in the Category: music
Roaming the modern club culture of Brussels’ hedonistic urban jungle, MONTAGE resident épong is already known for the near paralyzing gravity of his emotional soundscapes, erupting with riotous energy from his debut record Oprichnik. épong’s sonic language is a rapturous melodic adventure through dense synth lines, distorted glitch and disorienting experimental electronics, amongst a whole swathe of other genres. In December, he is set to release his new EP, Drank, his most dance-oriented work so far. To quench our thirst for an otherworldly blend of avant-garde club music and moody soundscapes, we caught up to discuss the emotional rollercoaster of making music and to get a sneak peek of what awaits on his horizon.
Interview by Silvija Daniunaite
Photos by Aurélie Bayad, shot in Brussels
What meaning do you find in making music?
Being in that pure moment of making music makes me really happy. It allows me to forget things I don’t want to think about. It’s a bit of an escape mechanism. When I go away, I always bring my ukulele. If I ever get sad, playing it makes me feel much better, because my thoughts and feelings go into the instrument. It’s the same with electronic music.
What role does emotion play in your creative process?
It might sound corny, but when I feel pain, I isolate myself and just play it out of my system. Music is an emotional outlet I sometimes need.
What fuels your creativity?
The name, épong, means sponge. I absorb my surroundings – places, people, music, books – and mould these influences into something different to give them a new place.
You released your debut album, Oprichnik, on MONTAGE. What’s the label’s main philosophy and what made you feel like it’s the right outlet for your music?
The starting point for MONTAGE was the editing process of filmmaking, where you have to make bold and well-thought-out choices and combinations, but it’s much broader now. MONTAGE looked for ways to put the cinematic mechanism into music. I think it’s a very creative way to think about it. One film can always be a thousand different ones, and the same mechanism applies to music. Music also tells stories and creates sceneries.
This December, you’re releasing your EP Drank and celebrating it at the biggest MONTAGE event yet. What’s your reflection on the upcoming release?
Oprichnik was much darker and more emotional. The music I’m working on right now is much more conceptual and technical. I’m really focusing on textures, structures and themes. I also wanted to make something more danceable. To make music that stimulates you, makes you think, transports you into this trance state, without being too overwhelming.
You blend a variety of genres in your tracks. Why the multi-genre approach?
Music can change the way you listen. I don’t like it when the rhythm is constantly the same, like in techno genres, for instance. You start spinning because you’re too focused in your own head. I prefer when there’s a lot of change in music. This way, it feels more like an adventure. When something goes from fast-paced beats into more relaxed melodies, the sound remains more human instead of turning into a digital machine. The process of listening becomes more conscious.
You currently operate within the Belgian electronic music scene. What’s your reflection on how the scene is today?
The landscape is definitely changing. I think that different scenes in Brussels are overlapping. Everyone is a part of some community here. People become friends, and a lot of great music gets extracted from those friendships. I think it’s beautiful.
I prefer when there’s a lot of change in music. [...] When something goes from fast-paced beats into more relaxed melodies, the sound remains more human instead of turning into a digital machine
In October, you’re playing at the release party of Helenah’s self-titled debut album. How important is it to have a support system for artists?
Support is very important, especially for musicians doing their own thing. When you’re playing with others and something goes wrong, you can always laugh it off. It’s much more difficult alone. I didn’t like it myself in the beginning. I felt like I was too exposed, that I gave too much of myself. Having people who support you and your music makes you feel at ease.
Tristan + épong + Helenah
17 Oct - Volta (MONTAGE), Brussels
free for members