"My mood is better with age"
The last few years have seen Ethan Fawkes constantly deliver. He's been treading a path through electronica that's both familiar and alien. He's also not shy of offering an opinion or two. As a disc jockey and producer he has an unparalleled sense of style and focus, a sprawling array of musical influences blend sporadically and sit superbly curated across his sets. It's also immense, so we'll get right down to it.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
I was 10 years old in 1987, started to listen EBM and new beat, followed by belgian techno and early 90’s rave.
Having been around for well over two decades, it’s safe to say you’re in a position of authority to comment on the evolution of “raving”. Don’t you sometimes feel that ‘rave’ has become some sort of generic, catch-all term for parties that are in reality not ravey at all?
The size of the event is not very important for me, club, warehouse, festival, so, the name rave can be used for all of them if the music is good and if there is an underground spirit, but it’s very rare actually, when I listen 8 hours of dj sets who sound all the same, 8 hours of same trax, it has nothing of the crazyness of raves.
Which artists have your interest these days?
From 2005 I found techno scene boring, it’s for that during 7 years I concentrate only on EBM, Electro Industrial and goth music till 2012.
From 2008 Minimum Syndicat made excellent music, and, more than their talent I admire their courage to have produced great techno at a moment they were close to alone.
Do you remember when music was first presented to you when you were a child? Was it through playing an instrument, listening to the radio, or your family?
End of 80’s electronic music was very present on radios, tvs in Belgium, so, it was easy to enter on it and discover also from friends on school, at this time you could even find good cds compilations on supermarckets who was great as child.
In and out of the electronic music circle, who is an inspiration to you?
In electronic music Luke Riga (Apotheosis, Unity Mixers) Interactive, Mark Archer (Altern8), N.U.K.E., Al Ferox, The Horrorist, Danny Casseau (Trax-X), and I had the chance to have collaborations with them, out of electronic, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Sepultura, Slayer to name just a few.
What was the last record store you visited and what did you keep there?
All records shops closed since a long time here, so, I buy on Bandcamp and Discogs, the last one was a remix cd of Rozalla – Are You Ready To Fly.
Are you particularly permeable to your environment, creatively speaking? If so, how does it influence your DJ focus? and producing?
Well, in the past I found interesting to produce when my mood was bad to make very dark music, now same if I keep a dark side on my music, I try to make it more funny, as it was in 90’s, but as my mood is better with age, it works together.
What inspires you to produce your tracks?
Inspiration is still there, it’s easy, I can start a new track everyday, but the work as producer is to continue to work on the idea and complete it, not to have 100 begins of trax with just a loop.
Would you like to share a set? Can you tell us more about it? When and how was it recorded?
Sure, here’s 1 recorded 1 month ago at Jaded London at Corsica Studios, for the Rave Edition 3, it was my second time for Jaded, a great after party.
How did you come to experiment with your own music?
During some years I tried all influences that I like, my goal was to find a style that I love and make me happy as much as my favorites trax and that I can listen many times and never be tired of them, it took me time, but since 2 years, it’s realy the feeling that I have with my productions.
How would you define your sound?
Early 90’s rave sound, belgian techno, with a little touch of EBM, acid and hip house, it’s already long, so maybe better to don’t add all other styles I made before :)
What is/are your most favourite acid record(s) of all time and why?
My top 3 is:
Trax-X – Gravity
Leo Anibaldi – Attack Random
Public Energy – Three O Three
They are crazy and have a lot of energies, same if it’s not pure acid because it has a lot of early 90’s rave elements, I like to add my track Rave On 303 to this list.
Now let’s talk about the technical aspect of your craft; what’s your studio comprised of at the minute?
My favorite synth is Roland Alpha Juno, for acid sound Cyclone TT-303, it’s a very good clone of the TB, a Sound Object N°5, excellent hand made analog Russian synth, I’ve just to add a Behringer Deepmind 6, I’m very happy with first tests I made with it, for digital sounds a Yamaha SY22 and a Korg Wavestation SR, add to that some FX, 2 units of the spring reverb Vermona VSR 3.2, 2 units of Monacor Stereo Echorder EEM-2000ST, 2 choruses, Effectivy Wonder PedalsJuno Chorus and a TC Electronic June60, a reverb Digitech Polara, a MXR Distortion Plus, a mic Blue Spark, monitors Focal CMS 50 + CMS sub, and the computer with the DAW Reaper, it’s +- all.
What are your favorite places to hang out in the city?
My favorite place is the studio :)
How do you deal with C19 confinement with your work?
Actually I can’t ship records, but people have something else in heads than buy some, so, it’s not realy a problem, for me, it’s studio time as usual.
Is it possible another way to monetize magazines other than advertising, events, clubs ...? Should we think of other sources of income?
Maybe a printed version, not sure how physical press works now, I think you’ll get more advertisings like this.
Has this situation influenced your creative perspective? What social and musical implications do you think this situation can lead to?
Yes, I need to delay next releases, I think it’s better to wait a few months to know what projects I can do.
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
I released a new LP album “Direction Kepler-11” 1 month ago, for the vinyl it’s complicated at the moment, but as mp3, it’s available on Bandcamp.
What makes you happy?
Except make new trax and do dj sets, I love science fiction, Star Trek Picard is great :)
Can you tell us something about your current or future projects? Where can we continue to see and hear Ethan Fawkes?
As I said, I’ve just to release a new album, there’s also a new video clip of the track “Dive Into A Vortex” extract of the album, when things will come back to normal, a dj set is on project in Berlin, I have in head some releases that I want to do till begin of 2022, but it’s too early to talk about :)
Thank you for the interview :)