UN002: Unrushed by Elliot Clarke

13 June 2016
Straight from the inner depths of the universe, our subsequent podcast comes from our dear friend Elliot Clarke. A crucial mainstay in the Brisbane techno scene for years with his Kana Broadcast project, Elliot has now recently launched a new label entitled VATN Recordings. Also check out the link below to read about this new project as well as some profound life insights.

U: Elliot, you are born and based in Brisbane / Australia, what is special about living there?

I'm pretty fortunate that I live near the sea and not in Brisbane anymore. It's always difficult weighing up whether or not the commute is worth it for the sake of living somewhere out of the urban sprawl, but I think it is, though everyone┬┤s different. I think as life becomes increasingly complex we're confronted with this choice of proximity to work and a lifestyle away from it. It creates an interesting paradox though, because no one wants to waste the majority of their day transiting to work or university. It's always something that's constantly under review in my mind though.

U: Is there any serene place you visit to unrush? Whats your secret recipe on how to deal with stress?

The beach, especially when you have it to yourself and you hear nothing but the waves washing up around you. It's meditative in its own way. I have an affinity for the ocean, it's like it wants to pull you out but not in a destructive context, it's more so alluring and hypnotic. That feeling has always been there, and it'll never subside. It's funny you ask about stress though because I've recently been reading findings from world class Universities around the world about the cognitive benefits of meditation of any kind. I've believed that for a while but it's great to see the science is firmly starting to support it as well, and more and more schools are incorporating it in class rooms which has resulted in children performing better whilst under the stress of exams for example. From a musical perspective, mental health kind of seems like a taboo subject in electronic music. That's a blanket statement and certainly isn't reflective of every circle, but some artists struggle silently with psychological trauma daily and feel very uncomfortable talking about it, even with friends. There are some artists that need to take medication before they play because they're worried they'll have a panic attack and they think it'll ruin everyones night and the embarrassment would be too much to deal with. This is real and that was just one example, so it's incredibly important to take time to develop mechanisms to help us deal with stress or mental health in general, and meditation (or yoga etc.) is certainly one of them.

U: What should everybody do once in their lifetime?

Fuck up. Badly. Whether you mean to or not. If you can avoid it sure, but what I mean is, mistakes are a beautiful thing even if they're tragic, and I don't mean just musically. If you make enough serious ones and do enough damage eventually it'll all make sense. You may or may not lose people you love, though even if you do, it might be a necessary casualty as much as it may hurt at the time. Sometimes it's your fault, sometime's it isn't. It really doesn't make any difference, but as long as you acknowledge you've grown a little then it can't be a bad thing in the narrative of anyones life.

U: You just launched a new ambient label called Vatn. How did you come up with this idea and what are you aiming for?

It's been a long journey and a great learning process. I run it alongside two dear friends of mine, George and Adam. We've all got other projects going on so we've had to manage our time more effectively. The label has always been an extension of the story we started from doing Techno parties in Brisbane, albeit for the moment we're focusing on the ambient incursions into electronic music with the label. We were really lucky to have some friends give us some good advice along the way whilst we constructed Vatn, and I just wanted to say a big thanks to Jamie from Silent Season who has done a wonderful job at managing that label. Obviously a lot of the credit for the start of the project as far as the music is concerned goes to Ynoji who produced the first EP. It's a stunning record and he's a great guy to work with, so releasing it was a no brainer for us. He's a very talented producer who also has a lot going on whilst he tours. We'd also like to thank Ben Cooper who did the album photography, and Simon Bird who finalised the art work. Ben has been working tirelessly with projects to help save and protect the Amazon environment, so it made sense for us to donate profits we make from this record to that cause and we wish him all the best with it, because it's important to all of us. Moving forwards we'll obviously be looking at continuing the project for many years to come. I'd like to think as we grow old it's always there for us, and hopefully it continues to make others happy as well.

U: I love the mix you have done for UNRUSH dearly. Can you tell us a little bit about this journey?

I usually turn off bright lights, have some beers and see where things go. I usually have a rough idea on what music I want to play around with. At times nothing seems to work and it can get quite frustrating, but eventually something clicks and the path you wanted to take seems to guide itself on its own. For me it was through the aesthetics in my mind, though it can appear to be quite sobering at times, and I wouldn't disagree with that. That was my journey though, and everyone will hear it differently, so if it takes you somewhere else then it's all subjective. Go with it and enjoy it in whatever way you want. There's no wrong or right way to think about it. Perhaps it's better not to think at all sometimes.

U: What would you have liked to have been asked in this questionnaire?

Nothing, but I would like to say it was an honour to have been asked to do this for you, so thank you. I respect the premise and ideals of what you're doing a lot, and Peter did a fantastic job on the first instalment. It was a beautiful set of music so I'm definitely looking forward to the many more to follow.

More info:

Vatn Bandcamp | Kana Broadcast

Cover Picture taken by Leonard Posso

Cover Artwork by Leonard Posso