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Veröffentlicht am 14.12.2011 | von Dominik


WASHED OUT – Interview

Am Ende eines jeden Jahres wird reflektiert über das Erlebte, das Gehörte und natürlich die Top Alben und Songs des Jahres. Ein Name könnte dieses Jahr in diesem Bezug häufiger fallen, gilt doch Ernest Greenes Debüt-LP ‚Within and Without‚ zu den positiven Überraschungen des Jahres bzw. sein Projekt Washed Out als die Speerspitze des Hype des Jahres, dem Chillwave Genre. Kein Wunder also das ‚Within and Without‘ im Juli von uns zum Bedroomdisco Album des Monats gekürt wurde und wir uns sehr freuten, dass der sympathische US-Amerikaner sich unseren Fragen gestellt hat – Washed Out im Bedroomdisco Interview!

1.) Band facts

Name: Washed Out
Band members: Ernest Greene
Founding year: 2009
Residence: Atlanta, Georgia
Current album: Within and Without

2.) Questionnaire:

How did you start making music – have you been forced to play an instrument somehow or was it in your own interest? What was your motivation?
I was forced to study the piano at a very young age – but I’m thankful for it now because I learned a lot…

You mentioned in an interview that you have similar influences like Memory Tapes, Toro Y Moi, Neon Indian and Small Black, with which you also played some shows – What are your influences?
Shoegaze, Hip Hop, Sample-based electronica like Boards of Canada…DAW style recording…

How would you explain the current hype of the chillwave-genre?
I think technology / internet can be thanked the most…Cheap / easy DAW recording setups allow young producers to do things they’ve never been able to do before – and the internet served as this massive marketing tool to get the word out really quickly…

Which importance does the possibility of proper DIY-home recording have to this genre?
Its super important – because it puts these very expensive tools (preamps, compressors, effects) in the hands of untrained, young artists – who have a way of doing things in a very untraditional and thus innovative way…

– You did a lot of hip hop productions, before you started the Washed Out-project. How and for what reason did you change the style of your songs?
That style can get very formulaic – with both the sounds and arrangement – so I was much more interested in doing something different with that influence in mind…

In which situation did you came up with the name „Washed Out“, why did you choose it and what meaning has it for you?
I’ve been into photography for a while – and it’s a term you hear quite a bit in that world – and I thought it fit the aesthetic…

How do you normally work on songs? What are the steps/processes, what are the usual problems of finishing a song?
I like to throw as many ideas together as possible – and then take a break for a few days and approach the song again with fresh ears. At that point, I start working on arranging and refining the sound…Mixing is all about balance and composition – much like a visual artist approaching the composition of a painting…

Could you tell us something about the production process of „Within and Without“? How long did it take, where did it happen, what were the difficulties, how did you prepare for it? What was the best, what the worst moment? Most told anecdote?
It took about 6 months all together…I spent about a month or two researching recording approaches and buying new gear – then a couple of months of experimentation / demoing – then the final two months refining the songs and doing some overdubs / mixing with Ben Allen at this Atlanta Studio.

We read that you had to rethink your way of producing and working on songs for ‚Within and Without‘ – why did you change your routine of producing for „Within and Without“ it and in which way?
The biggest reason was that I didn’t want to make the same record over again. I wanted a bigger more refined sound – and dynamics were very important…In order to pull that off, I had to learn more about production and mixing – so I spent a lot of time reading how-to articles online…

You recorded the album in a studio, instead of doing it at home as before. What reasons made this necessary?
I did a majority of the recording at home – and then took all of that material into the studio to do some overdubs and to mix…I don’t have the means (both equipment and a treated room) to record drums properly – so that was one of the biggest hurdles…I also did all of the vocals in the studio – because Ben had a much nicer vocal chain than any stuff I own…

„You And I“ is one of our favorite songs – can you tell us what it is about, how it was done and if there is a story behind it?
I wrote the chord progression for that song by myself – but sent it to NYC musician Caroline Polachek (of the band Chairlift) to see if she had anything to add. We met up at her studio a few weeks later and recorded a lot of ideas – and then I took all of the material home and finished the song…The vocal loop at the beginning of the song is her, her boyfriend Jorge, and I singing together…It was one of the first „real“ collaboration I’d done – and it was a lot of fun…

At which point did you know that your record was finished?
I probably could have worked on it a lot longer – so its hard to know when it feels done…Having a producer with fresh ears helped…I hope to at least have someone help mix all of my stuff from here on out…

In what situations do you write songs/lyrics/which themes do inspire you to write songs?
I write all of the music and melodies first – then the lyrics…The lyrics normally come together pretty quickly and are very much stream of consciousness…

You signed to Sub Pop – according to their catalogue and your music maybe not the obvious choice. How did this happen, why did you choose to sign with them?
I don’t see my music as „electronic“ music…and I think I’m most influenced by an Indie-rock approach for doing things…so it made complete sense to me…

In an early interview you mentioned that you wouldn’t be interested in touring around the world and playing live, as you would be getting married and wouldn’t define yourself that much of an live-musician. Now you seem to be constantly touring, with an record, also produced with the idea of performing it live – what made you change your mind?
Part of it was a challenge – to learn more about hardware equipment and live sound…The other part is practical – because its the only way I can make enough money to do music full-time…

You were one of the last artists who got featured through his presence at myspace. Now myspace seems to be dead – what ways for bands and musicians do you see nowadays?
Soundcloud and Facebook seem to be big now…As well as online sites like Pitchfork, Gorilla vs Bear…

What are your next plans?
More touring next year and hopefully some new recordings

What are you doing if you’re not making music?
Reading about music or watching movies…

What did you learn in 2011 up to now?
A lot about press and marketing because I’ve done more this year than I ever have before…I’ve also played a lot of shows – so that has taught me a lot…

Your Top 3 records of 2011 up to now? Why?
Real Estate – Days
Toro Y Moi – Underneath the Pine
Cut Copy – Zonoscope

I’m lucky to be friends with all these bands – and have listened to these records more than any other this year…

Which song would fit to your actual situation?
„Belong“ – its all about accepting the situation where you belong – and not worry about what or where anyone else wants you to be…

Which song makes you dance no matter what situation you’re in?
„Do You Believe“ by Poolside

How would your „Bedroomdisco“ look like?
Great sound / lighting – with very mellow tunes playing all of the time…


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Über den Autor

Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!

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