Organic grooves, abstract patterns, melodic atmosphere and trance-inducing beats. Drawing from electronic music, but bringing it to life on real instruments, the futuristic four-piece ECHT!’s music is influenced by many styles, from experimental jazz through drum ‘n’ bass and trap to hip-hop. And on February 21, they will bring their innovative style to A38 from Brussels. Before their concert, the band talked about their history and creative processes.
First of all, tell us a little about yourself. When and how was the band formed? Whose idea was it?
The band was formed in the beginning of 2017, starting from an idea of Florent (guitarist) and Martin (drummer) and then recruiting Dorian (keys ) and Federico (bass) in order to open, almost weekly, the “sunday jam” in a small club in the center of Brussels, where the band was regularly rehearsing, called “Bonnefooi”.
Your music clearly shows that you received music education. Tell us a little about this, who studied music, where and what?
We all attended the “Koninklijk Conservatorium op Brussel”, not at the same time though, but we were all students at one point, at the jazz department.
The soundscape of your music is both dark and abstract, with some tracks it can be said to be sick – in the best sense of the word – but you can still feel the genius and precision that jazz music requires. How did you find this particular sound? How difficult was it to find your own voice? What or who were the inspirations? Where do the dark themes come from?
We all listened to some producers as “Aphex Twin” (and almost all his alias), “Squarepusher”, “Monopoly”, “JDilla” but, especially for this second album, we put a focus on Djs like “Ivy Lab” or “Tsuruda” and we tried to “imitate” their style, their construction of tunes and, last but not least, to try to reproduce those sounds and ambiances with conventional instruments like acoustic drums, bass, guitar and keys.
Basically, we used the process of transcribing but not only for the notes, mainly for the sounds, and trying to be as close as possible to the original. Of course we failed and never achieved the result (hahaha) but opened ourselves to different solutions that were satisfying us and we kept exploring in this way and we still do.
How does your creative process look like? Do the tracks come from jamming or did you go to each other with ready-made ideas?
Definitely we jam a lot and find most of the ideas that then eventually become a tune, but we still keep it open and it happened that some of us came with a certain idea that can be a groove or a keyboard riff and we build the rest around.
Who is the craziest of the team? Who comes up with the sickest musical ideas?
The craziest is definitely our sound engineer actually. Otherwise I would say we’re pretty sane and well behaved boys and still, fortunately -from our point of view- each of us have sick and weird ideas (don’t get me in any trouble now).
In the tracks, elements of electronic, hip hop and jazz genres are mixed. Which genre is closest to who?
It’s a difficult question. Indeed there is a lot of different genres and influences in our music. That’s something that we even claim. And we all have this jazz background, we also all love hip-hop and electronic so it’s hard to say which one of us is the closest to a specific genre. We try not to be that way for sure. Nobody has a “role” and we’re always trying to find a good balance between the four of us. When one of us is being too much “jazz” or “rock” influenced for instance, the others correct him. Hope that answers your question.
Your latest album ‘Sink-Along’ was released in May 2023, which was a bit „angrier” and “stronger” than the previous one. Tell me a little about it, what was the concept?
With this album we wanted to play with the codes of club music and bass music. We wanted to have a “deep” sound and we realized that actually all the colors that we were inspired with were pretty dark. And we chose not to fight it and to go with it actually. That’s how we felt at the time. Pretty heavy indeed.
The goal was to bring the audience to take a different look at some styles that are associated with the club and to take the listener in an atmosphere that evoque the end of the night.
Ninouzella, Rouf-rouf, Cheesecake. How do you choose the titles of your songs? Do these have any backstory?
Finding titles is not easy and that’s kind of the last step we do before releasing the track. Like everything in this band, we select the titles collectively. What we do usually is that we each come up with some titles for every song if possible and then we decide together which one is the best for each.
And concerning the backstories for “Ninouzella” it’s an anagram of “Allez l’Union” and we loved the fact that it would pay a hidden tribute to our favorite football club : l’Union Saint-Gilloise, for “Rouf-Rouf” it’s a belgian expression and it means “Quickly done”, “without taking care” and we liked the fact that it sounds like a bark. And for Cheesecake it’s an homage to a tune we love called “Cake” by the producers Ivy Lab and we love Cheesecake so there you go.
Have you ever thought about having vocals in your music, for example in the form of feats in the future?
That’s a question we got a lot in the beginning of the project but we wanted to establish ourselves musically as something that could be only instrumental before going into featuring first. But now we want to be able to invite some rappers or singers on our songs. So that’s something that will definitely happen in the future.
If you had to describe the band in three words, what would they be?
DJ style (Ok that’s two word this one but i could have said “cheaters” also, so two birds in one)
What are your plans for the future?
Keep having fun above all and manage to stay together over time.