Running Touch has been running hot in 2020. After kicking off the year by winning an APRA award for Most Performed Dance Work for ‘Better Together’ and giving us all a sneak peak at his upcoming solo debut with the stellar ‘Meet Me’, Running Touch has levelled up again with new single ‘Signs’. A considerably more indie-pop/rock flavoured jam, than recent Running Touch works, ‘Signs’ presents simultaneously as a return to the rockier realms of his work in Ocean Grove and a progressive step towards future soundscapes.
Fittingly for an artist seemingly always a step ahead of the curve, ‘Signs’ comes alongside the first instalment of The Post Modern Collective Sessions, an innovative new web series from Running Touch that takes people behind the creative and production process of Running Touch from an instrumental perspective.
The first episode sees Running Touch bring regular collaborators in the form of Ocean Grove’s Sam Bassal, Northlane’s Nic Pettersen and Crooked Colours’ Lampy, to display the complexity of the percussive segments of ‘Signs’. Featuring each of the four musicians performing different elements of the percussive process, perfectly in sync with one another, it is as entertaining as it is educational and, dare we say it, more than a touch hypnotic. Much like the track ‘Signs’ itself, The Post Modern Collective Sessions promises to be yet another hit from this enigmatic master-of-all-trades.
In the wake of the release of ‘Signs’ and The Post Modern Collective Sessions, we caught up with songwriter, producer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and creative director himself, for a lively chat about both projects, his overall career path, the current state of music and who his dream collaborators would be.
MF: Thanks for chatting to Music Feeds, how’s lockdown life treating you?
RT: Well thanks, hanging in there.
MF: We’ve had your single ‘Signs’ on repeat since it dropped, we’re loving the indie-pop vibes on it. What inspired you to write ‘Signs’?
RT: Thank you. I wrote it off the back of another demo, so initially, there wasn’t much deliberate inspiration. Probably Chris Isak, Lana Del Rey and Tame Impala in the latter half. It originally started with the pre-chorus, not the bass line.. I really wanted a sort of unison pre-chorus with the guitar and vocal hitting the same cadence.
MF: It’s a bit of a left-turn from your recent more electronically focussed works, calling back a bit to the work you’ve done with Ocean Grove, while also being something completely new and exciting. Is this what people can expect from your next album?
RT: I’d say there is a healthy mix. Putting instruments at the forefront and taking some of the “box” sound out of everything is something I’ve been unconsciously heading toward for a while. There will definitely be an electronic influence across everything in some way.
MF: Now, I’m a pretty big fan of the movie Signs, so I want to know if you had the chance to redo the soundtrack of any movie throughout history, what movie would it be and why do you think you’d be the right choice for it?
RT: That’s a great question. Probably anything from Christopher Nolan. I don’t think I’d do any much justice, but I think the space and suspense he allows is something I would love to try my hand at.
MF: You’re gearing up to release a video series called The Post Modern Collective Sessions, after watching the teaser video, we are really intrigued by the concept, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
RT: It’s just another way to put instrumentation at the forefront. I’ve always loved when artists, especially from different genres, cross paths in some way, this was my attempt at carrying that on. I was really inspired when I saw Larnell Lewis’ Zildjian performance. Nowadays a lot of people you know in music probably aren’t the ones you think of playing an instrument, I’d love to involve people like that since that is usually where we all come from.
MF: The drum video with Northlane, Crooked Colours and Ocean Grove is awesome! Do you enjoy working with real/analogue drums when you’re coming up with beats for your projects?
RT: Absolutely. The further I get into production the more I realise how much more responsive I am to human feel. Elements, timing… whatever. I don’t think I’m unique in feeling that either! It’s been really exciting to work collaboratively with friends in different ways to how we usually would.
MF: I don’t think a lot of people realise just how much effort goes into producing electronic music, it’s not pressing buttons. This series is going to be really educational for a lot of people. Is combatting those misnomers about the electronic genre part of your inspiration for this series?
RT: To be honest that’s a lot more profound than I would have thought about it, but it would be a welcome side effect. I agree you can really go the distance with production. Especially now.
MF: As an artist, you have had a hand in quite a few successful bangers, including ‘Better Together’ by Hayden James, ‘Thunderdome’ with Ocean Grove and your own ARIA gold-certified hit ‘Hands’, what do you think makes a banger a ‘hit’?
RT: I don’t think I have the answer for that. A fusion of collaboration and honesty would be close. If you’re making music from all your experience and not from an incessant reference of the last 6 months then I think that’s at the very least going to be special.
MF: As anyone who has seen you live will attest, you take a rather immersive approach to your live artistic presentation. What aspect of your live show are you most proud of?
RT: It’s hard to pinpoint one. I’m proud of its collective evolution. Even more than the programming and practice, it takes longer to wear it in and find the right people. I feel like that’s in a good place.
MF: Spotify’s CEO recently said artists should be writing and recording music non-stop in order to be able to make ends meet, as a musician and a producer, how do you feel about that as a statement? Do you feel it is a realistic or even wise approach?
RT: I think for singers and musicians that may be the way it’s heading in any case with sessions and working with producers. For producers though? I’m not sure. That doesn’t feel realistic. I think you could unpack that for hours. I have no idea. That doesn’t make me feel any type of way, music is moving so fast so I guess it’s expected.
MF: As someone who moves between genres with very different expectations for output, how do you feel about the current role of singles and albums? Do you think the singles driven playlist culture is what artists should now be catering to? Or do you still see a place for albums?
RT: I think you should definitely just be focusing all your energy on making your work quality, there is so much in the industry pulling musicians away from that it seems. If it’s a unique, solid record, it can work as anything.
I hope there will always be a place for albums, however much their face changes. I think an artist’s season is more their album right now.
MF: You’re a bit of a social content mastermind too, with so many behind the scenes videos etc. Are you considering branching out into full live videos/streams as a way to reach out even more?
RT: I hope so, we have a lot of fun doing them.
MF: Given you’re quite prone to working alongside other artists, we’d like to know who your dream collaborators would be. If you could write and produce one track with three other artists, who would you choose?
RT: Right now? Probably Ludwig Göransson, Louis Bell and Childish Gambino.
MF: Before we let you get back to being the genius that you are, we wanted to take a moment to give you the chance to shine a light on the people, places and things that are making your Melbourne lockdown life better. What’s been keeping the smile on your dial?
RT: My partner, Close friends, family and nature. For sure. They are everything.
‘Signs’ is set to appear of Running Touch’s forthcoming debut album, and follows the release of the album’s first single ‘Meet Me’ in April.