Photo by Josiah Suthan

Photo by Josiah Suthan


Tim De Cotta

Going beyond playing popular tunes on the guitar, Tim de Cotta lives and breathes music. His band The Astral Journey (TAJ) is set to release their self-titled EP this year.

Not one to sit still, Tim keeps himself busy with another band L.A.B., who are slated to perform at the Mosaic Festival this year on 8 March and is also recording an EP with neoDominatrix. His electronica duo Kilo Habit is on hiatus and we think it’s kinda obvious why…right?? Have you been counting – that’s four acts so far.

Tim also has his own solo act and is working on his EP Warrior. Check out his single ‘Rio’ here.

Were you a musical kid growing up?

I was always more into sports and football was my main muse, playing for school teams and was even asked once to try-out for Milo but my parents wanted me to focus on school (laughs). Music was always an "along-the-way" kind of appreciation that evolved as I got older. I started to re-listen to what my parents used to play in the house, from James Taylor, Bread to Burt Bacharach and Antonio Carlos Jobim, coupled with my sisters' tastes in 90s hip-hop and the occasional Pearl Jam and Nirvana. We had major Dave Matthews Band munchies in a period of our lives too.

I started to find my own love for jazz and hip-hop and went into the samples of my favourite hip-hop tunes and bought old soul compilations from Borders – that’s when I started loving funk and funk disco basslines. My growing love for bass in soul, funk and acid-jazz music pushed me to dig into Jamiroquai, a band that paid homage to the old funk and soul greats but had a new take and say on things around them. I bought their CDs from a CD store underneath the dentist I used to go to when I was doing braces.

So music was always with me and growing while I was still in school and heavy into sports. It was like a relax mechanism, while at the same time it helped me develop my philosophies on life itself.

So with all this collected music, the day came, on my 17th Birthday that my family bought me a bass guitar. I taught myself how to play it and the rest is history...

What made you decide to pursue music?

It was an undeniable choice to make. I’ve always liked having my options open and made sure I always did well enough in school to choose what I wanted to do. But music came as somewhat of an unexpected calling, something pre-planned in my DNA but not known to me at all. I started with my first band SIXX and things started taking off unexpectedly. We were getting recognized and I was out in the world playing my bass straight from the bedroom, and I was good at it BUT that wasn't enough to make me want to choose music as a path to seriously take. In my last year of university, I forced music into my final year project and I was getting a clearer sense of wanting everything to do with it. Even though my degree was in communications, it was clear that my heart was in music. To add to this a family member contracted a terminal illness, and it really put things in perspective to me. It made me think about what would do us all proud and make me happy if I were to die tomorrow. The choice was clear.

SIXX got bigger and better in the local scene but we went through our tough times and let the little success we had kind of get to our heads. Needless to say the band broke-up but a lot more opportunities presented themselves, so I went for it. I'm still going for it today and trying to make these bands and projects of mine work and have been truly blessed by all the people around me who are constantly giving me their love and support.

What do you aspire to be as a musician?

I want to keep getting better at my instrument and singing and to write songs with meaning, always. I want to make a living by doing music, in writing, performing, producing, arranging and teaching music till I stop breathing. I look up to a lot of musicians but I look up most of all to the strength and perseverance of my dad and the wisdom and creativity of my mum. And of course their unconditional love always gives me strength and purpose. I also am in constant awe and respect for the musicians around me today, who keep pushing the boundaries and achieving new levels in the honing of their craft. I have many reasons to keep dreaming and being inspired.

Are you currently producing any music for other artistes?

I'm currently co-producing Michaela Therese's album "My Name is MeeKelLah" and we’ve just released her first single of that album "Final Call". It's not that different when you know you have the capacity to produce for a musician with similar inclinations. Of course you have to come into their world and know their songs as well as they do but then you can include your strengths too, to enhance the final product. Working with Michaela is a breeze because we share almost the same brain and we allow each other to push the other one along in perfecting ideas and creating imagery in the music we are producing. All the music has already been written by her but my job is to enhance it in arrangement, production value and even sound quality. My good friend and fellow musician Kelvin Ang is a master behind the board too so that helps when the three of us sit down and finish up tracks we’ve recorded.

But with that said I'm looking around to shamelessly get my hands involved in a lot more music too because the further you branch out, the more you learn about yourself.

So what’s in store for 2014?

"My Name is MeeKelLah", the full album, will be out late Mar or early April. The Astral Journey EP by TAJ is coming out in April too with Darker Than Wax (local label). neoDominatrix's debut EP should be out by then too. My second single "Art Pure" will probably drop towards May and my second organised "Warrior's Hall" local tour will happen during that time to promote it and other SG musicians/bands. My debut EP "Warrior" should be out in July. And from there on other projects that I will be involved in now would probably have other releases as well! Full year ahead!