After a cold, busy day I arrive home tired and nearly defeated. Waiting for me, as I labor through snow and tiptoe over ice, is a thin manila envelope postmarked Texas. I pour out the contents and begin to wonder what might be in store. A beautifully designed sleeve gives way to disc that melds with the player instantly. I slide in the headphones and wait for whatever sound the disc has to offer. With in the first few minutes I was taken to a land of samples, beats, blips, and soundscapes. A land where all the ice had melted.
Electronic music is the study of tones. More than any other musical genre, electronic music can focus on a single tone, one note, one sound and dig to a deeper level of understanding. It is truly the music of endless possibilities and ultimate adventure. As technology changes and advances , electronic music grows in capability and in popularity. One musician making an impact in electronic music is Texas native, Ernest Gonzales.
Recently, Ernest took some time out to answer a few of my questions.
Orange Alert (OA): You started Exponential Records back in 2000, what was your original goal with starting record label? What was the most challenging aspect of it all?
Ernest Gonzlaez (EG): The label began as a way of putting out two projects, the first of which being an early album of mine called Algorhythm and the second being a dj mix by DJ Jester the Filipino Fist, both of which were released in 2002. At the time, starting a record label just seemed like a fun thing to do and there really wasn't a goal other than wanting to share my music with friends. The most difficult aspect of the label is getting good exposure without a major label budget and marketing schemes. Maybe one of our artists should date someone famous or shoot up a rapper?
OA: Your label focuses primarily on electronic music, how has the electronic music scene changed since 2000, and where do you see it going in the future?
EG: The electronic music scene is a living thing…always growing and evolving. I've seen it be influenced by hip hop and in turn influencing rock and pop music. It's gone from headphones and raves to the mainstream. I think that electronic music is interesting to me because there is always something new…a new sound or style comes out, it is emulated and then new artists come out and push the boundaries. Not too many other styles of music can say the same. There are too many options out there for the future of the genre waiting to be made.
OA: The latest compilation, Wait 'til the Ice Melts (due March, 2008), is a wonderful collection of electronic musicians from Texas . How did you approach this collection? How can you explain all the great music coming out of Texas lately? Is it SXSW?
EG: Texas is such a huge state filled with tons of creative people who have always been here… we just don't get the recognition that other areas do yet. It probably doesn't help that people have a stereotype of Texas being a conservative old fashioned place but in reality Texas is a very diverse state.
OA: You don't only run the record label, but you also create incredible electronic soudscapes. Tell us about your latest album, While on Saturn's Rings.
EG: While on Saturn's Rings started from an investment in a mixer. In order to test the mixer I plugged in the most readily available instrument I had which happened to be a guitar. I started recording instantly and songs just kept flowing. It always seems like adding one new piece of gear can trigger something in you. I am really happy with the album too because I feel like it represents a lot of my influences all mashed up together. The album also features a remix by Daedelus.
OA: How did you come to call yourself Theory of Everything?
EG: At the time I was taking a Physics class and I remember being so blown away by how reality can be described with math that I thought it was spiritual…plus the geek in me thought it just sounded cool so I went with it. For While on Saturn's Rings I dropped the alias…I kind of grew out of it plus there is a band out there with the same name.
OA: Having a background in art, how do you incorporate this talent into your music and performances?
EG: Making music is very visual process for me…I paint notes and collage samples. Having a background in art also helps because I design most of the artwork for the label. I would love to start incorporating a more visual aspect to my live show.
OA: What's next for Ernest Gonzales and Exponential Records?
EG: I'm looking forward to releasing an album by A.M. Architect, pressing vinyl, putting out some digital releases with some artists, hitting the road and touring this summer and recording new music.
For more information on Ernest Gonzales and Exponential Records please visit their website.