Running Touch tells Atwood Magazine about his music idols, his drive to create and the path that’s leading him during his first American tour stop.
Running Touch isn’t your typical electronic solo artist. The moniker of a former member of hardcore metal Australian band Ocean Grove, this electronic music project evolved naturally and eventually took on a life of its own. As we sit down in the green room of Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, Running Touch raises his fairly soft spoken voice to overcome the chatter of tourmates Crooked Colours and the pounding bass from downstairs.
Though we establish this is his first time in San Francisco as well as his first show in America, he admits to not exploring the city. To his dismay, he explains, he had mistakenly deleted his live project he’d configured for his set that night. “I’m just very lucky I had today to do it, so it worked out, but I’ve just been in the hotel room configuring it.” The ease with which Running Touch takes such a misstep in stride, with grace and thanks rather than panic and grief, speaks to his overall relaxed and confident demeanor.
Listen: “Equaliser” – Running Touch
Running Touch comes across as warm upon our introduction, and as our brief conversation goes on, his passion, ambition and wisdom shine through the pre-show jitters. He lights up most while discussing his love for and inspiration from Pharrell, and really, the admiration he has for all his idols.
“When I first discovered Pharrell, I was just amazed that he can do so many things,” he explains, noting Pharrell’s diverse and sprawling catalog. “Like, ‘I wonder if I can do that, I wonder where my threshold is,’ you know?” He thinks of his work as a kind of tribute to his heroes, one he feels he owes them, though he humbly refers to it as a rather “shit tribute.”
Other musical influences for Running Touch both personally and musically are the epic guitarist Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders and multi instrumentalist Jacob Collier.
Aside from being an honor to his idols, Running Touch’s work and ethos are as authentic as they are resolute. Originally making trance and psytrance music, Running Touch has evolved into a more vocal project tying in R&B, downtempo and experimental elements. The result is an eclectic, compelling catalog fueled by pure compulsion.
“I started going and seeing festivals and how amazing it is to watch someone play and kind of embody a performance,” he says. “It’s mostly just like the artistry involved and kind of the ambition involved with it.”
Running Touch is no stranger to being on stage and understands what it means to perform since he played in Ocean Grove, but playing a solo electronic set is a whole new ballgame. His live show certainly did not disappoint, incorporating vocals, guitar, piano and drumpad elements all executed live and solo. Each piece came together to create a captivating and inviting performance that also felt contemplative and mysterious.
“To be honest with you it’s not a dark show, but it contrasts the music quite a bit, because the music is kind of feel good,” Running Touch explains.
The mysterious nature of his live show goes hand in hand with his Running Touch persona, opting to hide his face in photos, keep his name hidden and work predominantly in black and white photo and video. Many photos of Running Touch are somewhat revealing, and he doesn’t play with a mask on, so it’s less about full anonymity than a gesture of emphasizing his music.
“It’s more just giving off the vibe of, ‘if you want to know who I am, come and see me,’” he explains. “So it’s not like a big secret, it’s just kind of a diffuser, I guess.”
The live visuals tie the show together as a whole, ranging in content “from old home video tapes of [Ocean Grove] rehearsing as teenagers, to friends, to the most obscene and weird content that can be found on the internet.”
Running Touch is an artist who understands the world of music but doesn’t necessarily play by its rules. A truly inspired and inventive producer and performer, he’s exciting to listen to and intoxicating to watch live.
As a young visionary artist, he seems to have no limits or preconceived notions for what he can create. He ties in his previous work with the inspirations he draws from the world around him with ease, and there seems to be no telling where his music will take him. The way we see it, though, it’ll be wherever he aims it to be.
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