MxCx Interview#31 "E-Coli "
Where are you from? Where are you based now?
I grew up in Devon, I lived in Wales for a few years, and have now been in Bristol for the past 5 years.
Since when are you interested in music?
You playing the keyboard on Live, Have you learned instrument classes?
I have been playing music for my whole life. I started playing the piano when I was a few years old, and had lessons throughout my childhood. I also picked up the clarinet for a bit and tried a few other random instruments here and there. When I was a teenager I started playing the drums, which then became all I did for a while, and I played in bands for about ten years before I started really getting into producing music.
Who is the most important artist for you? Who you are affected by?
I don’t think I have one specific important artists, a wide range of music has had influence on me in my life. When I was a teenager I was mostly into rock music, mostly quite rhythmically technical bands, I was always just listening to the drummer. The first electronic artists I listened to were typical Warp Records guys like Aphex Twin and M-ziq, and in particular Squarepusher really got me into electronic music. Then after that I was listening to a lot of Bong-ra, Jahba, Life4Land crew, that particular era of breakcore was when I was first starting to mix so was what I was playing a lot of. I’ve always liked classical music as well, and still listen to a lot of bands, mostly punk, ska and balkan.
When did you start making music? When did you start DJing?
I started producing on Reason when I was at college studying music technology. I was making some kind of trip-hop/electronica thing, I don’t really know how to describe it. I was called Artemesia, though I can’t remember why! I think I just liked the sound of the word. I did that for a few years before I moved over to working on Ableton.
When did the activity of "E-Coli" start?
E-Coli started nearly 10 years ago when I was at university and first started using Ableton for DJ sets. I recorded my first live set at a Jigsore Soundsystem free party and wanted to upload it, and realised I needed a new name. I couldn’t think of anything but eventually decided on the name E-Coli because it is a name kids would call me in high school as it is close to my real name; Elias Cole. I never really expected it to go anywhere further than that but people liked the mix and I started playing at more free parties, and eventually club nights. Originally everything I did was with Jigsore but after a while I started getting booked for other events.
You have elements of Hardtek(JungleTek/Tribe). Did you go to the UK Teknival or Hardtek party?
UK has an excellent artist of Tribe / Hardtek from long ago.(Dan Fix & Jungletek Movement,etc) Who is influenced by Tribe / Hardtek in UK?
Yes I have gone to free parties in the UK since I was a teenager, and was involved in organising and playing at them with Jigsore. The UK does have a strong history in tekno, but also a lot of other styles of underground music such as jungle and DnB. I think the varied tastes of the people here means the music has naturally been combined, creating some interesting subgenres such as Jungletek. These days I make and play a lot more of a hardtek/jungletek style than I used to. Being involved with the Amen4Tekno crew over the past few years has been a strong influence as they are all really pushing the boundaries of the style and spreading the diverse UK sound around the world.
When was you discovering Gypsycore? Who do you think is the originator of Gypsycore?
What is important artists and release in this genre? Do you like pure Balkans music?(Gypsy brass, Pop folk etc)
I like balkan music yes, though I have always liked the melodies and instrumentation a lot more than the actual songs. I’ve always loved brass instruments so I like how they drive the music forward. I guess the first people I heard making anything similar would have been Ed Cox and Freddy Frogs, and then at some point the Ringe Raja Records label started, which pretty much became the home of gypsycore. I can’t really remember the timeline, there certainly weren’t, and still aren’t, many people making it! Other important artists to note would include Fexomat, Wan Bush, Audiotist and their Circus Brekovic project, and the whole RRR rosta.
E-Coli is recognized as an Gypsycore artist. Can you agree?
Yeah I guess so, although these days I play a lot less breakcore, it is more tekno orientated so I don’t know if it is still gypsycore. I usually describe it as gypsytek or balkantek, or in Europe sometimes they call it happytek. It’s such a niche genre it hasn’t really been defined so I don’t know whether what I make now counts as gypsycore or not! I like the genre though so would be happy to be thought of as being part of it.
Your music (also DJ set) has a very danceable and have a pure dance love and a positive mind. Why did you become this style? What do you represent with music?
Sometimes, do you want to make and play dark and serious songs?
This is tekno music, it’s made predominantly for the dance floor and for parties, so to me it makes sense for it to be melodic and fun. I wouldn’t say it is all happy, there are some dark elements as well, but I think the use of real instruments speaks to people in a more natural way than synths do, and makes it more enjoyable to listen to. This isn’t necessarily the kind of music I listen to at home when I am relaxing, I like a lot of dark and serious music too, and I can enjoy hearing that out in a club as well, but its not what I want to play.
You actively release songs on FREE DL.
Do not you care about sales in release? What do you think of physics release such as CD / TAPE / Vinal?
I love physical releases, I have a few tracks out on vinyl with a couple more coming really soon, and I love that labels are still pressing to vinyl. However with digital music I think that giving it away for free is a great thing to do. It spreads the music much further, people are way more likely to download it if it is free, and I just quite like giving it away. There isn’t that much money to be made in record sales in this scene, but if people are listening to my music for free then hopefully they will pay to come to my show!
Please tell me the current equipment you are using.
How is the song idea born?
I use Ableton Live on a Macbook Pro (late 2011, a great year for Macbooks, unfortunately it is slowly breaking now so I must sadly replace it). I have a couple midi keyboards, and some Rokit 8 monitor speakers. Mostly my tracks are built from a Balkan sample; an instrument or vocal. If I find the right sample that inspires me then I will compose the structure and basis of the track very quickly, and then spend usually a few weeks finishing it off. I mostly compose using headphones because I like to be immersed in the sound with no external distractions. I finish and mixdown my tracks on monitors, and nearly all of my tracks are then mastered by my friend and a great artist C3B.
What is the most favorite song of E-Coli?
I don’t have a favourite, but I definitely have some I like more than others! I will always like the first E-Coli track I made, it was called Amen Gypsy and is still up on my soundcloud. That was the first track I ever made on Ableton, and I have lots of fond memories of playing it out many times in my early days of DJing. My remix of I Put A Spell On You is probably the favourite track for most people, I have played it so many times now that I love it and also hate it, I rarely play it live now unless I am in a new city I have never played in, but I do still enjoy hearing it occasionally.
About "La Alchemista" with Ed Cox.
When did you meet Ed Cox? How did you make a song with him?
Please tell me the background how this project started.
I met Ed through playing shows together, although we didn’t really know each other that well. Then a couple years ago we were booked to play a set together at a show in Spain, so we decided to give it a go and see if we could come up with something good. That gig was cancelled in the end but it kicked us into making a set and writing some tunes together. It’s been quite a slow process as we are both very busy with our other projects but it was great to put our first EP out a few months ago, it’s had a good response and we’re looking forward to playing some exciting shows this year and doing some more recording, with more live instruments involved.
UK has many wonderful festivals and events.
Why do you think dance music is so popular in UK? Which city is interesting right now?
What is your recommended young UK artist / label?
Yeah the UK has always had a really strong and original dance music scene. I don’t know why this is, perhaps because we’re an island cut-off from mainland Europe so we take inspiration from them but do our own thing. In a similar way to you in Japan, being an island you have created a fantastically diverse and different music scene to the rest of the world
Bristol is my favourite city, there are many different styles of music here, and it is definitely great for niche genres. However there are other cities such as Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds that have really strong scenes, and loads of small towns with fun little party scenes all over the place. It’s hard to keep a track on who is the recommended young artist, the music scene moves so fast and there are new labels and artists springing up every day. For hardtek/jungletek though a great place to hear new UK artists would be on the Amen4Tekno JungleTekMafia album series.
Please tell me the best memories and Unique memories at the festival / event.
Playing on The Scrapyard stage at Boomtown Fair last summer was pretty special, it’s a big stage with a few thousand people in front so that was lots of fun! Playing at Glastonbury Festival last summer as well was great, it was my dream when I was a teenager to play at Glastonbury and whilst I have played a few really small tents there in the past it was fun to play on a proper stage last year. I also played in Israel last year which was really exciting, and quite amazing to go so far away and meet so many people who knew my music.
What do you want to do with music in the future? Do you have any goals?
I just want to play more shows in new countries and to new people. I play quite different music to most people so it’s hard to know how far it could progress, but the scene moves so fast so who knows what could happen. My big goal has always been to play in Japan, but finally I am coming there to play in March so that goal is nearly complete! I would love to play in South America, and some of the really big venues across Europe would be great.
Please tell your future schedule.
I have some fun shows over the next few months, I come to Japan to play in Osaka on March 23rd and Tokyo on March 25th, this is an Amen4Tekno tour with Mandidextrous and C3B. I also have gigs coming up in Paris, Ireland, Germany and Poland, and a few more international shows are close to confirming. Over the summer me and Ed Cox are playing some big sets at Balter Festival, Bangface Weekender and Boomtown Fair, and hopefully some more festivals will come in as well. I also have tracks soon to be released on vinyl on Kaotik and Irritant Records, and I’m very excited to have a remix swap with Dr Peacock coming out in about a month. 2018 is so far looking like it will be a great year! I still have to pinch myself to believe that I will be playing in Japan very soon, I have never been so excited for a show! I hope to meet you and the Murder Channel crew whilst out there!