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Eric Volta on the making of ‘Love Your Illusion’

Marcus Barnes

One of this year’s standout tracks has got to be ‘Love Your Illusion’ by Eric Volta. The track has captivated audiences around the world (see the video below for evidence of this), rocking dancefloors from Detroit to Sydney. Its a special piece of music, with an absolutely devastating second drop, expertly put together by Eric. I decided to drop him a line to talk about the track, curious as to how it came together… as I discovered, Eric’s experience making it was just as special as ‘Love Your Illusion’ itself.

Can you remember how you got started with the track?
The whole track came together really quickly. I think I had the beat down two or three weeks earlier – I left the project for a bit and reopened it… I’m really into these staccato rhythms and I put the bass down and then I just summoned John Carpenter out of the Moog. It is a tribute to John Carpenter, more or less, at the time I was listening to a lot of his stuff, and Brad Fiedel who worked on Fright Night and Terminator 2, among others – those Eighties film scores were a big influence. Then I laid out the hum, that came out of the big stabs and got filtered down. The intro was sorted but it was like, where to go from there. I’d been practising my keys and trying to run my fingers through the notes, trying to get faster. I practised every day, or at least every other day, for a year to just be able to scale through the notes – so when you hear that on the track, it’s me playing it.

Did you have good feeling with the track from the start?
Yeah, it wrote itself. I’m really into spending a long time in the studio, spending a day or two there and really pushing it. Between day two and three I’m always bound to hit something, it’s nuts how it works. If I didn’t do this all the time, I guess I would have random moments of clarity or genius, however you want to describe it, but I push it and rigorously do this all the time, so I’m having these golden moments more often. You just have to keep pushing ideas out and you hit that golden moment. There are tracks where you work on it, leave it a bit, go back to it… but with the special moments, the tracks write themselves in an instant and you’re the instrument that makes it happen. That’s what it feels like.

Everyone’s comment on Illusion is about how impressed they are with it. I was there when it was made and even I was jumping out of my chair! When the first drop came in and the second drop, I was jumping out of my chair in the studio, I really couldn’t believe it. It’s an awesome feeling.

You can’t quite believe that it came from you.
It didn’t. It came out of the universe and I was the instrument. Tracks that you have to spend a lot of time thinking about and writing, that’s your effort – but, that was no effort. It’s crazy. You know that sound in the middle? The ‘ba-la-la-la’, because of the way the sound bounces around the studio, the resonance, I heard that sound come off part of the percussion so I quickly ran to the Moog and played it in and it sounded just like it. I didn’t even think of it, I just heard it and played it. I do long recordings, so the melodies may be repetitive, but the performance of them never is – you’re doing loads of these performances in one take, so the laborious thing is editing them down. But I’ve got quite sickening quick at that, so my workflow is pretty quick.

There’s very little repetition, even in the percussion, I put LFOs and modulate the velocities, the EQ of every sound, so that every hit is an individual. It’s not extremely noticeable, but when applied to the entire groove of the track… take away everything apart from the percussion, I guarantee you can sit in that room for half an hour, you’re not going to get bored of listening to that beat because it’s alive, it’s constantly undulating and fluctuating in a way that is pleasant to the ear.

When did you get to roadtest it for the first time?
It was at a house party before new year’s in London, I was at a friend’s place at an after-party. Everyone was just blown away, which was really nice. Later that night, which was my birthday, I get a phone call from Jonny White asking me if he could sign. I’d only given the track to James Teej and Jonny Cruz, the latter of whom was at a hotel with Jonny White, played it to him and he politely asked if he could release it.

It’s a track that’s not particularly trendy or try to fit into any sub-genre, but it works so well..
I’m not trying to fit into any pigeon holes or anything, I couldn’t think of anything worse. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. Whether it was going to be big or not, I wasn’t bothered – the support I’ve had from Jonny and all my friends has been great.

Love Your Illusion is out now, find out more here.

Follow Marcus Barnes’ www.hoxton.fm radio show via soundcloud.com/marcus_barnes

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