The 9 tracks on his soundcloud immediately grabbed my attention, with bass driven dubstep beats, yet filled with the emotional intensity that the likes of Burial and more recently James Blake and Sepalcure are bringing to the genre. His music is both suited to the dancefloor as well as just listening for pleasure during the day, the perfect form of IDM for me. I tried to find out more info on the artist as soon as I heard the tracks, and the first thing I found out was that the kid is only 17 years old. He has no doubt got great things ahead of him, and it wouldn't surprise me if his tracks are soon being played alongside the likes of Joy Orbison, A Made Up Sound, Young Montana? and Flying Lotus by the likes of Mary Anne Hobbs and co. Make sure you check out Etch's soundcloud page, which is http://soundcloud.com/d9kabloowww.
I contacted Etch a couple of days ago, and he kindly agreed to an interview and a mix of his own tracks exclusively for the blog. Here's the interview for you all.
Hello. First things first, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do?
"Hi I'm Zak, I'm 17 and I live in Brighton. I've just finished up my A-levels at Varndean college, I've mainly been studying film and photography, but music keeps dragging me away from my revision hah. Unfortunately in colleges and universities today it seems you can't actually do music tech without grades in instruments or a GCSE in music."
How long have you been producing for now, and what got you into the production side of things?
"I think I first started "properly" producing music that was passable for actual music when I was about 14, but I had been dabbling with early versions of Fruity Loops and Ejay (haha) since I was about 12. I guess what got me into the idea of producing was when one of my friends started really getting into electronic music, and I was always into music as a whole, but electronic music sort of opened a whole new world to me, overall I guess it was just curiosity about how its all done. Ive always been a bit of a computer geek too, i guess that attributes."
How would you describe the style of music you produce?
"I suppose technically its dubstep, bass driven music generally at a tempo of about 140bpm. But I feel the dubstep scene at the moment is sort of going two ways. It started off as that simplified heavy, urban sound with people like Loefah and Digital Mystikz, and then it flourished into this wobbly drug driven thing, which I'm not disrespecting at all, I'm really into artists like Datsik and Downlink, they're doing their thing but then there were those few labels were forwarding something different, something more true to music than simply just a dancefloor oriented style, artists like Mount Kimbie, James Blake and Burial I see as the precursors of this. So yeah I guess I hope to be grouped in with the more emotive/musical side of dubstep."
Your work is coming at an important and really exciting time in the world of electronica and dubstep, with more experimental artists such as Ramadanman and Mount Kimbie gaining great recognition. Has any of this work been an influence on your own style, and who are your greatest musical influences?
"Definitely, it really is an exciting time for electronic music and I definitely see artists like Mount Kimbie, James Blake and Fantastic Mr Fox as an influence. But most of my influence surprisingly comes more from early 80's post punk bands such as Joy Division and The Cure. Joy Division probably the most prominent, If you look at their music closely, I think a lot of it can be related to modern dubstep, that sort of dark echoed spacious sound, simplified rhythms and heavy bass sections. Aside from that my biggest influences are Burial, Nine Inch Nails and the current pantheon of artists forwarding this 2-step/dubstep style such as the aforementioned and Flying Lotus, Airhead, SBTRKT, Joy Orbison etc..."
What are your favourite tracks/artists at present?
"There are so many, artists just keep popping up out of nowhere, labels such as Hemlock, Hessle Audio, Hyperdub, Hotflush, Brainmath, just keep bring insanely good new talent forward. Really liking James Blake's new EP "CMYK", really into Airhead's sound, can't understand how he has hardly any tracks out? And the album that has been on repeat almost constantly for me lately is definitely Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus, insanely good stuff, the man is a genius. And the tracks I seem to keep going back to on my iPod are "HYPH MNGO" by Joy Orbison and "Bric-A-Brac" by Fantastic Mr Fox."
What's next for yourself? What are your plans for the future?
"Well next year I'm studying Digital Filmmaking & Animation at Brighton city college for a year and then I hope to go onto university, or if my music picks up, perhaps put a bit more money and time into it, that would be my ideal future I guess."
Thank you very much for the great mix you provided, can you tell us a little bit about it. Which tracks feature in it?
"That's cool! Yeah, um its just an Ableton Live mix I did using my midi controller it features exclusively my tracks, just so people know what sort of sound I'm trying to capture and create, also features two tracks I made with my friend Josh Trinnaman, who plays guitar on the tracks, big things coming up from me and him hopefully, we're trying to get together some sort of live act which is really exciting. Got more tracks in the works at the moment and hoping to do some remixes for local bands, so yeah, this is the tracklist! enjoy!"
'Daily Bugle Mix' Tracklist:
Etch - Mechanical
Etch Feat. Josh Trinnaman - Serene
Etch - Step Further
Radiohead - Creep (Etch Remix)
Etch - Tumbling Down The Well
Etch - Siren Call
Etch Feat. Josh Trinnaman - I Was Afraid
Etch - C.E.V
You can download the brilliant mix by Etch now from http://www.zshare.net/audio/76979117ed2f07cf.
I would just like to say a massive thanks to Zak for the interview and the mix. Make sure you look out for this kid in the future, I've got a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more from him.