Sunday, 23 May 2010

TEA with Ethyl

Stripped back yet melodic is the name of the game for young taste maker Tim Hopgood aka Ethyl.

Ethyl has been in rare form over the past 12 months collaborating with fellow homies Huxley & Flori with the stella 'Sassanids' & 'The Trimley' EP's as well as filling in for Panoramabar's Steffi in Vienna courtesy of Mt Mt Efjalldoyouspellit... whilst working on new releases for Quintessentials and the resurfacing Secretsundaze label.

Ethyl caught up with TEA to talk house, jazz, why fruit tea's arn't tea's and explain the philosophy behind a Pope shitting in the woods.

So you were stuck in Vienna thanks to Mt Efjallajökull, how was that?

You can spell it!  But can you say it?  It was actually a real good giggle.  I was out there with Flori staying with friends so it just meant we got a longer holiday.  We managed to get a few more slots out there playing records too (beyond the night we were originally booked to play at) so it wasn't too costly.  It's a really lovely city and thanks in part to the contribution of the guys that booked us at Praterei, there's a healthy scene emerging too.  It's one of the few places I've visited outside London where I could see myself living.  That is if it weren't for the extent of my German starting and ending with - 'mein hamster ist tot.'

You also filled in for Steffi right?

Yeah we played the closing party of a week long sound and visuals festival called Soundframe.  It was held at a big old brewery and was really good fun. Seems the Austrians know how to organise a piss up...

With only a handful of releases you seemed to have burst onto the scene, how long have you been producing for?

I've been making beats for years and years.  I got my first copy of Reason at about 14, 15 and I'm 23 now so nearly ten years.  Of course it was rubbish for a while and a lot of people might say it still is but I've only recently started putting things out - mainly due to the impetus of Huxley.  He's quite a motivated fellow and gave me the metaphorical shove to get virtually finished music sent out to labels. That's why our first release had some solo stuff from each of us as well as collaborations.  I don't think I've ever been 100% satisfied with my productions, no matter how 'finished' they are - the thing is, if I hear a KDJ track as many times as I have heard one of my own I'd start to go off that too I'm sure.  This is why I'm trying to move towards a more hardware based studio setup and a more live reliant work process - where tracks are more performances in a way.  I'm trying to take the deliberation out of the method, then I might be able to stomach playing my own shit out (or not).

How did Huxley & Flori come about?

Their mums and dads did some quite unspeakable acts, not all together obviously but within their respective wedlock.  Saying that Flori's got the curls of his old milkman...  I grew up in the same small town as Huxley.  He was the year above me at school and we've been doing music stuff together for as long as I can remember - harking back to the garage days! Flori, I met at University in Birmingham.  We were just about the only two that didn't have Metallica tour dates listed on the back of our t-shirts.

Tell us a bit about your involvment with Secretsundaze and  ‘The Secret Agency’.

Myself and Flori have been going to the secretsundaze parties for years.   They've always got all the aspects just right for me but musically especially, it's right on the money.  It was only natural that we'd send music their way; for feedback more than anything else and we got talking from there.  Since then we've both played for secretsundaze events and will be doing so again this summer at their famous off Sonar bash in Barcelona.  On top of that, the secretsundaze label will be resurfacing with a focus on EPs, of which one will come from Flori and I.

You’ve got a whole summer ahead of you, will you be doing much touring?

I've got a few dates in the UK and Europe.  I'm playing again at mono_cult in Leeds, Wherehouse? in Nottingham and some London gigs.  We've got Sonar in June, I think we're returning to Vienna too and a few more in between.

Where does your jazzy influence come from?

I've always liked a bit of jazz.  I'm not a jazz head by any stretch, I know some people who are and the scarcity of my knowledge probably offends them, but it's a musical genre that I respect because of it's ability to defy rules.  As is also customary in these kind of interviews, my grandfather played in a sort of Dixieland jazz band so maybe it comes from there.


Who have you been feeling of late?

Aside from the greats Alex Agore, Marcello Napoletano , Hunee, Brawther, HomePark and Kyle Hall have been particularly consistent.  I also just picked up a nice EP on Eglo from Fatima which is great.  I've been listening to more and more broken and wonky stuff of late.

Whats in the pipeline for Ethyl for the rest of 2010?

Myself and Flori's EP, The Paisley Riffs is just about to drop on Quintessentials - a label that I've got a lot of time for so it's nice to have a release with them.  We've also got the aforementioned secretsundaze EP and I've got some more solo stuff on the way too, perhaps a sound that you might not expect from me.

Tell us about the aptly named track title 'If A Pope Shits In The Woods And No One Is There To Hear It'

Well it's a very famous philosophical pondering of Charles Mann isn't it?  Like if a bear shits on Schrödinger's cat and throws it into the wind, how many watches does Pavlov's dog have?

Finally whats your favourite Tea?

I've not been drinking tea for that long actually, which is apparently sacrilegious.  It was Flori who persuaded me to get into it because he swears nothing beats it on a hangover, and he's right.  So by the same reasoning I'm going to be getting stuck in to some crystal meth soon and do some serious tidying.  I recently tried a Mauritian tea, in Vienna actually which was nice, a little be sweeter and fruitier.  But that brings me neatly on to something that really gets my goat.  Fruit 'teas' aren't tea.  The tea plant's leafs make tea, not oranges and cinnamon and nettles.  They're infusions.  Have I spent the longest time answering the tea question?

We're tea enthusiast so the longer the better!

Watch out for Ethyl & Flori's 'Paisley Riffs' droppping on Quintessentials 31st May and checkout more of Ethyls choons and mixes here.


  1. Any relation to the name Ethyl and the meth???

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