Making tidal waves on the DIY party scene with his eclectic mix of gritty tech-house and worldly soundbites, Eastern Distributor is rapidly establishing himself as a unique and innovative production force at the forefront of Sydney’s sweltering underground.
As a co-founder of esteemed party crew SHED, Eastern Distributor is helping to form what is becoming a dense landscape of underground rave culture, positioning himself at the centre of Sydney’s bush doofs, warehouses, and highway underbellies as one of the scene’s most unique architects. To find out a bit more about his distinctive production methods, we caught up with the party Don and discussed the sounds and places that have been instrumental in forming the distinctive ED sound.
Despite his experiences immersed in the deep, dark corners of Berlin’s most steamy nightclubs, Eastern Distributor is no stranger to seeking out distinctive atmospheric sounds from his native environment.
“I was living in Berlin for a two and a half years, and I played a lot in a small club called Cosmic Casper. It’s got a rotating dancefloor and sweaty underground vibe. I had a residency there which I actually organised through Craigslist! [My time there] has definitely shaped the way I create music now.
Eastern Distributor is certainly well traveled, often making his way to more exotic corners of the Earth to sample sounds and rhythms less commonly used on the tech/house scene.
“There’s such an amazing array of bird and animal sounds and such a unique landscape of fauna here which you don’t find anywhere else. Birds create a natural sound space. If you chop up and quanticise [a sample] and throw a bit of reverb on, you’ve instantly got a unique and original sounding backdrop. I also love recording percussion from street performers. They usually already sound great and I find I don’t need to do much to them”.
“I like the contrast that is made when you pair these bright, happy sounds (like magpies in the morning) with the big woompf of a doofy bass drum that really wakes you up. The track ‘Beton Selva’ also uses a sample of people cheering during a soccer game in Israel. I’d love to be at a shisha bar in Bosnia and Herzegovina right now recording random atmospheric noise there.”
“I’m also working on an EP that uses a drum called a Bol (a tabla and daya) and it just moves your body, you know? It brings out something from within you that you wouldn’t get from standard sample packs; this energy that you can’t replicate…. and it’s really good for techno.”
When recording and experimenting with samples of natural sounds, having effective hardware definitely plays a big part.
“I have a zoomH4n Pro – its got two mics that you can turn 180 degrees and it gives you this massive field of recording. I often head out with my headphones plugged in and just bang on different things to record interesting sound textures. I use this process known as granular synthesis which allows you to spread out a recording and find these microbits to work a groove out of.”
This, along with some skilful manipulation of production software, is essential for creating the distinctive, otherworldly sounds which are characteristic of Eastern Distributor’s aesthetic.
“I use a lot of effects. For this one (unreleased track), I was trying to replicate some soundscapes inspired by this whacky ’70s sci-fi film called ‘Fantastic Planet’. I took a bird sample and put a corpus on it then added a pipe setting, set it to 100% and tuned it really low so that it had this raw, guttural sound. Later I added a close reverb which ended up forming a sound that was really out of this world. [It sometimes gets to a point] where you wouldn’t even know what the sample is anymore. [In saying that], a lot of the samples I use get no treatment at all and are already perfectly interesting and unique as they are.”
“I’ve got a track called Daybreak Stims that purely uses samples and a bit of modular synth. Its got the sound of a chair scraping and a window closing that I recorded all as ambient sounds at a cafe.”
As he prepares for a sold-out show at a secret Sydney location, Eastern Distributor reflects on his ongoing, transformative musical journey which has seen him break away from the stock-standard house and techno formula to produce something unique and personal in its own right.
“Coming into yourself as an artist and creating your sound takes a long time to do but I feel like now that I’ve developed these specific production techniques, it definitely helps. I’m still trying to bridge the gap between the harder stuff that I do and the more organic, ambient drummy stuff, but it’s definitely getting there with the use of my own sampling methods.”
Get behind him on the socials and keep your ear to the ground for the next big SHED party, coming to a DIY setting near you.