Edward X’s latest track ‘Past Tense’ is a perfect fusion of warmly overdriven synths, ominous ambience, and compelling futuristic rhythms. Read our discussion with the artist below!
Tell us a few things about Past Tense. What is the story behind it?
Most of my tracks begin as experiments and sketches that slowly gain shape and definition, and this one has its roots in Ableton’s vocoder. That’s actually where the melody comes from. I thought it was pretty ingenious at the time, although now when I go back into the file, I’ve rendered the audio out so I’m not actually sure of the steps I took to create it, which is both a shame and a blessing; some of the history is lost, but as an artistic tool, commitment is probably second to none.
The track has a lot of twists and turns in part because I felt that a) each section sounded really good and was connected enough to the previous one to warrant inclusion and b) it would be fun to throw listeners for a loop. I’ve always enjoyed when tracks drastically change and the change is really well crafted and sequenced, and I wanted to do that here as well. That initial drop (or beat switch or whatever you call it) is one that’s near and dear to me, and I hope that I can recreate that magic again. That’s what musicians do it for, I think. There’s something so joyous and resonant about striking that just-right chord, putting together sounds that have a presence greater than the sum of their parts.
What’s your favourite track with the biggest drop you wish you had composed yourself?
The first one that comes to mind is Deadmau5’s Strobe. That’s a pretty classic track that I discovered when I was first getting into electronic music, so even though what I make myself strays far from that, it holds a special place in my heart.
I like that drop because to me, it’s a great synthesis of technical precision, patience, and restraint. Those are artistic qualities that I value a lot, and I often feel that I should develop them more, so to feel like all of them are being executed well is very inspiring.
Your music has a dark aspect. Does this reflect your character as well?
I don’t know that my music necessarily reflects my personality so much as it is a snapshot of wherever I was at the time, what I was interested in, what I wanted to explore, etc. At the time, I was experimenting with a lot of abrasion in my music, and I think that lends itself naturally to darker moods.
If you had to choose one Synthesizer (analog or digital) which one would it be?
Probably Ableton’s Wavetable because it’s their stock synth for Suite. I’ve barely even scratched the surface of that, I think. I could probably go a decade without buying another synth and have most of what I need/want to do fulfilled by Wavetable, but the odds of that happening are probably pretty low because sometimes I’ll come across a really nice ad with some great-sounding presets.
In which place or state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?
I imagine most people will be listening to this music alone, whether at home or out and about with headphones on, not only because it’s darker-sounding music but also because I don’t have any kind of following that would allow me to play this live to a bunch of people in a concert/club environment. However, if some DJ out there hears this stuff and likes it and plays it live, please take a video and send it to me. That would make my day.
If the music of Edward X was a book, which book would that be?
Hopefully it would be the kind of book that gets adapted into a hit screenplay, giving me greater financial security.
Are we on a slippery slope towards dystopia?
I don’t think it’s necessarily important to figure out if the world is heading towards dystopia, or at least it’s not of primary significance. Awful things that no good society should stand for happen every day, and I think it’s more useful to debate how we should handle those issues or what the nature of those issues is (or more importantly, solve them) as opposed to debate whether or not the sum of those issues could be categorized under a certain label.
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