By Jess Goulart
Photo courtesy of Et Aliae.
London-based producer and visual artist Et Aliae’s latest single “Only U” is instantly gratifying. Mellow progressions and synth accents move against a slow but heavy trap beat for a twinkling divergence from conventional EDM. Et Aliae started out remixing Lemonade and Kero Kero Bonito and, in October, signed to Cascine, a London- and New York-based indie record label with a penchant for alt-pop.
Her chill style is calming, yes, but compositionally lush. Her graceful touch let’s you float through a complex river of sounds so expertly arranged you’re blissfully unconscious of the careful exaction behind them. BTR caught up with Et Aliae on the last day of this year’s SXSW (where she rocked) to talk about femininity in music and more.
BreakThru Radio (BTR): Let’s just start with some background about yourself and how you started making music.
Et Aliae (EA): I started the project in 2014 with the intention of experimenting with music production. I’ve been playing the piano since I was a kid but this is the first time I’ve attempted to compose my own music.
BTR: We’re loving your first single! Can you talk about the inspiration behind it? You mentioned in an interview that you were feeling very “still.”
EA: Thank you! I wanted to make a track that felt peaceful and that could also make me feel “peaceful” while I was making it. I enjoy both the creative and technical processes of production and I tend to involve my current mind-state when I’m making a track.
I’ve been told also that my music makes people feel very cozy and sleepy but it also works very effectively live or in a club context, people are often surprised [laughs].
BTR: I can definitely see both of those things being true. Do you feel like there is a big difference between your live music and recorded music, either in production or energy?
EA: I think the synths and instruments I use in my track sound more feminine compared to conventional EDM tracks so perhaps that stands out the most in casual listening situations. But my music fundamentally makes use of dance music tropes–a lot of my tracks employ trap and juke beats–and is quite “bass-y”… playing them live in the club tends to highlight those elements.
BTR: What’s your creation process like? Do you find yourself playing with a track a lot?
EA: I usually start with a melody or chord sequence and then build on it from there. Or sometimes I find a vocal sample that I really enjoy and will try to create a completely different sound for it, for example for bootlegs like “never let you down.” I don’t really have a set timeframe for each track but I find that the ones that move more quickly and naturally tend to be more popular among my listeners.
BTR: Who are some major influences for your music? Who are you listening to right now?
EA: I love pop music; I’ve had Justin Bieber’s albums on repeat for months now. I’ve also been listening to a lot of k-pop, like 2NE1 and Big Bang. I aspire towards that level of songwriting and production.
BTR: We’re dying to know, what are the plans for the future? Is an album in the works?
EA: I’m currently writing an EP to be released with Cascine sometime in the late summer!
For more from Et Aliae, head to her SoundCloud or BTR’s own In The Den.