Empty is a small local artist with a huge amount of potential that we recently stumbled across during a standard Soundcloud trawl. His remix of Flume’s “Say It” was what we first discovered; we loved the experimental trap vibes he created. Be sure to check out his guest mix on our Soundcloud (linked below) and have a read of the full exclusive interview we conducted with this up and coming producer.
What is your real name and tell us how the name EMPTY came about?
I have a lot of love for Buddhist philosophy. In Buddhism there’s a term, śūnyatā, that refers to the idea of a no-self; an experience beyond the ego, the “I”. More directly it translates to emptiness. I interpret this concept as recognising that what causes us suffering in life are the things that we ourselves construct within our minds — what we fill ourselves with, voluntarily or otherwise. We create our own prisons in fear, jealously, lust, envy, hate, etc. However, just as we create our own prisons by allowing ourselves to house these negative qualities, we’re also capable of choosing to empty ourselves of them.
In my experience, I’ve found that music has an incredible capacity to free me from those qualities, if not for just a moment. But that moment is enough to influence and inspire me to go on and cultivate myself, in an effort to empty myself of anything that stands in the way of spreading love to the world. With all of this in perspective, my real name means nothing.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what aspects about their music do you like the most that give you inspiration?
Slumberjack, Flume, Sakuraburst and The Books.
First off, the Slumberjack boys, Morgan and Fletch, were the two who taught me my entire basic production knowledge in Ableton when I decided to step over from FL Studio. They were incredibly helpful and friendly when I was learning all the ropes in my first few months and have always been just really genuine people. Their music ethic and productivity is also completely another level. Ever since their first single, Felon, they’ve absolutely slayed it in terms of production, constantly crafting a sound that is uniquely theirs, and inspiring me to do the same.
Flume was the first Producer who’s music opened me up to the feeling of being emptied of worry, doubt, stress, all of that. Not long after GTM 2013, I had exams. I remember listening to ‘Sleepless’ on the train one morning on the way to one of my exams and all my worries and doubts just emptied from my mind. It was the first piece of music to open me up to that experience.
I love contrast, juxtaposition of harsh and clean, ugly and beautiful sounds, textures, whatever. Sakuraburst is a producer that is absolutely incredibly at achieving this distorted balance that is imperfect beauty. They have only 12k followers on Soundcloud which I feel is really underwhelming considering how good all of their shit is so definitely check them out.
Finally, The Books. The least electronic selection of the bunch and yet the absolutely most profoundly impacting group on me as a producer, let alone as a human being. I’d rather you went and listened their music than me attempting to project my ineffable appreciation of them into words. Their track ‘The Lemon of Pink” is the my favourite song.
Your EP Contrast, came out on the 8th of March on Bandcamp. Tell us about the creative process behind the album and what did you want to portray through your songs?
The contrast EP was half a representation of my spiritual development at the time, and half an outlet for my love of bangers. The tracks Post Modern, Sleep, and No Morning are all just outlets for the passion I have for cutting loose to fat tunes. On the other hand, the tracks Fear and Love represent my biggest spiritual challenge. One of them, Love, is the absolute expression of the feeling of being emptied and embracing, well, Love. Fear is the opposite. Its every feeling of dissonance and suffering that humans necessarily must feel before they empty themselves of of hate and fear. Fear is egocentric and will destroy everything and anything so long as you allow it. Love does the opposite. It is the most powerful, creative, and ego-destroying force to exist.The two tracks, bringing a close to the EP, are my attempts at conveying that.
So far as the process of creating them, the most time was taken actually coming up with methods of actually getting these ideas across (not so much with the bangers but yeah). This is where my love of contrast really became apparent as an Empty signature.
What are some of your favorite plugins that you use or would recommend?
I love to utilise Waves S1 Stereo imager. In a synth heavy drop, I’ll often automate the wideness of the synths themselves with the same automation curve as the track volume. This way when the synths get louder or softer so does its size in the stereo field.
Also, there’s an AU by a guy who runs a plugin company named AirWindows, called NC-17. It’s essentially an Ableton saturator but next level. At first I just popped it on the end of my drum groups for an easy extra 3.5db push before the mastering chain, but now I put it on almost every group before being sent to mastering. This plugin isn’t free, but I’d say it’s well worth it if you want your tunes to stand up in loudness to the high rollers.
What’s one magic secret about production that you found super important?
Simplicity is absolutely key. The average listener will only ever take notice of around 3 elements in a song at any one time, so determine which elements you want those to be, and cut the fat. Anything else that isn’t necessary will only take from the big picture.
Also, saturate and EQ everything, and get that sub hitting at -6db.
Also, also, the modulation oscillator in Massive is something I find super important in creating my sound. For example the sub in the second drop of my Flume Remix is completely synthesised in Massive with a lot of modulation.
Describe the music scene in Perth and how has this shaped your direction as a producer.
Ever since I heard the song ‘The Werewolf’ by Figure I’ve absolutely loved and lost my shit for heavy tunes. As soon as I turned 18 and began going to clubs, that love of absolutely losing my shit over tunes and being in that moment of just awwww yeah has grown on me. This has definitely propelled my desire to want to take part in that scene more as a DJ actually performing my curation of songs to a crowd. However it’s also somewhat challenged me because I’m also aware of how interconnected the drug scene is with clubbing in general and while I don’t judge people on their choices, nor am I anti-drug in any direct way, I feel that the empty moments that I’ve mentioned can be lost on some level while pinging or drunk otherwise. And while the feelings that music creates can definitely work in conjunction with drugs, I have my uncertainties whether they can when it comes to embracing an empty state.
What is special about you that differentiates you from other producers?
Thats one hell of a question. The main characteristics that permeate my sound would be the contrast between harsh and heavy, to softer and beautiful. But this all comes from my mindset of attempting to convey my beliefs about the world. However, this can often be less transparent when I’m trying to make bangers. When I’m doing that, I try to differentiate myself by pushing boundaries, creating drops that people haven’t heard enough of before. I think I found a good middle ground between these two musical inspirations in my Flume Remix.
Hard or soft shell tacos? Why?
I am a hardman.
Where is your go to place to eat in Perth?
Taka. Udon is always tasty. In fact the first song I ever completely produced was a carmacky little concoction that came from an ambience recording I took in Taka.
Do you have any secret talents outside of music?
I can juggle hell well and balance heaps of shit on my face.
What is the best gig or concert you’ve ever been to?
What So Not Forever Tour, Sunday Night @ Villa in 2015. Mmm that was one tasty night. Also Skrillex at Stereos two years ago.
Where would your dream home be and why?
Somewhere in the Johto region where there’s good Seadra fishing. I’ve always liked Kingdra.
Who would be the best surprise candidate for the upcoming Australian Election?