Interview: Edward R. on Finding His Sound

Saturday, September 22, 2018

I sat down with Melbourne-based artist Edward R. at this year's BIGSOUND festival and we delved deep into his writing process, his single ‘Paradise’ and what we can expect from his forthcoming EP Body Corporate.

You released a single called 'Paradise' a while back. How would you explain the song to someone who hasn't heard it before?

If you're going on a road trip and you want a good cruiser or a summer song. Coming into the season now, I think it's going to be a good little pick me up.

'Paradise' is a song where you and your band really figure out how to marry synth with guitar rock. What were your influences on the track? 

A lot of Roy Ayers and a band called Laid Back. That kind of real 70s/80s with funky guitars, 7ths, and crazy synths — very psychedelic-jazz, in a way. You can see the influence in my synth choices, especially the one in the chorus of 'Paradise'. My old folk stuff, Agrabah, is great but I'm never gonna do that again. I just wanted to shift into what I normally would write because I've always been into the synth band sound.

So just becoming more true to yourself and what you actually want to put out there?

Yeah! Not that Agrabah wasn't — that was super hard on the sleeves, but I just wanted a bigger sound live. Something I can play with the band that rocks a bit more — not just where everybody stands there and looks at me, kind of thing.

Some bands play around with their music live and some keep true to the recordings. How do you approach bringing your music from recordings to live? 

I try to replicate the sound of what you hear recorded as close as I can live. Though I'll kinda ad-lib different melodies and extend some sections because they feel groovy, but mostly it stays true to the record.

What's your favourite aspect of releasing music? 

It's so rewarding when you work so hard getting these songs together. For me, this EP realistically took a year. Just going from writing it and then into the reward of actually getting a song out there and people hearing it and connecting. I love when people listen to a song and message me because they had a connection to a track — it makes all the inner turmoil worth it.

Music ends up being a personal release by the end. How important is it to have you as a person within your releases?

I try to have my heart on my sleeve. A lot my music is super honest and even more so than on the last EP. I'm just trying to be a lot more real.

In your songwriting craft, what do you lean towards more, musicality or emotion?

For me, it's hand-in-hand. I don't try and lean towards one rather than the other.
I try to be quite complex about the songs and I overthink them like crazy. Like 'Paradise' for instance, that key change into the chorus was fully on purpose to lift the track. Everything has been thought about with the emotion of the lyrics in mind.

You mentioned an EP earlier. What can listeners expect from it?

So the next single is coming out in the next couple of weeks *. This is my favorite one from the record. It's actually one of my favourite songs I've ever written. It just accomplished so much for me musically. The EP itself is coming out soon. There's a lot of differences on it from the last record. It's not similar at all but in the same token, it is. It's still very much Edward R. — just the arrangements have changed and you could still strip them back and I could play them folky. There's a very electronic song in there. Then there's the big cinematic songs and ones with a similar vibe to 'Paradise'. Also a track that's a bit more shoegaze. I just want to branch out a little bit more, and try not be boxed into folk.

*(note: the interview took place before the release of his new single 'Why Won’t You Love Me?' Check it out below!)

Sweet, I’m looking forward to it! Thank you for chatting with me today!

My pleasure!

Written by Roy Gordon (@yorgordon

Edward R.'s EP Body Corporate will be released on 12th October.

You can catch Edward R. during his Body Corporate tour this November:
13th November - The Workers Club, Melbourne 
15th November - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney 
21st November - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
23rd November - Solbar, Maroochydore
28th November - The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne 
More information is available here

(Photo by Sam Wong)