Interviews > Echo Us
Echo Us - Tomorrow Will Tell the Story
Interview by Jett Black

As Absolute Probability Recordings stands ready to release Tomorrow Will Tell the Story, the second in a trio of albums, Music Artery intercedes upon Echo Us composer and founder, Ethan Matthews, for his insights into the mysteries and imagination woven within a most creative collection of new songs certain to please the more discerning music lovers now reading these words. Let us first draw focus upon the two primary portals worth exploring for audio and visual accompaniment: Echous.net for ALL recordings and project background data; and Absolute Probability at Youtube.com for new Echo Us music videos, personable musician interviews, and more.

Overall impressions point toward sensations of hope, longing, and great expectations amid the elusive mysteries of the universe within each person. This album also appears to extend focus toward unanswered questions about the future of human existence.

Ethan Matthews: An apt description~ 10 years ago when Echo Us started it was not much of an intention to make what might be considered “inspirational” music, and certainly not music incorporating anything religious - But, I did always want to explore the cosmos as far as I could in my own way...

Opening impressions reminding me of my thoughts on Diary of Dreams then changing to more of a rock ballad, then shifting more to something that might fit well within the film “Brazil”.

Ethan Matthews: Brazil is one of my most favorite films, for sure. I dislike dystopia, but I enjoy making fun of it. Echo Us make’s dramatic music and it seems like there is little room for sense of humor, but it really is there, I think- if you look for the ridiculousness of it. ‘That’s ridiculous’ is probably a term I think or say 10 times a day.


Seamlessly transitioning from the first track, the next echoes a little in a vein reminiscent of “Faded Flowers” by Shriekback.

Ethan Matthews: Although not familiar with this music, it amazes me how interconnected music and art is, but at the same time retaining it’s individuality in so many cases. I think as anyone matures within an art or discipline of any sort one finds the similarities to become quite striking- it’s the intent that is different and interpretive.

Channeling experiences ... as though working through an understanding of the path of the production even while it is in development; growing impromptu in unrestrained directions, and developing a map along the way, maybe just to retrace each step back to the core of self.

Ethan Matthews:Absolutely- I was always a ‘tripped out’ kid, never really paid much attention to the ‘here and now’. Enlightening and dangerous at the same time! But I know if one truly believes one will not slam one’s finger in a door, they probably will not. To me, it’s all measured on the intensity of ‘belief’ as to what takes place in the physical world. Much of science says things are random, but the randomness depends on whether you are viewing things from a microcosmic or macrocosmic field. Random, is not really random, random happened so we may see what may as well be true, but it is up to the person to make it true- order out of chaos? Maybe. This is a really hard area of thought to put into words.

With my experiences making this album, I went into territory I never planned to enter, particularly after writing “The Light It Moves”. The writing and recording session for that song was very much like an impromptu ritual. So there is a song that utilizes the YHVH mantra there, which I knew nothing of before. I have a blatant curiosity about “the beyond” or “other”, so I was just: “let’s give this a go”. I was sitting there muttering to myself really, and had to sound it out- like learning to read as a kid. After I figuring out the phonetics and some kind of mock spelling I was able to find it was Judaic and traditionally the unspoken name of god. I laughed hysterically and proceeded to record the lead vocal. What was most interesting, is when I did this it did not feel like my own voice- it was more effortless, and the feeling was extremely overwhelming and transcendent. For like a week I felt like things were not real...day-to- day life was that of ecstatic relaxation. The most amazing thing is this was done with illicit substances of any kind.

Some of our readers, and perhaps those listeners tuning into your music audio on Youtube, iTunes, and on the new music CD itself may be hoping to discover a Eureka, or “Ah-Ha!” moment that sheds light upon the destination of your endeavors.

Ethan Matthews: To me, Echo Us music is weird and not weird. It has the potential to reach many, and overall my musical life has been around the block and reinvented itself a number of times, which has had an effect of keeping what I do somewhat elusive. I’ve been an outcast my entire life, the difference maybe, between being a kid and now is that I care less about fitting in. When my music is let out of the gates from time to time, this is the reason I am able to connect with people. I’ve always felt I’m sitting out from the crowd and letting others see their own uniqueness, whether it’s 5 people or 1000 or 500,000 is not the point. We all soy seeds and make waves with our minds and energy, and I’d rather get to the bottom of things than know only the surface out of fear. There seem to be little cultural movement towards individualism now. We are very much a collectivist culture. I am swimming against a massive wave. The best thing is, in the end, knowing one is helping another find their own gifts, no matter what they may be.

I enjoy a good and imaginative story. Please describe the new album in terms of the story it conveys to you.

Ethan Matthews: The story is really about an evolving consciousness, or entity if you want to say, that is climbing a ladder. Tomorrow Will Tell The Story is the “breakthrough” or purgatory before our character reaches their “heaven”, so to speak. I hate to used the term ‘heaven’ because of its immediate connotations, and the whole concept is much broader: combining aspects of science, spirituality, wholeness.

I am a terrible reader of fiction and I can’t remember the name of hardly any movies I watch! My life used to feel a lot like fiction, so I was entertained enough. These days, I am a bit of study on Jane Robert’s Seth Material though, and Aldous Huxley, Terrence Mckenna and people like that, especially once I realized how much my musical life seemed to revolve around the same themes. I enjoy people who push buttons and boundaries. To me, we don’t have enough of them today in the arts- they are all in the sciences, technology, etc. Musical innovators are very few, sadly, especially when measured in pop culture status.

Working closely with the other musicians and vocalists must present some ecstatic social experiences.

Ethan Matthews: It’s always interesting, and there are usually a few new musicians with every album; although with Tomorrow Will Tell The Story the sound was stripped down to two very integral guest musicians- Raelyn and Henta primarily. I feel fortunate in a way, and always seem to contact the right people for a project it seems. There are always things [to overcome], mostly technical in every recording, and we don’t have a script of any sort.

What have these new musicians shared with Absolute Probability Recordings?

Ethan Matthews: Henta has been integral to Echo Us moving on in the way it has after the first two albums. Her voice just fit with this album, and I was fortunate enough to simply read an article in a Seattle paper and then contact her. She’s brought a sense of deeper meaning to the musical themes, and her voice complements my own amazingly well.

Raelyn Olson is half of the reason why Echo Us sounds anything like it does in the first place. Even though I write the music and do so much, others bring their influence and guide things through a realm of possibility so to speak. For some reason back in 2006 or there about I started on whim, intuitively writing a lot new music based around the harp. At the time I was working in a store selling sheet music and she (Raelyn) happened in. We got to talking about things. I have no idea where Echo Us would be without her!

When and how did you know you wanted to work with these particular musicians?

Ethan Matthews:I often get a feel for people before I meet them. That sounds creepy, but it’s really not- I have a sixth sense for everything musical- that this will work, because there is psychical force behind the ideas. So those who partake will come into my life, whether it’s musicians, business partners/labels, etc. That said, it took a lot of searching around to find Henta- but as far as I could tell there was not a single vocalist in the Portland area that got very close to what she was doing. She also has a number of albums out herself, many like Echo Us that defy genres- so we are very much in the same “space” in a sense. When I did get in touch with her it was very easy to know this was who I was looking for in a vocalist.

During rehearsals, recording and other production processes, how is the vibe between the musicians?

Ethan Matthews: There actually has not been an Echo Us rehearsal since 2001 when we gigged in New England, long before I re-made EU into what it has become from then on. Now I work directly with Raelyn, producing her harp tracks and with others in the studio. I don’t do the rock band thing of rehearsals and everything anymore. So, it’s the ‘Nashville’ school of recording so to speak, and I’ve been fortunate to find people that can work that way. I, like most [these days] keep an ‘in house’ studio where I do about 95% of the work whether alone or recording with others. I’ve worked out of one other studio for when we need live drums like on the previous album, The Tide Decides. When I work alone its intense and obsessive, but when I am out with others- like recording with Raelyn it’s as much a hangout as possible! Part of the reason is everything to do with this project requires so much detailed work. Since I am first an ‘acoustic’ musician and composer I actually find recording real instruments these days a breath of fresh air. I love the real mixed with the unreal! Sure, I often have to write out the parts and do the preparatory work, but it’s all worth it. ~


Outtro

"Mirror In The Window" , video single from the album, Tomorrow Will Tell the Story, continues the tale first begun on The Tide Decides, released on Musea Records in 2009. Unlike so many cookie-cutter projects, Echo Us pulls influence from within and unleashes an exquisite and imaginative brook of new recordings flowing out to join the waiting tides of others who may share both in the primal experiences of pleasure and the celestial esoteric reality of the spirit within. Music Artery encourages our readers to explore these musical experiences at the earliest convenience.




*Photos (credits listed in order of use):
1) S. Guitart
2) Absolute Probability Studios
3) Absolute Probability Studios
4) www.raelynolson.com
5) www.hentamusic.com
6) www.raelynolson.com


echous.net
absoluteprobability