Insight Interview: Ecepta

Ecepta‘s extraordinary remixes of Burial’s entire ‘Untrue’ album took the future garage world by storm recently. We caught up with the man himself to chat about his music and what’s on the horizon for Ecepta. Check out our exclusive interview here…

Hey Ecepta, thanks so much for agreeing to an interview. Where are you based? Do you tend to travel a lot, or are you firmly rooted at home?

Thanks a lot for having me! I’m currently based in Leiden, The Netherlands. I don’t travel much, which is completely fine for me, since I also like staying at home. There are a lot of nice places in my city. I am starting to visit other cities in The Netherlands more often though.

Can you recall your first real exposure to music?

Not really, actually. I’ve been into music for as long as I can remember. My aunt plays in an orchestra, so I’ve heard a lot of classical music as a kid too. Then as I got older, music started to be a bigger part of my life.

How and when did you first begin writing and creating music?

I wanted to be a singer when I was 7 or 8, so I started to do singing lessons. At some point, my teacher showed me Audacity and I immediately wanted to try to make dubstep with it. So at first I just recorded stuff from the internet and placed them in an order. Pretty similar to Burial’s workflow actually, although my music was really shitty. Eventually, someone told me that making music in an actual DAW was easier, so I downloaded FL Studio, which is what I still use now.

How did you decide upon the name Ecepta?

A good friend of mine, Roeland, came up with that actually. My dad is from Egypt (“Egypte” in Dutch). So Roeland started to play around with the sound of that word, if that makes sense, haha. That’s how he came up with “Ecepta”. Fun fact: I always pronounced the “c” in Ecepta like a “k”, until everybody started pronouncing it like an “s”.

Have you made or released music under any other name?

Roeland and I are making Drum & Bass and Halftime under the name “The Outsiders“. Not a lot of our music is out yet, but we do have some releases planned on some really cool labels… I’m really looking forward to showing that to the world. I’m not 100% sure, but I think the next release will be on Noisia’s “Invisible Recordings“.

Can you describe your music for us?

I try to make the stuff I like to listen to. So it changes all the time, to be honest. Overall, I think my music is chill/melodic, while I’m trying to keep the production value as high as possible. I also like putting a lot of work in my drums. Drums are a really important part of electronic music for me. It’s insane how they can change the sound of a tune.

Tell us about your recent remix project for Burial’s iconic album ‘Untrue’? How did you decide to make this project? What did you want to achieve with it?

Burial has always been an huge influence/inspiration for me. But this album, to me, was even more special than his other stuff. I wanted to get to know the music better than I already did. When I saw that Davwuh remixed Burial’s first album, I wanted to try the same with “Untrue”. At first, it was a little bit weird for me to do, since I never really liked other people remixing Burial tracks. But remixing a complete album felt different. I thought it would give me an insight into his way of composing, and it would also give other people a reason to give the album a little more attention again.

When I realised that 5-11-2017 was exactly 10 years after the original release, I knew I had to finish it fast, so I could release it on that date!

Have you played live recently? Would you like to do more shows or tours in future? Anything coming up soon you’d like to tell us about?

I don’t do shows as Ecepta, since there aren’t many people who like to go to a club and dance to future garage. I did play live as The Outsiders this summer and we will be doing more shows soon. I recently bought cdj’s, so we’re able to practice a lot now, which is nice.

What have been your biggest influences?

I always listen to music, so I get inspiration from a lot of things. But to name the most important ones, it’s Noisia production-wise, and Burial and Azaleh composition-wise. I’ve been listening to a lot of experimental stuff like Alon Mor and Former’s new EP on Division Recordings too. But I don’t think you can hear that in my music at the moment.

Recently, I’m starting to get into old school garage and jungle, like Steve Gurley, Alaska, a little bit. I love how those tunes have so much soul. They don’t sound too electronic and perfect, like a lot of music does nowadays.

Do you think producing electronic music requires technical or creative skill? Or both?

Some music leans more towards the technical side, while other music needs more creativity/musicality. The garage/jungle stuff I just referred to definitely shouldn’t have a perfect production for example. On the other hand, there is a lot of modern Drum & Bass music that I really don’t like, just because of a bad mixdown or bad sounding drums. But I think the best music definitely requires both. A good example would be “The Movember Collection” by Culprate, Koan Sound and Asa, which is both musically and technically outstanding.

Do you tend to find the creative process a cathartic or therapeutic experience? Has creating music helped you cope with difficult times in your life?

Absolutely! I’ve had difficult times where making music made it a lot easier for me. The funny thing is that making music to forget the stuff around you, often gives great results and makes you really happy later on. I think that’s because you put a lot of emotion in the music and other people can hear that. My track “Fade Away” was a good example of that. It was the first track of mine that got quite a lot of feedback. Especially compared to my other music around that time.

Any collaborations, remixes or joint projects on the horizon?

We’ve been making a lot of music for The Outsiders, including a collaboration with NCT, forthcoming on Liquicity. I can’t wait to release that. Me and Azaleh are also working on a 5-track EP together, which is pretty Burial-inspired. The EP is almost finished, and I think it’s the project I did with Ecepta that I’m most proud of.

Any new genres or musical styles you’d like to explore in future?

I would love to do more Koan Sound-ish stuff in the future. More complex arrangements, sound design etc. I can’t get enough of tracks like “Starlite” or “Mosaic”.

Do you have any thoughts on the future of electronic music? Do you think the scene will evolve further?

I don’t necessarily have any expectations, but I do hope that experimental music becomes more popular. I think Division Recordings is doing a good job with bringing that to a larger audience. I already referred to “Former – Edge Mecha EP” earlier in this interview, but I really hope there will be more producers that will be making that kind of stuff.

Any other new releases coming our way?

Like I said, there’s a lot music forthcoming from The Outsiders, as well as the EP with Azaleh. I also did a track that’s pretty similar to my tune “By My Side” and I hope I can release it together with a few remixes.

Do you have a favourite track / song of all time? Favourite artist?

That’s a hard one. There is not one track or one artist in particular, but I do have my favourites. “Southbound” by Vacant will always be really special for me, as well as “Could This Be” by Noisia, and “Ember” by Camo & Krooked. Those three tracks meant a lot to me. Southbound and Ember helped me deal with difficult times in my life, and Could This Be was the first “heavy” Drum & Bass track that I heard, and I immediately fell in love. I don’t know if The Outsiders existed if we never heard that track. Of course Burial is one of my favourite artists too, if not my favourite. I can’t explain how much I love his album “Untrue”. I’m currently listening to his more recent track “Young Death” a lot as well.

It’s been said that a life in music can be a hard one. Would you agree with that?

Absolutely… Especially since you can listen to most music online for free, and there are few people that actually pay for the music they listen to.

But I still go to school, so I don’t have to worry about all that yet. I hope I can make a living out of it eventually.

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring young producers?

I’ve had people ask for production advice multiple times, and I always said something similar: Don’t overuse effects. In chill genres, a lot of people want to put way too much reverb on sounds, or they want every sound to be extremely spectacular in whatever way. But eventually, it sounds pretty bad in the overall mixdown. So my advice would be to not overdo things in the production process, because eventually you will end up with something that’s way cleaner and better sounding if you’re more careful. I think to explain this well, it’s cool to compare my track “By My Side” to my track “Petrichor“. In Petrichor, all the sounds have way too much reverb/compression and there is a lot going on as well, which makes the mixdown pretty messy. By My Side, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. The sounds don’t have too much effects on them and the mixdown sounds pretty clean to me.

And finally – are there any tracks / artists that are relatively unknown that you’d like people to know about?

I’ve been talking to Dakun a little bit lately. He’s a really nice guy and an amazing producer. Also, please check out Alon Mor if you don’t know him already. His music impresses me every time. The same goes for Former.

Thanks so much Ecepta!

Thank you too!!

Ecepta’s amazing music is available here and here.