According to Wikipedia, Columbia, South Carolina is one of the best destinations in the United States for kayak and canoe enthusiasts. It’s also the home to Washed Out, a wonderful new artist who has just released the very chilled out electronic EP Life of Leisure. These songs are an absolute must if you are heading down to the beach for one more splash before summer’s end or at home with a nice thought and a cold one in hand. I was lucky enough to get in contact with Ernest Greene, the man behind Washed Out, to get a few questions answered.
Louis: You hail from landlocked Columbia, South Carolina, but your music has a retro 80’s Miami Beach feel to it. How did you arrive to this style of music which some have referred to as “Chill Wave”?
Ernest Greene: 80’s pop music was really great because it was the first time synthesizers and drum machines were used with pop structures, or at least the first time on a massive scale. There is a bit of nostalgia for the sound, but more than anything it’s fresh and fun.
Louis: Is your music a reflection of your life?
Ernest: I definitely have a poetic side to my personality that I think often comes out through the songs.
Louis: It has been written that you make bedroom pop. Are you a firm believer in the DIY aesthetic or are you flexible?
Ernest: I’m just very shy and stubborn. I don’t work very well with other people as far as writing and recording. I enjoy controlling all of the different aspects of the process, which kinds of falls in line with the DIY philosophy. I guess I would be flexible with working with other people down the line, if it was the best thing for the songs, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. I’m pretty happy with everything lately.
Louis: Is there a back-story to why Washed Out became a solo effort?
Ernest: I played with friends a lot in college, but I found it was much easier to work by myself. The music I wanted to make really didn’t translate to a live band, so it has sort of grown from there.
Louis: Who were your favourite bands during your formative years? What do you listen to now?
Ernest: DJ Shadow was a big one, I was obsessed with all of his albums. That eventually led to Madlib, Dilla, Caribou, Koushik, all the Stones Throw stuff, then Broadcast was a big one for a while. These days it’s a combination of new stuff I hear on the web and obscure 80’s pop that I mine for on choice sites online. I was also recently sent the new Toro Y Moi album which is really good. I’m going to do a remix for one of their new tracks.
Louis: What’s the best part of being a musician? What about some of the troubling aspects?
Ernest: Recognition is nice. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right. Sometimes it’s not fun dealing with all the behind the scenes stuff. It takes me half the day to return emails some of the time, so it doesn’t leave as much time for writing songs.
Louis: What can people expect from Washed Out in 2009?
Ernest: Hopefully hit songs, right? I’m going to be releasing as much music as I can. I’m not a big fan of holding on to songs. I like to get them out as soon as possible, so we’ll see.
Louis: Last thing, what’s your favourite drink on a hot summer’s day?
Ernest: Cold beer, for sure. I normally prefer the cheap, lite stuff on a hot day.
Tags: Washed Out