Interview with Ethereal Delusions

We love saxophone here at Headphones for robots, so it’s a great pleasure to share this track today by Ethereal Delusions with the help of Noah Bernstein.

Check the awesome music and the interview.

Headphones For Robots: Who is Ethereal Delusions?

Ethereal Delusions:

Ethereal Delusions is the alter ego of me, Jon Thomson. I’m a musician, artist and mastering engineer for Delusional Mastering.  I lead a pretty boring life. I build computers. I’m studying music at Oregon State University.  I love hanging out and having day long Netflix sessions with my wife Rhonda and my dog Boo. I live in Oregon, so the landscape here is incredible and inspiring. I’m within 45 mins of ocean, farms and volcanoes. It’s incredible. We do lots of hiking and being outside. I’m one of the biggest nerds you’ll meet. I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate. I’m a sucker for anything set in outerspace.

HFR: You are a member of the Quixotic BPM collective.What does that mean?

ED: Quixotic BPM is the art collective that myself, my wife Rhonda and my brother in law Riley started. We are all artists. My brother in law is KiLoSo (synthwave/darkwave) and my wife is a photographer and a filmmaker. We all work pretty closely, both collaborating and helping push each other to create the best we all can. Kiloso and I have a collab album coming July 4th and my wife and I are planning to work on some music and art over the summer. The whole mission is give voice to anything you would consider art, especially non-mainstream things. We’re still in our infancy, but we’ve come from a day long brainstorming session last year to now, I’m getting ready to release my second album, Riley (KiLoSo) is releasing his first album and Rhonda is starting to explore videography.

HFR: How did you start making music? Could you tell us a bit about your influences?

ED:  I’ve been involved with music in some capacity my whole life. My mom and dad aren’t  musicians, but they love music deeply. My mom didn’t really get the music genes, but my grandfather was a self taught piano and accordion player. He was a Lithuanian immigrant who came to the US with his family as a small child escaping communism. I have so many memories of spending time with him when he was playing. He would play old ragtime American folk songs and he would sing them in Lithuanian. He gave my mom a deep appreciation and love for music. My dad was a musician in high school and played saxophone in his high school band. Between the two of them, they exposed me to so many types of music. They had me start singing in choir when I was little. I then played clarinet in middle school and part of high school. I didn’t start writing music until about 3 years ago. My brother in law had been making music and inspired me to try doing it. I really never thought I was capable. Turned out I had a spark. It just started as a hobby, but my wife and parents really pushed me to pursue it seriously. So I started studying music in college and really focusing. It’s been a grind for a few years, but it’s starting to pay off little by little.

So now for influences after that long winded answer :). Of course the music of the 80s! My parents played a lot of music from the late 70s and early 80s when I was growing up. So people like The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates and all those big “yacht rock” types. Other 80s music like Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins and Depeche Mode. As far as modern music goes, progressive rock like Steven Wilson, Rush and Porcupine Tree are enormous influences for me. Hip Hop as well like Kanye West, Childish Gambino, Saba, Big KRIT and producers like Dillon Francis, RL Grime and Diplo’s style are very unique and make me want to be better.

HFR: I remember I read a manga called Wingman, a long time ago. Is there a link with your track with the same name? What was the process for your collaboration with Noah Bernstein?

ED: I’ve never heard of that one, but now you’ve got me curious.

The process of working with Noah was fantastic. We meet though my good friend Mike Gamble. Noah and Mike are big parts of the Portland Jazz scene. I had played a show with Mike and Noah last year. When I was writing Wingman, I had written the melody with a saxophone synthesizer patch and was pretty happy with it. It was a good song. I sent it to Mike for his thoughts and he mentioned Noah playing the sax. I honestly hadn’t have even thought of Noah, mainly be cause he’s a big deal, I didn’t think he was attainable. He plays with Shy Girls, a Portland R&B group who are blowing up right now. Mike pushed me to talk to him about it. Noah is an incredible musician as well as a great guy. Mike put me in touch with him, I sent him the track and he loved it! I asked him to play the melodies that I wrote, but as far as anything else, he had complete free reign, and man, did he ever kill it. When we recorded, I was blown away. I had seen Noah play several times, but it really sunk in how good he was when he played on my track. I’m still stunned that Noah wanted to play on a track with such a small fish like me. I’m so grateful to him, he took this track into the stratosphere.

HFR: What is your approach on writing music? Which are the steps you make when songwriting?

ED: I approach writing from the perspective of having fun. If I’m not having fun, I’m not writing. I know a lot of musicians that try to avoid listening to music when they write, but I’m the opposite. I like to just consume as music and media as possible, be it music, film, art, books. Anything. Some days I’ll go into my studio, sit down and it just pours out of me. Then there are some days that I really need to put myself in the mood. You know, turn the neon lights on, get a nice beer. Most of the time though I’ll go in and pick an instrument that I’m in the mood for and just tool around with it. If I find something I like, I’ll record it and then move on to the next piece. After that it snowballs into a whole track.

HFR: Could you tell us a bit about your “go to” equipment? What do you use when writing a song and which are your favorite instruments?

ED: I’m mostly digital but I’ve started integrating some hardware into my music. As far as digital gos, I love anything by Uh-E, especially Diva, Tal-U-NO-LX, Sylenth1, Serum and the Matrix 12 emulation by Arturia.I also love the Glitchmachines and Valhalla plugin instruments and effects. Their sound is all over my music.  I’ve been taking lessons in synthesis from some experts I know so I can learn to really manipulate sound fully. I recently got a Microbrute and I’m only just now really starting to understand how to utilize it. It has a very unique and harsh tone to it, so with some coaxing it can make some amazing sounds. KiLoSo is also very generous and lets me use his MicroKorg anytime. I’ve finally figured out how to program that and man it’s wonderful. The only other equipment I use is my M-Audio Oxygen 49 controller, which doubles for writing and performing.

HFR: Com Truise has a big beard, Perturbator doesn’t. How did you choose your camp?  

ED: My wife really gets the credit here. I honestly didn’t think I could grow a beard until I met her. No one in my family had a beard. My dad has a bitchin’ stache, but no beards. She really encouraged me to try. Turns out I grow a decent beard. My Scottishness is fully visible with the flaming red hair though. It started because my skin was so sensitive that I could only save but maybe once a week. And now it’s turned into a really big part of my identity. It’s nice that it saves me a ton of time.

HFR: ED in a near future? Are there any shows coming up within 2017?


In the near future, I’ve got a some releases coming up. July 4th “D A Y | N I G H T” my collaboration album with KiLoSo releases on Timeslave Recordings. August 1st,  my next album “Summer Haze” releases on Timeslave as well. That’s going to be MONSTER. I’ve got some collabs in the works with my friends The Powerwalker and JJ Christie.

I don’t have any shows planned at the moment. I’ve been talking with a couple promoters about setting up some shows around the Pacific Northwest, USA, but nothing concrete yet. My goal is to have a couple this year, so we’ll see what happens.

HFR: Last words?

ED:Keep an eye on Timeslave Recordings. We’ve got big things coming during the Summer of Synth.

Thank you to my wife Rhonda for pushing me to pursue my music seriously (@irritable_bear on twitter, go bug her to start using twitter!) . Thank you to Riley (@thelazerpanther) for inspiring me to start. Thank you to all my twitter fam! @returnoftheyak, @olivia_mutant, @the_powerwalker, @jamiechristie2, @facexhugger, @unholyratking! Thank you guys for making me keep doing what I do. Thank you to everyone who’s listened or bought my music! Thank you to my parents for exposing me to so many different cultures and experiences in my life! Also, BIG thank you to Vince at Timeslave for taking a chance on my music and backing me and my creative endeavours. I think you guys are going to what’s coming. Thank you so much to Headphones for Robots for reaching out for this!  

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