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A chat with a legend in the making: The story of Ernest Greene aka Washed Out

ernest greene is washed out
ernest greene is washed out
washed out / chris

Last night Ernest Greene and his concept known as Washed Out performed a sold out show in Los Angeles at the El Rey Theater. After releasing their latest project Paracosm, they are now embarking on a nationwide tour. This was my first time seeing WO live and I was beyond impressed. I like to think their music is a mixture of indie hypnotic dream pop, in that order. Their album Within Without is the project that captured my attention permanently and has been streaming throughout my life ever since. I got the opportunity to interview Ernest last month and was surprised what a down to earth creative genius he really is. If you haven't tripped into the Washed Out vortex yet, now is the time. Catch them at your local concert theater before they start playing sold out stadiums.

You grew up in Georgia. Who or what got you into music?

I grew up playing the piano from an early age - but I never really liked it that much. It was mainly classical music. When I got a bit older I discovered rock music and learned to play the guitar - which led to me playing in a lot of shitty garage bands. It wasn't until I got my first computer and started making songs by myself with it that the WO thing started to happen.

What music were you listening to back then?

When I first started making songs on my computer, I was listening to a lot of weirder, psychedelic hip-hop stuff like Four Tet and DJ Shadow.

What music is on your playlist (DJ)

When I DJ I love to play disco and funky 80's style RnB. I love edits in particular - where someone has added modern production elements to these older songs from the 70's/80's...

New album Paracosm is out now. How did you decide on the floral art piece as the album cover?

I moved out into the country to write and record the album and my work space looked out into a garden / wooded area. It was a big inspiration from the very beginning and I thought the bright colors really paired well with the music on Paracosm.

What did you do differently on this album Paracosm from your previous project Within Without?

I used an entirely different approach for making the record - favoring a lot of "live" instruments over manipulating synths and samples on the computer. I think the record definitely has a more organic feel because of that. It also sounds much more like the WO live experience - where I have a 5 piece band.

By the way Within Without is in my Top 10 favorite albums i've heard in my life. What are a couple of your favorite albums of all time.

Probably the classic works by the Beatles and Beach Boys. I'm a huge fan of records where bands "used the studio as an instrument" - really pushing the barriers of recorded music.

What intrigues you most about this tour for Paracosm?

The band is at a nice sweet spot - where we've played the new songs enough to perform them really well, but not so many times that we're sick of them :) So the last few weeks of shows we've done have been some of our best.

Do you personally find the opening acts for the tour?

I do. I think opening acts are very important. They set the tone of the night's performance and its important for everything to have a natural flow to it.

Do you remember your first ever live performance in front of a crowd?

One of the first shows I did was a sold-o CMJ show in NYC. I was completely freaked out and had no idea what I was doing.

What can I expect to see at a DJ set of yours?

As I said above, a lot of old disco and RnB, and its def a lot more upbeat than the WO live show and records.

What was your most memorable moment of 2013?

Finishing the album has been most memorable. I spent a lot of time and energy putting it together and it's a crazy feeling being able to finally put it out into the world!

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