected things in my music. I was recommended as part of learning how to produce, to listen to a song I like and copy the production of that for practice, but I just haven’t done that yet. I just take what’s in my soul and splatter it into Ableton! I really just want to be authentic.
That’s what gives you such an edge and we love that! Speaking about your music, do you have any future collaborations coming up?
Um yeah I do, I’ve actually got a remix of ‘Trafalgar Square’ coming out in a few weeks with Fynn’s Arcade. He’s a lovely Australian producer and he’s working on his on EP at the moment too, but we’re jumping the gun and releasing this one first! I’m also working with a couple producers overseas - Todd Ryan, I’m doing a couple of things with him. We’ve got a great dance track we’re working on that I’m really excited about. I’m also working with Craig Olsen, he’s doing really well and yeah, we’re working on something at the moment. Todd and Craig are both in the US.
From collaborating on music and working in film, you really have done it all! What was it like to have had your voice used in The Avengers and how did this amazing opportunity come about?
So when I moved over, a lovely classical friend who’d also moved over sent me an email with all these people I could contact and send my CV to. One of them was London Voices, who do a lot of session work. I emailed them ,and they said my CV was good, but I that I needed more London experience – I’d only just arrived! And so when I got a gig after an audition for the Gabrieli Consort (an amazing company), I emailed London Voices straight away and told them that I’d got a job with the company. From there I was put on the books and started getting job after job. And before I knew it, I was working on movies like Avengers, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Sherlock Series and Jurassic World, all these films that they record in London with orchestras and singers. I tried every time to make myself aware, where I was and what I was doing, because I didn’t want it to become just an everyday thing.
You’ve done so well for yourself Karmel. What is the next goal for you? And throughout everything you have achieved, what have been the top three highlights so far?
Oh gosh, okay, it’s good to think about… I think (pauses) I think I’d just like to be Djing really regularly and producing great music. I want to make music for people who enjoy it and who appreciate my sound. I mean, it’s not like playing at Tomorrow Land or being on a particular playlist, I think, I don’t really have those goals anymore.
In terms of top three highlights, recording the music for the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer, that would have to be one of the most special ones. I felt like I was a part of history really. It was such a privilege. Another one would be when I performed in a huge 11th century abbey in France and it was sold out. To just think, I can’t believe someone has paid me to go to France and put me in a hotel and to get me up on that stage with this audience - it was just one of those ‘remember that you’re here’ moments. The other one was probably performing with the London Philharmonic at Royal Festival Halls. We performed Beethoven’s opera, Fidelio, and that was another ‘why am I here - everyone’s so good!’ moments. And everyone was British too - I was often the only non-Brit, and it felt like such an honour.
Karmel to finish off, what is some advice you would give to all those budding musicians out there?
I would say, go for it! Do what you love, don’t just try to make music you think other people will like. At the end of the day you want to feel like you’re being the best version of yourself, rather than trying to emulate anyone else. If it’s what you’re meant to do, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
Check out Trafalgar Square below and let us know what you think. We'll keep you updated for any Karmel Jäger news.