Daily Discovery is a feature that will highlight a new or recently discovered artist that we’re excited about. See the rest of our Daily Discoveries here.
Last year, Branchez had a remix of Rihanna’s “Stay” that became an instant obsession. When I heard et aliae’s “never let u down,” that’s the first thing it reminded me of. The song flips Rita Ora’s “Never Let You Down,” but it does it with a modern sensibility and achieves a complicated sentiment that somehow blends sorrowful and euphoric.
One click over to her SoundCloud page and the first thing that catches the eye is the pink USB cord. There is no info in the “about” section, just an email address surrounded with *◆･.｡*❁*｡.･◆･.｡*❁*｡.･◆*
With so many new anonymous producers popping up on SoundCloud, the value of what each is doing can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. It all starts to feel like one big internet movement of faceless SoundCloud producers with an internety eye for aesthetic and a constantly evolving sound that traditionalists could never classify. But in a short email exchange with et aliae, we get a look into something much deeper. Her choices are deliberate and thoughtful, and her outlook gives us hope for the future of music, wherever it goes, and however it’s made.
I don’t know how deep this is going to get because you seem pretty anonymous. That seems pretty popular these days. Why is being anonymous attractive to you?
I’m shy! I don’t really like talking about myself, unless it has something to do with my music..
What do you feel comfortable telling us about you?
I’m 21 years old, still in university. Music is something I do on the side at the moment, but who knows what will happen in the future!
There is a funny tension between wanting recognition for your creative work, while trying to avoid attention. I think online anonymity allows you to sit in-between those two spaces. Which is why sometimes I feel I can get away with tweeting very honestly. But more often than not I am being facetious ;-)
What’s the significance of that pink USB chord?
I feel that USB cables are one of the physical objects that are emblematic of the post-2000 era of digital technology. The pink adds an element of playfulness to something that is quite utilitarian.
What music did you grow up on? What music do you listen to now?
I grew up playing the piano so I listened to a lot of classical / early Romantic era music composers, which I realized has influenced my songwriting especially after I started using a keyboard to produce.
I was born in the early ’90s so I also listened to a lot of pop music and R&B from that era… I still listen to the same stuff today, but having gone full circle from other genres (like indie, shoegaze, etc). I’m also fascinated by newer genres of music which developed after 2000, like witch house and vaporwave.
Have you heard of PC Music? I hear a lot of new music in London that kinda stems from this futuristic internet-informed aesthetic, and those guys are taking it to an extreme.
Yes, I really love what they are doing with pop music, it’s very fun, kitsch and self-aware.
How important is the internet to you? If you didn’t have SoundCloud or Bandcamp or any of that, how would you be getting your music out?
I would say that the Internet is the driving force of this project. Like many others, I learned production from online resources. I have collaborated with musicians from different parts of the world just using email and dropbox. I’m thankful for networks like Soundcloud and Bandcamp, they give anyone with an internet connection an opportunity to be heard. I’m not sure how else I would have been able to share my music. I just feel like it is a very exciting time to be a creative person with the technologies that are now available.
Do you play live shows or DJ? Are those things that you plan on doing in the future?
I was doing a lot of sets online, via tinychat.com events (like SPF420, Ecchi Party) organised by my friends / fellow producers. I recently did an online / international b2b set with a friend, between London and California, through tinychat. I love the DIY approach to organizing these ‘shows’… the low-res sound quality and the video lag from tinychat feels like early web 2.0. And I feel really endeared by the thought that people around the world overcoming geographical boundaries to do something together.
As for live shows, I just played my debut gig at Jack댄스 yesterday, along with PC Music (affiliated) artists like Spinee & Kero Kero Bonito. Online sets are fun but I enjoy the energy of performing live. I hope to do more of that in the coming years!
Right now, there are so many SoundCloud producers who incorporate a lot of really of-the-moment sounds. Do you think the market is saturated? How do you stand out?
It does feel very saturated since the tools for production are pretty accessible, as are the means for the distribution of music, but I think the same could be said of most creative fields. I feel like as long as you continue to work in a way that makes the most sense to you there will be people who will naturally gravitate towards your work and appreciate what you do.
What made you choose the name et aliae?
I think was writing a paper when I came up with the name (“et al.”)… I thought the typographic ligature formed by the ‘ae’ looked beautiful. I also wanted a name that suggested something that was deliberately not specific.
It also acknowledges the postmodern ‘death of the author”… like many ‘Soundcloud producers’ (in your terms) I work by sampling, appropriating, referencing pre-existing sounds, and so “and others” suggests an awareness of dissolution of that kind of ‘modernist’ conception of originality.
Sorry, don’t mean to imply that you are just a SoundCloud producer. Does that offend you?
I don’t find it offensive at all!