Exclusive Spotlight Interview with upcoming rising star Ethr3
Where are you from? I'm from that state up in the corner of the country, Washington. I was born and mostly raised in the Seattle area. My folks moved around some (MT, CA.) and then back to WA. Kind of cool growing up in the Pacific North West. Allot of musical history from those parts.
When did you start making music? I started making music when I was around 12/13 years old, playing guitar and drums and messing around with an old Casio keyboard, the one with the yellow drum pads. I'd record on my mom’s tape recorder and make weird sounds. I also had a drum machine, I forget the maker of the thing, it was grey and black, and you'd play it with sticks. I'd plug that into my guitar amp play guitar along with it. I was more interested in making weird sounds at that time then I was writing music. There was a trick you could do with the record button pressed halfway down; you'd get this warped crazy sound like a slowing down/speeding up effect. That was fun but no songs came from it just an interest in making strange sounds.
How do you describe your music? What I do and what I've done musically spans across a few genres and quite a few years (haha - just dated myself). I've never really been tied to just one genre, there's TOO much out there to settle on and live in just one place. With that said I've ALWAYS loved electronic music and that is my mainstay, my comfort zone, my favorite place to write. I love how you can get completely lost in an atmosphere and sound, much like a sound in 3D. How I would describe my music, my sound now' days, I'd say it was an ever-changing evolution of songwriting, sound designing and experimentation in arrangements and production all wrapped up in one. I listen to just about everything there is and that inevitably plays a part in what I do musically. It can be at times confusing when there are so many ideas that come forward at once but that's the challenge, to make sense of it all and to be free within it. Currently, my latest EP release has been heavily influenced by rhythm and some of the drummers I love to listen too. If you take a listen to Big Steps from my latest release (EP: The Sound That Shook The Ground) and how I tied in some rather non-traditional timing within (haha, do I dare say it, dance-able electronic music), you can probably pick out one of my favorite drummers. I love to write groovy tunes, ones that make you want to move. For better or worse, the song sometimes carves its own path that you must just get on board with and go. Too much-directing traffic and the soul and groove disappear.
Who is your biggest musical inspiration? Well, being 1 million percent in electronic music is going to sound funny, but the magnificent Geddy Lee has always inspired me. Being a bass player, as I am, that's no surprise. I just love what Rush has always done. In the electronic world, there are so many, some more old school and some newer school if there's such a thing. I remember discovering William Orbit, WOW! His songwriting and productions are mesmerizing. Ulrich Schnauss is another artist that just takes me to some other place. Someone, recently I've been listening to allot is Deadmau5 and I also saw his show in Seattle. He's amazing too. There are SO many great artists out there and they all have a uniqueness to what they do. I just discovered Rezz and someone she collaborates with, Kotek. Really cool music they are creating.
What is your producing software? Currently, I'm using Ableton Live. I LOVE LOVE LOVE It! A good friend of mine turned me on to it and I have been hooked ever since.
What other things do you do besides making music? I currently work as a Software engineer and have been in the QA department of that for the past 20 yrs. Its good fun! Outside of anything computer related I'm usually somewhere around town having a brew, hanging with friends or looking up at the night sky wondering how we all got here. Oh yeah, I think to allot about what's out there and beyond.
Favorite moment from your career?
I was once in a country band playing bass. We traveled a bit of this big round rock and that was truly amazing. The bass guitar literally took me around the world. Well, not completely around it but a good portion of it. We play this big festival in the middle of the Amazon. That was incredible! We also traveled to Australia. That was a dream come true. There's still a dream to go there again but this time it’s not going to be country HAHAH...
What is your favorite track of all time? Oh boy, that is not an easy question to answer at all, I have about a 100 top 1's and a thousand top 10's. I can tell ya what I've got on the top of the daily playlist, Its Above & Beyond's acoustic album. Holy Goodness that is SO good! Just under that I've got some Zedd, some Jaytek some Gregory Esayan, some Solar Fields. The list goes on and on. Ya know there is one track that comes to mind that is ALWAYS so awesome when ya turn it up - Pacific Memories from Fenomenon. Now that's a track everyone should have in their playlist.
Why did you start making music? Hahahaha.. good question and I almost have NO idea why. I can tell ya that if I hadn't started this lifelong journey of making music, my life would be a million times different. It’s a way of life not something that I have a choice to not do (to some extent). Sure, I could just stop spending countless hours hiding up in some room designing sound and putting together bits and pieces, trying to find some sort puzzle to fit together, trying to make sense out of the senselessness. All this sound is nothing until its arranged in such a way that it does make sense. One word on a page in a book has no connection to another word until a phrase is constructed. The word by itself is alone and has no function until its matched up with something that gives it context and meaning, a BIGGER meaning that just its literally identity. Like what do you do with "The". By itself, it’s not much but put it next to "Cure" and suddenly you have a band! - hahahah... It’s the same with music. Some say it’s a language, I agree with that though sometimes I think it’s a language that has no rules or barriers. So, in that sense it’s a free language to do what you want with it. You have the freedom to make it up, to craft it into anything you desire. Maybe that's why I start this thing, to explore freedom with sound.
What are your goals for the future? To make music my full-time gig, writing, recording and touring. The touring part will be an adventure for sure. I've never gone about that as a solo artist but I'm ready. Well, I'm mentally ready, I've got some work to do on the show itself. The set list and how I'm going to be mixing that on the deck. That unto itself is something totally new to me. I do have one in my home studio (Denon Prime4) that I'm getting to know, and holy goodness is it fun! I have THE MOST amazing and incredible visionary along with me, Wendy, that helps me with a million other things that keeps the goal in focus and the dream alive. Without Wendy, this would not be possible.
What are your upcoming gigs? With my busy schedule, local open mics, and local events are probably what I’m sticking to
until the summer comes around.
What is your best-producing tip? Watch your levels. Holy goodness that can that get quickly out of control and once it is, it’s hard to gain a frame of reference. I found a SUPER helpful project template to use from Warp Academy that has really helped me watch that sort of thing. When producing BIG sound, the volume is everything and its nothing at the same time. What I mean by that is, the BIG sound is not all about pumping up the volume, it’s about mixing that big sound within the rest of the tracks. Once things are mixed well, paying attention to your Master channel becomes a much more manageable task. Then there's dynamics, that is a whole other topic.
What advice can you give for the young music producers/DJs?
Don't give up, keep it going! Nothing worth having or doing or keeping happens overnight. It might look like it happens overnight but there's always a long story of years behind it that makes it solid. It’s a craft, it needs SO many countless hours and dedication that its mind-boggling. If you find yourself doing this and doing this, however long it takes, then please do NOT give up. All those hours invested are what make it all happen.
Please write a message to your fans: I truly love ya all! Some fans I have spoken with in person and some I have messaged with over the number of web sites out there. From the very center of my soul, my heart, I thank you truly! Truly the sweetest and kindest people I've ever known!