Techno music, with its emphasis on intense beats and weird electronic noises over traditional song structure, creates a slight problem for its followers. Just how do you describe that great new track you heard at a club when there is no melody or chorus? Oddly enough, people tend to identify the songs by what they have stolen, whether it be a sampled vocal part or pieces of dialogue from a movie. On “Void Dweller,” his debut album on Vinyl Solutions/ Columbia, Britain’s Ian Loveday, AKA EON, proves how successful a little sampled speech can be at giving a track some identity.
On “Spice,” EON’s first stateside club hit, Loveday snatched some dialogue from “Dune,” a source he also uses on “Fear: The Mind Killer.” By using samples from the film of the same name, Loveday manages to inject a warped sense of humor into “Basket Case.” But unlike much of today’s techno music, EON’s music doesn’t sound as these samples were added as an afterthought; they really do fit in with the mood of the music.
Loveday chose to use movies as his source for these samples in an effort to get away from what has become common practice in techno and house — using the “A Cappella Anonymous” series of records. These collections are filled with vocals isolated and just waiting to be sampled. “I thought that by using bits from my favorite films it would be different and could work in the same way as vocals lifted from an old disco track,” he says.
Loveday, age 34, began making music back in 1985 with a primitive set-up consisting of a basic drum machine, non-MIDI keyboard, and a reel to reel deck, which he used with tape loops in place of a sampler. Always an electronics fanatic, Loveday continually added to his home studio and put out his first Eon record in 1986. His first release under the name EON was “Light, Color and Sound” in 1988.
“It’s always been kind of experimental, it was just kind of ‘do it and see what happens,'” says Loveday. “When I first started, I used to just make rough, demo-like tracks on cassette. I was working with Colin Favor at the time, who was on Kiss FM when it was a pirate station before it went legal. He used to play my tracks and that’s more or less how it started.”
EON’s music tends to be more diverse than a lot of the current techno fare. Loveday emerged at the height of the acid house craze that gave birth to rave culture in 1987-88, and this carries over into the music. Like most electronic dance music, Eon’s music is repetitive, but there is enough going on to keep the listener’s attention when they’re not hearing it on the dance floor.
In creating his music, Loveday tends to lean towards the sounds of old analog synths, such as those made by Roland and Moog, rather than newer digital sounds. He also admits to sampling other people’s music on occasion but has strong feelings on how this should be done.
“If you’re just going to sample someone’s record and use it in the same way and have it sound the same, then I don’t really agree with that because it’s not really adding anything,” Loveday explains. “I just use a fraction of a second of something, or I may use a long piece and change it around so it sounds completely different.”
Loveday is in no hurry to adapt EON to the live setting, preferring instead to do studio work and DJing. He does the occasional one-off gig but feels that playing shows night after night would get too repetitive and may be more trouble than it’s worth to put together.
“With the way I work, the equipment isn’t that portable,” explains Loveday. “It could be done, but it would be very complicated. I don’t agree with the way a lot of people do it, which is just miming over a DAT. It’s cheating the public because they think you’re actually playing.”
Another thing Loveday is in no hurry to do is enter the mainstream pop charts, as he feels that makes people get stuck with a formula and become “mechanical hits producers.” Loveday says that he can “survive and have money to buy new equipment” by just continuing with what he’s been doing.
Electronic music has always come under fire by traditional rock musicians for not being “real music,” but Loveday feels that this is unjustified. “Rock is a formula and I don’t think it’s really progressed that music, nowhere near as fast as dance stuff,” he says. “It hasn’t really moved in the past 20 years; it’s just kept recycling itself. But it’s not how the music’s made; house and techno is made with machines, but it still needs to be played by a person.”