Two of the dudes from behind the scenes of Melbourne’s beats scene, producers Andrei Eremin (Chet Faker, I’lls) and Edo (Milwaukee Banks), talk uni connections, Fractures and studio snacks in this Artist on Artist interview.
Today’s illustration comes from Ben Jelfs – combining sticks of graphite with splashes of digital colour, Ben Jelfs creates illustrations that are as unique as they are eye catching. See below for his full biography and links to his work.
Edo: Hi Andrei! I first heard about you when you began working on Chet Fakers EP, and a few people in the Melbourne music scene started talking about a young engineer named Ony working at Jack the Bear studios. I looked you up and saw that you had worked with both Chet and I’lls on their EPs, who were both really making waves at the time. You were a bit ahead of the rest of the game with these two acts. How did these projects come to you?
Ony: Hey old mate, good to see ya. It was a bit of luck and persistence that got me those EPs. I went to high school with Hamish (keyboardist of I’lls) and uni with Chet Faker, so everyone was friends already. I loved Thrice like every other man and his blog, so I asked Hamish if I could master the first I’lls EP. Chet actually originally asked me to be his live sound engineer, and during my only two gigs with him we talked about his overseas mastering experiences and how bad they’d been. I bugged him endlessly to let me have a crack, thankfully he did in the end because my version was the only one that made the cut!
Edo: You nailed it man! Hell of an opportunity too. Wow I didn’t realise you went to uni with Chet. That’s pretty rad. That whole story makes me think about this new wave of producers and musicians here in Melbourne. There is quite a network of talent brewing in Australia and in Melbourne right now, why do you think it is such a good time to be making music in Melbourne right now?
Ony: It all stems from the dream being so accessible. Everyone’s got access to a computer, and by extension, the tools to make music. It’s a bit like China dominating the Olympics, we have so many people making tunes now that the breadth of quality has increased exponentially. And the beautiful thing about the Melbourne scene is that while it’s blossoming, it’s not mainstream, which means people are still trying really hard to perfect their art in the hopes of getting noticed. Now you can go out to any standard weekday gig and be blown away by the level of talent on display, it’s incredible.
Edo: Yeah I agree. The Melbourne and Australian music scene is in an exciting period right now. And it would seem with the internet (and some talent), artists can get their music out to the masses real quick. One artist that grabbed some attention real quick late last year was Fractures, who I’ll be honest I hadn’t heard of until I heard he sold out his first show and signed an agency deal afterwards.I remember hearing his single, Twisted, and I thought it was good. I did a little googling and bam – Mastering by Andrei Eremin! So tell me, when did you meet Mark Zito (aka Fractures), and how did you get involved with his music project?
Ony: Ha, you’re gonna love this one. He went to uni with Chet Faker and I! We even used to show each other tracks we were working on back in the day. If I recall correctly, Twisted actually achieved internet fame before I laid a finger on it – I was just there to help out once Mark realised something big was happening. Since then I’ve been working on every one of his tracks and earlier in the year we finished off an entire EP. Not to mention our song together!
Edo: Holey Moley. People are gonna think all the musicians from Melbourne went to the same uni now! So this song you’ve written together, tell me about the writing process, because with me for Milwaukee Banks – I write beats and then send them to Dylan via email and it is mostly trial and error, he writes on the beats he is vibing and we refine things from there. It might take 5 beats for him to find something to rap on. So tell me about writing Ghosts, were you guys in the studio together? Is that how you prefer to collaborate? Or is it all trial and error like me, emailing a heap of beats and chords to each other on the regular?
Ony: It’s a bit more like your method! I’m always making tunes and most of them are left open for vocals if the opportunity arises. Late last year I was sussing out who I could get to sing on my tracks, I sent Mark a few demos and Ghosts stuck out to him. He wrote the first 3 minutes of the track in one go and sent it back to me, from there it was just a matter of finding time in the studio together to record it properly and polish the whole thing. I think I have to work with more people to find out which method I prefer though!
Edo: Yeah nice one. There have been a few times that you’ve sent through tracks for me and Dyl to check out, and before that I’d heard some of your old stuff that you were making under a different name. It was quite different to the production on Ghosts. The strings in it are really nice dude. Are you working on new stuff for a release soon? Is it all this kind of vibe or are you into making other sounds right now?
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Ony: You know, that’s kind of one of my many regular existential crises. In order for me to stay constantly inspired, I have to explore new territory each time I write, which makes it very hard to collate any consistent piece of work. At the moment I have around 20 songs from around the same writing period as Ghosts, of which I’ve narrowed down to 5 that are definitely going to be a part of an EP, plus one or two more if I can whittle them down to something I’m proud of. I’ve already had 3 new writing phases since then, from mellow syncopated space beats to an obsession with the cold, inhuman feel of drum machine music. That actually reminds me, I have another beat to send you guys, haha.
Edo: Nice man, always looking forward to hearing more! I guess I better wrap this thing up, but one thing I really want to know is – What is your go to studio snack or studio drink? Our friend Sam drinks Thirst Crushing Solo™ in the studio, Dyl has his red wine, I mostly drink coffee (side note – don’t give Dyl coffee in the studio – he goes crazy from the caffeine) any main snack or drink that helps you get the creative vibes going?
Ony: Green tea – and none of that supermarket stuff either. The real deal, organic whole leaf vibes. Keeps your brain crystal clear with just the right amount of caffeine not to burn you out. I gotta keep coffee in mind next time I want Dyl to rap over a footwork track though, might just be crazy enough for the perfect set of verses!
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