Friday, April 8, 2016

Ealing: Esoteric Energy

Now, I admit I am not the right guy to be talking about Hip-Hop. In my high school years,
I barely scratched it’s surface, only listening to a tiny portion of the main figure heads but nonetheless developed an appreciation for the genre’s characteristics, whether it was: 

The stereotypical status-aggressor bragging about women, drugs, and money (Dr. Dre/Cypress Hill), an unbeatable anger at government figures and society (N.W.A/Public Enemy), or more of an emotional waterfall laced with lyrical venom for when heartbreak strikes or old family wounds are re-opened (Eminem). 

As those years passed, I drifted more towards the ambient/chill side of the HH cloud where artists like DJ Shadow and Burial lurked, providing my soundtrack to studying…but more of my thoughts at the bottom of this feature.... 

Leaving the Grey skies of London for the (always) blue skies of Brisbane, the mysterious Ealing has been active since ’14. Marrying confrontational rap with chilled out, featherlight beats, and casually throwing samples into the pan the way a celebrity chef might for his latest TV special,  Ealing paints a sorrowful picture framed with opaque elation.

DMD: Ealing is a Borough in London, UK. How did you come by this name?

E: I was born and raised there. I used to go under another name but I felt that persona had run its course as I was growing out of the music I was making. I updated my name to something not many people would know off by heart. I like going incognito, it’s liberating.

DMD: How old were you when you moved to Australia ?

E: I was around six years old, old enough to remember a fair bit but I've lost a lot of any accent.

DMD: How did you start to dabble in making music and on what instruments?

E: I wasn’t really into normal musical instruments, I guess I eventually grew into music production organically. From demo CDs in cereal boxes to music making games on the playstation to Reason, it’s been a steady if not odd progression to where I am now.  

DMD: What Albums or Artists (as many as you want to discuss) you discovered at a young age that sent you down this musical path? 

E: I first discovered The Chemical Brothers and Faithless from my dad’s collection at an early age, then Daft Punk and house. I slipped into hip-hop over the course of three of four years without really knowing what was happening.

DMD: Are you a self taught producer or did you go to a recording school of some sort? 

E: Self-taught via youtube videos and curiosity. No hardware, just a laptop and some speakers. I’m planning on buying a sampler soon, which will help.   

DMD: If you weren't creating music what would you be doing? another creative art-form? or are you simply full time 100% about the music?

E: I’m going to university at the moment so that keeps me busy enough. It’s a delicate balance, with part-time work, but I think I’ve been balancing it well recently, but I still want to put out more work than I do now. I’ve been toying with ways I can combine music with something my parents can get behind. 

DMD: If you could collaborate with any artist who would you want to work with?

E: Knxwledge, or Ta-ku. Both are artists I look up to and admire. 

DMD: In regards to the rapping on your songs, is it all sampled? or do you record freestyles as well?

E: I grab acapellas from old-school hiphop songs and work them around the rest of the song. Sometimes I might even start with the acapella and work around the groove of the vocals. There are so many acapellas to use, sometimes I feel it’s a bottomless pit. I also love working with rappers on a tune.  

DMD: How is the Australian music scene? 

E: Thriving. It is quite diverse but it usually skews more towards more future-beat synth music, which I enjoy but I think it is close to reaching saturation point here. If you’re interested in that sound, look at Sidechains or The South East Grind as good collectives. Some fantastic Brisbane cats are tomtom, where.two, Night Palms and Kraznov. I wish I could list more.  

DMD: How have the recent shows been?

E: I recently played an EP launch with Dub Temple Records. They just said “play what you want to play” and it was incredibly fun. Knxwledge, Madlib, Kendrick, and a few sneaky unreleased ealing tracks as well. 

DMD: Could you tell me about the latest release Season One? Who are the collaborators and how do you know them?

E: Season One is a collection of the best songs I released in 2015, an anthology if you will. I originally worked with pray4me on design work before I found out he did music. Leafbeach and I share similar interests and just linked up naturally. I stalked Hardy for a little bit before I messaged him asking he wanted to work on a track or two. All these guys have vastly different sounds and it was challenging but definitely worthwhile working with all three on them in a short span of time. 

DMD: What Can you tell me about the direction we should expect for the next record? 

E: Honestly, I’m not sure. I have two or three half-finished records – one of which is a follow-up beat tape to cleshay. I want to finish all of them and put them out, but because I can’t choose at the moment I’m just adding little bits to each. You can bet it’ll be esoteric, I like making music that not only sounds good but means a lot. 

(Click here to listen to a brand new Ealing track)

Ealing’s debut "Cleshay" Dropped August 2015, and if the bandcamp description is anything to go by, it could very well be called a ‘break-up’ record, but  such labels wouldn't do the body of work justice. To me it feels more like watching a short independent movie with your eyes closed, clocking in at just under 20 minutes, it’s a very satisfying and encapsulating audio journey.

‘Season One’ was released in January 2016, featuring collaborative efforts with Leaf Beach, pray4me and Hardy (in that order). Despite feeling more like a mixtape than the uninterrupted conceptual flow of Cleshay, (it is a collection after all) every track is a delight that locks you in an iron hug groove, impossible to let go. 

Opening track “untitled” features a sunrise looped melody almost reminiscent of the velvet underground track ‘sunday morning’ and manages to get things started off smelling sweet.
“Au Revoir" is a more melancholy affair, drums click like rude doors and chords float on by like wintery morning breath. In “Folsom” what sounds like water droplets are built up consistently with bright and shiny synths nodding back to the 90’s dance scene. Then before you know whats happened you’ll be at ‘roll tite’ (which also appears in another form on cleshay) cueing up the sampled speech of “me.&.r”  that seems to convey a personal truth that I’m sure will have more than a handful nodding in agreement. Finally, Closing track "may lyn, jogs-our eyes" sounds easily destined for packed sweaty clubs and car radio stations but goes out on a high note. Bring on the next beat tape! 

Both releases are available to stream/download on bandcamp here
Follow Ealing also has Soundcloud here
You can listen to a brand new Ealing track here

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