I recently caught up with San Diego / New Mexico based producer EshOne after his well-received show at SMOG Sundays a few weeks ago, and after an in depth interview came to the conclusion that we’re going to shake things up a bit and do something different. Enter the Galaxy Bowling EP. That’s correct; not one song up for grabs through Media Contender, an entire EP available exclusively for download right here.
★ ★ ★ ESHONE – GALAXY BOWLING EP ★ ★ ★
(To Download, right click and select “Save As”)
Galaxy Bowling ventures through four tracks exploring the deeper, darker realm of dubstep, each has a rather menacing edge that coherently delivers a perhaps a more grinding and slamming venture from what we’ve seen thus far with EshOne. All together a strong effort from the budding producer and something we at Media Contender are proud to be presenting. After an extensive interview with Donnie just this past week, we gained a ton of insight into his history and style, a lot of which go hand-in-hand with appreciating the direction of Galaxy Bowling. Huge round of applause!
Hi Donnie! How are you doing? What have you been up to this week?
Hi Laura! I am well, thank you. I’ve just been planning out what to do with the rest of the summer. Juggling going back and forth between my ranch in northern New Mexico, Albuquerque, San Diego, and Los Angeles for the past six months between gigs has been a challenge, I feel like I’ve been traveling and working on music non-stop for months. I guess I have.
Give us a little history about your venture into the music scene.
I was still living in Albuquerque when I was first introduced to electronic music in a live DJ setting. I developed an obsession with turntables, vinyl records, and Drum & Bass. When I moved home to San Diego about eight years ago, I jumped right into the DnB scene, which was also when I realized that you had to make your own beats to stand out as a DJ. Vinyl records were still the popular format, and since not many people had exclusives, so I decided to make my own. I got over the way dnb was heading sound-wise, I just started to make what I wanted to hear… what I thought was dubstep at the time. I wanted to DJ more, so Joe Nice recommended I speak with Oscar at Turnstyle Records, and I started cutting dubs. I began collaborating and hosting my own shows, as well as ran a website that kept tabs on dubstep events in the area. Outside of San Diego, working with Big Up Magazine gave me the opportunity to meet and to interview some of my favorite artists, such as El-B and Silkie. I’ve been lucky enough to swap unreleased tracks with a lot of the artists I’ve met along the way, and a good portion of them have really shaped my sound. Lately, I’ve been working on building Elk Beats, working with Miguel (of Accent Creative) and Dataset Clothing, and of course Drew and the SMOG crew have been a huge part in helping me get my sounds out.
OK, so your label Elk Beats… how did that start? What’s your mission with the label?
I started the label with my friend Aaron Zimmermann (Misk) to get our tunes out to people, kind of in a wholesale sort of way. While exploring distribution options, I just thought it was gross having to pay someone a hefty fee just to put a digital file into digital shops. I get a lot of real feedback about Elk Beats from the people who support us, and it’s just rad to have that connection with people. That’s what it’s all about. We originally wanted an all vinyl label, but we make so much music, it’s really not practical. So we put only our best tracks out on Elk Beats, and hopefully those sales will raise enough cash to put the best of the best, our absolute raddest work, out on limited edition vinyl. Or tape. Or whatever. All of the label’s proceeds just go back into the label… We’re just feeding it and watching it grow. We have a couple new artists now, so I’m excited to see what happens.
You’ve got a history of experience with dubplates as well. What is the importance of dubplates to you?
When I learned to DJ, I felt that vinyl was the only acceptable way to play tunes for a crowd. I guess as someone who makes music with this mindset, the next step is to get your tune cut, and try it out in the club. At first, it was cheaper to cut a few tunes to play in a vinyl set than to buy some sort of laptop interface or CDJs, so I did. I got addicted. I have cut almost every tune I have finished in the last 3 or 4 years, and loads of them from other musicians I know. I have always loved the way dubplates sounded on most club systems. The warm bass, punchy kicks and snares, even the crackle and sizzle at the beginning of each cut. I’ll always cut my own music to dubs, even if it’s just to have a laugh when I play them decades later. Also, fresh cut acetate has a smell that is as unforgettable as ultra-flat black Krylon, or new electronic equipment, it’s a thrill just to have it in your hands.
What’s one piece of DJ or studio equipment you wish existed?
An Easy-Bake Dubplate Oven. Can you imagine a kit with discs you can cut or etch your sound into on a small home lathe or printer real quick and then reset it back to a flat disc for the next show? Like in the oven? How sick would that be? I find that I’m most productive right before shows, so planning ahead for production and shipping time is the worst part of cutting dubs. Plus that shit’s expensive.
If you could have anyone in the world remix an original EshOne track, who would it be?
Boards of Canada. It would be amazing!
Tell us a little bit about the EP you’ve made, the inspiration behind it, etc:
The overall style on these might seem a little aggressive compared to what I normally make and play. My guess is that being out in New Mexico and not being able to see the music I want is really affecting me. In a positive way. I’m getting a lot more outside and real influence into the music I’m making, and it’s getting weird. I’m just making stuff I want to play. My good friend Miguel at Accent Creative (also creator of Dataset) has also done some amazing artwork. We’re both obsessed with The Big Lebowski, and I’m hoping people will get the visual reference.
What does the future look like for EshOne?
I’m putting more energy into Elk Beats than ever before. I’m subconsciously working on an album right now, and talking to some other potential labels about releasing it. Dataset Clothing is a big project that I’m very excited to be involved in; I grew up skateboarding, so the idea of having a team and creating a presence that inspires people and pushes people to go harder is something I’m very into.
My workflow has also been changing. I’m making a lot of music for specific occasions. For example, at the last Smog Sundays I played, my whole intro and a handful of tracks were made specifically for that show. I’m starting to build on the idea of every performance being special. I’ll be honest, being able to change my tracks around last minute and play the freshest version has had me experimenting with playing CDs at my last few shows.
As far as the very near future, I’m pushing buttons and prepping for the next Dub Smugglers. I believe it to be the best dubstep event in San Diego, and Sublmnl Sound System’s events at Kava Lounge have always been the most fun party to experience. This time they are hosting Coki of Digital Mystikz, so I’m sure it’s going to be an historic occasion for San Diego.
Words: Laura Dambuleff
View all posts by Laura Dambuleff