Jon Thomson, aka Ethereal Delusions, was kind enough to talk to Echosynthetic recently about his EP, Shutter Shades, new music on the way, and what drives this project. If you haven’t heard it already, Shutter Shades is a brilliant debut EP and is worth checking out. You can snag it at his Bandcamp along with other cool merch.
Echosynthetic: Now that Shutter Shades is out, what has the reception been like?
Jon: The reception has been better than I had hoped or expected. I’ve been calling this release my “notice me senpai” release. I was out to make noise. I think that I’m accomplishing it. I had released a few singles and a very hastily released ep last year and got a bit of attention, but not anywhere close to this. It’s fantastic, weird, overwhelming and wonderful every time I get a message or comment from someone I don’t know who sends positive comments. It only solidifies my belief that I’m doing the right thing.
Echosynthetic: You’ve got some new material set to release soon. What can you tell us about it?
Jon: I’ll be releasing my next single on March 14th. I’ve half written ( and I still need to finish) a story for Shutter Shades. It follows a main character named Alex Karlovsky and his journey from vacation to war. If you listen to Shutter Shades, you can hear the progression of the feeling of each track. Alone In Space, the last track on the album, is the culmination where Alex has reluctantly gone back to fight the Spectors. “Karlovsky’s Revenge” is the next chapter. I haven’t decided if I will carry the story past this next track, but I think I might off and on. KR has a darker and more experimental sound.
Echosynthetic: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Jon: I try to draw inspiration from everywhere. Obviously, I take a lot of inspiration from 80s pop music like Duran Duran and Hall and Oates and soundtrack scores like ones by Anthony Marinelli and John Carpenter. Beyond, Rush is my all time favorite band, so their analog synth experiments in the 80s are a HUGE influence on me. I grew up listening to a very wide range of music with my parents, from reggae to opera to country music. I think this helped me appreciate all kinds of music. I also really love Hip Hop, so I try to use the influence from that and as much as I can to separate my music a bit from the run of the mill synthwave. I also really enjoy neo-classical music such as Max Richter and Ludovico Einaudi.
Echosynthetic: What do you use in the studio?
Jon: I use FL Studio from start to finish. I’ve tried most of the major DAWs, but FL fits the best with my brain. I use a ton of VSTs, like the Arturia collection and TAL U-NO-LX. I’ve recently started using a MicroKorg and I just got a Microbrute, so expect to start hearing a lot more analog in my stuff. Other than that, everything is produced on my laptop with my Yamaha digital piano. It’s a pretty simple set up, but I can do a lot with it. I love that I can do nearly everything I want with a MIDI controller and my laptop in my tiny home studio.
Echosynthetic: What artists are you currently listening to?
Jon: I’ve been really enjoying Vampire Step-Dad’s newest album a lot. The emotion that he was able to put in was spectacular. Lupe Fiasco’s newest album is straight fire, the beats on the track “Tranqillo” is so good. Migos’ “Culture” is an all-time record. Mutemath’s latest has been in heavy rotation. Other than those, it’s just been old standards like Rush, FM-84, Carpenter Brut, Lazerhawk, NOFX, and Dillon Francis.
Echosynthetic: When you aren’t making music, who is the man behind the shades?
Jon: Ethereal Delusions is actually Jon. I’m a music major at Oregon State University, Go Beaves! (Sorry, reflex). I make music, I do some graphic design, photography, I make glitch art. I’m a freak that loves exercising and playing sports. I grew up the son of a college football strength coach, so if it’s August-January, I’m probably watching, talking or reading about football. I love to play video games, though I don’t get to as often as I used to since I sucked into making music or art. I watch lots of classic Sci Fi movies and Hulu. I love hiking with my wife and my dog and cracking inappropriate jokes all the time. My life is pretty boring, and honestly I love it.
Echosynthetic: I understand you just signed with TimeSlave Recordings. Tell us more about how that will impact your future releases.
Jon: I’ll be releasing some music with them in the near future. TimeSlave is a super cool label and a really great group of some fantastic up and coming musicians. They just released a really great mixtape that all proceeds are going to a Down syndrome charity. My track “Alone In Space” is a part of it along with some pretty heavy hitters. I’m really happy that I can be a part of something like that. It shouldn’t have any impact on my creative process. I hope that I can get some collabs with some other TS artists in the near future too. The biggest thing is I’ll have some more help with promotion, which is invaluable.
Echosynthetic: Do you see yourself doing any live shows in the future?
Jon: That’s the plan. I’ve been slowly gearing up and preparing. I’ve developed a small rig of things, but I still have some more things to go before it’s 100% ready. I’ve played a couple shows around my hometown, but I’m working with some friends to get some local or regional shows in the near future. Eventually, I see extensive live shoes as my next venture.
Echosynthetic: Favorite show growing up?
Jon: No contest, Star Trek the Next Generation. That’s all I watched until I was at least 3 or 4 years old. Me and my parents would watch it every week. I had the communicator badge, the action figures, I even waited in a huge line at a Star Trek Convention in Boise, ID to meet Marina Sirtis (Dianna Troi) when I was 5. My nerd runs deep.
Echosynthetic: What does 2017 hold for Ethereal Delusions?
Jon: 2017 is turning into a big year. I’ve released Shutter Shades in February. I’ll be releasing another single on March 14th. I’m planning on a mini album over the summer, with a couple singles in between. I’m working on some cool collaborations with some friends and heavy hitters. Maybe live shows? Who knows! I want to keep bring cool music out into the world to make people’s lives more synthtastic. All I know is that 2017 has started out really well and I’m looking to carry that on into the rest of the year and beyond!
I’d like to thank Jon for taking time out of his day to talk with us. He is continuing the trend of synthwave artists being the nicest in the world to talk to.