Ahead of the final release for 2019 on RTR, ‘Analog Spaces’, Nick Dawson drops by to round the year off for the 17th Maker feature. Under the name of Eumig, Nick creates deeply evolving drones and synthesised soundscapes, using analogue synths and processing equipment. He’s been a long-time friend of RTR and there couldn’t be a better artist to close what has been a phenomenal year for the label. Nick co-hosts the Otherwires radio show alongside James Green, which has been very supportive of RTR.
In this feature, Nick talks about his early introductions to ambient and experimental music, finding inspiration through collaborating with others, recording hours and hours of new music, and the qualities of the cassette medium that add to experimental listening experience. Nick has also provided some great music recommendations, including the recent re-issue of Jonsi & Alex’s ‘Riceboy Sleeps’ (personal favourite – James), as well as 2019 favourites Them Yorke and Ariel Kalma & Sarah Davachi.
How did you first get introduced to ambient/drone/experimental music?
I have always been drawn to the interesting and obscure sounds found in music and film. When I was kid my brother and I used to record sounds off the tv and radio with a handheld tape recorder and we played them back over and over. That love of ‘noises’ is something which has never really left me. The background sound and sègue parts of Pink Floyd tracks fascinated me growing up too.
I’ve been listening to increasingly more and more abstract music over the past 20 years; DJing and producing techno interested me in this way and gradually I’ve uncoupled my ideas from set percussive structures.
Major milestones for me have been Black Dice – ‘Beaches and Canyons’ (2004), Steve Reid & Keiran Hebdon – ‘The Exchange Sessions’ (2007) and Stars of the Lid – ‘The Tired Sounds of…’ (2001). I could go on…
What inspires you to create a new body of work?
Often a new piece of equipment can be very inspiring! I love guitar pedals and a new addition can make all your other equipment behave differently. Collaborating and recording with others always gives me a new perspective on what’s possible with sound. Watching live performances is obviously very inspiring too, seeing how other people go about their business can often make me rethink my approach.
How do you approach working on a new release?
I record a lot and sometimes a ‘group’ of tracks will emerge which appear to form a coherent thread or complement each other in some way. Analog Spaces is an example of that, the tracks are taken from some hours of recordings made last winter.
Can you tell us about your favourite new release from the last 12 months?
It’s been an odd year for new releases I think but Thom Yorke’s ‘Anima’ was outstanding though wasn’t it, he is consistently excellent. Ariel Kalma & Sarah Davachi collaborating on Intemporel was a thing of much joy. The re-release of Jònsi & Alex Somer’s ‘Riceboy Sleeps’ has also been a highlight, rarely is it off the turntable.
As RTR is a tape label, we have to ask: What attracts you to the cassette medium?
I’ve always had a soft spot for cassettes, they played a key part in my childhood. Arranging the album for the format has been really nice too, like vinyl you need to consider having two distinct halves and so on. Also, with resonant textural music the inherent noise associated with cassettes only adds to the experience.
Eumig’s ‘Analog Spaces’ (RTR024) releases on Monday 16/12/2019, limited to 40 cassettes and as a digital download. The album also appears in the RTR Winter 2019 Batch with albums by Matt Atkins and Tyresta from earlier in the year.