Exclusive Interview: Akuratyde graces the cosmos with celestial electronic, drum and bass fuelled ALBUM, 'Past Lives', out now via Blu Mar Ten Music

By Alex Brown - 5.12.18

Daniel Eshleman, aka Akuratyde is electronic musician and producer currently based in Pasadena, Los Angeles. Taking inspirational cues from nature, emotion, personal struggle and life in general, Akuratyde’s music is driven by melodically powerfully energies, weaving dream-like mesmer and experimental Drum & Bass through lush ambient soundscapes to create an electronic body completely of his own volition.

Unleashing his debut venture into the world in 2015, Embrace EP caught the attention of many and propelled Akuratyde into eminence and sought refuge at London-based imprint Blu Mar Ten Music, who have in the past released work by artists such as RQ, Conduct, Seba & Ulrich Schnauss and Kimyan Law, to name a few. Now, Akuratyde is back with his latest, beautifully crafted debut LP, Past Lives, which was relentlessly recorded over an arduous three-year-long period, showcasing this wonderfully talented producer’s ability to effortlessly adapt and transition between worlds unknown.

We caught up with Akuratyde on musical direction, breaking expectation and of course, his latest enchanting LP, titled Past Lives:

For anyone unfamiliar with Akuratyde’s celestial decadence, how would you describe the music you produce?
I usually describe my music as “Ambient Melodic Drum & Bass”. It has a gritty, organic quality, and it’s stripped down. I try to convey a lot of emotion through my music, it’s meant to evoke certain feelings and memories.

Your latest captivating and atmospheric album Past Lives was released on November 16th via Blu Mar Ten. Could you detail the recording process, and explain how it may have differed to recording 2015’s Embrace EP?

Past Lives is an evolution from my previous work. The through line should be fairly evident for anyone who’s heard Embrace. I spent two years writing and recording it. I was hoping to finish it in 12 months but I had a difficult time with the direction. I ended up scrapping about 4 or 5 songs and significantly reworking a few others. Once I had a clearer sense of the direction the process became easier. I think the last 3 songs were all finished fairly quickly.

Comparing live performances to studio isolation - which aspects do you prefer about both of these settings?

To be completely honest I haven’t played a live show since 2006, but even then it wasn’t DJ’ing. I was the singer/rhythm guitarist in an Industrial Metal band and I also used to do a D&B Live PA at raves. I enjoyed playing shows, it was nerve-wracking at first but I quickly got to a place where I could really enjoy it in the moment.

I’ve always preferred being in the studio though, I love writing music. I took a break from songwriting for about 5 years and it felt like something was missing from my life. When I came back to writing music I knew I would never give it up again, it’s always going to be a part of me.

How would you describe Pasadena’s live music scene? Is there anything you’d like to change, or improve about it in any way?

Pasadena doesn’t really have a music scene but it’s very close to downtown Los Angeles so I get to take advantage of that whenever I want. I’ve been to some really incredible shows here that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see anywhere else. I can’t say I would change anything. It would be nice if Drum & Bass was more popular but that’s the case everywhere in the US. LA has a good scene though, there are weekly and monthly club nights here and I’ve met some great people at them.

The track “Find My Way” bleeds out bliss in a rapture of experimentation. Could you detail the inspiration behind the track? And where do you usually like to seek inspiration from when composing?

I don’t typically seek inspiration from anything specific, just life really. The melodies either come to me or I’ll sit at my desk and play chords until I find the ones which feel right. I don’t usually realize what the songs are about until later. I need time to reflect on them. When they’re about 70% finished I’ll begin to know what they’re about.

“Find My Way” was written as the album was still coming together and I was struggling with the direction. I think I was boxing myself in, trying to write what I thought people expected of me after Embrace came out. I realized that I couldn’t let anyone else’s expectations, or what I thought they were expecting, shape what I was doing. I want my music to be as honest as possible, and I was able to let go of that and write what I wanted to write. It’s literally about finding my way, finding the direction I wanted to take the album.

On your latest LP Past Lives, you collaborated on select pieces with artists Monika & Conduct. If you could choose that one “dream collaboration” with anyone on the planet - who would it be, and why?

Yeah, those collaborations were a lot of fun and they both came together pretty effortlessly. Working with Trent Reznor would be incredible. People might not expect this but I’m a massive Nine Inch Nails fan and have been since I was a teenager. I’d love to spend a day in his studio, picking his brain and geeking out about synths and production tricks. As for a more reasonable goal, I’d say Synkro. His music is really inspiring and I hope one day we get the chance to work on something together.

Are there any pieces of equipment, hardware, software etc which you feel is absolutely crucial in producing Akuratyde’s enthralling sound and signature tone?

At this point I’ve grown pretty confident in my sound. I think I could use almost any equipment and it would sound like me. That said, there are definitely a few pieces of gear that contribute greatly to my sound. The most obvious one is my guitar. It’d be really hard to write this music without it. I also have a few hardware synths that get used on nearly every song: my Prophet 12, Roland JU-06, and Roland JP-08. I have a few others too but I don’t use them as much. I love hardware synths. I love the tactile nature of them, being able to move sliders and turn knobs by hand.

Any personal playlist favourites on heavy rotation right now that you’d care to mention?

I buy about 10 new releases a week so there are too many to mention. A few recent standouts are: Commix - Generation 3 EP, dBridge - A Love I Can’t Explain, and Bop - Untitled Patterns 3. And for non-Drum & Bass: The Black Queen - Infinite Games, Equador - Tribal War EP, and St. Lucia - Hyperion.

What does 2019 and beyond hold for Akuratyde?

I have an EP of new material slated for release next year. It features two collaborations I’m really excited about! One is a song I wrote with my friend Lewis who produces under the name Tellus. The other is a song I wrote with Bop. That’s a dream collaboration I can check off my list.

I’ve also been working on a new alias which I’m close to revealing. This won’t take the place of Akuratyde, it’s a completely different style so the plan is to always be working on one or the other.

Order Past Lives LP by Akuratyde via iTunes
Follow Akuratyde on Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud

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