e4444e talks drawing circles and normal music on Mornings with Maia Bilyk
October 19th 2022
There’s a special kind of intimacy to the closing hours of a day spent outside. The sunlight is gentle, the soil smells earthier and time somehow changes pace – moving quickly as the sky rolls through new colour palettes with each passing minute but slow enough it’s intensely reflective. This is what Awabakal Country/Newcastle-based multi-instrumentalist e4444e (AKA Romy Church) sounds like.
It’s hard to interpret the music of e4444e without relating it to the earth. It has a distinct crunchiness – the feeling of a slowly approaching storm. His latest album I Spend All Day Drawing A Circle is no exception. On the record, collages of field recordings, organic guitar-led instrumentation, feedback drones and hushed vocals pass over the record like oscillating sheets of rain; leaving a sheen on each of the album’s thoughtfully crafted tracks. e4444e joined Maia Bilyk on Mornings to talk through I Spend All Day Drawing A Circle, the shape it takes, and “normal” music.
The album rose from the ashes of a six month writing and recording period. This wasn’t something Romy set out to do with an end product in mind; it was a project he described more like a sonic sketchbook. The record saw Romy break out of the traditional norms of creating a record, resulting in a more personal release both in its content and in how it came to be.
“I guess I was thinking of it less as a commercial album and more as just like recordings.”
“It feels more like artefacts than a Pro Tools session.”
Maia described this album as e4444e’s most experimental to date. To this, Romy said I Spend All Day Drawing A Circle was shaped by a unique set of circumstances.
“I felt pretty dejected about the idea of just making stuff for releasing it. So I was just making heaps of stuff at home… I sent Noah (my brother) and some friends some of the instrumentals and longer tracks and they seemed to resonate with it, so I just thought f*ck it.”
“I make music all the time in my bedroom… I wasn’t making it thinking it was going to be anything, I was just doing stuff that made me feel good and I like that sort of music.”
Maia commented on how the album makes his previous work seem more ‘normal’ and ‘pop’. Romy’s departure from ‘normal’ music might have something to do with the polarity of his influences at the time of recording. He told Maia that a combination of Earl Sweatshirt and two women from Laos canon singing (a compositional technique wherein melodies are built on strict imitation) were on high rotation.
“I thought that it wouldn’t be surprising, but I guess it is surprising. When people say it’s the most experimental [album], I think it’s the most normal one. Like ‘Zero’ is normal music.”
“My relationship with music has just changed and evolved… It’s something that is personal and not for other people.”
The personal nature of I Spend All Day Drawing A Circle may also stem from e4444e’s introspective temperament. This trait of Romy’s was prominent when he was asked what he thinks listeners should take away from his latest record. He has no desire to dictate his audiences’ interpretation of his music. He creates music he likes and hopes it has personal meaning for others that listen to it.
“I can’t decide what other people get from it… No one else knows what music is to you, and I think you can just trust yourself and what you like.
“I know that I like this one the best.”
You can catch e4444e at the Lansdowne Hotel in Chippendale this Thursday as part of a special Dinosaur City Records showcase. Romy let slip what his new live show entails, and it sounds like something you won’t want to miss.
“It’s me and Dougy. We both have samplers and guitars and it’s like sampled drums and electric guitars and heaps of textures and stuff… playing some instrumentals as well which has been fun.”
Listen back to Maia’s chat with e4444e up top or check out I Spend All Day Drawing A Circle below. You can also get the details for his upcoming Sydney show!