Interview: Estoc

With a vision for powerful, narrative-driven DJ sets as well as a production catalogue spanning original hardstyle compositions, rhythmic drum track collaborations, dancefloor-storming superhit blends and wondrously uncanny metal mashups, Estoc sets any and all music libraries alight. The Philadelphia-based artist has been consistently delivering the fiercest of mixes and edits under the name for a handful of years now – blends like “VV x MM” and “Wut (Estoc Terror)” plus her EP with Precolumbian on Apocalipsis have become USB mainstays. Still, as we’ll find out, her journey with music begins much earlier. Aside from a regular barrage of SoundCloud drops throughout 2020, she’s put out a second release with Precolumbian as well as her first solo EP, The Tower. It seems like each new year brings about more exciting creative developments from an artist constantly growing and reinventing herself, just as she is able to so brilliantly reimagine and recontextualise the work of others. We jumped on a call to speak about her approach, her influences, what tarot and astrology mean to her and more.

How are you spending your days at the moment? What sort of environment are you in? “Thankfully the one good thing to come out of this is that I’ve had pretty much unlimited time to work on music, which is why I’ve been able to release so much stuff lately. It’s just been a lot of taking it day by day, working on different projects, be that music or other silly little hobbies I’ve picked up in the meantime. Hanging out in my room at my desk plugging away at music or jewellery-making or hanging out in my living room with my boyfriend – one of the two is usually where I’m at.”

How long have you been making music? “Probably over 10 years at this point. More seriously within the past five or six years but just flat-out making music in general, I’ve been messing around with it since high school.”

How did that start? What sort of music were you getting involved in? “If you really wanna go all the way back, in elementary school I started playing the clarinet. I did that for five years doing classical and jazz music, where I played clarinet, bass clarinet and tenor sax. But as far as my foray into electronic music and dance music closer to what I do now, that all started with me discovering chiptune music back in like 2007, 2008. Getting really interested in that, buying a modded Gameboy that had a backlight, an extra sound output and a special cartridge for making chiptune music and I think that was my real first foray into electronic dance music.”

Why bass clarinet, why tenor sax? Did you get to choose those instruments? “Sort of, yeah – it was for school. I originally wanted to play the drums but my parents were like ‘no, we don’t wanna have a beginner drummer in our house at all times’ which, fair, I definitely understand that. I think the clarinet specifically was because it was the instrument that my dad wanted to learn when he was younger but never did, so he was like ‘okay now it’s your turn to pick up this thing’. Which was an interesting experience of getting into music, being in school band.

“Elementary school is obviously just the very beginning of it, but when I went into middle school, I was in the jazz band, and as far as middle school jazz bands go in Seattle, Washington which is where I’m from, we were one of the more well-known middle schools and went to competitions and on school trips to Reno and this other middle school jazz festival which is a thing that happens in Idaho. Which was a very weird experience all around, looking back on it.”

Did you listen to that music in your own time? “It was 100% just for school. I mean I listened to a little bit of Benny Goodman, obviously playing the clarinet, and stuff that was assigned by the teacher to listen to and songs that we were performing but I grew up on punk and metal and a little bit of electronic stuff introduced to me by my dad, because he really liked trip-hop. That was my first real introduction into any electronic dance music, then later I explored and branched out on my own.”

How much of those initial years’ influence is left in you now as Estoc the producer/composer? “I think a little bit in terms of having learned some basic music theory and knowing the circle of fifths and how it applies to music now or basic major, minor and diminished scales. The music I’m making now is the music that I always wanted to make, wanting to be a drummer initially, which is why so much of my original music is percussion-based rather than more melody-based.”

I was gonna ask if that had scratched that itch, ’cause you had the EP with Precolumbian that was super percussive, and then your debut solo EP out just a few months ago. “Yeah, I think so. There’s obviously no time like the present but I still wish that I picked up drums earlier on and had that physical understanding of rhythm rather than the more mental one that I have now where a lot of my exploration into music has been figuring out what kind of rhythms feel good rather than being able to improvise more. It’s been more of a mathematical process.”

It’s such physical music and you’re creating it from such a cerebral standpoint. “When it really gets there I really do start to feel it and it becomes a physical thing but I think the reason a lot of it has been so cerebral is in college before I flunked out, I was a math and music major and that really led me to think about music and production in a much more formulaic way. Formulaic makes it sound as if it’s the same thing over and over again, but in terms of a more mathematical approach and a more cerebral approach than I think if I had picked up drums earlier in life.”

Was there a reason you flunked out? Was the course not giving you room to explore what you wanted to explore or was it something else? “It was a lot of reasons. It was a perfect storm of chaotic events like starting HRT and having a lot of trouble with where I was living at the time. I went to school in Olympia, WA which, if you’re not familiar, is about two hours south of Seattle. And it was just a really bad environment in a lot of different ways. Combined with some other factors, it just led to me not passing and it sucked at the time. But there were some things that I really did gain from that experience, even though it was a pretty rough one.”

Was it in Olympia you fostered your interest in hardcore music? “Yeah, definitely. I got into club music because this person who I used to be internet friends with made me a playlist of dubstep and bass music that I used to listen to on repeat. That got me more into the trajectory that I have now because that introduced me into stuff like Night Slugs/Fade To Mind and getting more into the club scene rather than just electronic music. I wouldn’t consider trip-hop and stuff that I used to listen to like that very much like club music in the way that I’ve come to understand it now. But this playlist that I got was stuff like Dark Sky, The Others, Starkey, Caspa, Benga, early stuff from all of them. And I just remember listening to that playlist on repeat. That’s what steered me into being interested in DJing, becoming really interested in that artform, which eventually steered me into throwing DJ parties, which then introduced into the hardcore and gabber scenes. The rest of that has been pretty out in the open as far as my journey with that.”

So you started DJing before you started producing? “Well, not necessarily, because this was a couple years after being in high school and getting into chiptune music. This was more in college, when I started getting really into the DJ stuff. In high school, I started a production duo with a close friend of mine who I’m still good friends with, Taylor Dow, who is an incredible visual artist now. But we had a very silly band back then that is part of what got me started on the journey that I’m on now.”

Are there any remnants of this chiptune band online? “I think there might be some, but I don’t think I’m at a point where I’m looking to share that with most people, it’s just so silly.”

What chiptune you were listening to back then? “There was this label near Seattle, WA called CrunchyCo that had a number of chiptune artists on it like, Fighter X, TEETHANDFEET, and there’s this other dude called capitalSTEPS. I used to listen to some really early Disasterpeace before they got more into soundtracking stuff. There’s this one band that I really love called Kids Get Hit By Buses. I think a lot of these people now have turned out to be kind of scumbags, I don’t really know them, but they were tangential to my friend group. There’s a scene in Seattle for chiptune music, which was kind of funny. My introduction into it was through the local music scene.”

It’s not the first thing people think of when thinking of the Seattle music scene. “Oh, definitely. When people hear Seattle, they think grunge, punk and riot grrrl, which I guess is more closely associated with Olympia. But yeah, it was a funny moment that happened, maybe partially connected to the rise of techies in the area because that started happening around when I was in high school, and now has like, exploded.”

We’ve touched on Seattle already but about Olympia and then Philly, when you moved there, what have the scenes been like for you? “In Olympia, there wasn’t really much of an electronic music scene. There was a party called Dark Disko that I used to run and it was my first real experience with DJing, one of my first real experiences performing on my own. There really wasn’t much of an electronic music scene, it was much more focused on hardcore punk, metal stuff coming out of Olympia. A lot of people were more focused on bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, G.L.O.S.S., and this house show kind of thing that was going on. If there were any electronic acts be it club music or noise existing tangentially to both of those scenes, they were usually tacked on to a house show that was mainly focused on hardcore.

“Then in Philadelphia, there’s definitely much more of a scene just by it being a bigger city, but the scene still isn’t huge here because a lot of people just go to New York because of its proximity and because that’s already such an established scene. But there’s obviously things going on here. Seltzer is one of the bigger ones, put on by Precolumbian and BEARCAT who are two good friends of mine. I’ve tried to start a couple of things in Philadelphia that just haven’t gotten off the ground.”

What was it that motivated the move to Philadelphia? “Well it was right around the time that I was failing out of school and just having a lot of challenges in my life. I needed a big change and moving from a small city on the West Coast to a big city on the East Coast was really the quickest large change that I could make in my life. It was where my boyfriend was moving at the time and one of our close friends, we all just kind of made our way to Philadelphia together. And it’s been like three and a half years.”

Earlier you mentioned listening to Night Slugs, Fade To Mind, Dark Sky and those sort of acts – what was your journey like going from that to the hard-hitting sounds you DJ now? “It happened gradually. I think there was a journey that I was looking for, for harder music that I really felt more in my chest. There was a funny moment with dubstep and bass music that happened in the late 2000s or early 2010s of just like, what is the like loudest most obnoxious noise that you can make? And that coincided with blog house, which I listened to a lot, like Bloody Beetroots, Justice, Daft Punk, all of that kind of stuff. But it just sort of happened, I just happened upon it. I was first introduced to a song by Angerfist, who to this day remains a big inspiration for me in terms of production style. It kind of just spiraled from there.”

I was gonna ask who you consider your main musical inspirations. “I’m really lucky to be at a point in my musical journey where a lot of the people who I’m really inspired by and look up to are peers of mine, and people who I’ve worked with or talked with on occasion. It feels hard to nail down specific producers that I really look up to at this point. Because there are people that I don’t know, like Angerfist and some other mainstream hardcore producers where I appreciate the sound design and the production value that comes along with that more mainstream sound, but there’s also a part where there’s something missing from that. I think the thing that’s missing from that is that punk feeling of music I listened to earlier on because it’s just so glossy and polished.

“There’s a lot of different people that I draw inspiration from both within and outside of the club music scene, but if I were to name a few, it would definitely be people like Ana Caprix, Kilbourne, Felix Lee, Kamixlo… I feel like I could just read down my top albums of the year list and that would be a really succinct list of people. As far as outside of the club music scene, I’m really inspired by a lot of the sound design that goes into more experimental metal, stuff like Liturgy, The Body, Thou, Chelsea Wolfe… I really appreciate a lot of the care that goes into creating such a loud sound.”

Do you have a process for putting together a mix, and for your original productions and edits? “I usually try and at the beginning nail down what genre I want the mix to be like, what kind of place I’m at and what sort of feelings I want to project in putting a mix together. My process for playing shows and putting together pre-recorded mixes can sometimes be somewhat similar, just in terms of creating huge playlists as an outline, then paring it down and organising it into a set order a little bit more. A lot of my edits are born out of that, working on a mix and hearing two songs that I either realise are in key with each other or just sound really good in terms of mixing them together. I piece it together from there, usually in Ableton, and that’s how the edits come about – just me wanting to freeze these specific moments in a mix into a fully-fleshed out song. Or with me thinking of a funny joke putting two artists together, like that Creed that I just uploaded, or some of the nu-metal ones that I’ve done. Not to say that I don’t legitimately enjoy those, but there is definitely a bit of humour that comes along with that.”

Humour is often something that I feel is missing from certain approaches some people have to music. It’s something the mode of a piece of music, like the form of a blend, just kind of unlocks that door a little bit. But regardless of whether it’s an edit born from a joke or one that you’ve come across the idea of while putting together a mix, I’m trying to understand how you’re able to turn them out so quickly. The other day you did a Nickelback one in the space of 90 minutes, but even normally you’re uploading every couple of days. Do you just sit down at one point in the day and churn out an edit? “It’s always been a way that I really enjoy interacting with music, collaging in that sense of taking two disparate things and putting them together. The process for it is something that I have just been practicing and working on for a long time. The difference between a blend and a mashup is really how cool someone wants to sound, but listening to stuff like Girl Talk in the earlier days when that was coming out inspired me to get into making the music that I make. That is a lot about that collaging process and I think that really informs how I make mixes too. Finding those like little pieces of juxtaposition that come together.”

Sometimes there’s juxtapositions like the one you did of Kelela and Pop Smoke, where it’s an incredible edit but in a way it makes sense they would go together. But then you’re working on stuff like “XO MAPS LLIF3” where there’s not an immediate common ground. You’ve got a really good Slowdive one, and The Body as well. As someone who has that interest across all these different scenes and musics, is there an intent to draw together these very different cultural standpoints? “I want to say that it’s intentional, but sometimes I happen upon them. For example, the “Maps” one was a thing of like ‘oh, this is cool, I finally found the acapella or the vocal-only track for this song that I grew up loving’. And I took that and then looked through my Traktor library and it just happened to be in key with that Torus remix of the DJ Lostboi song. Oftentimes, it happens that way, trying a bunch of different things and piecing together a multitude of different sounds. Then with the Kelela and Pop Smoke edit that I did, that was a similar process but fell into place much, much quicker, I don’t have to do anything, just put this vocal over this instrumental and it sounds great.

“It’s funny for me to watch people’s reactions to certain blends, just being like this one was a one-off that happened to work together because I had been thinking about these two songs, like with Nelly Furtado and The Body edit. That one came to be the most popular song that I released on SoundCloud. And then other ones where I really meticulously piece them together and do some rearrangement with – I did one of The Knife and Rabit that people didn’t really listen to. I think it’s funny to see that it often doesn’t really matter whether I put six hours into working on a blend or 30 minutes. Some of them just work better and just catch people’s ear a little bit more than other ones.”

When you’re making something, whether it’s a set, an edit or a track, do you have preconceptions of how you feel it’s going to be received, is that something you presently think about? Or is it that you’re just more focused on creating the thing? “Sometimes I have an idea, like, ‘oh, this one is gonna be really good, people are gonna really like it’, and I felt that way with the Kelela blend. But other ones, I’m like, ‘this is just an idea that I have’. It’s better to go into it without any sort of preconceptions about what people are gonna think. Those ones that I’ve made, like that Creed blend that I was talking about earlier, where I can obviously tell that people are gonna see that one as being kinda silly or an exploration of music that people don’t really like, talk about, or listen to see as musical garbage, if you will. Which is how I think a lot of people look at bands like Creed, which, they’re not great, but someone still like cared a lot and put a lot of work into that music. But going back to your question, I think that any preconception that I have about people’s reaction to my music is usually wrong.”

Can you tell me about the process when you’re making new compositions, like your recent release The Tower? “That one was an effort that happened over time. My brain when I’m making music is either in production mode or in DJ mode, and when it’s in DJ mode, I have so much trouble putting sounds together and creating something of my own. When it’s in production mode, it’s the opposite, I have a lot of trouble making blends and putting mixes together. I have to actively switch my brain from one to the other depending on what I want to work on. When my brain is in that DJ mode is also when I make a lot of my remixes because remixes for me are approached in that collage sense, someone sends me a folder with 20 stems of the song they’ve tracked out for me to remix. Then it’s repiecing those together to create something else. With original compositions, it’s the mood that I’m in, then it’s laying out the kick drum pattern, then everything else on top of that.”

How do you figure out what kind of mood you’re in? “Now that I have an abundance of time, being unemployed and being stuck inside all the time, I try and spend time each day working on music and hacking away at it, figuring out what I want to make or, more accurately, what I am able to make that day. Sometimes it works out where I make a song that I’m really happy with and sometimes it works out where I mess around with Nickelback blends for three hours. I sit down with an empty Ableton file and sort of see what happens.”

Is one type of day more important to you than the other type of day? “I generally cherish the days a little bit more where I’m in more of a production mood, because those are a little bit more rare. Since starting DJing, I think of music more as a DJ than a producer, which is why The Tower felt so four-on-the-floor, easy to mix. It feels like I’m making music to DJ with and I think that that’s sometimes how I break through into the production mode: to be like, ‘okay, what is missing from my DJ sets? What do I want to have to add into them?’”

Are you listening to other things in the home, now that going out and dancing is a lot less feasible? “There’s been a lot of really amazing club music that has come out this year that I’ve really loved and enjoyed, but it’s given me time to listen to music for a sake other than preparing for a show. I have really enjoyed some more metal this year. My partner has gotten me into older music that I didn’t previously have context for like ‘60s and ‘70s stuff. Which, in turn, has made my foray into DJing and mixing a little bit more interesting, because I’m drawing from places that aren’t just club music.

“Being more open to music not made for the club’s sake makes club music better. Too often we get locked into specific modes of thinking with music played in the club, and while there’s ways to take it too far – you can get away with playing some non-dancey music at a show but there’s a line there. But I do really want to continue exploring music outside of that. Stuff like Sightless Pit and the new Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou records are two examples of stuff that I’ve really had more time to sit down and appreciate not having to prepare for my next show.”

Going back to your EP, one of your tracks is titled after ‘ACAB’, and when you’ve previously spoken about the name ‘Estoc’ in a political vein as a tool to fight oppression. What do you think about the scope music has in that role, and the scope for music participating in activism? “I remember seeing this quote about how the point of revolutionary art is to make revolution irresistible. Thinking about it in that sense, I don’t want to make music that feels like it could mean anything or that feels too up for interpretation. With something like “ACAB Tool 2020”, it’s so obvious what the message is because it just says it in the song. I think that it can be hard to project ideas through music that doesn’t have words, which is something that the electronic and club music scene struggles with a little bit and why there’s so many people who feel comfortable toeing the line listening to music that has a lot of political intent behind it, but doesn’t necessarily like say it out loud. I really care about making original music that doesn’t give anyone any space to kind of toe that line.”

Relating to ambiguity and messages, the name The Tower, and also its follow up, “The Star”, are based on tarot arcana. And the first thing in your bio is your astrological signs, and I wanted to ask about symbolism. It seems to be a common theme and I wanted to ask about your relationship with it. “It’s a way of further understanding this very chaotic world that we live in.I think that there’s a real beauty in looking at that stuff and drawing inspiration from it. With tarot, especially, there’s a story being told with the major arcana, and to a lesser extent, the minor arcana, but there is a very linear story through history that’s being told with that. I really appreciate being able to look at that as a lesson with the Tower and the Star specifically. To me, so much of what the Tower represents is a necessary breaking point that things get to, and that when things look really bleak, there’s always a rebirth that follows it, which is represented by the Star. That’s a really important lesson to keep in mind and something that – not that political and personal are completely disconnected – but both politically and personally, is a good lesson for me to keep in mind. Just having so much strife with mental health challenges and then challenges as existing as a trans woman in the world. It was really important for me after, you know, failing out of college and going through all of this really stressful stuff. Now, looking back and being like, ‘oh, that led the way for me to kind of build this new life for myself.’”

Your Taurus Sun, your Sagittarius Rising, your Cancer Moon – are they placements that you resonate with or that resonate with you? “Having a Cancer Moon is definitely something that really resonates with me. It’s weird to consider yourself a caring person, but I do think of myself as a fairly caring person. Just being in tune with things is definitely a way that really resonates with me, with music. The placements that really resonate with me the most are the parts of my chart where I have a lot of fire; my Mercury and Mars are both in Aries. That really informs a lot of my music-making process, just being so combative and blunt is something that I can really see resonates with me. I made a nu-metal gabber mix several years back that was called Mars and Aries that is still, to this day, one of my favorite mixes that I’ve made. That was really me being early in the days of exploring what astrology and symbolism meant to me, being more obvious about it, but I just really appreciate that we have that tool of this historical knowledge and symbolism that we can look at and draw both inspiration and advice from.”

What do you do for yourself? For fun, you mentioned that you picked up hobbies. “Music is the main thing that I do, and it just so happens that it has become something that is the main thing that I pursue both in work and in leisure. But I have also picked up a little bit of chainmail-making in my spare time, just as something to do with my hands while I watch TV or movies. Which is another thing that I really enjoy doing, just watching cooking shows or whatever cheesy new action movie is coming out. I just watched Tenet the other day, which was a terrible and very fun movie.”

I feel like I’m in the minority because I really love Tenet and everyone’s just upset about its sound design, but as someone with tinnitus, I feel like I understand the sound mixing in the film. “I loved the sound in the film, I thought it was really weird and bad in a way that I enjoyed. One of my friends made the comparison to Uncut Gems, just in the sense that everything felt chaotic and loud all the time. But I sort of enjoyed that aspect of it. I don’t know, maybe this is gonna lose me a little bit of credibility, but I really enjoyed the score too.”

That’s so true about Uncut Gems as well. The sound felt realistic to me, as when I go back home for family occasions there’s my extended family, 30 of us, in the same house for a get-together and people don’t talk one at a time, that’s not how it works. Obviously, after a majority of a year in near-isolation, I’d probably react to it quite differently but I felt quite at home in the sound of Uncut Gems. “Yeah, I really enjoyed the sound design in that movie. While it felt really chaotic and messy and hard to understand, it also was mixed in a way that made sense. I could still understand, still get what was going on in each scene and still pull out the main character that was talking in each scene. I really appreciated that, I thought it was a really interesting design for that movie.”

So obviously Uncut Gems’s soundtrack is famously made by a guy known for his work in the electronic music sphere. I feel like I remember you saying somewhere that you wanted to score video games or something? “Oh yeah, doing scoring for a movie or video game has always been a dream of mine. My focus in terms of the kind of music that I make has geared more in the direction of club music and the split that I have between production and DJing. There’s a bit of a split that I have between producing club music and producing less utilitarian music, if you want to think about it that way. Music that feels more atmospheric. What’s the word I’m looking for? Not more expressive because there’s a lot of expression in club music, but just sort of less literal. There was a project that I did several years ago called d e s o l a t i o n that explored that a little bit more, and had more of a narrative structure. In exploring that, I got really interested in what it would be like to score something, and it’s always been something I’ve been interested in.”

In terms of the narrative aspect of that, what is it about scoring someone else’s vision? What is the allure of that that you feel wouldn’t necessarily be something you’d bring out in your own creations that you’d make on a solo basis or in a DJ set? “Part of it is I love working collaboratively with people. Being able to bounce ideas off of someone else is something that really helps me with my own production. The one main feeling of doing solo production is only having myself there and not being able to communicate with another producer at the time. I have been doing some collaborative stuff online, but even that isn’t as satisfying as sitting down with someone in person and working on a song together. I think that that is really where I shine, taking pieces that someone else has made and remixing them and that’s kind of what scoring feels like it would be for me: being able to both contextualise someone else’s art within mine and contextualise my art within someone else’s. That just feels like a really interesting process to me.”

I’ve got friends who have gotten really into knitting and making clothes – none who have gone into making chainmail! What goes into that? “It’s just something that I’ve always had a fascination with. It feels pretty on-brand in terms of the medieval aesthetics that I gravitate to a lot both visually and within music. But it just feels like a very calming process. I fidget a lot when watching TV or movies, and I’m usually just on my phone, scrolling Twitter or whatever, but it feels nice to do something else with my hands. It’s a very calming and relaxing process that feels a little bit like weaving in a sense.

“I’ve made a couple pieces for people but mostly I’ve just been doing it for myself. Maybe if I feel like I get good enough, which I don’t know when that will be, maybe it’s something I’ll pursue more for other people but right now it’s been very satisfying to sit down and make something for myself. It’s one of those things where there’s no way to shortcut it. You have to really sit down and dedicate time to it, because it is so extensive.”

Bandcamp Fridays have been a hot topic this year and in terms of putting your music out there, what are your thoughts as an artist primarily using SoundCloud and Bandcamp? How important are these? How much does the current landscape for sharing, selling and distributing music online work for you? “SoundCloud is far and away the most popular place to just share songs. And I like that I have a place where I can sketch out an idea in terms of an edit or a blend and then just upload it minutes later. Convenience is really nice, but there’s a lot lacking in that and a lot that we could hope for, but it’s definitely very hard to find a website like that, that is established that well, that has everything that we’re looking for. As far as Bandcamp goes, it’s the best thing we have, but I don’t think that it’s as perfect as everybody says. While Bandcamp Fridays originally were a really good idea, and definitely gave people an opportunity to earn a little more from their art, they have become immensely flawed in a lot of ways. It really concentrates music buying into a specific day, gives people a lot more noise that they have to cut through and in some ways centralises music buying; these are the things that are coming out on Bandcamp day and if you can’t make it through that cacophony of releases, your stuff just gets left behind. Now that Bandcamp Fridays is a thing, it feels like people are rarely buying music outside of those dates as much.”

As someone who is quite dependent on it, what would be your dream development in the music streaming/purchasing landscape? What is missing that you would love to see? “It’s hard to imagine a better system that we have now that still exists within the framework of capitalism. Because in music, period, the biggest problem is capitalism. I think you can say that about copyright, about corporations not respecting fair use, which is what happened with [séverine’s] Bandcamp getting taken down. The process of distributing art within capitalism is hard because the value of it becomes so tied into arbitrary things like someone’s clout, or the value that that person has sometimes reflects onto how much people are willing to pay for their music, which sucks. It is a really unfortunate turn that it’s taken. I think that Bandcamp Fridays have contributed to that a little bit in terms of certain people’s music being more easily able to cut through the noise. My ideal would be a way that it would be possible for people to get their music out into the world for free and still get paid at the end of the day. For me, I personally want to be able to give all my music out for free, and generally, something I like about SoundCloud is that it’s really easy to give stuff away for free. But, you know, people obviously need to make a living and need to get paid for the labour that they produce. It’s hard to put together an ideal distribution process while we’re still living in a capitalist society.”

Are there things that you’re looking forward to in 2021? “In some ways, I’m trying to manage my expectations a little bit. I mean, I want to believe that we’re moving towards a life without COVID, but I still think that it’s important for me personally to take it one day at a time. And I think less so than other years, I haven’t really been thinking about New Year’s resolutions or what I’m looking for in the next year.”

Lastly, what was the last thing to make you laugh or put a big smile on your face? “The last thing that I watched that really made me laugh was the trailer for season nine of this show called Letterkenny – it’s something that me and my partner have really gotten into in quarantine. I don’t know, just a very silly show. Less like laughing and more just putting a smile on my face, I was listening to the new Kamixlo record right before this and that was really putting me into a good mood.”

Estoc’s solo debut EP, The Tower, is out now and available digitally via Knightwerk Records here.

Estoc: SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Instagram, Twitter

Tayyab Amin

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