Your Q&A and Your First EDM: 1st Base Runner’s New EP “Ellis” is Coming [Video]
The love of modulators (which every EDM fan should own a bit of) can make you lose some interesting, not necessarily conventional, musical bunnyholes. As the first providers of electronic sound as early as the 1920s, mods have been instrumental (pardon the pun) in the creation of all forms of electronic music, including EDM, to the present day. Having said that, it’s not just EDM producers who are mod heads, and in fact, as EDM grows, artists in all other genres, including indie rock, are turning to rockets. mods to create unique but recognizable electronic sounds for their own work. 1st Base Runner is one of those independent artists.
The difference between how mods and electronics are used in the independent world now and in the past (see: new wave, krautrock, et al.), is that electronic production is more than ever integrated into relative analog rock sounds. Rather than being a side dish or accompaniment, the mods and software that create electronic indie rock are not only integrated but an integral part of the sound.
Having just signed to Universal for its cast, 1st Base Runner (1BR) is poised to join an elite roster of indie EDM and indie rock artists who have broken the mold and straddled multiple genres while creating a unique sound that will find fans on both sides of the electronics division. With a Radiohead sensitivity and a Venetian snares– mod capacity level, 1BR is heading to their next EP with the group’s former collaborator and namesake of the project, Bryan Ellis focused on this unique sound and what it means both musically and personally.
It was only a matter of time, after following 1st Base Runner, named Tim Husmann, before we started scrambling to interview the Austin-based artist here at Your EDM, and it doesn’t come too soon after. the success and industry interest of her debut album, Seven years of silence and before Ellis and his many other upcoming projects have struck a chord. Check out these words from the elusive and sometimes cryptic artist about his life, times and mods. The premiere of the single “Flux” from the next EP follows the interview.
Questions first: why did you decide to stop touring other musicians and focus on your solo work?
There was a strong sense of self-doubt that I was unable to reconcile. In some ways, it’s always been easier to play a role.
What is the meaning of the name of the project, 1st base runner?
I think it speaks to the elephant in the room: the desire to become real. It’s also a game on my physical condition.
Your first album, Seven years of silence, seemed like there was a lot of emotional openness required and, despite having a lot of styles musically, his songs were unequivocally pieces of reflection / feeling. with Ellis, the work still feels emotional, but it’s smoother and more thoughtful, thematically. What kinds of emotions were you trying to evoke on this EP versus Seven yearsâ¦?
Seven yearsâ¦ was what I had to explore to become free again; a sort of sound space reclamation. The Ellis EP was a collaborative effort with former Austin band member Bryan Ellis. It was a throwback to the origin, but through the prism of being once removed. The hope was to revisit the sense of teenage nostalgia, perhaps mixed with an adult notion of acceptance.
Speaking of differences between the two versions, while Seven yearsâ¦ had a lot going on stylistically and each track looked completely different from the last, Ellis feels more tied to a singular theme. What were the themes you were going for this time?
Yes. Seven yearsâ¦ Rather, it was about standing in the sun after being covered in mud. About owning the fluctuations and always agreeing with them in the mirror. Ellis is an attempt at reconciliation and a search for meaning in the previous life; trying to exist in a singular world.
You just released a performance video for a single single, a cover of “Rabbit In Your Headlights âby Thom Yorke’s UNKLE project, a version that you could actually call a remix since you basically rewrote the song with mods. You did a similar format with your cover / remix of “A hymn âby IDLES. What do you love about remixing indie tracks like this with mods?
Ownership. It is not proper coverage if done through the same lens. It must be made whole and different in itself.
What do you love most about podcast-style performance videos? Is there a specific reason why you like them for your covers / remixes?
I find them quite awkward, but to be real we all have to exist somewhere. To be made real is to be laid bare. There is a feeling that I appreciate in each of them.
You’ve made it clear that you’re a mod on your Instagram and elsewhere, and you’ve laid out a number of your builds. What do you like about them and how do you think they help you express your style?
They give depth and a nod to other artists that I really appreciate. People who forced me to think and feel.
Has the desire to focus on modulators so influence your decision to step away from touring?
No, the tours are a necessity. I’ve been putting together a live band for a few months. I really hope the programming will be over soon. Music should be accessible in real life. Although I might naturally prefer to be a hermit.
In terms of style, there are a lot of artists that you could name who seem to have influenced you, but which artists do you think have contributed the most to shaping your musical consciousness?
I think there are a lot of references available here, all from the Louvin Brothers To Tones on the tail. I want to convey a mood more than a style. Anything that creates a feeling, good or bad, is still relevant in my world. I think my musical consciousness has been shaped by life experiences. I tend to look for feelings of all kinds. Sometimes these feelings correspond to where I am in life.
As for the videos released so far that aren’t based on performance or a single-camera studio, it looks like you’ve got a pretty specific aesthetic in mind that seems to blend in well with your sound. How did you find these directors and do you plan to have a similar aesthetic in the future?
I had the chance to meet Dilly Ghent (former Creative Director of Radiohead), because my partner Lisa had a dream telling her that she should call him. A creative director is a bit like a wizard pulling levers behind the curtain. Dilly has a deep understanding of the 1BR project as a whole and thinks a lot about which director would be the best fit for my clips.
Dilly set me up with Matt Mahurin for âBreak Evenâ and âOnly Oneâ and we really clicked. Matt is a bit of a creative scholar and a highly respected photographer, artist, director, and teacher. He literally makes all the accessories (you see in the videos) by hand. He brought in a really talented kid actor to play me in âBreak Even,â which is about being in a car accident on Christmas Eve just before my 6th birthday. These are dark subjects, but life is messy. Overcoming challenges is also complicated, but it gives you courage, and Matt did a magnificent job putting my origin story into artistic visual form. I think the aesthetic is both dark and hopeful at the same time.
Speaking of the future, other than the impending release of Ellis, what do you have to come in terms of releases, videos or general developments?
Professionally, I have two upcoming EPs: Night rammer, which is a four-track electronic recording with a dark stream of consciousness, and Light roars, a five-track âliveâ electronic band project. I will be going to Montreal in January to have Liroars mixed with Hotel 2 Tango, the famous analog recording studio. We recently signed to Universal as a distribution arm with the help of Rob Gordon. Live shows will be announced in early 2022. Aside from that, I recently had the chance to acquire a Martenot waves, (a first electronic mod / keyboard invented in 1928).
Ellis will be released in full on December 9. In the meantime, check out 1st Base Runner’s Seven years of silence LP enabled Band Camp Where Spotify and his other austere and beautiful videos on Youtube.
Featured photo credit: Dilly Gent