• NSO Interview: Washed Out

    Washed Out will be playing our new store opening event in Columbia, SC (912 Gervais St.), this Saturday July 22, 2013. We spoke with musician Ernest Greene to learn more about the event, his experiences living in Columbia, and to look into his writing process as he prepares for his second debut album, Paracosm, to be released.
    Interview by Corbin Speir-Marrone

    Can you introduce yourself?
    Hi I’m Ernest from the band Washed Out.

    And where are you from?
    I’m from Athens Georgia. Well, I’m originally from Macon, Georgia, and I’m currently in Athens, Georgia which is a couple hours north.

    What do you have in line for the Columbia store opening?
    I’ll be DJing which I haven’t really done in a while, so I’ve collected a lot of new songs to play over the past 6 months. My last DJ gig, I generally played a lot of stuff across the board, '80s RnB, '70s disco and then some current stuff as well.

    Do you serato or vinyl?
    Yeah, I use Traktor Pro, and I use a midi controller set up that I kind of customized. 

    We heard you once resided in Columbia, SC. What's the best thing about living there?
    That’s an interesting question. I went to graduate school there, I guess from 2007 to 2009, and I really enjoyed it. I mean, it definitely has a small feeling to it, but with that comes a very tight-knit social scene and music scene in general. It was pretty cool that I didn’t know anyone when I moved there, and it was fairly easy to kind of fall in with some of the musicians in town. You know the University of South Carolina is there, and a pretty good art school, so there are a lot of creative people around. I really loved it.

    What's your favorite neighborhood in Columbia?
    I had a house in Five Points, which is a pretty interesting location right next to the campus, and there are a number of bars and venues in the area, so I guess that would be my favorite. I had a number of house parties back in those days too, which was always pretty fun.

    What influence does your hometown have on your writing and writing process?
    At first when I was younger, I think I kind of rebelled against what I thought of as Southern Music, or Southern Rock in particular. That led me to doing more electronic music. With that said, I’ve kind of come around full circle—I’m a little more open-minded than I was when I was 16 or 17. I listen to quite a bit of “Southern Rock music” and I think that had an influence on the new record Paracosm that I just finished. It's a lot of live instrumentation and some acoustic and electric guitars. It's nothing that’s on purpose really, and I doubt anyone would pick that out; it doesn’t scream Southern Rock, but there are just a few ideas that could work in that world too.

    Paracosm comes out August 13, 2013 on Sub Pop Records

    What track makes you want to take your shirt off and lose it?
    It would definitely have to be some kind of club track. It’s funny, I’m often put in a really hard position when I’m DJing because my music is often associated with chill songs, but I’ll be booked for DJ gigs where it's like, 3AM and everyone’s really fucked up, so it's hard to still be Washed Out yet play these club banger songs. I think Michael Jackson in any of his great works can straddle that in some ways. It's very chill in some ways, but it's also such a great groove and everyone knows that people can party to it, so maybe that would be a good answer.

    Do you have a pocket stash of tracks that you play at 3AM?
    I do, and its something like that, where it kind of works on a couple different levels. Hopefully it's interesting musically—it's not just like distorted bass or whatever—but it's always a challenge.

    Young Jeezy lives in and is from Columbia. Have you ever seen/met him?
    I haven’t. I would love to, though. I’m a big fan of hip-hop. Actually, when I first started writing songs, they were pretty much instrumental hip-hop songs. I was very much into sampling back then and actually my first couple records are pretty much constructed in that hip-hop production style of sampling old records and putting some beats on top. Yeah, that would be amazing but no, I’ve never met him before. 

    What musician, dead or alive, would you like to get a drink with and why?
    That’s pretty interesting. I would say Paul McCartney. I think would be pretty cool since he’s still alive. Obviously The Beatles stuff is pretty amazing, groundbreaking stuff, but he’s also continued to make music over the years. I just watched a Wings Over America Live DVD from like 1976 or something and it was absolutely amazing. It was almost ten years after The Beatles. I’m sure he’d have a lot of amazing stories to tell.

    CHOOSE! (Southern Style):

    Chicken and Waffles or Jambalaya?
    Chicken and waffles for sure

    Panama hat or Fedora?
    Panama hat! [Laughs.]

    Washed Out
    Sub Pop Records