Premiere: Meet EL J, the Perth producer making a move with his new EP, BRIGHT
The West Australian producer's debut EP is a testament to the growth and evolution of the producer over the last few years.
In Perth's electronic world, EL J is a producer people are keeping an eye on. The project of Jack McDonald has been one-to-watch for a few years now, finding an imprint amongst Perth's explosive trap dominance in 2017, where he positioned himself as a newcoming favourite in both production and on the then-booming club cycle. Since then, EL J has constantly kept people on their toes, folding in new sub-genres and textures into their sound while playing sets at Groovin the Moo, Breakfest and Origin Fields; the latter two world-recognised for their amplifying of upcoming dance music talent.
In the last two years, however, things have been quiet. A part of that would no doubt come down to the shuttering of clubs across the country in 2020, but instead of wallowing in the uncertainty of what's next, EL J put his head down and began a journey of evolution and growth, building up his production skillset and growing a catalogue of work that's beginning to finally see the light of day.
His debut EP BRIGHT showcases this sense of evolution and growth that's defined his last twelve months or so, and with its premiere on Pilerats today, a new chapter of EL J commences. Across four tracks, BRIGHT delves into EL J's wide-ranging inspirations and how he's able to turn them into genre-shifting music of his own; entirely instrumental, but still telling a story of growth and forward-thinking prowess as he moulds together elements of glitchy trap, hip-hop production, drum'n'bass and beyond.
"I spent the past year really exploring my production and creativity," he says on the EP, the end product of this journey through his production and the many genre avenues it goes down. "I learnt a lot about my creative process and what gets me inspired and from this, I made lots of music. So I decided to put some of the tracks made during that period into an EP."
It's a brilliant EP that introduces a new take on EL J; one which feels like a long time coming, and the end product of a lot of hard work. Take a dive into it below as it premieres on Pilerats now, and then underneath, introduce yourself to EL J and keep an eye out for shows to come:
Tell us about yourself?
My name's Jack, I'm 22 years old and have been producing music since I was about 15/16. I got my start in music from wanting to produce instrumentals like J Dilla, Madlib, Onra etc. The way they were able to put so much energy/emotion into their beats really blew me away and I wanted to do the same. So I bought my first MPC and it all started from there. Then as I went deeper into production I got more into electronic music and here I am today.
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
I like my music to be fun but to also carry emotion. It differs from track to track but I like writing things that combine both. A song that can take you on a journey and then pull you back, I love that. I like sounds that are synthetic and organic and I try to incorporate that into the music I make.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
I really like to get in the zone before I create. Doing little things that put me in the right headspace to have a productive studio sesh really helps. Whether that be going for a walk, surf or getting a coffee before I start. Also not worrying about writing anything good usually produces better results haha.
And when I’m in the studio it always differs but I love experimenting with all sorts of sounds, samples, plugins etc. I love getting deep in sound design and then just recording everything I do. I'll record a bunch of random things, things that sound bad, things that sound good. Then I’ll resample that and play with it some more to get some interesting sounds. Or I'll have sessions where I sit at my midi keyboard and just play around until I get a melody/chord progression going. I like to switch it up all the time.
Can you tell us about your new EP, BRIGHT?
I spent the past year really exploring my production and creativity. I learnt a lot about my creative process and what gets me inspired and from this I made lots of music. So I decided to put some of the tracks made during that period into an EP.
What do you have planned for 2021?
A lot more music, collaborations and I'm currently trying to create a live performance!
What do you want people to take away from your work?
If my music can connect with people on an emotional level I'd be really happy with that.