Q&A With Music Producer Ethan Ward AKA E-603
Music producer E-603, aka Ethan Ward, has just dropped his third album in Smoke Show. He is a mash up artist that resembles the sounds of Girl Talk and Super Mash Bros and he, as with his previous albums, delivers an entertaining and personal dance party inducing sound. His first album, Something for Everyone, introduces us to the artist known as E-603 and is very well done. The follow up to Something for Everyone was 2009’s Torn Up. While listening to Torn Up you can hear how much Ethan had grown from his first album. Two years later we have Smoke Show and again, he has out done himself.
-Your third album, Smoke Show, just dropped at the beginning of September. How do you feel about the response via your Facebook and Twitter pages? How do you respond to haters?
– I feel like the response on my social networks was really positive actually. I respond to haters like everyone should. You gotta be nice to them, because they are your biggest fans.
– When planning an album, do you make a sort of outline of what you want to use or do you just sit down and start randomly piecing together music until you like what you hear? How do you decide what instrumentals or acapellas you use?
– It starts off in a really rudimentary way. I just start putting a part together that I think I will like. Then I work linearly from that until I hit a serious writers block. Then I will start working on a totally separate part and working off of that. Eventually I end up with 5 or so 5-20 minute blocks. I make them work together and there is the album. If I really want to use a certain sample I will find a way to make them work.
– With Smoke Show, the fans were expecting the release in March but you ended up waiting until after Labor Day. Was this a result of perfecting what you had? Approximately how long did it take you to complete Smoke Show, start to finish?
– To be totally honest I don’t really know when I started officially working on it, but I do know I worked on it a lot. I am never satisfied by the work I do so I was pretty much adding to it and taking away from it and tweaking it until late summer. Then it was all about mastering it and getting some album art together and such.
– I noticed with Something for Everyone and Torn Up, there seems to be a common theme throughout the album. Likewise with Smoke Show, it seems like you have a predetermined theme picked out, whether it is tempo of the overall album or music you have chosen (I felt like I heard a lot more 80s on Smoke Show). Is this something that you try to do or is this something that just comes naturally?
– It’s a natural thing. I think it is just a combination of my production style and what I am influenced by at the time. I am sure there are other reasons but I don’t know what they are yet.
– It seems like now a days there are a lot more mash-up artists than there were before, or there is the same amount but they are getting more exposure. How long have you been doing this and who would say is your inspiration for what you do?
– Yeah there are a lot it is really exhausting to keep track of. I have been making sample based music since like 2004 I made my first “mash-up” EP thing in 2006. At the time I was really influenced by this artist OCDJ that was based out of Baltimore. He stopped producing music under that name though.
– People can download your album on your website, www.e-603.com/smokeshow and it is absolutely free. Are you allowed to charge people for an album of this nature since it uses samples of other peoples work? Are you protected under Fair Use? Have you ever gotten in any legal predicaments because of some of the samples you have used?
– I honestly don’t think anyone’s sees this genre as a threat anymore. I am sure I could charge for it and it wouldn’t be a big deal at all. I would just never charge for people to have my music to listen to because that would make me the biggest hypocrite on earth. I think I have only purchased like 2 albums since 2005. I am sure certain artists (Lars Ulrich) would cringe hearing that, but get with it, its 2011.
– Do you see other mash-up artists such as Super Mash Bros, Girl Talk or Milkman as colleagues or more as competition?
– I just think of them as dudes. I have kicked it with all of them and they are rad dudes.
– When putting together these songs, what program or programs do you use? Is there a certain program you like to use for live shows? Did you teach yourself these programs?
– Yeah I am self-taught. I have used everything to produce and perform at one point or another. I fuck with my samples a lot in Cubase and then bring them in to Ableton Live to perform. Ableton is like a “DJ101” program but it allows me to do a lot of wild crap on stage.
– How long do you see yourself producing music like this? Is this something you see as long term or as a way to get your foot in the door in the music industry?
– I really don’t know. I like producing all sorts of music like remixes and other projects as well. I have a remix album in the works now. So I guess I will just see where it takes me.
– Will you be doing any kind of touring now that your third album is out? Do you have a favorite place you like to play?
– I am jumping all over the place now that the album is out. I have to say my favorite place to play is a dank weird basement at a college or something.
– Do you have any advice for upcoming artists or people that want to follow in your footsteps? Are there any words of wisdom you want to pass on to your future protégés?
– Just make the music and see what happens. Probably not the best advice but I don’t really know how to give good advice.
Big thanks to Ethan for the interview. Be sure to get these albums and spread the word. Below are a couple songs from his t=”_blank” href=”http://soundcloud.com/e-603″>Sound Cloud page for your enjoyment.