Group 'Down to Please' arrives with a message

A group of Samoan musicians called Down to Please (D.T.P.) have landed on home soil from Sydney and can’t wait to share their skills and know-how with young musicians.

Peter Tufuga-Tautua, Damien Tuala and Tavita Junior Paulo are D.T.P.’s vocalists and creators. 

For them, running workshops in Samoa is about creating realistic pathways to a music career for Samoan youth.

They will host a workshop at the National University of Samoa fale Samoa on June 27 from 2-5pm, and successful participants will be invited to join a second workshop the next day to record music. 

They are also performing a public concert on June 28 at the Taumeasina Island Resort Hotel.

Mr. Tuala is from Moata’a, and said returning to his village area to perform is extra special.

“I am representing family, I am representing my mum. These guys know we’re from Australia but yet we’re from this village, it’s a real sense of accomplishment for me,” he said.

The workshops are about making the music industry accessible. 

Mr. Tuala said young people too often see music production as expensive and difficult, but D.T.P. wants to prove otherwise.

“A lot of them know how to sing but they don’t know how to record, lay down the tracks, do harmonies, double-up on vocals, so we can teach them the shortcuts in the industry we use. 

“That’s what the workshops are about, giving them something they don’t know and we can help them,” he said.

Their last music video was produced for A$120, Mr. Tufuga-Tautua said.

“Our objective is to show that you can do something with a small amount of money,” he said.

“All up our budget was $120, and $20 was for water.”

They want to share their resources, which includes their tips and tricks, connections in the industry, and experiences. 

One lucky young artist will be offered a chance to record their vocals with D.T.P., to have it sent back to Australia to be mixed and mastered by Marlie Music, who produced some of Samoan rapper Poetik’s albums.

“At least they will have something clean in full production, something to inspire them,” Mr. Tuala said.

The men agree that balancing a paying job, the music gig and family is the hardest but most important part. 

Without family, the music falls apart, Mr. Tuala said.

They hold down full time jobs, Mr. Tuala running his own construction company, Form Deez, and Mr Tufuga-Tautua as a baggage handler for Virgin Australia. 

“There are shortcuts, but then there is the urge of actually doing the music because you want to,” Mr. Tuala warned

“You do everything on your own accord, you need to make sure you actually want to do the music.”

“If you release music and you don’t have the heart for it, you will hear it in your music that it’s a half-assed job,” Mr. Tufuga-Tautua agreed. “You haven’t given it your full heart.”

The pair believe Samoan youth might not consider music a career option yet, but they should. 

Through their interactive workshops, they hope to show that there is more than rugby, university and life on the plantation.

“You guys in are in school and anything is possible with the right guidance, and music can give you that, Mr Tuala said.

“There is another avenue, you don’t have to do rugby you can do music. Music will take you around the world, it doesn’t matter where you go.”

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