Pale Blue is the first EP released under your own name. Has it been a long time coming?
Or did you think you’d probably be fully focused on production and engineering for the foreseeable future? Honestly there was probably a time about two years ago when production stuff started getting really full on and I thought I was going to stop making music all together. I’ve been making music all my life pretty much, but once I was working 60 hours a week in the studio I was like, ‘Oh God I don’t have time to keep up with all of this.’ So a lot of these songs have been collected over that time period. I went off writing and then I came back on and now I’ve collected this set of songs that I’m really proud of.
You’ve worked on record for a really diverse range of artists in the past few years. Have you tried to use those experiences for your own creative gain? Do you watch the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote or Oscar Key Sung at work and take note of things to employ when you get stuck into your own work?
I don’t really take note, it’s more inspiration. I find that I get more inspiration out of the people who I directly work with than the people I listen to. Just because you see a creation from start to finish, and I find that really inspiring. People like Hiatus influenced me a little bit, and Oscar Key Sung and I’lls, they’re probably right up there.
When you started exploring electronic production, were many of your idols/influences local artists? Or was it mostly overseas stuff?
Probably local artists, to be honest. I used to write a lot of rock music and that was when I was inspired by international acts. But the thing that got me into electronic music was just seeing the possibilities… The first real record I mastered was I’lls’ first EP [Thread, 2011]. I think them creating that was really inspiring to me and made me realise that there’s a whole different medium that you can explore with a lot more possibilities. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
Along with Fractures and Kucka – who feature on the singles ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Anhedoniac’ respectively – Nearly Oratorio (Simon Lam from I’lls) sings on the EP’s final track ‘Two Dones’. What led you to work with vocalists on three of the five songs?
Because I get exposed to such a wide variety of new music in the studio, I know when a song needs to be carried by something else. I think with those three songs, as an instrumental they didn’t actually hold up by themselves. Part of what I’ve been aiming for with the EP is a real minimalist aesthetic. For instance, the song with Simon on it, ‘Two Dones’, if you take out the vocal there’s a harp and a synth chord for the fi rst minute and a half, which people would just get bored of and tune out. So I wanted to get them on board to try and add a story to it and just another dimension of interest. All three of them just totally killed it.
Fractures and Nearly Oratorio are Melbourne based. How did you team up with Kucka?
That was my first long distance collaboration, so it’s a whole different set of challenges. Having people in the studio, everything happens quite quickly and naturally, but with long distance you’ve got to email back and forth. But it was a good challenge and I’m really happy with what she’s done with the track.
Working on other people’s projects, you have a priceless distance that allows you to make quick decisions. But when you’re completely in charge of your own project, you’re more prone to obsess over minor details. Are you able to switch into producer mode and discipline yourself?
It’s definitely a lot trickier. With every step of the process that you take on board, you lose a bit of an objective view on it. I find usually the best projects I work on are those where I do only one thing – maybe I just make the beats or maybe I just do the mix or whatever. Probably the biggest challenge in making this EP is trying to take on every single hat from start to finish – taking it from blank canvas to a mastered CD. The thing that I’m slowly learning as I go is just to create anchor points for myself. So if I make a demo and there’s one section that everyone universally loves, I’ll keep that in mind and don’t mess with it – build the rest of the song around that and just remember that one time when everyone loved it. Even if I forget that it’s good, I still remember that other people had a really good first impression of it.
Andrei Eremin’s debut EP Pale Blue is out now independently.