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Interview: EOMAC


RESIST speaks to Eomac – we discuss musical mentors, influences, drivers and future visions. Inspiring words spanning past, present and future from the Irish electronic music innovator, label owner, half of experimental techno duo “Lakker” and electronic act "noeverything".

Wednesday 12th July, 2017


“...I've been influenced by 'world' music and the meeting of disparate cultures and sounds from all over the globe...for me it points to a brighter future where human beings with all our wonderfully different cultures begin to compliment and learn from each other rather than tearing down and destroying each other.”

Interview


Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Eomac. I make all kinds of music, mostly electronic. I run a label called Eotrax. I'm one half of Lakker with Arad and one half of noeverything with LAIR. I also play live and DJ and stream a monthly podcast.


Can you tell us the journey of how you got there and who have been your mentors and influences along the way?

I have been making music all my life, but composing and producing seriously for about the last 18 years, and before that I was also playing music and learning and listening. It's always been there. And in the last 10 years it's been my primary focus. I've dedicated nearly all of my time and energy into making and releasing music and then performing that music for people. My first widespread release came in 2013 with the 'Spoock' EP on Killekill, and since then I have been releasing with various labels, and performing in various places around the world. It's an amazing journey that I'm still on.

My early influences were UK rave and the Warp / Rephlex school of electronic musicians - Autechre, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Bogdan Raczynski, Boards of Canada. I was hugely influenced by jungle, breakcore and gabber in the mid 2000's. Then later I got into stuff like Pan Sonic and Raster Noton, Burial, late dubstep (before EDM), Zomby, 20th century classical music, Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis, John Cage.... many, many influences really. I always had a love / hate relationship with techno and house, but things like Jeff Mills' 'Waveform Transmissions' were a huge influence, and later the meeting point of techno and dubstep with people like Shed and Ben Klock's 'Before One' EP. More recently still I've been influenced by 'world' music and the meeting of disparate cultures and sounds from all over the globe. There are still questions surrounding appropriation and exploitation - but for me it points to a brighter future where human beings with all our wonderfully different cultures begin to compliment and learn from each other rather than tearing down and destroying each other.

My mentors have been varied. My parents who encouraged me to do what I want to do. My mother, a great pianist, started me on my musical path by sending me to piano lessons as a child. My stepfather Michael Ball, a composer in the classical world, has given me invaluable knowledge and confidence. From piano lessons when I was younger to composition and orchestration lessons as I got older. It is amazing to have the support and encouragement of someone you trust who is older, wiser and more experienced. There was also a composer called Donnacha Dennehy in Dublin who really inspired and encouraged me while studying for my MPhil. Dara, Arad, from Lakker. He has taught me so much over the years. A mentor, friend and collaborator. LAIR, another friend and collaborator who has taught me the importance of truthfulness and self-belief in this world and in this industry. And most recently the producer Demian Licht, who has taught me the importance of courage, drive and focus.

Eomac free DL Lakker remix


“...I've been influenced by 'world' music and the meeting of disparate cultures and sounds from all over the globe...for me it points to a brighter future where human beings with all our wonderfully different cultures begin to compliment and learn from each other rather than tearing down and destroying each other.”

Why do what you do?

Because I love it. And you have to do the things you love don't you? Or else what's the point? There has always been a creative drive in me, whether it was to write or paint or dance - all of which I have done and still do - but music has always been the deepest and most fulfilling form of expression for me. It makes more sense to me than any language. It's been a refuse, an escape, a liberation, a way to learn and ultimately a way to connect. Through music I feel connected in a way that I don't really feel elsewhere. It's more real to me than anything I see in the illusory reality we have constructed for ourselves that we call 'society'. It's brings me closer to some intangible truth about being human than does money, economics, politics, religion, science, nationality or any of these constructs we trap ourselves in. We're so much freer than we believe and so much more trapped than we think (or want to admit).


“I'm not precious or purist about music. It all has its place. I'm not interested in constructs like 'mainstream' or 'underground' - they seem old fashioned in this digital age. Unhelpful and loaded terms that can prevent real progress, like a lot of words we use.”

Your music has always pushed towards experimentation and has resisted genre definitions and pigeon-holing - what is your approach to the creative process?

My approach changes a lot in terms of my actual process when I sit down to write. I like to keep things fresh, begin projects in different ways, try new combinations of sounds. But having said that I have been using the same platform for many years now - Ableton Live - so I don't change things up much in terms of the tools I use. More in the ideas I have or what I am trying to achieve and say with the music. I get bored easily I suppose, but I'm not a gear head or overly interested in technology for its own sake. Once I have some way of realising my ideas I'm happy.

But more generally, I listen a lot. I listen to a lot of music to find inspiration and ideas. I'm not precious or purist about music. It all has its place. I'm not interested in constructs like 'mainstream' or 'underground' - they seem old fashioned in this digital age. Unhelpful and loaded terms that can prevent real progress, like a lot of words we use. There is much to be admired and much to be disliked and much to be learnt from people no matter where they come from or where they place themselves, so I try to stay as open and as open-minded as I can. I don't believe I truly know anything, yet (though I have a belief that someday I will), so I try to listen and learn as much as I can from other people, as much as my ego will allow at any given moment anyway. I try to speak less and think less and feel more. I trust feeling and emotion and intuition as something closer to reality and truth.

All these things are part of my creative process and help with my work, and my life.


“I find a lot of electronic music at the moment to be too self-conscious and too concerned with the elements of its make-up, its place in a 'scene', its identity. This can prevent the music from moving forward in new ways…there is so much techno music being made right now who's only concern is that it is in fact 'techno' and that it will be played in certain clubs on certain sound systems to make people dance in a certain way…”

Can you tell us the concept behind Eotrax?

To release music that moves me. Music that engages. Music that is trying to say something, something beyond the parameters of its own existence. Music that isn't so concerned with what it is or how it was made, but more with what is being said and the intention behind it. Also, on a more practical level, music that sounds fresh and sonically interesting. I find a lot of electronic music at the moment to be too self-conscious and too concerned with the elements of its make-up, its place in a 'scene', its identity. This can prevent the music from moving forward in new ways. The same sounds being reused, same gestures, same ideas. I think it's a reflection of the broader identity crises that are happening everywhere in society. We're in a time of huge change and uncertainty and it's difficult. Take techno for example, there is so much techno music being made right now who's only concern is that it is in fact 'techno' and that it will be played in certain clubs on certain sound systems to make people dance in a certain way. It exists to satisfy a function within a narrow world, sometimes dogmatically so. It's music as a means to belong rather than music as individual expression. Which is an interesting social phenomena, and probably as old as music itself. It gives the music and artist a sense of place, identity and validation. Safety. Which is totally fine, and which I like from time to time in techno and club music. Especially in its most basic and stripped form. But I am not interested in releasing music like that. Music is inherently social, but it is also something else. I want to release music that goes beyond, that comes from an individual artist's soul, beyond surface identity, that expresses something truthful about who they are, and in doing that expresses something truthful about who we all are. Inner and outer connections. Music that is vulnerable, music that is brave. Unique in some way. The music I really love and the music that really engages me has those qualities, and that is what I am interested in with Eotrax.

LAIR EP (latest Eotrax release)



What's coming up next for you?

I am working on a new Eomac album, that's the main focus right now. And an AV show to go along with it. I also have a 10" dropping soon with Bastikaya Tapes, which is a sub-label of Bedouin Records. There is some new Lakker material in the works, and I am planning the next few releases with Eotrax, some familiar faces, some new faces and some collaborations.


What gives you hope or inspires you right now in music / art?

People. It's always people. Movements, scenes, fashions, modes of thinking, genres, tools, techniques - they all come and go, but there will always be people with incredible passion for what they do. People are endlessly inspiring. People with the drive to action the things they love. Connected people. They always give me hope and inspiration.


"People. It's always people. Movements, scenes, fashions, modes of thinking, genres, tools, techniques - they all come and go, but there will always be people with incredible passion for what they do. People are endlessly inspiring. People with the drive to action the things they love."

Finally, what do think is an important issue at present in music / art?

It's increasingly difficult for me to separate music and art from life and current global affairs. They are all tied up together for me. So in that sense a huge issue is one of identity and language. How we see ourselves and the language we use to describe that. We're facing so many global problems and the language used to describe and decode is failing us. Too many words are too loaded with too much history and emotion and the landscape has become muddy and confused. It's preventing progress. A lot of current discourse surrounding various topics, identity being a good example, is bogged down solely in the language used to describe it, without addressing the actual issue at hand. Trapped in semantics. Nationalism, the names of countries, political systems, religions, sexuality, gender roles and stereotypes - it's so hard to speak about these things because the language used has not caught up with the reality of a new globally connected and increasingly diverse world. Outdated concepts and outdated language. And at the same time, some really old problems still persist - inequality, sexism, racism - compounded by inadequate ways to express and deal with these issues. And they certainly won't be solved by simply finding new ways to describe them - that's not what I'm talking about. We don't yet have a clearer form of communication but it feels like we need one to go along with new social systems and ways of being, while dealing with the problems that we currently face so they don't continue. It's really tricky. It's like we're witnessing the death throes of so many things we knew and put faith in - like democracy - and we don't yet know what to do about it or what's next. I have no idea what the answer is. That's why I like music. It's a mode of communication that doesn't suffer from these problems, it's deeper and purer than verbal language. It exists on a deeper level, on a soul level, and in that way can connect people and break down borders where speaking fails.


KS

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