Cold Fusion

4 April 2013 | 3:54 pm | Callum Twigger

“It’s been very different since I was a kid to a couple of years ago to now. When I was twelve I was into whatever twelve year-olds listen to.”

Electric Sea Spider is one man. At just 21-years-old, Jim Sellars might have been a schoolmate of electro hype-magnet Flume. But instead of chasing the increasingly brazen, club-bound post-dubstep spearheaded internationally by the likes of Hudson Mohawke, ESS has charted a course that is simultaneously much more bold, but nonetheless cautious – in a phrase, Warp over Hyperdub. “It's been very different since I was a kid to a couple of years ago to now. When I was twelve I was into whatever twelve year-olds listen to,” Sellars says circumspectly. “Like Beastie Boys or whatever. A couple of years ago my music was strongly influence by Warp records, and unashamedly influenced by Aphex Twin and Squarepusher and that kind of thing, but more recently I'm going back to the kind of stuff I listened to in high school, which is a lot of artists that experiment with guitars; bands like Black Dice, and a lot of New York and Japan noise artists and that kind of thing,” he adds. “Just people that get really interesting textures out of sound, regardless of what musical instruments they're playing. I try and take influences from non-music related things, like cartoons and stuff, because I find cartoons really erratic and random, and I think that can be applied to music. I find that really inspiring.”

Named in part after an ominous and reclusive crustacean that dwells in the abyssal zone off the coast of Japan, the sea spider's warm-blooded DJ namesake has his eyes focussed on dry land. “At the moment, I'm just sort of saving up to go to Japan,” says Sellars, “and planning collaborations with some other artists. I'm just in a weird transition, I guess.”

As to his influences, his collaborators, his projects? “I've been talking with a lot of different labels and producers over the years. I'm trying to think… I was a lot more in contact with other beatmakers maybe a couple of years ago, Russian beatmakers like Bizra, Montgomery Clunk… I've gotten kind words from Matthewdavid, who runs Leaving Records…” Sellars adds. “The good thing about this kind of music is that everyone is so… it's mostly like solo artists, and a lot of these guys are just really keen to speak with other guys no matter what they're doing or how big they are, and it doesn't matter, it's a really, really open music scene. It's all in good fun though, talking to these guys. I'm not trying to push into a label or anything, it's all just in good fun. If they're down here, we'll play shows together and likewise if me and some other Melbourne producers go overseas it'd be the same,” he explains.

ESS's debut record, Supercash, is in its own right an undersea landscape; almost post-apocalyptic in its swirling, cold, scratching experimentronica. Armani Slums, the record's standout single, has got love on blogs from Sydney to London, but Sellars keeps a level head. Certainly, he gives more than generous shout-outs to his East Coast contemporaries: “I'm into Max Clunk, Wooshy, Galapagoose, there are some real up and coming guys like Blossoms and Catlips, some more that I'm coming across like Ed Darcy. I mean, a lot of younger generations are coming up; I'm pretty young myself, I guess, but I'm talking like fifteen years old. There's this real consciousness of artists that are just trying to be more like personal and individual in their music as time goes by you can hear less and less influences of other artists. People are trying to be unique and take it that step further,” Sellars says.

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“It's something I've seen in the last year in Melbourne, really and everywhere in Australia, which is great. I think that maybe in a year's time it's gonna be crazy. I think Melbourne and Sydney and Perth and everywhere's lifting up to much bigger things, which is really exciting,” he concludes.

Electric Sea Spider will be playing the following dates:

Wednesday 10 April - The Bird, Perth WA