Here's a question: what do Hiatus Kaiyote, Banoffee, Chet Faker, Rat & Co, Naysayer & Gilsun, Sunbeam Sound Machine, Milwaukee Banks, Oscar Key Sung, Lower Spectrum and I'lls have in common? Apart from being genius acts that are running the music game I mean. Yes, that's right, they're all artists who've worked with super producer and sound engineer Andrei Eremin. The talented 23 year old has helped craft numerous world-dominating records, but is also responsible for some incredible material of his own. THUMP is pleased to premiere Recycling (2013-2015), a compilation of some remixes he's created over the past two years. Below, a rare and insightful conversation with the thoughtful master.
THUMP: Many people are familiar with your production work for Chet Faker amongst others. You've said previously that you got lucky by being friends with him.
Andrei: Yeah I really did. I went to uni with him and actually started doing live sound. Did his first show, little secret one down at the Mercat. It was so ghetto. He is doing really well now though. 620,000 likes, selling out his fifth Melbourne show!
He certainly is. Obviously you're not defined by that. Where were you directly before that? What were you doing?
I've always been trying to do ambitious music things. For a while there, I thought I'd start a record label, thinking "Yeah this is a great idea! I've got all these talented friends who put out sweet music that doesn't get to anyone, maybe I can help." I didn't get it out to anyone though, haha.
So you are in a spot where your passion is your job? When did things change from running an unsuccessful label to what you're doing now?
Well for a long time I didn't really have any reputation, I was just another engineer. But then I guess people would go to my website and see Chet Faker's Thinking in Textures there and think "Oh maybe this guy knows what he's doing." Josh Delaney from Rat & Co told everyone I was a sick dog and people obviously believed him, so I get to keep doing what I'm doing, engineering, make a bit of music and don't have to worry about anything else.
So there's Andrei Eremin the producer, is that mainly engineering or do you work with songwriting and instrumentation as well? Is there an Andrei Eremin sound that people come to you for?
It's different for each person. I kinda just cater to their strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the day, it's a service job like anything else, so you've got to treat your people right. For instance, working with Oscar (Key Sung) we'll discuss arrangements together and I'll coach him on his vocals and stuff like that, whereas with someone like Martin King he needs something totally different, such as convincing him that he should put it out.
So there' a bit of a therapy element there too?
Definitely, different for each person though.
Your manager Ash asked us to enquire about your relationship with metal, so come on. Out with it!
Basically Linkin Park caught me at the right time of my life, and I was hooked from there. I just love a good guitar riff.
You can still tell in that almost classical music method of composition that it's deep down somewhere, but it's a far cry from what you're doing now.
Yeah I just got sick of how incestuous metal was. Well there's always a popular gimmick, and if you don't do that gimmick you're not cool. So you hear that gimmick over and over, and eventually I just thought 'well this is fucking stupid.' I make electronic music now because there's the least amount of that going on.
It's still there though. Take someone like UV BOI. He has his 'gimmicks' and you can see people slowly start to experiment with similar things. Is there a parallel there?
Yeah totally. I think it's human nature more than anything, maybe a fear to make something that isn't cool. It's a form of security.I think there's not enough people creating for the sake of creating. For instance, I think there's the same thing happening with EDM that was happening with metal in the 90s or 00s. It's a big pissing contest to see who can do the sickest drops.
With someone like UV BOI, it feels a bit different, like he's making post-trap or just 808 music.
It's a combination of the vapor-wave aesthetic with drum machine music and just whatever music he wants to make. It's great.
What was the last record you heard that blew you away?
The SD Laika record for sure. There's this feeling of ruin when I hear something I like and I can just tell 'yep, that's an Ableton plugin.' Whereas with this I don't know what the fuck's going on. It's industrial and organic.
Like a bag of nails being hit against something.
Exactly. And that's my mission. On my soundcloud I just chuck super experimental shit. I'm going to release something that's just noises in the next year, but you can still dance to it. For some people really get into it, which goes against everything I would have though.
So maybe a radio banger then?
Hell no. Soundcloud all the way.
It seems like more and more people are building careers out of soundcloud.
That's how Chet Faker started, it's legit.
So what are you doing with your solo stuff, What's the plan? You said earlier you do ambitious music. Maybe it's unmonetisable?
Not that I've 'made it', but I look at all these musicians around me who have their part-time jobs and whatnot, I'm fortunate to have a revenue stream that is closely linked to music, so I don't have to worry. I don't know, I just play around and have fun, try and do shit differently.
Download Andrei Eremin's Recycling (2013-2015) free via Bandcamp.