EshOne has steadily asserted himself as one of the most talented underground music producers in the USA. With the deeper side of the sound beginning to gain momentum Stateside, so are the number of faces appearing on radar who are contributing some interesting blends to the mix. Some of these newcomers have managed to impress longtime UK legends, who haven’t hesitated to sign on this new talent. Boston’s AxH won over Youngsta with his dark and minimal beats resulting in an exclusive signing to Tempa, the first American to do so. Additionally, LA’s Mesck managed to land a 12” signing on Distance’s highly regarded Chestplate imprint. It didn’t take J:Kenzo long to swoop on the percussive rollers of EshOne, whose sound perfectly aligns with the Artikal aesthetic. Although the Albuquerque beatsmith is sitting on a ton of singable material, he’s only put out a few EPs over the last few years. Not only does this reflect EshOne’s mindset of releasing quality over quantity, but more importantly his affinity with Kenzo and Mosaix and the musical philosophy of Artikal Music UK. After last year’s widely received Petroglyphs EP, EshOne returns with a bigger bolder set of sounds to arm DJs worldwide with sonic firepower. I caught up with Donnie to talk about his next EP, and he kindly let us premiere his B-side track “Scrap Night”.
TRUSIK: Easy Donnie, how’s life in New Mexico at the moment?
ESHONE: Aside from the allergy situation right now, it’s amazing. I love this state. I have a pretty sweet new job, and I’m happy to be back in Albuquerque. Fishing time has been cut down, which I’m not too happy about, but I’m still making it happen! I’ve also come to love riding my bike around the city, so that’s sort of a new thing I’m into. It’s a fixed gear bike, but please don’t make fun of me, I swear it’s more fun to ride that way. I’m hoping to get a lot of camping and river trips in this summer. New Mexico is so beautiful, it’s crazy how diverse this state is climate and scenery wise.
TRUSIK: Those who know you know that fish, cattle, and beats are a big part of your life. Those who don’t think it’s a bit weird, yet it’s a lifestyle that really works for you isn’t…?
ESHONE: Absolutely. I’d be a most unhappy person if I weren’t trekking the rivers at least every other week. Fly-fishing is my favorite thing to do, I’m always learning more. The cattle ranch can be a bit frustrating on the other hand, for example, I had some cows out on the road yesterday while I was at work. Luckily I have some help these days and they were put back into my property fairly quick. It’s definitely time consuming and hard work to run a ranch. As for the beats part, I love to make new tracks, but my favorite part is playing them out. I get into the “zone” when I play, and it’s a real time experience or feeling I haven’t found many other places in life. Much like a day out fishing or snowboarding!
TRUSIK: It must be quite refreshing working outdoors… you certainly feel those wild cinematic touches in your tracks. Would you say that you draw inspiration from your surroundings and naturally incorporate those ideas into your productions? Also, I heard that your field recorder “went missing” a while back, have you managed to replace it yet?
ESHONE: I definitely incorporate a lot of what I experience into my music. Whether directly, through samples, or indirectly through association of feelings or ideas. I did replace that field recorder about a month ago, finally. I’ve just about finished a new batch of recordings, this time very focused, that I will be including in a new series of tracks. I honestly think it’s the most important part of my creative process in the studio and I don’t know why it took me so long to replace it. I’d recommend a field recorder for anyone who makes music!
TRUSIK: So it’s your second outing on Artikal Music following up your Petroglyphs EP from last year. Were you happy with the response from that record?
ESHONE: I was very happy with the response from the first. I felt that it sold out almost instantly! Petroglyphs was one of my favorite tracks ever. My favorite response was sending to my friend Sara, maybe better known as Hera, and she said, “Dude this is something that could have been played at DMZ in ’06.” I don’t think I could have had a better compliment, because at the time I made that track, maybe in ’08 – ’09, those sounds were most inspiring to me.
TRUSIK: In a previous interview, you mentioned that you were trying to build more ‘complete’ tracks. Is the Monopoly EP a result of that new focus?
ESHONE: It’s kind of the opposite actually! In my head, I’m thinking something with even more progression would be more complete. Something like ‘Petroglyphs’, or my newer one, ‘Wapiti Deluxe’, which has been seeing a lot of support from the few people who have it. I’d like to make a few more tracks like that, but honestly, I have so much fun with more basic, stripped down stuff for DJing and mixing, that it’s hard to do. When it comes time for an album though, you’ll hear some more complete and crazy music from me. I think this will be soon.
TRUSIK: ‘Monopoly’ captures some of the old dubstep “sound” with a progressive twist. Was that a conscience move on your behalf or just a result of experimentation in the studio?
ESHONE: Totally experimentation. I think I was going for more of a ‘Cutty Dub’ style track when I started making it, but some synth experimentation left me with a few baseline variations that I couldn’t ignore. Once I added the third variation, the one with that very obvious hum-sounding ring mod, I knew I had to leave it. That part is so sick and it’s my favorite part of the track to this day. I’ll even sort of hum it to myself when I’m playing it at a show (laughs).
TRUSIK: You went all out with the percussion on ‘Scrap Night’ – the track we’re premiering. Could you tell us a little bit about the build process and how it all came together?
ESHONE: I don’t want to share all of my secrets, but I basically decided to chop up a few hand drum tracks I have collected over the years and use them as if they were drum breaks in a dnb track, but at 140bpm. Lots of individual hit slicing and pattern creation. I think it came out pretty wicked! I think it’s also very obvious that I’m into multitap delays, and chained delays. The arpeggio beepy thing in the track was actually a much slower and lower sound, but I resampled it whole and used it a couple octaves up and it sounded cool.
TRUSIK: ‘The Fence’ on the other hand sees you experimenting with the 4/4 beat structure while retaining the EshOne aesthetic. Can we expect different rhythms and tempos from you in the future, the Elk Breaks volumes for example?
ESHONE: I always do. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find some 130-techno ish stuff I’ve done in the past, and even some 110 mid tempo Latin style stuff. I’m always making something weird, and sometimes it makes it outside of my DJ sets and into releases. Even though I’m most known for dubstep, I love to keep it different from time to time. I’m on my way to Washington, D.C. right now. I think the last time I was there, last summer, I played an all 4×4 bassline and garage set, with at least half being original music!
TRUSIK: What else can we expect from you in 2015, is there any other forthcoming material, interesting projects, or up and coming music gigs you can inform the readers on?
ESHONE: Some things are in the works. All I can say at this point is, expect some of my best music yet, some great fishing pictures, and maybe a trip to Europe later in the year! I’m also planning on releasing the next Elk Wax very soon, but we’ve had some hangups in the process. Please be patient if you are an Elk Wax listener, more is coming.
TRUSIK: Thank you for your time Donnie, we hope the new EP is well received by your fans – I’m sure it will be. Are there any final comments / shout outs you wanna share to wrap things up?
ESHONE: Yes, I just want to big up all the people in the US scene that are doing stuff. I’ve noticed the quality of sound systems I’ve been playing on and hearing people on is becoming more consistent. I think the sound has matured to a state where it’s more accessible, and diverse, and I hope people continue to push it and grow with it! Also, thanks to those DJs who support me, and those producers who send me tracks. It’s always much appreciated!