EMBRZ, akz Dublin-born Jack Casey, is set to release his pop-infused electronic debut EP via Ultra Music on July 7th, fittingy titled Progress.
“When I was writing music my dad would always ask me ‘Are you making progress?’ – Which is where I got both the name and concept from,” explains Casey. “I like the idea of ‘progress’. Progress is never a finished destination, it’s always about constantly improving, experimenting and exploring new ideas. Which is kinda my philosophy when it comes to music production. My goal for this EP was to put together a collection of tracks that varied in style as I’ve always been a fan of multiple genres.”
Over the few short years that Casey’s been producing music as EMBRZ, he’s notched up an impressive tally of achievements, remixing Ellie Goulding’s ‘How Long Will I Love You’ in 2013 and then The 1975’s ‘Settle Down’ the following year. Continuing that run, last year EMBRZ turned out a stunning, blissful remix of Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Run Away With Me’ – a remix so good her label couldn’t say yes fast enough and which ultimately became the official remix for the track. Since then, he’s been uploading a steady stream of tracks and Hype Machine #1’s, including well-received cuts like ‘Home’, ‘Lights’ and then ‘Breathe’ last year.
As for his playlist, “Before I started producing electronic music, I use to play guitar in band with some mates from school. It was around this time I first started writing music, music much different to stuff I both write and listen to now. I thought it would be cool to formulate a list of ten songs that inspired me to want to write music, beginning in my teens, to my eventual crossover into electronic music and how my writing evolved from there.”
1. Bob Dylan – ‘Love Minus Zero’
“I began playing guitar when I was 12 maybe, and for a few years it was mainly about learning riffs and singing covers. I had no real interest or even a desire to actually write something. I wasn’t even sure how to begin. A few years later, I remember listening to some compilation album, I think it was ‘Best Dad’s Songs’, a cringey Fathers Day gift. The very last song on the album was the ever-familiar voice of Bob Dylan, with the track ‘Love Minus Zero’ which I hadn’t heard before. One of his many underrated gems. ‘Love Minus Zero’ is such simple track, with some stunningly poetic lyrics. I remember playing it over and over that day. It was the first moment, where I thought about having a go at actually writing something myself.”
2. The Stone Roses – ‘I Am The Resurrection’
“I joined a band with some mates from school in my teens. We were all obsessed with bands like Arctic Monkeys, Oasis and my favourite band at the time, The Stone Roses. I was playing guitar, so who better to draw inspiration than lead guitarist John Squire from The Stone Roses. I think what they were so good at doing was writing extremely simple but catchy riffs. ‘I Am The Resurrection’ has to be their masterpiece in my opinion. The opening drums, to bass riff, vocals, then everything coming together for the anthemic chorus. Not to mention the five-minute instrumental outro. It’s the perfect ‘band’ song.”
3. Oasis – ‘Slide Away (Live Version)’
“Noel Gallagher made writing lyrics seem cool. Even when he was writing love songs like ‘Slide Away’ they always felt meaningful and poetic. As much as I love the original on the first album, this live version that Noel performs is pretty special. Especially towards the end, chills…”
4. Deadmau5 – ‘Strobe’
“Deadmau5 was the catalyst for my transition to electronic music. I randomly overheard ‘Strobe’ and was just blown away. The luscious synths, the driving bass, the progression, I was hooked. I think I immediately found and downloaded a crack version of Reason and began making my own terrible deadmau5 style beats thereafter.”
5. Crystal Castles – ‘Untrust Us’
“I began digging deeper into electronic music and discovered this track by Crystal Castles. I had never heard a track so interesting and weird. It wasn’t the usual kinda arrangement I was used to, and I loved that. The whole song repeats this unique vocal phrase throughout the song, and pitches it really cleverly in different ways.”
6. MMOTHS – ‘Heart’
“I think I’ve always been a fan of emotional melodies, but I had never truly discovered how frequent this was in the ambient electronic genre. This song was the perfect gateway into that world. It was no longer about a vocal, is was purely about triggering a response from the music.”
7. Porter Robinson – ‘Language’
“This song blended everything that I loved about electronic music together. It has all the emotional feelings of the ambient/downtempo genre with the structure of a classic progressive house song. Hugely inspirational track. I still get chills when I listen to it.”
8. Jon Hopkins – ‘Collider’
“This is one of those crazy tracks, that demonstrates the absolute art in production and arrangement. There are few producers that can top Jon Hopkins. I have to say his album, Immunity, which features ‘Collider’ is one of my all-time favourite albums. ‘Collider’ is a dark nine-minute techno song, which just continues to build and build until its MASSIVE climatic drop. My favourite drop of all time. I had to revaluate the skill and art in producing music after hearing it.”
9. M83 – ‘Raconte moi une histoire’
“Music can be fun, original and whatever you want it to be. This is one of those songs that doesn’t play by any rules.”
10. Mura Masa – ‘Love For That’
“Mura Masa, is currently the producer I’m most excited about these days. He blends so many different genres in his music, that he has almost invented his own genre.”
EMBRZ’s Progress EP will be available digitally via Ultra Music on July 7th.
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