The rise of Montreal prodigy Eekkoo (pronouced Echo), Jonathan Doyon to his friends and bank manager, has been anything but ordinary. A sound engineer and sound design teacher by trade, the Canadian producer lived a comfortable life teaching the ins and outs of music production for almost a decade. And then everything changed.
In November 2012, eekkoo became the first artist deadmau5 ever followed on Soundcloud and in the process received the backing of one of the most iconic figures in the history of dance music. Immediately proving his worth as a producer, eekkoo surpassed all expectations a few months later when his remix of deadmau5 & Wolfgang Gartner’s “Channel 42” was premiered by Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1.
Later that year, he blasted onto the scene with his self titled debut EP on mau5trap, following suit in April 2014 with the progressive monster “Towers”. Armed with an unbridled passion for sound design and quality audio engineering, eekkoo quickly established himself as one of the most exciting new names in clubland. Loud and unabashedly powerful, the savvy knob twister with an affinity for vibrant soundscapes elevated himself into a world of his own. Late in 2014, he released his Hell Is Other People EP, named one of the Top 25 Dance Releases of 2014 by iTunes with the monstrous lead single “Elysium” featuring vocals from Sailor & I. A&R man Simon Huxtable went to meet the newest mau5kateer and delve a little deeper in the passions of one of Canada’s finest exports.
Hi Jonathan, its great to meet you. Thanks for finding the time to chat with Decoded Magazine. How has your day been so far?
Pretty good! The sun is shining and a new remix of mine has just been approved.
Signing with such a large label has its positives, but also its drawbacks. Whats been your assessment of the last few years?
These labels really helps to get your name out there. They’re reaching so much people. On the other hand, you get labeled as as “mainstream artist” whatever music you’re making. Conclusion, it really ain’t all about the music…
Lets take a step back for a while. Tell us about growing up. Who were your influences as a younger man?
Batman, Michael Jordan and a couple of gangsta rap legends. haha
Which came first for you, DJing or production? And does one naturally lead to the other in your opinion?
Production. I’m a studio rat. With today’s technology, yeah, one leads to the other.
We understand you made hip hop a few years ago before switching to your current house/techno dynamic. Has working in other genres helped you to stay focused on your sound?
Well, I guess my sound is a mix of all the influences that I have experienced. I do what I feel that sounds right whatever the music genre.
Talk us through your studio. I noticed a few nice synths, do you have any favourites? Any others on the wish list?
My moog Little Phatty is my go-to synthesizer. But I’m deep in the modular synths these days. A couple of modules on my wish list right now. Mutable Instruments is doing ace things.
Whats in your DJ set up these days?
I’m using Ableton Live, I like how this platform is letting me improvised with my music on the fly.
With so many younger DJs opting for programs like Traktor and Serato to sync their tracks, do you think we’ve lost something in the art of DJing – selection being paramount over technical ability?
I don’t think so, the more you DJ the better you get. When I watch a legend like Derrick May on the decks, what I see is not a turntable or cd player, but a man who manipulate his mixer in a very dynamic way to connect with the crowd and the music that he plays. So whatever the type of “deck” you’re using, you can still operate your equipment to create something unique.
How do you go about finding your music these days?
Beatport as always, DJ mixes and live with Shazam, haha!
Tell us about the concept behind your mix – Techno is not what it seems? What did you mean by the title, and how did it affect the tracks you chose to showcase?
I’m not trying to convince any techno amateurs with this series, but felt the need to tell some other folks that techno can be as dynamic and sexy as some other genres.
We ask lots of artists for advice to give new producers and DJs keen to break the scene, and almost exclusively that advice is something like “Be yourself and don’t follow trends”. When you look at the current top 100 on Beatport, do you feel that advice is falling on deaf ears sometimes? How would you change things?
It’s always like that, when something gets popular a sort of traction is pushing other producers to embrace this new trend. It’s human. We can’t change that. But let’s make sure that the world knows that there’s something else out there to go through… by proposing different type of stages in a festival and by covering new and underground artists like you guys do at Decoded Magazine! For real!
When asked your views on the EDM boom in the US, you’re quoted as saying “…one can’t be drinking Coca-Cola all his life. It sure tastes good, but there’s a lot to try on the menu.” Would it be fair to say, you share Carl Cox opinion that EDM is merely a portal for dance music to become accessible to the general public? Where do you feel the angry stems from and what damage do you think it actually does to the Underground really?
Totally. What I don’t like though, it’s when people take for granted that this (EDM) is house music, and don’t care about the roots of this culture. It gets very confusing. And it creates a big ditch between the old and the new fans.
Talk us through your release schedule for the next few months. Anything big coming up?
A remix for Andre Sobota and a huge collaboration with an artist which shall remain “unknown” for now.
Jonathan, its been a real pleasure. We wish you the best for the future, where can we see you DJ this year?
At the AIM festival in June, in Canada. And in France, at the Astropolis festival in July.