For those who constantly dig through the archives of electro-house, it is easy to get flooded with a cascade of tracks that for the most part hit with same sounds and musical ideas. But with an undying hunger for electro-house that hits home in very unique way comes a persistence to keep digging, and for those diggers who are continuously sorting through mounds of electro-house to find gems, if you have not discovered Electric Joy Ride, get ready to reel in a baskets worth of musical treasure.
Armed with an expansive and glistening catalog, EJR has supplanted the current stream of 128bpm with an exuberant style, animating his productions with colorful, explosive passages, purifying harmonies, and invigorating bursts of sweeping electronic frequencies. In the wake of his’Arcade Asylum EP‘, EJR sat down with us to talk about recent releases, his forensic science focus, future sounds, and the new year.
If a stranger approaches you, strikes up a conversation, asks you what you do, and Electric Joy Ride comes up, what would you say to them if they asked you to tell them what EJR is all about?
This has actually happened quite a few times and at first I was uncomfortable actually talking about EJR, but now it’s fine. I just kinda do a “oh yeah I just make dance music or whatever I feel like at the time” and then try and change the subject.
When you open up your DAW, what exactly are you trying to fulfill and accomplish? Are you simply producing for fun or do you feel like you are driven by a certain purpose when producing?
At first, it was definitely for fun and for the love of music. Now though, there’s something else in there. In the year and a bit I’ve been doing the EJR project, it’s become more than a hobby. There’s been some great opportunities so far, like remixing for Universal and such. Sometimes I’ll open it up and just write a piano piece or I may go straight for “I want to start a new track,” it’s all dependant on the day I guess!
You’ve had a very active year. What is currently motivating you to keep producing and churning out tracks? Is it something in particular, like a handful artists that inspire you to keep improving and evolving your sound and production abilities, or is it more a combination of things, musical and non musical, that you experience daily?
This year has been pretty crazy, yeah! I have loads of sources of motivation. I’d say the biggest now is the listeners. I’m the kind of person that when I see loads of positive comments about a track I’ve made, it feels good, but I forget them shortly after. But when I see a negative comment, especially from somebody who likes my other stuff, it sticks with me for a while. It’s a feeling that you’ve let down some of the listeners and that acts as motivation for the next track. I have a very diverse taste in music and so I try and use little characteristics from many genres in my songs.
Are you still using FL Studio? Have you ever thought of switching to Ableton?
Yeah, still all FL studio. I did try Ableton for a while and I do love some of the native Ableton plugins and the pitch shifting abilities within it. Reason is also great for sound design and sampling. Each DAW has their own pro’s and con’s and jumping ship after fully learning one seems a little counter-intuitive to me. Use whatever DAW suits you and you feel comfortable with. A lot of DAW hate actually comes from the people that spend more time bashing other programs than actually making decent music.
Where are you going to school right now and what exactly are you studying? How much of it pertains to your life as a producer?
I’m in my fourth and final year at University studying Forensic Science. So things can be tough. But my manager, Alex, keeps everything in check. I’m very “this track is finished now, LETS RELEASE IT!” But Alex will then do some crunching and realise we’re coming up to a busy academic part of the year where production may slow to a crawl so he’ll hold onto a track for a month or two to keep the releases spread out. I do try and strike a happy medium, but it can be difficult.
How did you hook up with Frisber for the recent ‘Azure’ collab and for ‘For You’? Do you two sit in the same room and bounce off each-other’s ideas or are you collaborating electronically?
I like to get to know the people I collaborate with. I’m not the “bounce ideas back and forward, release a track then never talk again,” type of person. I like to talk to people over facebook for a few weeks/months then get started on a collaboration. It just creates a much better atmosphere. We had talked about doing another track together after the first collab, but we quickly realised we were both too busy. Once my EP, Arcade Asylum, was released on MrSuicideSheep’s label, we got back in contact and that was that. Number 3 might be in the works. Frisber is from Kazakhstan, while I’m in Scotland, so it was purely a digital collaboration. All my collaborations have been this way, so it would be interesting to see how different it is to sit in a studio with somebody and make a track.
Any chance you might get together with a Monstercat artist for a collab like Soulero? I feel like that could come out very nicely.
There are definitely a few Monstercat artists I’d love to work with, but nothing in the works as of yet.
‘Arcade Asylum’ has been out for almost a month now. How long had you been sitting on those tracks before you compiled them for the EP?
Some of them I’d been sitting on for quite a while. I think Power-up was around the 9 month mark. Right Now and Autopilot were made within a 2 week span and Coco was about a week with Fusk.
How has the reception been for the EP and is there a personal favorite off the compilation that has more sentimental value to you than the others?
The reception was crazy. After 2 days we reached number 16 on the beatport top 100 releases and topped 3 genre charts. I was quite surprised at how well people reacted to Autopilot and Right Now, I was very expecting a “This isn’t EJR style,” barrage of comments. I don’t really get ‘attached’ to songs. I’m maybe inspired by certain events or people, but then if something bad happens I’ll end up resenting that track and not wanting to hear it again. Each track was an equal part of the EP for me and I’m really happy with all of them. Additionally, Fusk was great to work with. Been a fan of his work for a long time and I’m really happy with how people received Coco.
Do you anticipate that some of your future releases might incorporate more bass influence, maybe some EJR dubstep, mid-tempo, or sounds along the lines of the second breakdown in ‘Power-Up’?
Funny you should ask that at this stage. There’s quite a variety of new tracks coming soon. Spanning from very uplifting progressive trance, to more radio-friendly vocal tracks along with some heavy dubstep. I’m sure the influences in each track will become apparent quite quickly on the first play through.
With the new year rolling in, are you planning to release at the same pace or at a greater or lower frequency? How do you plan to reach and attract a larger audience to what you’re doing in the future?
For the first half of the year, I imagine it will be very much the same. After I graduate from university, we might see an increase as I plan to focus a lot more on music. I’m diversifying my sound now too, I listen to a lot of Calvin Harris and Arty right now, which is starting to show in some of the new stuff I’m making. Some will like it, some won’t, but I won’t keep recycling the same ‘EJR-style’ over and over.
As 2013 comes to a close, people are going to start looking back on some of the best releases of the year. Can you pick a favorite electro-house track of ’13 so far and if you had to to choose one of your original releases that dropped this year to describe EJR, which one would it be?
Oh that’s a tough one. There’s been some great releases this year. Even though it’s more trance, I’d have to say Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie – This Is What It Feels Like. Amongst all the monotone drops that have saturated the EDM market this year, Armin just absolutely smashed through all of them with this great melodic track. It’s a very uplifting track and it’s the type of sound I’m trying to move towards.
For my own release, not musically speaking, but structurally, I’d probably have to say “Every Day.” While it was totally different than anything I’d made before, I felt it captured what I do quite nicely. The tempo changes from 140, to 128, to 140 and then up to 160. I don’t like to give myself boundaries of constantly starting a track at 128 bpm with a 4 to the floor beat. Being able to use various bpm’s in one track was, for me, a nice breath of fresh air.
Many thanks to Jonny from EJR for taking the time for this. Be sure to show some support for ‘Arcade Asylum‘ and pick up all his free download on Facebook.
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