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I Can Give You Infuze [Interview]
I’d like to personally introduce every one of you to an incredible producer, Eliot Leigh a.k.a. Infuze. After months of anticipation, his debut Far Away EP has been released on the eminent SMOG imprint. All I have to say is that Infuze is the future of bass music. Everything about his production is top-notch: the engineering is sonically superb and the highly-melodic writing is both memorable and creative.
We had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Infuze over the weekend about everything from his new EP and musical background to the gear in his studio and his plans for 2013. Check out the full interview below:
ICanGiveYouHouse: For those who are unfamiliar, who is Infuze?
Infuze: I am an electronic music producer and DJ originally from DC, but now living in Brooklyn, New York.
ICGYH: How did you begin producing electronic music.
Infuze: I got into producing electronic music at a really young age. When I was 11 years old and living in Belgium with my family for a few years, I had the opportunity to take a “MIDI Production” class. I repeated that class for several semesters and learned all about how to use Logic (the first version) and MIDI hardware. This was way before software synthesizers or anything like that. Over the following few years, while still living in Belgium, I was exposed to a wide variety of electronic music through the radio. This was the mid-90s, so the music of the moment was The Prodigy, Underworld, Orbital, etc.
As computers advanced and software developed, I kind of naturally ended up making music on the computer. When I moved back to the states when I was 15, my taste for electronic music was not shared by my peers. I gravitated towards the thriving underground scene in DC at that time and began DJing Drum & Bass soon after. The rest is history.
ICGYH: For all the gearheads, give us a brief “under-the-hood” of your studio setup (hardware/software).
Infuze: My rig is simple, but high quality. It starts with an acoustically treated, mostly soundproof room. For monitors, I have Adam P22a’s and Yamaha NS10’s. My interface is now an Apogee Symphony I/O, but it has been a Metric Halo 2822 for some time. I have an 8 Core Mac Pro running Logic with almost every plugin. I also have an API Lunchbox with a Neve 1073 clone preamp for recording vocals, guitar and bass DI, and analog synths. I don’t use an insane amount of outboard synth gear, but I do have a Dave Smith Mopho and a Teenage Engineering OP-1, both of which I love and use all the time.
The main thing about my setup is the vibe in my room. I am all about the idea of being able to produce music on a laptop while running all over the place, but fundamentally I am a bit of a homebody, so I like having a really comfortable room to work out of all the time, for better or worse. In terms of things I plan on getting for the studio, I would love a couple hardware compressors and I would love to have a Virus TI.
ICGYH: Your discography already boasts some of the biggest labels out there, including Ultra, Lifted, Profound Audio, yet I feel that this SMOG release is most people’s first real taste of your production. What’s kept you so off the radar?
Infuze: Well for one, I am a full-time recording engineer and composer by day, so my time for my own music has been a bit limited. Second, I think it has been hard because I have had a more limited social media presence up until more recently. I am notoriously “bad” at twitter and all that stuff, and I tend to spend more time just making music. The downside there is that I make a lot of music, which is obviously good, but I have had limited means of getting people to hear it. I also don’t really like doing bootleg remixes, so that kind shoots me in the foot as well. I am trying to be better about that.
That said, I am thrilled to have my name affiliated with all those great labels, and I am really proud of the releases I have had thus far. I think they are good examples of my “sound” and what I am capable of, and they have gotten a lot of DJ support from a lot of top dogs. Now, with the SMOG crew backing my first full-on EP, I think/hope it’s only a matter of time before more people know the music. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be aligned with such a seminal and genre-defining label. I couldn’t be happier.
ICGYH: Bass music has become so oversaturated in the last couple of years, how would you say your sound stands out from the rest?
Infuze: I approach all of my tracks from the perspective of someone who works on Pop music day in and day out. For me, the most important things are hooks, melodies, and arrangement. I am certainly grateful for the amount of production knowledge that has been disseminated on the internet in the last few years, but I think one of the downsides is that most producers are focusing on learning how to make the craziest bass sounds. The issue, though, is that people aren’t really focusing on “the song”. This is the area where I think my production is different from a lot of bass music currently on the set.
ICGYH: Each track on Far Away has a really distinct feel, but they also retain a very cohesive tone. Tell us a little more about the album in general, was there a specific motivation behind all the writing or was it more of a collection of tracks that you had been working on?
Infuze: The EP represents a “sound” I have been cultivating for a couple of years now. It’s a “sound” that isn’t necessarily defined by a particular sound set, but more by the style of writing. I wanted to create an EP that had a little bit of everything, but still maintains a cohesive tone. I would love to make a full-on album, but unfortunately the album format in dance music is not really that easy to market. Maybe that’s next.
ICGYH: The title track of the EP features your own vocals. Was this the first time you’ve sang on one of your own songs? Where’d you get the pipes?
Infuze: I work really closely in my day job as an engineer with a guy named Paul Waaktaar Savoy. He’s the songwriter/guitarist of the Norwegian band A-Ha. He wrote “Take On Me”, one of the biggest songs of all time. I played him the instrumental of Far Away and he suggested he and his wife Lauren have a go at writing a vocal. He’s got an unbelievable knack for melody and she for lyrics, and I really liked what they came up with, so I went home and demoed it with my own voice with the intention of finding another singer. So many people told me they liked the sound of my vocals that I decided to keep them! To be honest, I sung pretty seriously when I was kid in choirs and stuff, but I hadn’t used my voice in many, many years before this.
ICGYH: What informed the decision to collaborate with TADT on ‘Black Out’?
Infuze: I have to take this opportunity to give a massive shout-out to Code-D. I probably wouldn’t be nearly as far along as I am without his help and support. He and I were working in the studio on a variety of music together, and it was back when he was working on a lot of Dubstep. We were both kind of fed up with the pop stuff we were working on, and he suggested we try out a Dubstep track. It was actually the first time I had ever worked on Dubstep, and after many days of experimentation, Black Out came out of those sessions. Cody sent the record to 12th Planet, and he played it in his sets for a long time. Eventually, the SMOG guys asked me to do this EP. It took a long time for it all to fall into place, but I think I needed that time to develop my “sound”.
ICGYH: What’s the most exciting part of making music right now?
Infuze: I love that right now, the playing field is wide open. It’s easy to get wrapped up in trying to make the music of “the moment”, but what’s so cool about EDM getting so big in the United States is that it’s still in its infancy. This means that there is a lot of room for people to make a huge variety of music. Take The M Machine, for example. They just make what they think is cool, and people eat it right up. I love that! It’s not like with Rock where there are all these pre-conceived notions rooted in history of how it’s “supposed to sound”. No disrespect to Rock music, obviously.
ICGYH: As the year wraps up, what’s next for Infuze? Any new projects on the 2013 horizon?
Infuze: I am hoping 2013 will be exciting! 2012 isn’t over yet though. I have a Drum & Bass tune coming out on Lifted Music in early December. I am also pretty close to finishing a second EP. I have a remix coming out on Ultra in the next couple of months. I am also trying to make some tunes to just give away for free as well because I love that idea. The main goal for 2013 is gonna be to ramp up my DJ schedule with the intention of trying to expose more people to my “sound”. I am excited for what the future holds.
In sum, Far Away is an astounding achievement. Each track has something completely unique to offer and is accessible for both mainstream EDM listeners and the most underground bass music purists.
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