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Annelies Rom

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Etherwood announces new label ‘Stillness Music’

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Etherwood announces new label ‘Stillness Music’

Etherwood is launching his own label, Stillness Music. After 10 years at Med School and Hospital Records, he thought it was time for something new. Drawing from his third album, In Stillness, Etherwood was inspired by nature, meditation, and mental health. He hopes to bring this same ethos of peace to his new label. “The idea behind Stillness Music is a focus on the more chilled and serene side of drum and bass, creating a space to find calmness and stillness among the chaos of everyday life,” he explains. 

With the first single announced, it’s safe to say Etherwood is staying true to the sound we all know and love him for: liquid drum & bass, deep melodies, and a hint of nature. You might have heard the track at Liquicity or Shogun Sessions, but on April 25, it’s finally out on Stillness Music.

We caught up with Etherwood and talked about the new label and life lately.

Congratulations on the label! Can you start by telling us the story of how it started?

Thank you! When I started producing, I never thought I’d start my own label, but the idea has been slowly forming over the past few years. After ten years, four albums and an EP with Hospital, I felt it was time to start something fresh and exciting. My contract was naturally coming to an end, and I’d seen some of my friends and artists starting their own labels. I was very inspired to do the same. I’ve always had a very strong vision and notion of who I want to be as an artist and for my music to reflect the themes that I live by, so I think this has ultimately led to me wanting to take more control. I owe so much to Hospital and Med School, it’s been an amazing ride, but it feels like I’m ready for the next chapter to further hone my vibe as an artist and create a platform to release my own tunes and music I love. 

What’s that vision you’re talking about?

I chose the name ‘Stillness Music’ because I wanted something relevant as an artist. My third album is called In Stillness, and for that one, I went out into isolation and stayed in a little cabin in the Finnish woods for 10 days. It invited all these calm and chilled vibes without any distractions. Since then, I’ve felt connected to the idea of stillness and figured it’s a perfect name for the label and its ethos. Listening to music can be an escape from the present, but it also makes us feel connected, grounded and alive. During a hectic time, we can put our headphones on and return to what’s real, special and important. Drum & bass has this beautiful ability to make us feel a million different ways in one. To me, it’s all about the calmer, deeper side, the stuff that hits you where it matters. The idea behind Stillness is to create a platform for the more chilled and serene side of D&B, a soundtrack to a drive through the mountains, a walk through the forest or a stroll on the beach. That’s the vision. That’s the vibe that I yearn for as an artist and a listener. 

Talking about stillness, it’s also been a while since you released music. How was it to take some time off?

It was really, really important. It feels like a long time now, but I have been doing loads since the last album came out. I was converting a camper van so that I could travel to gigs and write music in there, be away from home, and enjoy being in nature. I was finishing that off, and then after a little while, I moved into a flat on the south coast. It was a very busy time for me, so I couldn’t get into the studio as much as I’d have liked. I also felt like I needed to take some time off to assess where I am as an artist and gain more inspiration from travel. Try to figure out what I want to do. That’s when the idea for the label really took form. 

The whole Stillness theme has become a bit of a mantra for me, especially recently. 10 years in, it’s obvious that the DJ lifestyle is really intense and really hectic… It’s easy to get carried away. Sometimes, you feel like you struggle to stay grounded and keep your feet on the ground. I think after that period of time, when my contract with Hospital Records was coming to an end, I felt like that was a good time to take a step back and assess everything. I was meditating a lot and grounding myself, essentially. I really needed that time off. Otherwise, you just carry on. You burn out and get stuck in a loop, then it’s another 10 years, and you’re in the same place as you were before. Musically, as well, I didn’t want to keep writing the same stuff. I took some time to learn new production techniques, got some new synths and changed the software I use for production. It’s been nice. I feel like I’m coming back refreshed and renewed.

What’s the plan for the label? I don’t really want to restrict myself to being a drum & bass label only. I hope to release anything that ties nicely into the label’s ethos. It would be nice to incorporate some wellness and mindfulness, maybe some yoga, and perhaps work with some mental health charities. What’s important for me is to try and use this platform to promote wellness and ultimately create a sense of peace and well-being for everyone involved. 

Where did your relationship with nature start?

I’ve always been kind of obsessed with nature. I used to go camping a lot when I was younger. I used to go to the woods, go wild swimming whenever I could… enjoying everything nature offered. It always gave me this strong feeling of peace. I guess that ended up coming through in my music, and that’s where I still find most of my inspiration. I discovered meditation around the same time that I started making music. I started getting into Buddhism, and I was meditating more and more. I think it really helps, and for me, it’s really important to balance this mad DJ lifestyle. It’s very up and down and very mentally challenging. You need something to keep you happy and peaceful, and that’s what meditation did for me. 

I talk to a lot of people about it, but I try not to preach about it too much. There’s a big mental struggle for anyone in this industry. For me, meditation was the thing that allowed me to move past that and stay on top of everything. A few years back, I struggled a lot with my mental health, particularly when I first started life as Etherwood. It was a huge culture shock, and it took some time to adjust to that, but the more you meditate, the more you learn to navigate life a little better. You don’t find yourself getting quite so stressed. Even things like nerves when you’re DJing, lack of confidence, or judging yourself. Meditating helps you with all of this. I’m hoping to do some Stillness Music events with all the usual joys of a D&B rave, but it could be cool to have meditation sessions at the event as well, or a gong bath or some sound therapy. It’s not normally the kind of thing you’d find at a drum & bass rave, but it’d be great to have that or just an area where you can sit and find your chill. In the long run, I’d love to try and do some sessions to try and introduce more DJs and producers to meditation cause it’s helped me so much.

How does that tie in with your relationship with traveling? 

I’ve always felt quite nomadic. I don’t tend to stay in one place for too long, which is why I decided to convert a van into a camper. I travel a lot because of my job, and I love being amongst nature, so I thought it would be great to combine the two. I have a small studio set up in there, which is cool. When you’re on the move a lot, you need those times of stillness to reflect. 

It’s been three years since your last album, Neon Dust. How have you grown as an artist?

I think there’s a lot of self-discovery. When I’m writing, I always find I have to remove myself from the day-to-day and step away from my home for a bit to get that inspiration. I feel more settled now as a person and artist. On Neon Dust, I experimented a bit with different genres and listened to a lot of 60s music while writing it. There were some slow bits in there. There were some more housey bits. This bit of time between releases has allowed me to focus more on developing my sound. For this first release on Stillness, I’m fixed on drum & bass, trying to put as much of myself into it as possible and not stray too much into different genres. I do feel as though I’ve learned a lot when it comes to songwriting and production, and I hope that carries through.

On social media, you posted something about learning how to drone. Is it important for you to keep learning new stuff?

Well, it’s funny you mention that because I had a bit of an accident this weekend involving the drone and a tree that literally came out of nowhere. But yeah, I love learning new stuff. I’m quite a creative person anyway. I’ve just started painting a lot. The great thing about the drone is that there are so many awesome spots because we travel a lot. I figured it would go hand in hand. The drone footage looks really nice when combined with music. But yeah, I’m always creating. Music is where my heart and soul go, but I love learning new stuff when possible. 

You’ve had some gigs recently, like Shogun Sessions, for example. How was it to go back out there and tease your upcoming music?

It’s always nice. I’ve been playing ‘Lucid’, my new single, a lot, and it’s getting a nice reaction. My music isn’t particularly made for dancefloors. It doesn’t have this huge mega filthy drop or anything, so it’s nice to see people reacting well to that kind of music in a rave setting. 

How would you like people to listen to your music, then?

I don’t know, really. I guess my music comes from a place where I feel very relaxed, at peace, and comfortable, and that’s when I can create. It’s all coming out as naturally as possible. Because it’s all very inspired by nature, and I know I keep talking about nature a lot, but I would say it’s probably better appreciated there. A lot of people tell me that they listen to my music when they’re travelling, which is really nice. It’s like the soundtrack to people’s travels. I love it when people share those kinds of stories. I suppose any time when you feel like you just need some comfort, that’s what I’m trying to do with my music, like an audio hug. I’m speaking from my own point of view here, but there’s something about liquid drum & bass and the feeling it gives you. The soul and the passion… there’s so much energy in it, but then at the same time, you’ve got some serious feels from all the pianos and the guitars and the vocals and that deep sub.  It’s just the best. 

What else do you have planned for this year?

I’ve got some cool shows that I’m looking forward to. I’m heading to America in May for the first time in quite a while, which will be good. I’ve got some great shows in the summer, one in Bali, which I’m looking forward to. Another thing I’m hoping to start is a YouTube mix series. This will be a stream from the camper van. A lot of the time when I’m parked up somewhere nice, I’ve got the decks out, and I’m having a mix, so I think it would be really nice if we filmed this. So that’s the plan. Also hoping to explore lots of other avenues related to the label, but I’d better not say too much for now…

Follow Etherwood: Instagram | TikTok | Facebook/Meta | SoundCloud

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