The mashup scene first started blowing up in the 2006 when Girl Talk released his critically lauded Night Ripper album. Coincidentally that was the same year, New Hampshire native Ethan Ward released his first mashup EP as E-603. Six years later, E-603 has become on of the premier mashup artists in the country. He recently released a new EP, The Remixes Vol 1 which is his first collection of non-mashup remixes. Surviving the Golden Age got a chance to talk to E-603 about his new EP, his take on the state of mashups today, and Courtney Love.
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When did you first get interested in production?
I started when I was in High School right around 15 or 16 years old. I had a small room in my house that I used to call my “Studio”. It was more of a porch than a room and it didn’t have any heat so in the winter I would have to wear sweatshirts and jackets to make music in there. I also got a space heater but then I would always blow the fuse if it was turned on. I grew up in a really old house in New Hampshire so the winters were kinda intense. All of the equipment in that room was pretty amateur and so were my recording techniques but I still have most of the songs that were made in there. I slowly got better and better at recording and producing. I obviously still have a lot to learn but that goes for all producers.
What kind of equipment/programs do you use?
I produce everything on a PC I built when I was in a junior in High School. It is very unique in that the disk drives don’t open, I use a keyboard from a 1999 HP computer, it turns off if I leave it alone for too long and I use a piece of dirty cardboard as a mousepad. The cardboard mousepad is actually really helpful because I can take out a pen and write notes on it if I want. I mostly record and produce using Cubase which is a program that is being used less and less these days. I like it because I can pretty much do anything to any sound in a matter of seconds. The equipment I use pretty much includes a couple of keyboards, my favorite being a Roland Juno 60, and my Fender Jaguar which goes through a Fender Deville amp.
What was the first mashup you remember hearing?
Probably something The Wiseguys did even though in the late 90’s it wasn’t really called Mashup it was just called electronica or whatever genre of music they were sampling. I remember thinking The Wiseguys were tight and liking all the different genres they used. I probably first heard them in a car commercial or something. Remember when “Devil’s Haircut” was in a car commercial? Am I allowed to ask questions when I am being interviewed?
Mashups are gaining more and more popularity and the scene is becoming more saturated with artists. What do you think of the current state of mashups?
To be honest I find them underwhelming. I know some tracks work together with other tracks I just find the 1-on-1 mashup style to be boring. There seems to be very little craftsmanship to it. I never really listened to other mashup artists after I started producing my own. I am not sure why, maybe I had too much of it already. With Torn Up I tried to make an enjoyable collage of music rather than just mixing two things at once. I might not be the best person to ask about the modern state of mashups because I really don’t keep up with the scene. I know a couple of new artists because they have been mentioned to me, but I rarely listen to their music.
You are generally most well known as a mashup artist but your latest release is a collection of remixes. Why did you decide to delve into remix territory?
Well I started messing around with remixes after I released Torn Up and before I released SMOKESHOW so I have been toying with the idea for a while. I guess I decided to start remixing because I knew I could produce my own music and add my own take on songs that I like. I lost interest in mashups a long time ago and I had a really hard time motivating myself to make more. With remixes it’s like a gradual climb into producing my own material.
Do you have ambitions to release original mixes?
Perfect segue from the last question. Yes, I have been working on original material for a while now. Currently I am producing in a couple different styles. I should have an EP ready in about two months or so.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
I have answered this question in the past and the answer was Courtney Love, but that was after about 6 beers and a decent amount of whiskey. I feel like that would be super rad though. I am just going to stick with that. Courtney Love.
What is next for E-603?
That’s a great question! I am going to put out these original tracks and albums and I will see where it takes me. I just hope people enjoy the music I put out. Maybe I will end up opening the Dojo / Karate studio I have always dreamed of. Maybe I will end up being discovered as a massive blockbuster actor while working another Tuesday night as a male stripper. Maybe I will become the worlds first fruit roll-up artist.