Interview: Exploring Echofloat's Deeper Realities
1. Tell us a little bit about how you approach your music, personally. I tend to be more inclined towards tracks without vocals. They definitely have their own charms, but as a personal choice, I think I try to avoid them. Sounds, or vibrations, are universal — something that’s intimate while still being shared by a roomful of people. It’s more instinctive and animated when it’s just that one element.
2. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I’ve been listening to Eskmo, Amon Tobin… all the Brainfeeder guys. Every part of the day is perfect for a different kind of music, and musical influences also change over time. Anything new you might listen to tomorrow might just change your whole direction.
I think Eskmo is one artist I really admire, because I’ve seen him grow over time — his work really resonates with me.
Playing and producing under the monikerEchofloat, Jeff Nelson is no stranger to the abstract, regardless of whether it’s his immersive music we’re talking about, his designs or the elusive space he tries to gain access to through both. Krunk managed to catch Jeff just as he was plugging in his new monitors, ready to get down to work.
We talk influences, inter-disciplinary art and teleportation:
1. Tell us a little bit about how you approach your music, personally.
I tend to be more inclined towards tracks without vocals. They definitely have their own charms, but as a personal choice, I think I try to avoid them. Sounds, or vibrations, are universal — something that’s intimate while still being shared by a roomful of people. It’s more instinctive and animated when it’s just that one element.
2. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I’ve been listening to Eskmo, Amon Tobin… all the Brainfeeder guys. Every part of the day is perfect for a different kind of music, and musical influences also change over time. Anything new you might listen to tomorrow might just change your whole direction.I think Eskmo is one artist I really admire, because I’ve seen him grow over time — his work really resonates with me.
3. What are the different elements that you draw inspiration from, outside of music?
A lot of different interactions — whether they’re good or bad — affect you in some way or the other, and if they’re really potent, they’re able to move you.Whatever I experience musically or visually creates a memory map that I draw from, and reinterpret. Creatively, you don’t go
out hunting for inspiration with preconceived notions, it’s spontaneous and you have to surrender to a moment; I think that’s something I really enjoy about creative work.
4. Tell us about how you started designing.
Back in the day, I used to follow Glitch Mob and Eskmo on Instagram, and these guys had started using this app called Mirrorgram. It’s very simple: the app lets you mirror photographs that you take. I started clicking buildings and then editing them initially, and since then, I’ve been exploring different aspects of design on iOS. It’s been two years since I started. A couple of years ago, I realised there was this space that had always existed but that I’d been unaware of; I’ve been fascinated by it since. I try to reach this space through different ways — it could be art, meditation, music… whatever gets me there.
5. How do your art and music intersect?
I feel like I approach both my musical and visual work in a similar manner. When it comes to designing, I’ll probably take one picture and layer things over it and figure out how it all fits in. It’s mostly self-taught, and my process is very organic. Musically, I’d have a few recordings — sounds from nature, and other raw material from the real world. I then take things into the digital realm and synthesise them. Filtering things out, making picture collages or sound collages… I’ve realised there’s a structure, more or less, that I follow creatively.
6. Your thoughts on inter-disciplinary art and its potential / future?
I feel like a lot of the music scene currently is club-based or built around being dancefloor-friendly. Luckily, there’s some people who
are trying to change that today. I feel like the whole experience can be much more immersive. Projection mapping is really changing the game as far as that is concerned, and the future is going to be next-level, especially because of the kind of access to technology we have today and the reach the internet has given us.
7. Any artists experimenting with different disciplines of art that you really look up to?
There’s this guy called Rob Clouth, who releases under the label Leisure System. He does music which is code-based, somewhere between techno and bass. It’s really intriguing. He also started doing visuals recently which are also code-based, and the whole thing’s really fascinating; code-generated art gives way to creative output.
Mostly, it’s just trial and error, and it’s a very unique idea.
8. You just played your first few gigs recently, how’s the experience been?
It’s been really great! The crowd is so open and responsive, and it’s exciting as an artist to connect with like-minded people over these sounds. I had a selection of tracks that I’d been wanting to play for a while, and the gig at The Drawing Room was fantastic and empowering.
9. Any new sounds/genres that you’re really keen on experimenting with?
I’m open to all genres, and I plan on playing it by ear. But deep, textural stuff is definitely a favourite.
10. One track that’s on the loop?
11. If there was one festival you could play at, which one would it be?
No other festival like >Magnetic Fields — whether it’s a sunriser set or after-dark, it’d be great to do something in that space. Those guys really, really know how to do it right.Internationally, it would be the Low-End Theory Festival. It’s a small scale festival which focuses on quality; that would be a dream.
12. Of the new crop of Indian electronic music artists, whose work do you find exciting?
Kumailis definitely up there, especially based on his new EP ‘Shift’ that came out earlier this year. Profound is amazing, he does some interesting stuff that really creates an atmosphere, and there’s Ujjwal Agarwal who’s doing the Kala Project, which is glitchy and bass-heavy, and Kala Musical Theatre.
13. Dream artist — dead or alive — to collaborate with?
Brian Eno — he’s old and wise, he seems like a character who’d make for a great mentor, and also a great life-coach. (laughs)
14. What is the next thing you’re excited for?
Legalization of psychedelics and possibly renaming it to something else, detached from all the taboo. Also, teleportation would be cool.
15. And what’s in the cards next for you as a producer?
I’ve been making sketches here and there, and I’ve been experimenting, but I blew out my monitors a couple of months ago and there hasn’t been much creative output since. I incidentally just plugged them in, so the next few months should be exciting. I definitely want to release an EP soon, one that reflects my current sensibilities.