Why Manchester is the new creative epicentre of neo-soul and hip-hop
Eaves is a producer from LA who has a tendency towards weird samples and rhythms. We've know about his stuff for a while, but he came into his own with recent song Hue, the title track of his new EP for Seattle label Hush Hush Records (Kid Smpl, Torvvo).
Below, you can hear the 'Hue' EP in full, and you can also read a Q&A with Eaves to learn a little more about his creative process, how architecture and physicality play into the music that he makes, and how he goes about finding crazy sounds on YouTube.
What makes you tick? What are your sonic obsessions, that you find yourself returning to whenever you make music?
Eaves: "It basically comes down to me just wanting to make something that doesn’t exist, or put something that does exist into a context that hadn’t existed before. Sampling allows me to achieve that really well – it’s all about making something that I haven’t heard before. Detail and layering is also really important for me, building sound upon sound to create something dynamic and almost physical. Layering allows every sound in a track – whether that’s a hybrid snare hit or a vocal – to have its own unique space, and when they’re combined in a fully finished song, all the layers react to each other. I want the music to make someone feel something physical or imagine something spatial; of course, music is inherently only recognized by our ears, but it’s what kind of physical or spatial things that music can conjure in someone’s head that interests me, and that’s a unique burden that I think instrumental music bears."
What comes first with you: a conceptual idea for a track, or a musical idea?
Eaves: "I always start with a conceptual idea and then end up throwing it out the minute I begin the track, and I just then let the music itself take over. My production process isn’t very complicated – it basically consists of me playing around with samples in Ableton until I’ve got a solid loop going, and then I take that into the session view to form the track. Once I start to form the track itself, I tend to bring that conceptual idea back in and see how the concept can inform and warp what loops I’ve laid down."
What made you first want to make music? Why do you continue to make music?
Eaves: "There was this Crystal Castles show back in like 2007 that I went to in an old folks in Silverlake, LA. I was like 14, and it was the first time I had ever heard electronic music played loud, even though the system was just some shitty PAs. The next day after that show I got Ableton and started to teach myself how to produce. I mean, I’ve always been interested in the physical relationship between us and sound, and I guess that’s why I still make music – I don’t know, it’s also that this music thing has become such a big part of my life that I can’t imagine being not compelled to open Ableton and start a track. I could try to find some conceptual reason on why I make music but if I’m being honest, it’s because I love it and it’s the only thing I want to be doing."
What do you do for fun? (Besides, obviously, making music, which is a leisure activity in itself.)
Eaves: "My studies take up most of my time outside of music making. An architecture degree is demanding in terms of workload, so whenever I have any free time I usually use it to make tracks. It’s weird, I’ve never really seen myself working as an architect for a profession – but the study of it fascinates me. Things involving space, like direct human to material contact is what I’m really interested. I think it works a lot with electronic music, bass music in particular. There’s a special connection between music that makes you move and the space that sound itself can create for us."
Your music utilises many unconventional samples. Where do you find your samples? Do you feel that you fit any of the typical samplist archetypes: the crate digger, the field recordist, the YouTube excavator..?
Eaves: "Definitely the 'excavator'; I’m too poor to buy records, and field recording is too time consuming. One of my tricks is to search a random thing on YouTube, like 'Asian instrument recording', and organize the search query by most recent uploads. You’ll get a lot of weird shit that are either home recordings or super obscure records that someone from like Chile or something has uploaded."
What's your favourite architectural style or era, and why?
Eaves: "I don’t have a favourite style or era, but of course architecture is super important to me. I mean, for me, it’s more about individual spaces that I’m interested in, whether human-fabricated or not. There’s a secret beach near Morro Bay in California that I love because its terrain changes constantly: the ground shifts from huge sand dunes to purple rock chasms to a eucalyptus tree forest that’s perpetually drowned in fog – it’s a magical place. I also love my childhood home which is an old craftsman house built in 1909 that has a whole system of secret nooks, doors, and an underground tunnel that I used to play in as a kid."
Are you a good cook?
Eaves: "I love eating but I can’t cook for my life; my meals are either take-out or microwaveable. The only thing I can kind of cook is a German food called 'schnitzel', which is basically fried breaded pork."
Hush Hush Records release the 'Hue' EP on March 23rd 2015 (pre-order).