Interview: The Walton Hoax

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We recently caught up with talented electronic duo The Walton Hoax, pushing a brand of bass-focused, reverberating electronica. On the menu was music, influences and what their work is all about.

Who are The Walton Hoax?

Two guys, currently living in different countries (Belgium and The Netherlands). We’re old friends with a musical history that dates back to 2003. Within this project, one of us takes on the role of songwriter, and the other covers a bit more of the production side, but of course there’s plenty of overlapping. Both of us come from a ‘live instrument’ background before getting into computer-driven music. Between us, there’s piano, guitar, vocals and drums.

How would you describe your music in a sentence?

Ambient bass-driven music with an eye for atmosphere and a passion for melody and groove.

Who are your main influencers in electronic production?

Early influences were Trent Reznor, Brian Eno and Liam Howlett. But later on, people like Skream, James Blake, Burial and Moderat really changed things for us. But of course, the musicians close to us have an influence too – talented guys like Ficci and Niels Binias.

You’ve traditionally pushed organic, atmospheric electronic music at dubstep tempos. Your track Blinking Lights is more akin to a garage vibe. Do you see future garage as an inclusion to your current repertoire or are you making a conscious shift?

Well, it’s not very easy to put a genre to a lot of the music that’s made these days. People are being creative, giving their own interpretation to the sounds that they love, resulting in pretty eclectic hybrid genres. As far as our thing goes, I guess we’ve always been kind of revolving around ambient versions of garage, but I wouldn’t say that we’ve ever really been very close to making dubstep. Though we borrow elements that may be typical for certain genres, we never really aim for a genre-specific sound.

I guess in a way, the essence of the question goes back to the mindset that one starts his creative process with. For us personally, starting on a new song, more often than not we’ll already have an idea of the type of atmosphere, or the emotional curve that we’d want, or of the vibe, drive or groove of the track. But we would never bother thinking about a genre, since that is limiting in an non-productive way. You know, Brian Eno compares making music to surfing, in a way that it’s the surfer’s who picks out a good wave, but once he has chosen, he needs to let go and ride that wave to where it takes him.

That thought resonates with us. Once we start on a song, it might end up sounding more like one certain genre than another, but that’s all pretty much coincidental. All it means is that we picked a tempo, song key and sound that we thought were perfect for that one particular song. We’re absolutely not oblivious to genres, but we pay no mind to them for our own music because we don’t have to, it’s not necessary for the creative process. So we leave it up to the listener to make that judgement.

How much value do you place on doing remixes in comparison to making your own tracks?

We place it at pretty much the same value. Having said that, it’s still a different thing: an original track is a 100% creative process, because you start from zero and develop the song from there. A remix is more of a ‘reactive’ process, because you start from someone else’s ideas, then strip them down and build your own thing with those elements. Right now, we’re having a lot of fun doing remixes, because it’s a fun creative interaction with other artists and it’s interesting for us as musicians, and when it’s done right, for the audience too. So it’s valuable in that way.

How would you say your production values have changed (if at all) from two years ago releasing the Chemical Burn EP to your current releases?

I would guess that little has changed – nothing substantial anyway. It’s still just us, working in the same way that we always have, and for the same reasons. Since we tend to take things on a song-to-song basis, it’s a bit hard to see real changes along the way. So I guess anything that might be perceived as different, would come down to details or preferences that could just as well be temporary or incidental, for example making an instrumental track like Blinking Lights.

Could each of you name an album you’d each want with you on a desert island?

For us, those would probably be Untrue by Burial and Oblivion OST by M83.

Who would you love to collaborate with?

Good question! A lot of our favorite musicians have a that sound would make for an interesting collab I think. People like KOAN Sound, Sorrow, Asa, Sun Glitters, Owsey, Ghostek, Essáy, Galimatias, and of course, a personal favorite: Stumbleine. I’d especially like to work with him one day. Also Ficci is a talented producer who’s work we love very much. We’re actually finishing up on a collab with him right now.

Keep up with Soundcavern to catch wind of that particular release as soon as it’s out.

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