Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Introducing: The Acid

12 March 2014, 13:58 | Written by Lauren Down

Accompanied by a photograph of 3 anonymous figures, The Acid emerged (as so many did in 2013) shrouded in mystery. Their smooth, synaesthetic electronics and haunting vocals were more than enough to entice and seduce listeners – particularly those found on debut EP cut “Basic Instinct”. A rich, irresistible and intimate track whose subtle submerged beats weave their way around gentle acoustic guitar strums and soft vocals, “Basic Instinct” is a wonderful, expansive and romantic experiment in electronica.

Eventually the project was revealed to be a collaboration between LA based singer-songwriter Ry X, Grammy-nominated British dance producer/DJ Adam Freeland and legendary electronic artist Steve Nalepa. We caught up with Ry X to learn more about the band’s origins, their inspirations and where they’re going.

How did this project between between you, Steve Nalepa and Adam Freeland come about?

Adam and I had known each other for some years but hadn’t really hung out on a close level. One day we were DJing a friends’ birthday – he happened to be in town from Brighton and I’d just got back from Berlin, where I’d been exploring house music and working on a project of mine called “Howling” with Frank Wiedemann. It turned out “Howling” had become one of Adam’s favourite songs.

I told him ‘I’ve been kind of exploring your world’ and he said ‘Really?’ so I said, ‘Yeah, this track “Howling”’, to which he said ‘that Âme remix?’ and so I said – ’Yeah, that’s my song.’ So it was quite beautiful – just a really simple, humble moment for both us really appreciating each other’s stuff. We decided to start making some music together. Then Steve is just a genius engineer and creator. I met him 2 days later and we just did a track and thought ‘Oh, cool. Let’s just keep going.’

Adam had been on a hiatus from music for a little while, just doing some personal growth stuff. I was in a really quiet state of mind so we connected on that level too. I was living up in the forest in Topanga just on the outskirts of L.A.

Sounds amazing. What brought you there?

The forest. The mountains. Just getting away from stuff really. I literally wake up and it’s just mountains and the ocean is down below. It’s nice and I need that balance. You can drive half an hour and be in the middle of L.A.

It sounds like there is a freedom in everything you guys do working together?

Yeah. I think that’s a good word …“freedom.” When you don’t have pressure on the art making process, that can be really good. I think sometimes it’s having a goal to work towards, having to do a record, that can be stressful. If you’re just creating for the sake of creation it’s just always a much more fluid and free space to make work from.

You have other on going projects, do you feel they’ve been different in that sense?

No, not any more. I think in years past it might have been, but Ry X has always been at that heart place. One of the hardest things in terms of that project might just be getting back to that very raw space and that complete sense of honesty in terms of recording as well as writing. But The Acid is great because you’ve got these people to bounce off and mirror, and you can really step that process up together.

I guess with Howling, my other project in Berlin, it was the same. I think that gave me the tools, in a way, working with Frank to be able to start The Acid. He’s an amazing, esteemed creator, live DJ and producer and having that kind of schooling – me brining what I’m doing and him bringing that – was the perfect stepping stone in terms of just my process and my role.

You inherently lead because you’re a songwriter, a producer and a singer. I don’t want that role necessarily, but you kind of have to step into that. Well at least I do, I don’t know any other way to do it. Everything changes when you put a vocal on a track. Everything.

What roles do you think they step into?

I think we all bring our different influences to our art, but the beautiful thing about it is that the three of us can sit at a computer and pull it together. In terms of the processes behind that, the three of us are really equal in the track creation process. I think a lot of modern acts kind of have a producer and then a singer and I think that can be a little bit – there’s not much growth available there, if that makes sense?

With us it’s more natural. Someone is always going to go instinctively for their melodies and the other person is going to instinctively create their beats or their stuff in the same way. It means you’re getting a lot of different influences which is really nice so there are not necessarily distinct roles as it is a collaborative experience.

So what is it that you think you bring specifically to The Acid?

I think what I bring to this kind of scenario is a sense of intimacy; that crossing of the line between what’s computer and what’s human. I’ll start just sub-consciously flowing with some hook or lyric when we’re all in the studio together, and so what I think I’m bringing in that state is a way of channelling my experiences as an artist and creator. The subconscious. There are a couple of tracks where I never re-recorded the vocal. I didn’t go back and re-dress lyrics. If you’re not thinking about the process but you’re present in the process, then it doesn’t matter. You’re just probably be more honest than if you’d sat to think about what you’re writing.

So your album is coming out sometime this summer, where was it recorded?

We recorded it all in Steve’s studio in L.A. Someone once said to me, “Don’t work in a studio that you feel encumbered by, that you feel is a bigger space than you are,’ and I took that information to heart. Since then I haven’t worked in any huge prominent studios because I don’t necessarily feel comfortable in them. Being at Steve’s house in his home studio made sense. So much of it is about what do you have? When you create limitations, you create freedom in a way. You have to use what you have creatively.

But we also did one track outside of London, in an amazing studio that a friend gave us for a day. That was the opposite of the experience back home. That was James Bond crazy. We were apparently using the desk that Frank Sinatra used.

Could you feel the difference in what you were making there?

It was funny. We were in this huge studio with an engineer and all this beautiful stuff and we ended up writing most of that track in the garage of that studio, because I think it just felt more comfortable.

But yeah you can hear a difference and I think it’s really important to release bodies of work from periods. You look at painters, like the blue period from Picasso, or you look at Pollock and so on. You’re only in that period for a certain amount of time and then you change and the only constant is change. We change and that’s who we are. So creating a body of work from a singular experience and then releasing that I think is really important. I’m trying to do that with all the projects as much as I can.

So do you see the EP and the album as part of the same period for The Acid?

Two sessions that are closely linked. The EP definitely is one body of work that came from spending every day together for a week. For the album we started where we left but ended up somewhere different as well. You see the thread through it though and I think that’s what is important; that it maintains the sense of what it is.

So what is the next period for The Acid?

I expect us to do another record soon. It’s really quite prolific…we write so easily and it’s so instinctual and intuitive and if we did another record now even having just finished mixing after this one, it would sound totally different, I’m sure. It would have a lot of the same character and pallet of sound and colour but it would be a totally different experience.

You also have your first live show coming up?

Yes. I brought in Jens who plays with me in Ry X into The Acid as well, so it’s a live thing with four people. I did that because it allows us to remove the computer elements. Jens is holding down all of the drum stuff on the record live while Steve is on analogue bass stuff.

It’s quite amazing to take something you might imagine couldn’t be created in a live context, totally live. We went to Australia 6 weeks ago, because I go down to connect with my roots and my family every year, to practice. We rehearsed every day in this big space, completely surrounded by forest and it’s summer down there you now, so there’s this amazing energy.

It was like a lot of hard work, 8-10 hour days trying to work out how we could take this from a record and make it live but we got there. It’s going to take some time before we can fully understand what it’s going to be live, but I think by the time March it’ll really be a beautiful representation.

The Acid will be playing their first show at Chat’s Palace in London on 31 March. Their debut EP will follow on the 14 April, with a full length album afterwards.

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