Stream the EP above but check out the full interactive 'System Preferences' experience right here.
Over the last couple years, Erin Rioux has been releasing some of the more interesting electronic music to come out of Brooklyn, NY which is noteworthy considering the deluge of creative work coming from the rapidly changing borough. Rioux, pronounced ree-yoo, has a knack for fusing sincerity, pop sensibilities, and intelligence with a strong sense of psychedelia to create tracks that reach to transcend the electronic genre. Rioux makes music but its hardly the man’s only pursuit as exemplified by his multimedia label/event series Connect, his upcoming LP with National Geographic astrophysicist Stephon Alexander, and his visual art work featured at the Venice Biennial. His new ‘System Preferences’ EP, cleverly released as monthly singles over the last four months, is a strong and rewarding piece of work as intelligent as it is funky. In line with the visual art integration of the project so far, Rioux has teamed up with multimedia artist Cabbibo and the Creators Project to create a “interactive visual environment” for the EP which shows that the project is far more than another faceless Soundcloud act. Shuf got a chance to pick the brain of this exciting up and coming artist.
Do you ever feel a need to distance yourself from the world of SoundCloud?
Haha, no, SoundCloud is a wonderful world of artists and producers to discover and share my work with. Leave it to the Germans to design such a nice platform.
Growing up, what was your first introduction to electronic music?
My first introduction to an electronic music experience was Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2006 when I was 15. I remember being deeply immersed in Ghostly International artist, Audion's set, which triggered me to discover Ableton Live and it's infinite possibilities.
In honour of the release of your new EP, what are some of your favorite Eps?
Mmm, favourite EPs... Mount Kimbie's debut pair of EP's, 'Maybes' and 'Sketch on Glass' are two of the most powerful examples I can think of. I think the short-play format is a great medium for making a strong and concise artistic statement, especially in today's highly saturated musical environment where less is often more.
Did you purposefully name your new EP ‘System Preferences’ so your listeners will see the folder every time they search for system preferences on their computer?
Haha, that did not occur to me, but I suppose that's an example of the hidden value that can come with a name. I wanted to toy with the idea of breathing life into something with a digital or inanimate connotation. Computers are our friends, and in my case they are one of my instruments. We have a lot in common with computers and the term "system" can be extended to my mind, or my audience - both of which prefer the four songs on this record to some of the other more esoteric content that lives in my music vault. Each song is a single in its own way.
Where do you usually make your music?
I usually work on my music in my home studio but ideas tend to incubate in less fixed environments like trains, parks, and faraway places. Once I come home from collecting experiences and making the initial sketch of a track I roll up my sleeves at home in Brooklyn, usually late at night. I see lots of sunrises.
Do you believe in heroes? If so, what’s their purpose?
I absolutely believe in heroes. Heroes are the ones who wake us from cloudy states of mind and clear pathways for us to reach our full potential.
What gap in the landscape of modern music do you see this project filling?
Right now there is a great renaissance in electronic music in our modern cultural landscape, but a great deal of it sounds more like people being dominated by technology than people harnessing technology to evolve human expression. I hope this release expresses a balance between human and machine, organic and digital, etc. I think this a healthy and sustainable approach to our planet, our consciousness, and the music that we make.
What’s the origin of the vocals on the track ‘Tree Torrent’? Is it a sample or an original recording?
Those vocals are entirely live performances by myself, although other songs from the record such as ‘Trails’ contain vocals that I recorded and re-performed on a sampler to achieve an uncanny non-human effect. If you remove your voice from your body, you can sing with your computer in ways your mind and body cannot innately comprehend.
Words: Nick Boyd