Jonathan Doyon’s road to one of the world’s biggest independent dance labels is definitely not what you would have expected.
Jonathan Doyon didn't get lucky. He didn't jump on a craze or decide he wanted to be a producer after hearing about the new gold rush in EDM. Eekkoo has been in the works for the better part of the past decade and in a twist to most of today's electronic music stories, this producer studied, practiced, took his time and got his break. We sat down with Eekkoo to talk about his past, the importance of a proper technical education, and what's coming next.
THUMP: For those who don't know who you are, can you explain a bit where you came from and how you got involved in this industry?
Jonathan: Good question [laughs]. I started by studying to be a sound engineer and found myself producing a couple mixes for other artists. After a while I really started focusing on my own stuff and I was released on a couple independent labels; first in Montreal and then in Germany and Hong Kong.
So how long was it before Deadmau5 reached out to you?
I've been producing for a while. At the beginning I was mainly focusing on hip-hop, in 2007 I made the transition to techno and house. It was almost five years after that he contacted me.
You're actually a technical production professor?
Yup, that's true. I studied in the field when I was younger, about 10 years ago, then I moved into post-production. After a while, the school I studied at offered me a job and I've been working there for about seven years now.
Everyone and their uncles are trying to be producers today; for people interested in musical production, how important do you think proper technical education is?
Good question. I think they have to invest a good two to three years in learning. It doesn't have to be in a professional school or anything, you can just go on YouTube nowadays and get quality information, but it's absolutely crucial to be serious about it. To produce music you have to be able to conjugate your artistic and your technical skills and translate that in to a more global vision.
What advice do you give your students?
Don't go too fast and don't try too hard to be trendy because by the time you release your track, the trend will have passed.
How did your students'perception change when they heard you were signing with mau5trap? Did it change your personal life as well?
It helped everyone around me understand what I was doing. Both the people who didn't know me that well and even those closer to me now know where to situate me in the scene. Being affiliated with mau5trap gives them an answer and signing with Deadmau5 definitely gives me some sort of credibility
As far as my personal life, it hasn't changed much. I invest the same amount of time as I did before signing, producing is what I do everyday regardless. That being said, my team is getting bigger around me, there's people managing contracts, bookings, and everything else now.
Did you start touring a bit more?
Yeah, this spring I went to Miami for the first time for a WMC event. This summer I'm touring a bit around Canada and we're working on getting my visa for the States so I can go there more often.
Yeah, it's never easy to get the American permits!
I know, believe me.
Signing to a label with mau5trap's pedigree is no small achievement. With the kind of alumni the label bolsters some may find it a lot of pressure, what's your take on that?
I see it more like a challenge. When you acknowledge that you're now around names such as Feed Me, Skrillex and Noisia, you tell yourself that you have more space to experiment, more freedom. It's motivating more than anything.
All the artists you mentioned has been credited with creating their own sound, are you going in the same direction? Are you trying to offer something completely different?
I am, but I'm not even sure it was a conscious choice with the artists I mentioned. I don't think you wake up one morning telling yourself: "I have to create a new sound." I think that electronic music is probably 90 percent exploration and 10 percent conscious choices. And then, if you find a new sound and people associate you with that sound, well you've won. Then you just have to keep doing the same style and people will follow you. You see, I'm still exploring, the next EP I'm releasing this fall is completely different from what I've done so far; I'm still experimenting.
When I look at your releases I can see that you've made many more remixes than collaborations. Is there a reason for this and are you planning on any collaborations in the future?
Unfortunately I just haven't collaborated with any big names yet. In the past I've worked with one of my friends that's now living in France and I'm tight with Heat Maxwell who is also released on mau5trap. You know, tragically, I find that collaborations can sometimes be a little difficult.
That's understandable, so what's next for Eekkoo?
I've got a couple of remixes I did for several artists on the way. Some from the electronic scene but also some indie and pop pieces, like the remix I just did for the Australian group, The Presets. Those will be followed by my second EP coming out on mau5trap that both the label and myself have put a ton of work into. Hopefully a lot of shows come from that and also Deadmau5 is getting on tour soon, so hopefully that will open up some more doors for me. I'm really just excited to see what comes next.