NEXT UP: Educacion
Origin: Austin, Texas
We were lucky enough to have a conversation with the upcoming producer, Educacion. We spoke about his love for music, music scores, and plenty more. Check out a snippet on our IGTV / Youtube of the interview or read the full interview below:
How old are you? Where are you from? What do you do? Yeah, so I'm 25. I turn 26 at the end of the month on the 25th. I was actually born in a country called El Salvador, which is right next to Guatemala and Honduras. I was born there in 93 and I came to the states when I was three years old. Right now, I just became a teacher. I was previously a biological researcher, so I studied the immune system for a few years and then I hated that job. I was kind of teaching off to the side. So when I got to Austin and I was like, I should just become a teacher here for right now. So that's what I do for a living. I'm going to be teaching eighth grade science. Did you tie any kind of science inspiration into making "Shoals"? A lot of my friends say that when I'm recording or writing, everything is very surgical. And I think in terms of writing music, it's always very cerebral. Some people like to write pop music and it comes super fast and there's a formula for that kind of stuff. For the stuff that I like to do, there is no formula. It's all based off sound and texture and it's like you have to think about things very deeply and detailed. And I guess that also ties in with the science thing. Everything in science is very detailed, pensive and brain oriented. So I think, just naturally, I am like that and that's probably why I got into science in the first place. That's just the way I operate and that probably reflects on how my music sounds as well.
When did you start making music? I started by playing guitar when I was eight, but I don't think I really started making music till I was 23. So, all the way through, like when I started playing guitar up until my teens, is when I started joining bands, like pop rock bands. It was popular back then and I didn't really write anything. I was basically brought onto play for people as a life member. So if they needed a guitar player, they would ask me. And I just got really good at playing, but I never wrote anything until maybe like a few years ago. Do you tie in instruments or do you mainly use synthesizers, etc.? On the song "Fingers in The Sand," at the beginning you can hear like a bunch of like violins playing. That's actually real. That's my girlfriend. She plays the viola and I recorded her with the iPhone while she was just bowing on her viola and I recorded like a 15 second take of it. And I took it and it's like completely chopped up and put into a special machine that I have. I use a bunch of stuff. I have a bunch of collected synthesizers and whatever other piece that I like to use. So there's a lot of stuff on there.
Do you have a certain era or decade or artists that you pull from? Definitely the 80s and I get the 80s gets a lot of like, "oh, that's so cheesy". You know how right now everything is so "future", the innovative things are coming out and all these inventions and things that make our life easier. People back then thought that it was happening then. Like a keyboard came out and people were like, "oh my God, that's the future. Like nobody's made this or I've never heard that sound before". You're in a time where you think everything innovative is happening right now but actually you're just striking the surface. You can tell that sound is associated with those years of time. But as far as artists, I'm really into probably Brian Eno. He's great. A lot of people that made scores like Vangelis. He did like the Blade Runner stuff.
There was a very eerie sound throughout your album. Is that something that you were going for is to create that kind of spooky emotion in people or? I don't think it was me trying to go for that. I think it's just something that comes out. It just feels right. You know what I mean? It's not one of those things where somebody goes for something. It just feels like that feeling. That's what it feels natural to me. One of the questions I was going to ask is what are you bringing to the music industry that sets you aside? But I feel like it's just so obvious. You're already extraordinary. Yeah. I would probably say what you just said. Haha What are you currently working on? What's next for you? Right now since I moved to Austin, I'm kind of trying to just get settled in. I had to build a mini home studio inside an apartment. That took me a few days. I'm just getting settled in. I play with a band called Parallelephants, so we're trying to do some recordings for that. Get that going. We're barely about to get started with that, I think, but we have some demos that seem really promising. But other than that, I don't know the next time I'll record anything. I think whenever I try to force it, it doesn't happen. I just ended up messing around for it. With "Shoals", is that how that happened? You just felt the need to execute? Yeah, for sure. For example, the first song, "First Steps", that is probably the most intricate sounding one on there and the biggest sounding one. That was one take on the synthesizer, the modular synthesizer with all the cables in it. I got home from a day of graduate school and I was just like, I don't want to do anything. I just wanted to kind of lay down and for some reason I just felt like getting up and I walked over to it and just started plugging cables in and I just hit record and that's what came out. Most of those songs are like that. They're not planned out. They're just whatever felt right.
Is there a specific atmosphere or environment that you specifically want to be around when recording? Inspiration wise? It depends. Not to say other people can't be in the room obviously, but those kinds of things come straight out of my head and it's really self centered and focus to where I'm pulling. I have the sound, the sound idea or texture idea that's in my mind and I really have to be introspective to pull that out. So sometimes it's just gotta be super quiet. Sometimes it's super late at night. Usually it's maybe like two in the morning or three in the morning. I just feel like pulling out a sound and that's what comes out. I can understand when you feel that. What are you currently listening to? Right now, I've been listening to the score for that Midsommer movie. You need to go, you need to go see it. And I know it's a horror film but it is so pretty. Even the bloody stuff, you're just caught in awe because it's so pretty looking. It's not like a Rob Zombie thing where you're like, that's disgusting, you know? But the guy that did the score for it, Bobby Krlic, goes by the name, the The Haxan Cloak. And he's one of my favorite guys that do score stuff.
Are you mainly just going to be working with Parallelephants or do you think at some point do you want to go solo or do you want to also just see where this goes? I think there's that term being a social butterfly. And I think of myself as being a musical butterfly as childish as that sounds. I like to be doing several things at once because when you work with something for so long, you tend to get really burnt out on it quickly. I think that's why this recording came out is because I love playing with Parallelephants, but I was doing it for so long that I felt like I needed an outlet to just release the stuff that I was having in my head. Having a balance going between all those things helps me a lot, you know? So I think having a balance is ideal.
For our last question, with "Shoals", where did the name come from? The name came from a series on Netflix. I don't know if it's still up, but it's called Our Planet and it's almost like a Nat Geo kind of thing. It's focused on how the environment is degrading in several areas of the Earth. And they show how everything is interconnected in different parts of the world. And there was a scene where they show a chain of events where these fish are migrating from one part of the world to the other. And it's necessary for that chain to happen because if those fish don't migrate, it causes a whole entire ecosystem to collapse. And it was in South America or something. And there's a scene where there's big school of fish and they carry the life to this entire ecosystem and the narrator kept on saying "the shoals of fish". And it just struck a chord with me. It holds a vital importance and I wanted to demonstrate that in music. It's almost a journey where it starts off very quiet and then it opens up and then there's parts that sound scary. There's parts that sound pretty and it gets scary again and it gets pretty again and then it ends. It's follows the journey that those fish take. So that's the vibe with the name.
Don't forget to check out Educacion on Instagram and his most recent project "Shoals".
Photography by @dani__velez.
Interview by Dreina Bautista & Madison Everett.