Building on from the hazy, chill-wave of his first EP, Ernest Greene continues to develop his blissfully narcotic sound in his first full length album, 'Within and Without'. All of Greene’s trademarks are still there: thick fluctuating synths, faded snares, muted drum beats and beautifully hand smeared vocals, but this latest release has a much more up-tempo vibe to it, giving it an almost sun-drenched lido kind of feel.
'You And I' layers harmonised vocals with a strong echoed beat, whilst Amor Fati mixes heavy reverberating synths with distorted percussion samples to create a heady dream pop tune. We caught up with him to find out more about his childhood influences, his latest album and touring with Cut Copy for the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Dazed Digital: How did you first get into making music?
Washed Out: When I was little I was forced into taking piano lessons, which I didn't really appreciate. Later learned the guitar through an obsession with grunge music when I was 11 or 12. Wasn't until I was 18 or 19 that I started making music on the computer which has led to the Washed Out material.
DD: Have you always been Washed Out or did you used to make music under another name? Was it a similar style?
Washed Out: I've recorded music since I was 18 or 19 but never really considered it anything more than a hobby, so I never really had a moniker for it until the past couple of years when the WO thing took off. My first songs were inspired directly by instrumental hip hop so they had much more swing than most of my songs do now.
DD: What’s your writing process as Washed Out?
Washed Out: I do most of my writing in front of the computer. The past couple of records have been really soft-synth heavy but over the past year or so I've accumulated much more hardware gear - so now its much less editing via a mouse and more keyboard and knob twiddling.
DD: There’s such an atmosphere to your music. How integral is that to Washed Out?
Washed Out: I think the atmosphere is directly connected to the way the vocals are written and recorded. And yes, I think that vocal sound is the key to the WO sound. I like to layer the vocals with lots of harmonies and effects.
DD: What’s the difference between the LP and your previous releases?
Washed Out: It's much more polished than my previous records - mainly because the songs are much more dynamic. People say music has a very "bedroom" feel - and I was trying to write a bit bigger than that!
DD: How does it feel to be picked by Battles to play ATP?
Washed Out: I'm honored for sure. I've been a fan for a while and I've always heard really great things about the festival in general. I think its definitely going to be a highlight of the year!
DD: What’s next for you?
Washed Out: We're in the middle of a European tour at the moment then we're back home to the US for a tour opening up for Cut Copy then we're back to UK/Europe for another tour in november that revolves around the pitchfork paris festival.
Text by Thomas Curry