It was a cozy vibe at the Canvas space the that night Ed Harris took the stage as Edamame for the first ever Voyager New Year’s Eve. He recalls the organic way the event came to fruition, having little foresight in mind as to what it would become four years later. Although Ed has played a key role in helping push the Canvas community forward since the beginning, he was Edamame long before that. This year, he was stoked to hit the Voyager NYE stage for a third time, sharing the cosmic atmosphere with major artists such as Masego and JMSN. We wanted to dive a bit deeper into Ed’s brain to learn more about his artistic journey, and what lies ahead for him in 2017.
Your style of music is very unique. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
There’s a large handful of musicians that inspire me regularly, but for me a big source of inspiration tends to be the world around us. I like to fill my songs with “familiar” elements—such as wind-chimes or birds chirping—that most people recognize. I feel like this helps give it that “float music” feeling that people describe in terms of Edamame. I want people to hear one of my songs that has bird chirps, for example, and feel like they are gliding around outside somewhere with a soundtrack.
I also get a lot of inspiration from world music. If you listen to my songs you’ll hear a lot of different percussive elements, sounds, and melodies from all over the planet. Some songs utilize instruments like the Chinese guzheng, or chopped up Pygmy vocals from deep in the Amazon, while other songs will feature African style percussion and rhythms.
You create graphic design work as well as music production. Tell me a bit about the connections between your two crafts.
Graphic design and art came before Edamame actually. My father was a graphic designer so it was one of those things that was kind of just in my blood from the start. Even in my death metal days, I did graphic design, and my work tended to have a bit more of an “abstract” feel to it. So I sort of stuck with that style over the years.
I tend to make a lot more surreal and dreamy artwork now. I do all my own album covers and Edamame-related art, so I like to make sure the artwork matches the general vibe of the music these days. As an example, I designed the cover for Ochre once the record was complete because I noticed that the album has a general “outdoorsy” feel to it.
When did you first get signed to Emancipator’s label?
I signed the official paperwork sometime in April or May 2016 I believe. I was so thrilled that it honestly seems like kind of a blur now. I can’t exactly recall what lead to Doug and I talking to each other but I know we were conversing on Facebook for a while. At some point he told me he liked my music and that when I have a new release together, I should send it over to him so it could potentially be released via Loci Records.
What was that like?
I was a huge fan of Emancipator for years prior to these conversations so naturally I geeked out hard when Doug expressed interest in Edamame. Emancipator was one of the first groups I heard when I started dipping my toes in the electronic music pool so it was very surreal to suddenly be sharing a label with them.
How has your creative process changed since then?
Releasing Ochre through Loci really just taught me to be a bit more patient with my creative process and make sure everything sounds as nice and professional as possible. Some of my older records were a bit more slapped together in the sense that I would make ten or so songs over the course of several months with no plan for an album, and then eventually just bunch them all together and be like, “Ok, here’s an album now!”
My process in terms of creating songs themselves is still relatively the same, but when it comes to making a whole album, Loci has motivated me to have more of a “vision” in mind when putting a record together.
This was your third time playing at Voyager NYE with Canvas. How was it different than it was four years ago?
It certainly felt different than the earlier years when I played, but in a good way. It’s truly inspiring to see what Voyager has become.
The first year it was just an awesome, smaller New Years Eve party that a few people and myself came up with. When it was a success, we realized we should keep going with the event each year.
The second year was bigger and I remember all of us almost coming to tears at how great everything came together. The third year I actually played a festival in Guatemala for NYE so I missed out, but from the photos it looked like the most massive Voyager yet. I never in a million years thought Voyager would get as big as it did so it was really cool that this most recent event was scaled down a bit compared to year three.
So, Voyager did in fact feel different than a few years ago, but only in the sense of attendance. The overall positive vibe and warmth of Voyager has stayed the same, but it was pretty unreal to see our event going from a few hundred people to well over a thousand.
What are you most excited about for 2017?
In terms of Edamame, I am most excited about (hopefully) bringing my live music to more cities and countries. This past year was a very good year for my music so I’m hopeful that this year will be even better. Currently, I’m trying to get lined up with some festivals and would love to get involved with another tour. 2017 will also bring more new Edamame records as well as Ochre on vinyl, which I’m very excited for (it’s my first vinyl!).
As for my artwork, that’s always more of a thing I just do in my spare time, so I don’t necessarily have anything major lined up for that at the moment. Although, I believe I’ll be doing another art show at Grassroots Chicago sometime this year which will be excellent.
In terms of my personal life, I have a few things I’m looking forward to this year. I recently got a new record player so I have a new collection of vinyls I need to start which is exciting. I’m also hoping to move out of Chicago this year to a place that has a bit more nature. I think my soul needs it.
Ready to get your float on? You can snag any of Edamame’s works here, including his 10th and most recent album, Ochre. Don’t miss the album’s release on vinyl coming this February!
For additional info, tour dates, and merch, go to www.edamamebeats.com