We’ll just call it dark junglebreaks, with a whiff of hiphop and UK hardcore; Etch doesn’t do musical boundaries. Take a good scroll down and read all about Etch’ future plans, his love for London and… septic tanks.
Who are you, can you tell us something about yourself and where do we know you from?
I’m Zak. I produce as Etch and sometimes make hip hop as Slice Provider, and sometimes do other shit under other aliases no one ever hears. I’m from Brighton, I lived in London for 3 years while at uni. People probably know me from my work with Keysound, Soundman Chronicles & Wisdom Teeth. Something about myself… I have insomnia, can someone please help me.
How did you become a producer?
I guess out of curiosity, when I transitioned from my angsty-moody-gothy kinda phase when I was introduced to electronic music, I just wanted to know how it was made and I eventually realised it was with computers. So a friend sent me a cracked copy of Fruity Loops (think it was version 3 or 4 at the time) over MSN Messenger and I started making shit wannabe breakcore, noise and drum & bass.
What other producers or artists do you see as your primary inspiration?
So so so many. Boards of Canada perhaps reign over almost everyone, no one can touch their sound. Also Photek, Source Direct, Dillinja, Optical, Rhythm Section, Manix, El-B, Portishead, Paradox, Madlib, Nas, MF Doom, Steve Gurley, Pete Rock, edIT, Pusha T, Hudson Mohawke, Flying Lotus, DJ Premier, Jlin, DJ Rashad, Technical Itch, Burial, Murcof, Loefah etc…
Then more band & soul oriented stuff like My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Joy Division, Siouxsie & The Banshees, HP Lovecraft, Skull Snaps, Marlena Shaw, The Doors. Out of my contemparies I’m always checking Epoch, Gantz, Acre, Itoa, Moresounds, Sully, Rabit, Facta, Alex Coulton, Circula. I can’t be bothered to list anymore, but you get the idea, I’m not biased haha. Outside of music I kinda just take in other stuff, I love film, directors like Lars Von Trier, Gus Van Sant, Gaspar Noe, Alejandro Jodorowsky, David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, Scorsese blah blah blah. Really into vintage sci-fi art aswell by people like Moebius, Mike Hinge, Curtis Tinsley and fucked up shit like HR Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński.
Tell us something about your musical development, always been a big fan of drum ‘n bass?
Yeah, always. It’s in my blood, my mum, my auntie and uncle were all huge ravers. My mum had me when she was 18, so she was still going out and raving when I was young. We lived on a pretty shit estate, so I would usually stay at my nans where my uncle was still living at the time. He’d always be blaring out old UK hardcore and jungle records, and as time went on these records were eventually passed down to me. Then when I got access to the internet I started really getting deep into everything.
Drum & bass was always my primary interest alongside hip hop, then when I heard breakcore it really took me off my feet. It was kind of like punk, it had that DIY ethic, that energy but it also took cues from all these different electronic styles of music. Then from there I got into dubstep, grime etc.
East Coast Jungleworx Vol. 1 is classic NY hiphop based, can you tell us how that inspired you?
Hip hop, along with other electronic based stuff, has always been there for me aswell. My auntie used to lend me all her hip hop CD’s when I was like 8 or 9; Wu-Tang, early G-Funk stuff, Missy Elliott, the P Diddy & The Bad Boy Family album all stand out in my memory. Then as I got older I was able to dig a bit deeper for myself, and my uncle was also part of a graffiti/hip hop crew in Brighton, so again I learned a lot of stuff through his history.
But the initial inspiration behind doing that compilation was playing at Reconstrvct in New York in 2014, it was an amazing and surreal experience, something that’s yet to be matched. But yeah on the flight back I just made a little reflip of Smiff N Wessun – Bucktown coz it was the track I ended my set with and everyone went crazy and it just progressed from there.
Fill us in about the beat scene in the UK, any leading artists or collectives?
Erm, by beat scene I presume you mean like instrumental hip hop kinda stuff? I don’t think anything is comparable to how it is in the US (particularly LA), but labels like Blah, Astral Black, Eglo (and its sub label) and Bad Taste are putting out really cool stuff like that. Paul White’s label One Handed Music; Project Mooncircle have a lot of UK artists involved, but I don’t think they’re based here. It’s sad I don’t think theres a huge audience for that kind of stuff in the UK, or at least an audience that buys into it like rave/club culture.
But I’m actually a lot more drawn to that at the moment as opposed to the ego driven and “does this sound good in a club” or “can this be mixed”- ethos of club music. I’ve really been drawn to DJ’s like Tim Parker and Jonny Dub who I’d kind of liked through Kutmah and Gaslamp Killer, but they bring in the UK styles as well. Producers I’m really rating in that kind of field at the moment are Jae Genius, Drae Da Skimask, JD Reid, Jon Phonics. A lot of artists on the Donky Pitch collective based out of Brighton aswell. Also based out of Brighton is UK hip hop label High Focus, who are always putting out great stuff. Also not even just coz he’s a mate but DJ Parris, though generally associated with UK Techno and the whole Underground UK scene really does push the boat out with what he plays. I won’t bait him out too hard on his embarrassing record collection though <3
'I’m sick at making memes. Also I love cooking. And anyone wanna try test me at Tekken 3 or Crash Team Racing hollar!'
Tell us about some spots in London that inspire you, or where you like to hang out.
I have a very big love/hate relationship with London, generally leaning in the hate spectrum, but that’s mainly coz I am shit at holding down a job long enough to be able to even go to or stay in London. Also, creatively London feels very claustrophobic, and as I said this whole clashing of ego’s thing really gets on my nerves. I really like the easy-going nature of Brighton I guess, though I do feel a very unnerving void dragging me back to London haha. I really like Corsica Studios as a place to go in London, I also do radio every 2nd Saturday of the month at Radar Radio, which in itself is just a great place to hang out, the studio is amazing, everyones always on a good vibe, big up to Ollie for that!
How did BunTheGrid start out?
Hahaha. So, that started out at BLOC festival at Butlins in 2015, an absolutely twisted affair (highly recommend it. I vaguely knew Dom (Bulu) from when I played Outlook in 2014, so we linked up and myself and Ilk were sharing a chalet and we all just kind of connected. Then while I was temping for some office job, one lunch break I made Yo Yo Riddim and a bunch of tracks that were kind of out of my comfort zone so to speak, where I wouldn’t quantize anything and bring in further reaching influences that just jungle and hardcore.
I think it’s coz I was on mad different medications from the doctor haha and I just said one day “oi Dom I just bunned the grid” hahaha and yeah… It kinda stuck, then we just thought “fuck it lets put that tune out”, then Ilk did an equally amazing track called Yes Ruff, which was kind of similarly wonky. I then suggested we should get them remixed, and we were lucky enough that probably two of my favourite producers from two different spectrums of electronic music got involved to do that (Gantz and Moresounds). So yeah, that’s all coming along nicely, it’s just been mastered at last and we’re hopefully gunna have it out before the year is up, along with a launch party and of course the monthly shows on Radar Radio.
What are your favorite tv-shows at the moment?
ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA. I also really enjoyed Top Of The Lake recently. Looking forwards to getting stuck in the new X-Files and eventually the new Twin Peaks too.
Do you have some hidden talents no one knows about?
I’m sick at making memes. Also I love cooking. And anyone wanna try test me at Tekken 3 or Crash Team Racing hollar!
What’s your favorite meal?
Hmm… I love Japanese food, sushi, katsu and teriyaki stuff. But my fav restaurant in Brighton is a place called Giggling Squid that does Thai I love the Thai red curry there, even thinking about it now is making my mouth water.
What’s the latest YouTube video you’ve watched?
Hahah. I’m gunna go there. Septic 5 Awesome, just search it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not watching it for pleasure, just complete disbelief. My old school mate Alfie is kind of the don for Youtube obscurities so I typically just watch his channel haha. I also love watching the Fuse Crate Diggers docs and Rhythm Roulette. Watching babies throwing up on people is amazing too.
What do you when you’re not producing?
Playing video-games, going out pretending to be a normal human. But to be quite honest, when I’m not working (sometimes even when I am working) I will be doing something involved in production, whether it’s sampling stuff, making little loops for later use or programming synths.
What piece of equipment would you most like to own and which one you can’t live without?
ARGGH. Everyone who knows me knows I am absolutely fiending after a Korg Poly-61 and just to be dicks 2 of my friends have got one each and sent me pictures of it giving me the finger. SOON. One thing I couldn’t live without, quite boringly is probably a computer, even if I had a £100000000000000 studio full of analogue gear and shit, it’d always end up with me recording stuff into a computer and messing with it then just running it out back into analogue. Though my NI Maschine is becoming an increasingly important part of my creative process.
What’s your most memorable production or remix?
Without sounding poncey probably the things people never hear, that’s not out of choice either it’s because I don’t think people hear things in certain tracks that I hear, that’s the pain of art in any form I guess, you can theorize as much as you like but you’re never gunna really know what I’m thinking when I made it. I think I’ve put out my favourite tracks through Soundman Chronicles so far, that’s why I have to give props to Parris because he has those ears that pick up on things.
I suppose a track I’ve released I’m really emotionally attached to and that a lot of people may have missed (largely because Sony fucked me and did no promo and made it a digi only release) is a track called ‘What Lies Beyond’ which came out on the Chemotaxis EP, I made it a couple of weeks after my great nan passed away, who was a really important person in my life and I was in a really bad way, I was doing a lot of shit I shouldn’t have and in turn that kind of made me numb headed so I couldn’t write tracks and after I semi-got over that, this is the first track I made, I was alone in my house in London because my other housemates were still away for summer and I made this track largely out of samples from films The Crow and Alien because I always used to watch them round my nans house and after I made it I couldn’t even listen to it, still can’t, but yeah, it’s important to me. Also being paid “a lot” of money (in my eyes) by a major label for a remix took me off my feet a bit.
Looking into the future, what projects are you currently working on and what can we expect from you?
This is set to be probably one of my busiest years so far in terms of releases. So I’ve just dropped Technicolor Daydream EP on Barcelona based label Lapsus, all of the tracks on that are from 2014, but I’ve been thrilled with the feedback it’s had. Next month I’ll be dropping The Untitled Hardcore EP on Sneaker Social Club/Hypercolour which again I made in one week straight after New Years Eve in January 2015 where I was really just… angry so it’s a pretty rugged sounding EP. Also this month I have a track featured on the debut release on Gully which is a sister label of Brighton based Well Rounded Records which I have a huge amount of respect for, the 2nd release on Gully is to be my debut LP, which is pretty much finalized and is a much more current snapshot of my music, it will be largely moving sideways from straight jungle and hardcore sounds into something a lot more ethereal.
After that I’ll be having a release on Purple City Souflee which is pretty much entirely hip hop/beat driven. Somewhere in between all this I’ll be putting out a garage track with Facta on the label associated with clothing brand Dr. Banana too & I’ll also be working more with Soundman Chronicles later in the year. So yeah, don’t blink or you’ll miss something.
Imagine your house on fire [sorry], what are the few things you just can’t leave behind?
Haha wow. Definitely my laptop, probably my PS4, my white-label of the Loefah remix of NASTY Crew – Lightz (ONE IN FIVE BRUV) and…my original pressing of Aphex Twin – Analogue Bubblebath Vol.1, Klute – Right Or Wrong EP (maybe DMZ008 if I had the chance).
Last question, who should we interview next?
You should do a duo interview of Epoch and Acre, coz they are probably some of the funniest people I know. Or do an interview with Parris where all he can talk about is shit indie music from 2007 and Lana Del Rey.
Enjoy 45 minutes of space, breaks and unreleased beats by Etch in a brand new installment of Welcome to Los Bangeles!