YT DiNGO (pronounced ‘white dingo’) is the brain-child of Gold Coast musician, performance artist and video choreographer Travers Ross. Combining elements of hip hop, soul, world music, electro and prog rock, this eclectic musical project also thrives off a strikingly visual axis, with Ross choreographing and starring in a breathtakingly ambitious video trilogy as a way of introducing YT DiNGO’s first three singles, ‘Shipwrecked’, ‘Thrill Of The Chase’ and ‘Wicked Rest’, to audiences.
The spectacular video for first single ‘Shipwrecked’, has certainly proved to be a big head-turner, having just taken out ‘Video of the year’ at the 2019 Gold Coast Music Awards. It was filmed right here on the Gold Coast (Yugambeh Country) and showcases Ross’s amazing video choreography – the dance sequences are indeed spectacular! It was directed by Melbourne innovator Claudia Sangiorgi Delimore, renowned for her ‘Her Sound, Her Story’ video vignette series.
The video trilogy has served as a precursor to YT DiNGO’s recently released debut EP, ‘Side A’. Look out for our review in the pages of next month’s Blank GC.
To celebrate its launch, YT DiNGO is curating a trilogy of special live performances in some of this regions finest live music spaces. In the lead up, we managed to have a chat with the YT DiNGO himself, Travers Ross, to gain an insight into his unique world view.
Congratulations on winning video of the year at the GCMA’s, for your track ‘Shipwrecked’. It’s a highly impressive piece of visual art! How did it feel to get the gong from such a hot field of finalists?
What to say! Too much is said these days and I’m known to say A LOT haha. If I could dance it to you I would, but I’ll give it a go. It feels phenomenal to be acknowledged for an artwork created during one of the hardest times of my life, and getting through it with a piece like this. I have to give it up for my pack of extraordinary friends who, in this life, feel similar to me and were willing to believe in my sound and vision. Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, the director, really harnessed the wildness and purity of my intentions. Most of all I acknowledge the lessons I learnt from the land – my connection with it is like a partner dance in a way.
The award allowed me to reflect deeply about that day on the beach (where the video was shot). I found out a year later by a Minyungbal (Fingal Heads) elder that the area where we shot the video is known as the Dingo Dreaming Cave, which was cut away by colonisers during the frontier wars. That day on the beach, rain came and sent everybody else home, but my willing Pack stayed strong on that freezing cold day. I was on fire with gratitude that day and I still am today. Mama Nature did her part and made the scene better to perform in than any million dollar Hollywood clip. Dancing with her is everything!
‘Shipwrecked’ is part of a trilogy of music videos to announce your arrival on the music scene. Did you have a very specific vision in mind from the start about how you wanted to present yourself and your muse, as a lead-in to your first EP?
From under the Down Under. I wanted to challenge my idols on the other side of the planet with our untold stories! These USA people are very indulging, but after working with them, I saw my story, skills and vibe had just as much reason to be shared and are as valid as theirs. The vision for the Trilogy was to share my strengths and passions with vulnerable stories. Looking inwards has become my truth and inspiration. Music, dance and art is my internal scripture and wisdom. It’s my bible and I am my own saviour. I never really fit into the sheep herd. Just like this white supremacist society that controls arts industries, I guess I will not become a robot to suit this heartless machine. My voice is mine, my words are mine, my moves are mine and I receive what I choose and I will share what feels right for my experience on this planet in outer space. I am the one that was born with me and the only one that dies with me, so how I express is me.
You’re also about to embark on a handful of headlining shows at some wonderful venues. What can we expect from the YT DiNGO live experience? And is it a challenge to bring your creative vision to life in the live performance realm?
All people are welcome. If you’re feeling something from the Trilogy, the EP and the visuals, then the live show is a whole other thing again! Yes, it’s a challenge to fund my vision for live performances without going broke or copping out on my art. Each show will have its own thing to it. I don’t want to give too much away other than, I have nine people involved in my Pack to unfold an experience never to forget.
How long have you been creating music and dancing for? And what were you doing prior to YT DiNGO?
I was born into music and dance. I grew up dancing and playing music from a young age and continued to study a range of arts at Newtown Performing Arts High School. I’ve featured on the ABC’s ‘Australian Story’ in 2001 for a story about bullying. After graduating from my studies, I opened my own urban influenced schools. I created and directed Utopian Dream festival for 7 years and ran events and retreats for artists of all sorts and choreographed three seasons of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. I’ve also consistently visited rural towns and communities to create art and empower disadvantaged youth, which I continue to do today. I’ve also choreographed and/or performed with many world-renowned music artists including the likes of Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams, Resin Dogs, Cat Empire, Sietta and Dallas Frasca to name a few. I toured across the globe with ‘Break’n on Stilts’ and got down in the streets of Cali, NY and Vegas with Swoop Daddi and Mad Lion. I’ve also been a vocalist in a few bands, one from Japan that I’m still working with in the background. And I’ve rapped/MC’d a lot of clubs, theatre shows and the ol’ blue light disco in my teens.
I saw the live footage from Splendour with Dave Atkins of Resin Dogs fame on drums. Is he a permanent part of your set up?
Dave is a permanent part of my creation—mixing, mastering and playing kit and other bits. He seems to believe in it and wants to drum more, provided he’s free. This tour coming, he is already on tour with another artist. So I have Drummer/Bboy, Jackson Garcia, coming to bring you the forefront of the youths’ explosive energy, moving from the drum kit to the dance floor. It’s an honour having Dave Atkins on my stage and I look forward bringing Jackson into the Pack.
What’s on the agenda for the rest of the year? Will there be a ‘Side B’ EP in the pipeline?!
As we speak, I am writing new songs, developing and managing the upcoming tours, while I’m up in the tropics on 4 – 5 week trips, bringing arts and wellbeing to a First Nations boarding school. They inspire me so much and seem to be feeling the same towards me. So our time together is inspiring new lyrics, revealing useful pains from shared yarns and developing their own creative arts. I will also take the tour further around the country to share it with more people and create more songs, videos and maybe go overseas too.
YT DiNGO’s ambitious debut release, ‘Side A’, is out now. And for a totally unique sound and vision experience that will knock your socks off, be sure to get along to one of YT DiNGO’s following gigs in June:
Thursday, 20 June: Picture House, Brunswick Heads, Friday, 21 June: Miami Marketta, Gold Coast, Saturday, 22 June: The Old Museum, Brisbane.