Etherwood: Blue Sonics
Etherwood‘s Blue Leaves seems to ignite an array of opposites: autumnal yet outgoing; melancholic yet exultant and far-reaching… It’s a multifaceted journey and he never stops, but we managed to pin him down for five minutes.
Hi Etherwood how are you?
Very well thanks. Recovering from a mad summer.
Now any album with ‘blue’ in the title is going to provoke the reaction that the maker was a little mournful or reflective, is/was that the case?
Partly yes. This album was a very reflective process for me, much more than my first album.
The title implies a transition from feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders to slowly releasing and letting go of any troubles and woes which is quite true of how it was made.
When did the album start to form then? And did this process necessarily mean that as it evolved you would revisit certain tunes and get into them again, giving them a ‘touch’?
I started writing this album entirely from scratch after the first one was released.
None of the tracks on Blue Leaves existed more than a year and a half ago. This meant I could really focus on the mood of the album and get into it a lot deeper than the first. It flows a lot nicer this way in my opinion.
And how’s 2015 been? Funny old year being halfway thru the Decade With No Name as it is. Weird or what?
It’s been my favourite year to date! So many amazing experiences and I’ve had the opportunity to realise so many of the things I’ve dreamt of for years.
‘The Rain Will Fall’: what inspired this fab tune?
This started from an instrumental that I felt needed transforming.
Luke LSB has been one of my favourite producers for some time and I felt he’d be perfect to bring it to life. He had chopped up some of the samples and sent back something that I really wasn’t expecting but something that sounded absolutely beautiful.
Then I added a few extra bits of love and it was good to go. The title is part of a longer lyrical passage that I’d written for the track. We ended up concluding that the one line of vocal said it all.
Quick sidestep: any films from present or past you quite feeling? Maybe ones you’re checking out again after a period?
I watched Boyhood recently and loved it. I’m a massive fan of Richard Linklater so I knew I’d like it. I watched The Truman Show last night for the first time in ages.
Now I can’t stop wondering if this interview is even real…
Would you discuss ‘For a Time I Was You’?
It’s one of my favourite tracks on the LP.
It started with the intro. I wanted to strip it back and keep developing the track until it eventually ‘dropped’.
You don’t hear that too often in D&B.
‘Souls Rejoined’, and ‘You’ll Always Be A Part of Me’ caught me as well, sort of threads in a sonic spiderweb, these I think…
‘Souls Rejoined’ was a call and response type answer to ‘Souls Apart’… for anyone who hadn’t guessed that already.
I had that piano loop in my head and thought it would be pretty cool to amalgamate the two in a romantic sort of way.
‘You’ll Always Be A Part Of Me’ delves pretty deep into my past.
It’s very personal so I was quite reluctant to even include it on the record but I think a few people can relate.
About the vocal collabs here, people like Eva Lazarus – ‘Light My Way Home’ I love a lot, ‘Revive’ too – and Zara Kershaw on ‘Souvenirs’: what did their input bring to the proceedings, and would the songs have existed without them?
I really think the vocalists made the tracks stand out in the way they do. All of the tracks existed before, except for ‘Light My Way Home’ which I wrote with Brad Ellis from The Nextmen and Eva.
It’s always interesting to hear how tracks will pan out when getting vocalists involved. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. Luckily these ones worked a treat.
… and SPY is here, as is Logistics, how did you all co-create?
Logistics and I spent some time in the studio together after I’d written the piano part for ‘Revive’. It was great working with him and the track came together very naturally.
I sent ‘WNWL’ over to Carlos S.P.Y in a similar way and he came back with some great drums and loads of extra-added elements that brought the track to life.
It’s weird to think how these songs would’ve turned out without that Logistics and SPY touch.
I find this quite an affecting album, gets under the skin. Are there other music moments that you’d cite that affect you as a listener/fan?
Wow, so so many. ‘Karma Police’ by Radiohead is one for me. Maybe my favourite of all time. Immunity by Jon Hopkins has jumped way up the list in terms of albums that leave with you with that lasting effect.
I love Hammock too. Their album Departure Songs is amazing. Also check out Arca Xen.
That’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard.
So what’s next for you?
Loads of touring in Autumn. Off to the USA for the first time in a couple of weeks. Playing the new album out as much as I can. I actually haven’t been back in the studio since I finished the album in July which is scary.
Need to start writing again.
OK any final shouts Etherwood?
Just to my cat, Luna.