Lost City Music Festival Interview: Echo Island

To celebrate the coming of the first ever Lost City Music Festival, we decided it might be nice to sit down with some of the performers playing at the festival.  Today, we got the chance to speak with Brad Hawes of Madison band Echo Island.  Catch Echo Island Friday, July 6th @ the Project Lodge.

MAM (Corey Murphy): What is Echo Island?  What should audience members expect to see at your live set?

Echo Island (Brad Hawes): Echo Island is a project I started a year and a half ago as kind of a test to see if I could write and perform music on my own. I love electronic music, so I wanted to see if I could make some of my own.  Because it’s electronic music, you expect a lot of sampling from the live set.  But I also play keys and drums over the sampled tracks to bring more of a performance aspect to the show.

MAM: Echo Island is relatively new to the scene in Madison.  What were you doing before this?  What other groups do you play in?

EI: Before I started Echo Island I played in several groups in the Madison area.  I played in Revolving Doors for a few years and I played with Marc Claggett in The Cemetery Improvement Society for about a year and a half.  I’m currently part of The Projection People and Butt Funnel on top of what I’m doing with Echo Island.

MAM: What is your favorite Echo Island tune to perform live?  Which one is the most difficult (in terms of technical performance issues)?

EI: I think it’s a tie between Acousticophobia and The Unknown.  They’re both pretty driving songs and just fun to perform.  I’m not sure which song is most difficult.  Closure is a bit tricky because I’m playing keys and drums at the same time, but none of them are overly difficult for me.

MAM: Who would you cite as influences?  What other bands do you listen to most?

EI: Influences are a mixture of national musicians and more regional electronic artists.  DJ Shadow, Shigeto, Four Tet, Massive Attack, Portishead, Nine Inch Nails, Nosaj Thing, and Daedelus.  Closer to home would be adoptahighway, Dolor, Chants, All Tiny Creatures, Man Mantis, The Demix etc.

MAM: What is the latest release form Echo Island?  Where can it be found?

EI: The latest release is “In Circles” which can be found on my bandcamp, or a physical copy can be purchased at the live shows.

MAM: What’s next?

EI: I’m currently working on an EP tentatively called “Metropolis.”  I’m going about it as kind of a soundtrack to a city.

MAM: Explain MELT.  What is your involvement in this collective?

EI: MELT is basically one busy man.  It was started by Paul Demix, of The Demix, in Milwaukee over a year ago to showcase WI electronic music.  I’ve played a couple MELT events and discussed with Paul about expanding it to Madison in addition to the shows he already does in Milwaukee.  But MELT is really all him.  It’s his baby, and these days it’s really growing.

MAM: Who are your favorite Madison bands?  Who are you most excited to see at the fest?

EI: Off the top of my head: All Tiny Creatures, Czarbles, Chants, Pushmi-Pullyu, Golden Donna. I’m really looking forward to seeing The Cemetery Improvement Society set.  I’m eager to hear the new music Marc has come up with. I’m also looking forward to Sleepy Lesbos, and all the bands I’m sharing the bill with on Friday night.

MAM: What is your favorite snack food?

EI: Not afraid to ask the tough questions.  I respect that.  At the moment, I’m a big fan of chocolate covered pretzels.  The secret is out…


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