Interview: 5 minutes with Echaskech

Dom Hoare & Andy Gillham, the Hackney duo behind Echaskech, have been using an array of electronic and acoustic equipment to create their experimental electronica for nearly 10 years. Classical, electro, rave, drum and bass, IDM, ambient, house, techno and bass music have all featured in their wide sonic palette.

Third album ‘Origin’ is released on 24th Feb Just Music and contains the track Form | Function, released ahead of the album as part of an EP, which expands on Origin’s ten tracks. For five minutes, Echaskech lifted their heads from their synths and talked to The Playground:

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

Hello! All is good here thanks – have been very sensible today and went for healthy swim. Have also had a private frug to the excellent Akkord album.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

Epic, melodic, layered and playful… tinged with darkness.

What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?

Tricky to boil it down to just five – there’s so much amazing music out there! It’s fair to say the following had a very profound effect through the years:

Orbital – Insides
Underworld – Dubnobasswithmyheadman
Moderat – Moderat
Lee Scratch Perry – Arkology compilation
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92

What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?

Plaster – clinically produced deep electronica and techno.
Octavcat – new album ‘In Memory of Old Gear’ is a blistering modern take on that melodic old skool / IDM type sound.
Dronelock – fine melodic techno with an experimental tinge from Bradford.
Son Lux – an excellent mixture of vocals and heavy electronics.
Daniel Avery – straight up good old fashioned dance music.

What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks?

For this album we used lots of instruments including piano, violin, bass and acoustic guitar plus live drumming alongside programmed beats. We hope these add a bit more of an organic feel rather than straight up digital production. Our hardware setup includes a Nord Lead Mk1, an ‘expanded’ Moog Voyager and an Access Virus alongside plenty of plugins – Omnisphere & Reaktor get heavy usage!

What plans do you have for visuals when playing the new material live? What developments have there been in visual artistry since you began Echaskech?

Live visuals have changed so much in the last 10 years. When we started it was pretty much just firing loops. In recent years we have experimented with software such as Processing, adding physics, particles and 3D models. We have also been using modul8 to layer live processing effects over loops and live footage using sound for modulation alongside experimenting with max msp. However at the end of the day we always come back to preproduced in camera or rendered clips as they seem to give a more organic, deep and lush result, as well as being simpler to produce and easy to visualize. On the other hand the beautiful geometric shapes produced by Graham Smith from Electric Palm Trees took weeks of painstaking processing. Believe it or not they are made up of live footage, layered many many times,shifted and offset in time to give that effect.

Do you have any collaborations in the pipeline?

Not currently, but we always love bouncing ideas off other people – and remixes too!

Do you see the new EP as a separate entity to the album, or is it an extension of the full-length?

Definitely an extension. It has two excellent additional tracks on it which are totally album worthy but didn’t quite ‘fit’ at the time of putting the album to bed. But they are there on the Form | Function EP and called ‘Subray’ and ‘Test Exposure’ .

Did you/do you own an Etch A Sketch? If yes, what’s the best thing you’ve ever drawn?

Only ever managed a blocky cock and balls.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?

Playing the Big Chill…supporting Nathan Fake.. also very much enjoyed playing a 5am slot at Corsica Studios for a night called I Love Acid. Any of these a highlight as they featured great crowds up for a dance!

What’s the worst gig you have ever done and why?

One of our first ever gigs was at a festival near Skipton called ‘Masterpeace’ – soon to be renamed ‘Disasterpeace’. The whole event was a badly organised enormo-shambles which touted hundreds of big acts who, of course, never turned up. We played off the back of a truck, one side of which had a cartoon pig face on it. The gig went pretty well but we slept in our tents clutching our equipment for safety that night…

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

If we can find the time there’s also talk of techno and ambient projects – both ends of the sound spectrum to keep us on our toes..

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

Probably DJing, writing about music, definitely full time listeners of music…