Interview: A Chat with Running Touch

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A gentle but very passionate soul, clearly looking not only to advance his music but also the world of artistry. I recently chatted with Running Touch, an anonymous artist based out of Melbourne. Beyond his desire to expand his artistic resume, he is simultaneously redefining his approach to music and revelling in the creative journey along the way.

So you’re currently at SXSW. How are you enjoying being there?
Yeah, I’m very excited. It’s my first time in America and my first time at SXSW and the music conference. So it’s a three-hour fest, and it’s been really positive so far.

Awesome! So I have a couple different categories of questions. I have some more general questions, and then I have some that refer to the documentary you just released. So I’ll start with the more general questions. Many people have commented on your choice to be anonymous. When did you decide that was the path you wanted to take?
That was decided from the get-go, between me and my management. At the time it was a personal decision and fit me as a person. I was a really proud person and felt it was the right decision at the time. Obviously, over time, the evolution of its usefulness has changed. But it really was as simple as I didn’t want people to know who I was.

You’re from Melbourne originally.
Correct, yes.

How does the Melbourne arts scene influence your music?
Umm, I would say it influences me by its comfort just because I’ve lived there for so long and I have a lot of nostalgia and a lot of memories because all of my friends are from there. So when I’m in Melbourne, I feel most comfortable, and when I feel most comfortable, it’s kind of a domino effect into what I hope is good music. It’s the vibes, and the atmosphere, which you hope creates something good. It’s definitely that. But you know, I have a lot of musician friends that live in Melbourne who are extremely talented, and they’re just a click away as well, so I can always meet up with them and share ideas.

Very cool! So I did my research this week and have totally been vibing out to Levitate, both the song and the video. It really makes for an exceptional auditory and visual experience.
Ahhhhh! I hate that song.

Ha-ha! You do? Elaborate on your vision for that video.
So that was a bit of an eleventh-hour production. I kind of got pushed into that video, to be honest. We did it with very little planning and very little money. And for what it is, it’s pretty cool. I’m proud of it, and the things I’ve learned through it made me appreciate what videographers’ roles are and how they go about things. It helped me learn a lot about videography and how hard it actually is to convey a vision. I planned out the whole video and wrote down about 30 things, and in the end, probably only one thing I wrote down came to life. So all of the planning helped me figure out my own documentary.

So you mentioned in your documentary that it’s important to protect your own vision but also the vision of fellow artists and that you wanted to take on the role of creative director. Do you have any other projects in the making right now?
Yeah, I do. That’s the forefront of what Running Touch is and what I’m about as a musician. You as an artist should only ever be as big as the project that you’re working on. If you forget that, you’re only doing yourself a disservice. You’re not finding the skills and the non-threshold mentality you can learn from other genres. As far as other projects, I am in a band called Ocean Grove, and we just released our first debut album, so that’s where my energy is going at the moment; we’re doing incredibly well. I also have two other projects I am working on that I’m looking to launch shortly. They’ll take awhile to put into play, but I am very excited for them.

Awesome, we look forward to seeing those. I know you touched on being more objective versus subjective in your music. What gives your life and your music meaning?
Wow, so many things. I think some people will say their life experience and people travelling to write music. I’ve tried to do the same, but I would rather be at home in the studio than anywhere else in the world, to be honest with you. Doing the logical thing to me, which is reading and studying the greats and letting them inspire you, is much more difficult these days with the option to travel. Studying people before me who have done much more important things than I ever will are the kinds of things that help me mentally, also from a business perspective. Studying other people is the way to better your personality and music-making. The past geniuses give meaning to my music more than anything.

That’s a very fresh perspective. Along the same lines, I always love asking artists who their favourite artists are. I read somewhere Frank Ocean is one of your inspirations and dream collabs. Is that still true?
Yeah, absolutely. It’s so funny you say that because of my song during this trip -- I’ve been jamming on Spotify, but that new Calvin Harris record with “Slide”...

Oh yeah, it’s so good!
Right? Ugh, it’s the best. Everything I love about Frank is -- you can imagine that track -- completely effortless. He uses the exact same register he always does and yet, it sounds completely different than it usually does. It’s just fantastic. I’m really impressed by that one. I would love to pick his brain.

Oh, me too. He’s such a neat guy. Your life revolves around music and being an artist, there’s no question about that. What are some of your hobbies outside of music, though?
Yeah, well I used to play a lot of sport, but with the introduction of Ocean Grove, it made me realise I wanted to start more projects. That’s when that started to take over. But apart from music, I do a lot of writing, which is a long-term goal of mine, to incorporate that into the music. Apart from that, I love soccer. I am a big, big soccer fan, which is probably my other one.

Your documentary highlighted some of the production processes, which if I understood correctly was all done at home.
Yeah yeah, it’s all done at home, and if it’s not, I wish it was. There’s no better feeling. It reminds me of my family and the comfort of being at home. Everything is so accessible. Everything gets created there, and I actually live with another producer. He has some amazing instruments and equipment, which I am lucky to have access to.

What you've spoken before about crucial creative autonomy is to you. How do you maintain this with all the projects you’re putting out there and goals you have for yourself?
I suppose just by constantly testing it and pushing it. It goes hand in hand with writing different genres. Your brain gets confused with what you’re committing to. It kind of gets fried with different elements and things, which in turn leads to wanting to start other things and other projects, or wanting to test out another medium, like videography, or whatever it may be. It’s the chase of that threshold, which keeps you on your toes.

Just to finish up -- you have your national tour kicking off in April, which I am sure you’re excited about. Any goals or anything you’re thinking about beforehand?
Yeah, of course, I am excited. That’s gonna be a special one. I have a new show to bring to that one. I also have some friends from New Zealand on that tour as well and hopefully doing some collaborative work with those guys, just to base the tour around something.

Well, thank you so much for your time today! It was a pleasure having the chance to speak to you.
Thanks for having me! It’s always amazing. I hope you enjoy the EP, if you get a chance to check it out.

Written by Megan Carter

You can catch Running Touch at the below tour dates:

Sat 1st April - Miami Horror Block Party - Melbourne
Sun 2nd April - Miami Horror Block Party - Sydney
Sat 8th April - Hot Dub Wine Machine Festival - Swan Valley
Fri 21st April - Uno Dance Club - Geelong
Sat 22nd April - Corner Hotel - Melbourne
Fri 28th April - Hudson Ballroom, Sydney
Sat 29nd April - Groovin The Moo - Maitland
Fri 5th May - Cats, Rocket Bar - Adelaide
Sat 6th May - Hooch, The Brighton - Mandurah
Sun 7th May - Aviary Rooftop Sessions - Perth
Sat 13 May - Impala - Auckland NZ
Fri 19 May - Elsewhere - Gold Coast
Sat 20 May - The Foundry - Brisbane