Welcome to Beats by Beat, our mix series for electronic music lovers. Head here if you missed the previous Beats by Beat mix, produced by jungle purveyor, Tamen.
We’re thrilled to shine this week’s Beats By Beat spotlight on a seamless mix of dub, IDM and 4×4 dance music by Melbourne artist, Showerhead.
For the last couple of years, the largely anonymous producer and DJ has demonstrated a finely-tuned ear for experimental electronic music. Late last year he released his first Showerhead EP, Travelogue, via Bandcamp. He runs a monthly show, Warped, on Sydney’s Nomad radio, on which he and the occasional guest traverse many different genres – including breaks, electro, IDM, techno and drum & bass – often very danceable, even if overlaid with a sheen of the slightly odd.
Though, as you’ll read below, his mix for us shows his return to more ubiquitous sounds; it’s a steady and uplifting mix, weaving between tempos, manifesting what Showerhead calls a breath of “fresh air” away from his more experimental sound.
Follow him on Soundcloud to catch his second EP, which is out later this year.
Have you always been interested in experimental electronic music and IDM?
Experimental music and IDM got me into electronic music at the beginning of high school, then my interests got pulled around by all different genres and I made lots of random stuff. Then about two years ago I found myself [back] where I started and began the Showerhead project.
The term ‘experimental’, when applied to genres, can mean lots of different things to different people. Do you have a take on what it means with respect to electronic music?
I’d probably be facetious and go with a dictionary definition of experimental because I think that best describes what it is: trying unknown things without an expectation of the end result.
What do you make of the prevalence of experimental electronic music and IDM in Melbourne? Do you think there’s a growing taste for it?
Yes, I think overall we have returned to the music of the ’90s through nostalgia: chopped breaks, tribal acid sounds and electro are all the rave. Some of it is endearing and some of it is superfluous. Anything slightly wonky or weird is being teamed up with an IDM hashtag but lots of ’90s music sounded very strange without that label being slapped on it, especially techno which we can sometimes perceive as being fairly straight-edge. I’d rather create something new with those sounds than attempt to emulate the zeitgeist. But I totally appreciate why we have a nostalgia for that age, especially in a social and political sense. I’m doubtful we’ll see a return of Clark’s Clarence Park or Autechre hi-fi digitalism, it’s a bit grating and right now the tone feels more in touch with warmth and mellowness.
You self-released a great EP, Travelogue, on your Soundcloud page last year. Do you plan to release any more music in the foreseeable future?
Thanks! Yes, at least another EP this year on a friend’s label.
Are you working on any music these days? If so, can you describe it, or compare it to your Travelogue EP?
More functional for DJs to mix, still playful, hopefully with an emotional oomph.
You have a great fortnightly show, called Warped, on Sydney’s Nomad radio. Can you run us through the theme of that show and any plans you might have for it?
The first eight or so episodes were two hours from me exploring some of my interests and deep-diving into the catalogues of Drexciya and The Black Dog. Eventually, it did become difficult to sustain so lately I’ve been bringing on friends for the second hour: so far Cypha, Eloyse and Bluetung have all very kindly contributed with their own selections.
And lastly, please tell us about your Beats By Beat mix. It’s impressively smooth, but quite different from the experimental flavour of your other stuff online. Is it representative of what you’re listening to, producing or DJing at the moment?
Yes, it’s mainly a representation of what I’ve been enjoying lately. Every now and again I need to duck out of a particular genre and get some fresh air. It’s not featured in the mix, but returning to music with vocals is always somewhat of an epiphany after hours of vocal-less electronica. I’ve been getting more into dub and downtempo after the passing of Andrew Weatherall, which I guess the first few songs reflect.
Check out Showerhead’s mix below.