Sublime Moments of Maturity
Side-line Magazine, Dan Koven
Hailing from Madison, WI, the duo of Eric Oehler and Eric Goedken have unleashed their sophomore effort with a vengeance. Friends for over 13 years, the formidable duo creates atmospheric electrinic pop music spiced with ethnic diveristy. Their debut album “Sublimation” was critically lauded as a mid-tempo groove oriented record. “A Million Different Moments” continues that direction thematically, but raises the stakes by combining the familiar warm synthetics, heartfelt vocals and tales of painful longing with perfected finesse. Each song takes the listener onto a soul journey of finite reflection with an aura of contemplative meditation. I caught up with the guys, nibbling on some cheese in their studio, to pose these questions:
How and where did the infamous Eric/Eric duo meet and what motivations preceded the forming of the band?
EO: My roommate at the univerity was in a class with Eric G, so he’d come over to study and possibly discuss Star trek. I was also studying and listening to Electronic’s first album and Eric asked if it was a New order CD and we got to talking about music, and we’ve been friends ever since.
EG: One of the great things about the time we spent in college is that we discovered a lot of music at the same time. Eric would get a CD by a new artist and pass it to me, or vice versa. So we both discovered industrial, ebm, and techno music at the same time, and honed our appreciation for electronic music together. I think that’s why we have such similar tastes.
EO: As for the formation of the band, I’d been twiddling with electonic music for a while in college and afterwards, but had discovered that my lyrics were somewhat lacking. Eric G showed me a few things he’d written and it was sort of revelatory. Knowing as well that he had great taste in music, it seemed like a natural fit to work together.
Your debut album, “Sublimation”, on Nilaiha Records and internet-only single “Footfalls EP” garnered strong critical praise for a newcomer. What lessons were learned during the recording sessions and what changes would you make if you could do it all over?
EO: I learned a lot fo things technically about the recording process. The first thing we recorded that ended up on Sublimation was, technically, quite naive compared to the last track we recorded.
EG: I think distributing demos, getting signed, and releasing our first album taught us that no matter how well-written a song may be, things like production and mastering make a big difference in how a song is perceived. Eric has improved his skills a great deal in both these areas over the past two years, and you can hear the difference on the album.
EO: I also learned that in many cases I just needed to stop fillding with a song. “Footfalls” and the album version of “How”, arguably the strongest sngs on the album, each came together in about a week.
The new album, “A Million Different Moments” seems to have a hidden connotation behind the title. Care to elaborate?
EO: Well, the title comes from a line in “Travelogue.” It just seemed to fit.
EG: I also like the title becasue, for me, it’s a bit of a reference to the diversities of styles that are at play on the record.
Ok, so let’s talk about the new album. Surprisingly, it’s a mature, progressive sound, incorporating various ethnic influences rather than straight-up mid-tempo synthpop. Tell us about the writing/production and reasons behind the stylistic changes.
EO: As Eric G likes to point out, I’ve always liked ethnic food…This time around I had a lot more freedom to record, I’d invested in some better equipment to record non-synthesizers with, and I’d spent some mroe tiem studying and listning to various kinds of world and club music. It all kind of just fell together naturally. We also began to perform live in the last year, which changed my attitudes a bit in regards to both songwriting and the way I work with other musicians.
EG: I think we also were hoping to branch out on our second album and not do something that would sound as similar to “Sublimation” as what many artists’ second discs sound like in comparison to their first. We love synthpop and all, but there’s a lot of great music out there that isn’t synthpop that we also love, and it influences what Eric writes.
What’s your current attitude towards modern US electronic music and promoting it to the amsses. What advice would you offer a just formed band trying to find a label?
EO: I’m horribly opinionated on this point. I think that in the US – or in electronic music in general, bands often limit themselves to a genre too strictly, and too often look to a sucessful template instead of finding their own sound. I guess all I can say to anyone trying to make music is to just make the music you want – don’t worry about what’s popular or hat sort of image you need to “make it.”
EG: While I don’t think image is that important, new bands looking for label support should try to put together a demo that has some decent cover art and a good band bio. I think if those things are well done, they let the label know that you’re serious about what you’re doing and this will make it much easier for them to rely on you if they bring you aboard.
What are your short and long term goals for both the new album and the band? Touring?
EO: Well, we’re going to promote this album sume more, and I’m working on getting some live shows booked. I don’t know yet about a tour. I’m getting together some remixes from this album, and we’ll probably put together another internet single, since that went over so well last time. After that, it’s back into the studio to work on album #3!
Finally, can we expect ane new Null Device remixes or side-projects to appear soon?
EO: I’ve been remixing up a storm recently – I recently finished a collaboration with Epsilon Minus and subsequently did a remix for that, I’m doing some remxies for some local acts – Stochastic Theory, Brian Schuh and The Dark Clan – all of which are great bands that deserve plenty of attention. I also just finished a remix for Attrition, one for new Nilaihah signing Blind Faith and Envy, and am remixing a track or two off AMDM for our own use. On the side I’m doing a bit of mastering, and I’ve got a few musical projects that may or may not ever see the light of day. It’s all keeping me busy.