Eaves’ music is inherently spatial. Informed by his background in architecture, the Brooklyn-based producer’s tracks appear more like buildings constructed of fragmented samples. From initiating the germinal idea to rendering a finished piece, the process of music-making often follows comparable stages of mock-ups, drawings, texts and fragments, until the realisation of something concrete, but Eaves’ music underlines this parallelism with its focus on amassing and assembling texture. While his music has gone from being drawn exclusively from online sources, to ventures in experimenting with synthesis, the significance of space has been a constant factor across his recent releases from the last couple years on PTP Recordings, album Verloren and an earlier EP, Gorilla.
Of particular interest to Eaves is the architectural makeup of the internet, and how we choose to engage with it. Sounds are sourced from online sources – such as (often crudely recorded) Youtube or LiveLeak broadcasts – to be resampled and, ultimately, reinstated online. “If I’ve already been working on a track, I’m looking for specific sounds, most often tones and atmospheric samples,” writes Eaves over email. “Often, a sound will just give some kind of spatial cue that then pushes further production on the track.” On a deeper level, he takes his approach as a means of exploring “embedded narratives and emotional information.”
On Saturday 4 November, Eaves will play at the Progress Bar club night in Amsterdam, alongside Bbymutha, Bonaventure, Hanz, Juha, LSDXOXO and Lyzza. Preceded by talks from cultural critic Nina Power, design collective Metahaven and studio The Rodina, the evening continues the series’ political and social involvement by addressing urgent topics surrounding society’s progress as a whole. Eaves is a fitting addition to the line-up, bringing a consciousness of infrastructure’s capacity to inform not only his music, but ways of dealing with broader social issues.
Indeed, Eaves is concerned with what architecture can do for the future of humanity. The artist would like to see architects working as activists, doing more to develop extensive projects that can provide aid on a global level. “Climate change, I think, is one of the greatest challenges our species faces,” says Eaves. He continues, “the frequency in which large scale disasters occur is only going to increase, and I think we aren’t nearly doing as much as we should be to help prevent these disasters”. Ahead of his performance at Progress Bar, we spoke to the artist about his influences and concerns, his recent Verloren LP, and his outlook for the future.
**As an artist with a background in architecture, how has this grounding informed the way you approach making music?
Eaves: From the perspective of world-building and environment creation, music and architecture are interlinked. I’m interested in the intangible inhabitation of space: representing spatial constructs through non-physical means and methods. I believe there are embedded narratives and emotional information within an architecture, and I am more interested in what it feels like to move through specific spaces than their structured makeups. My architectural practice has more to do with speculative environmental storytelling than classic dynamics between form and void. I use tools of rendering as a jumping-off point for music creation. The music becomes an embodied soundtrack for these speculative spaces.
**Do you have particular spaces in mind before you start working on a new piece?
E: Yes. Most of the time the two feed off of each other. Often, a sound will just give some kind of spatial cue that then pushes further production on the track. I equate it to environmental storytelling in video games; letting the fictional space tell an almost spatial story through sound.
**Do you find freedoms in a sample-based approach that you wouldn’t otherwise have?
E: Gorilla was built exclusively from samples but Verloren strayed from that method a bit. I actually think the freedom in sampling comes from the restriction in only using audio. Recently, I’ve been getting into synthesis a lot and resampling experiments I’ve written. I think, for me, the best results come from working essentially with sampling and resampling audio files rather than MIDI, because you’re locked to that little snippet of audio you have and you’ve got to make it work.
**You’re inspired by Liam Young’s architecture in particular. What is it about his work that moves you?
E: His work is really powerful and resonates with me on a personal level. His vision of architecture, and the role of an architect, is one that doesn’t just involve making buildings. Liam asks the question: ‘why can’t an architect design video games, movies? Borrowing from him, I ask, ‘why not music?’ His work deals a lot of with urban geographies and landscapes, the physical, actual material sources of our cities with Unknown Fields Division but also the new 21st century city: one of global scale and interconnected through digital systems. The ‘New City’ that Liam presents in his work is not a background to urban life but rather a protagonist. I find that his work could bring about actual change within the field of architecture by constructing these beautifully dynamic, speculative, architectural fictions that are simultaneously well-researched and projective. This prospect is incredibly inspiring.
**You interpret your recent Verloren LP as a warning of our tendency to follow speculative fictions and the insufficient resistance exerted by our current systems. What means of resistance do you think are essential at the moment?
E: Climate change, I think, is one of the greatest challenge our species faces. The frequency in which large-scale disasters occur is only going to increase, and I think we aren’t nearly doing as much as we should be to help prevent them. I’d like to see architects pushing, for not just sustainable architectures in urban environments, as sort of an add-on, but also large projects that operate on a global scale to aid in the calamities we face.**
City, Of One Kind
Eaves, With Excess