When I walked into Be Here Now, Muncie’s artsy-yet-totally-rad all-ages venue on St. Patty’s Day, I was planning on taking in an hour or two of music before heading home early. Once again, the Midwest music scene proved me wrong. Indigo Sun was already rocking to an energetic crowd while Alex ‘Herm’ Schneider of Herm Productions lit up the otherwise cave-like corner that houses the small stage on the lower level of BHN.
Amongst the crowd, I stumbled upon the 3 guys who make up Eumatik. Derek Shelton (drums) and Ashton Kleeman (keys) bounced about with the same mix of quirky antics and mischievous charisma they always exude while Josh Lockwood (Ableton Live production guru) looked over their equipment. Josh is the quiet one…calm demeanor, polite smile, a little shy. That is, until they take the stage and he puts the hood of his zip-up on. At that point he, along with Shelton and Kleeman, morph into a crazy, dance-inducing music machine that literally forces your body to move and your mind to slip into the music.
With the welcomed addition of Herm’s never-ending flow of beautiful colors and dramatic effects, they took over the crowd of appreciative music fans celebrating the Irish in all of us. It’s hard not to fall prey to their free-flowing and infectious energy. I did and loved every minute of it.
After their St. Patty’s gig, I asked the guys a series of questions to help the IndyMojo crowd become a little more familiar with this talented trio in preparation of their set this Thursday, March 31st at the Mousetrap with Psynapse & Jeremy Daeger for Indymojo Presents: Altered Thurzdaze w/Eumatik. View full event details here.
Chances are, if you’ve been anywhere near the Midwest Jam scene in the last couple years, then you’ve seen Josh Lockwood and Ashton Kleeman in action before. They are 2/3 of the psychedelic/fusion band Catch Curtis and Kleeman is also half of the livetronica duo Emryonic Fluid. Derek Shelton has sat-in with a plethora of Midwest bands such as Catch Curtis & Midwest Hype and was part of the jazz-fusion group Red Light Remedy. Here is a little more about Eumatik…in their own words!
Side note: If the talk gets a little “techy” for you, just know that these guys are extremely knowledgeable in not only how to play music, but how to MAKE music. Enjoy!
KG: Eumatik…care to explain that name?
Josh: The word Eumatik (pronounced “you-mat-ik”), was initially just a name we coined to define our sound. Since then, the word has evolved into more of a music-making concept than a title. We like to think of Eumatik as a living, trance-inducing, funk-blasting, dance mechanism that stimulates the mind by being harmonically innovative and experimental, yet easily accessible in the conventions of modern electronica.
KG: How would you define Eumatik’s sound?
Ashton: We’re a fusion band that has been flipped on an electronic axis so-to-speak, because Eumatik’s sound isn’t limited to electronica or electronic-based genres of music. We incorporate our jazz and classical training into the elements of our compositions via the way we treat the form, the transitions, or the harmonic dictation. But the one element to our music that we all follow and incorporate into every sub-element, is the production instrument, Ableton Live, orchestrated by Josh. We treat our live sets as a journey through the ultimate functions of music – dance and emotion. We attempt to be universally enjoyable on the dance floor by putting our own spin on techno, dubstep, trance, drum & bass, funk, hip hop, swing, and disco while simultaneously characterizing the track’s personality or setting whether it be fun-loving, sexy, angry, goofy, robotic, imprisoned in a dark castle, shooting down enemy planes, haunted by ghosts, freaked out by circus freaks, abducted by aliens… stuff like that.
KG: With Altered Thurzdaze consisting of so much dubstep, what do you hope to bring to that particular scene?
Ashton: We will bring improvisation … melodic and glitch improvisation.
KG: and how do you hope that crowd “responds” to your music?
Ashton: I hope they go bananas for Eumatik!
KG: How long have you, Ashton, & Derek been playing together and what made you decide to give Eumatik a go?
Josh: The three of us met in music school at Ball State University. Ashton and I started jamming about five years ago and we’ve played in Catch Curtis together for about three years now. Derek was in another band when Catch Curtis started, but I knew he could nail down beats to a click track in one take because I had him play drums on a few of my recording projects for school. Ableton Live was the sole reason that Eumatik came about. We realized that the three of us complement each other perfectly and our first official show was in October 2010. We’ve composed well over three hours of music for Eumatik since then and I couldn’t be happier with the way we work together and function as a group.
KG: Is it ever hard to separate Catch Curtis from Eumatik…and the same for Ashton with Embyonic Fluid, CC, and Eumatik?
Ashton: For me, It’s not a difficulty at all because they complement eachother in a very unique way. If I was a chef, it would be a secret, but I’m not, so I’ll say that I manage to incorporate aspects of what I’ve
learned from playing in each project into each project in a sort of interwoven mesh of inspiration. So, actually it has been essential to finding my unique playing style and technique.
KG: What is the goal of Eumatik?…just for fun or all the way?
Josh: We really want to hit the festival scene hard and play a lot of late-night time slots. Music festivals bring a great mix of art and music lovers together, but lately there has been a difference in opinion between some of the “organic” (acoustic, no loops, no computers) music fans and “electronica” (synth-based, heavy use of loops, drum samples) music fans. So being lovers of both modern jazz and electronic dance music, one of our main goals is to bridge the gap between the two. A lot of newer electronica artists primarily emphasize rhythm, timbre, and texture via the sound design, and the synthesis alone is extremely in-depth. We are synth-prominent in instrumentation, but we also hope to appeal to jazz fans by adding a lot of color to our chord voicings, melodies, and solo sections. We love to get down to tasty synths and dance beats, but we’re constantly challenging ourselves to be harmonically and melodically unconventional (for instance, using altered dominant scales, modal progressions, and modulating sequences in a hip hop or dance track). Another goal of ours is to stress the organic qualities of our group improvisation, even through the exploration of Ableton Live. We all believe that improvising is the key to expressing ourselves limitlessly within our art form, and we have an insane amount of fun when we improvise because of the hard work put into preparing for live shows. For me, making music is all about looking back through history, collecting all the qualities, characteristics, and sounds I love, and meshing them together into something that fits well. Our plan is to focus on building upon old ideas and develop new ones so we can continue to make the kind of music that we love… ALL THE WAY!!! for fun
I would also like to say a very special THANK YOU to Adam Alexander for the use of his amazing photographs…check out Adam Alexander Photography and give him a “Like” today!
Until next time, enjoy the sunshine my friends!