TD: How has the universe been treating you lately?
Erothyme: Oh, the experience of life is rich indeed. I’ve been both blissful and dismal in recent times. Directing as much of that energy as possible into the act of creation, and thoroughly grateful that the universe still seems to be conspiring in favor of my creative process in spite of everything that has threatened to obstruct the flow.
TD: Plain and simple to start things rolling, can you tell us a little about yourself (Name, age, where you’re from, etc) to familiarize the unknowing viewers out there?
Erothyme: My name is Bobby West, I’m 21, I grew up in Virginia. In recent years I’ve also lived in California, Colorado, and Washington for a few months at a time each. I’ve been traveling within the US more and more and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to answer the question of where I live without simply saying “right here, man!” You’re probably more likely to bump into me in Seattle than anywhere else these days, but I’m way too broke to pay rent anywhere. Just going where the energy is flowing (or rather, where the gigs are).
TD: How did you wind up falling into this niche of making this kind of wild astral music you put out in the first place?
Erothyme: When I was 12 and full of angst I was looking for the hardest, darkest metal I could find. A friend of mine on AIM sent me an mp3 of Aphex Twin’s Come To Daddy, which I naturally thought was the shit. When I heard some of his other work, my mind was blown. I’m going to go ahead and credit the track Bucephalus Bouncing Ball with making me realize how limitless of an art form electronic music really is. I got my hands on a copy of Sonic Foundry ACID 4.0 and started slicing. It was years before I made anything worth listening to, of course. Three years after I started I had practically quit, but I listened to my own work alone on mushrooms with my eyes closed one night and the rest is history. Haven’t looked back! I spent my first several years of developing my understanding of electronic music by making music for myself to listen to and be touched by, rather than making music to try to get a reaction out of a crowd. This is critical. Making sense to the listener (be it an individual or a group) is very important, yes, but there is a LOT more to music than knowing how to give an audience the signal to cheer, and a lot of electronic music is missing out on this, I think, in an attempt to be as hyped as possible for the sake of it.
TD: Erothyme; how’d that name come about and wind up sticking?
Erothyme: I was 16 and I was reading DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman. I liked Aldous Huxley’s word, phanerothyme, which he used to describe psychedelics before the word “psychedelic” existed. A phanerothyme is “something which induces a state of mind in which the Eros is visible.” Since I’m a musician, I took out the part that had to do with vision, and opted for the more general “something which induces a state of mind characterized by the Eros.” Eros is the “life instinct,” the desire to create and preserve life and beauty, a longing for wholeness. I found this entirely appropriate for a musical direction which emphasizes harmony and elegance rather than the aggressive screaming distorted testosterone-contest music we’ve all been hearing so much of. It’s a strange name and I’ve thought about changing it a few times over the years, but I’m glad I didn’t. Despite being hard for people to grasp, it’s definitely distinct, and that’s been a blessing. It’s a long “E” at the beginning and soft “th” in the middle, by the way. That’s a question I get a lot. But chances are good that no matter how you pronounce it, I’ve heard crazier.
TD: Being a big fan of the type of music you make, who are a few artists whose work pushes you to keep doing what you’re doing?
Erothyme: Ahhh, this list could get long. Let’s go with The Flashbulb, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Kilowatts, Aligning Minds, Ott, Shpongle, Shulman, Bluetech, Boards of Canada, Skytree, Wisp… No particular order here…
TD: If you could get together with one (or a few) artist to sit down and produce a track; who might that be?
Erothyme: Wouldn’t mind producing something with Kilowatts one of these days!
TD: Cruising your soundcloud one tune really jumped out at me, ‘Let’s Take It Slow’. How did this tune come about, have you dabbled in this kind of down tempo stuff before?
Erothyme: Good choice! I was alone in my room on Valentine’s Day this year, getting romantic with the machines. It’s just a lonely sexy tune, really. I ended up playing it in the “chill room” at a Valentine’s Day themed warehouse rave in DC that weekend. That was my first and only experience watching people slowdance at a rave. All the stages had their own names, that one was called Let’s Take It Slow. The other stages had significantly more vulgar names, as you might imagine. I ended up adopting the name because I thought it fit the character of the tune perfectly. I’m aware that most of my work isn’t quite that mellow. Perhaps I’ll work on an album composed entirely of mellower work in the future?
TD: I noticed that you have been announcing a bunch of live shows in the future months; is this opportunity to newly occurring or have you had the chance to do shows in the past?
Erothyme: This is continually developing. I’ve been playing more shows this year than ever, and hopefully I’ll play a lot more next year than this year. It’s a long way from the local coffee shop in 2009 to midnight on a mountainside for a flock of heads. My live performances push my studio work forward and my studio work pushes my live performances forward. Shows are also a good opportunity to play righteous keyboard solos, which is good for the heart and soul. Every professional booking agent or manager I’ve ever approached has turned me down, so I’m self-managing myself back and forth across the country. Sometimes it’s frustrating as hell; I’ve gotten dicked around and underpaid and stuck into shitty timeslots opening for interchangeable goons endlessly playing mp3s of other peoples’ music a lot. But sometimes it’s awesome, granted I have the freedom to make my own choices, and more and more I’m getting better opportunities to spread the good vibrations when the energy flow is right for it. Keeping my chin up…
TD: On a different note, what could we find you occupying time with when you aren’t cruising through space in the studio?
Erothyme: I very much enjoy long walks in nature. Mountains are a great source of inspiration for me. Nature has an astonishingly finely tuned aesthetic appeal. If only I could program a synthline half as beautiful as a tree on a cliff at sunset! And a good campfire that burns until daybreak might be one of the only things than can boost my creative flame as much as a female entity can.
TD: Any last words for the people on the other side of the computer screen out there?
Erothyme: If money or school or a job or a person or a group of people is standing between you and your dreams, you should seriously consider dropping everything and going and doing what you always wanted to do with your life instead of waiting around like a fool. You’re running out of time. Get those mental barriers out of the way before someone builds physical ones. You can thank me later. 😉
Download: West Acid v2
Last words with Erothyme:
Last time you were in the studio
An hour ago or two ago.
Last person to influence you
Last time you attended a show you didn’t play at
I went because I was meeting up with a girl. :O
Last time in an exotic country
I haven’t been out of the US since I was a kid. And that was only Toronto, which hardly counts.
Last favorite tweet
The Flashbulb’s photo of his live setup. I guess that was a tweet. I don’t really use Twitter. Maybe I will.
Last CD/vinyl you bought
It’s been a long time, man. If only I had money for that!
Last track you listened to
Some unfinished acid track on my harddrive.
Last moment you were scared
I was in handcuffs.
Last impressive music video you watched
Unofficial video for plyPhon by Autechre.
Last movie you watched
It wasn’t that awesome, don’t worry about it!