It's not required knowledge, but listening to Ellie Herring's Chipped EP with the understanding that it was made during bouts of insomnia will assist in interpreting the headspace she was in during its creation. “Video Tapes”, the first song she made in the series, is an intentionally quiet creation, made as though not to disturb housemates or neighbors. Even at the height of the r&b vocals rising croon, Herring keeps the sample buried in the background, an afterthought to the droning sounds.
As the Chipped EP progresses Herring's production gains comfort in causing a commotion in the early a.m. Those vocal samples become more pronounced and she expands the repertoire to include rap on “Dynasty” and dub on “The Never Ache”. She's in heavy meditation throughout the EP, but as she notes in our interview below, this is also her production at its loosest. “Dynasty” opens the EP with brazen hi-hats that crack and snap into echoed canyons, but “Video Tapes” is the true genesis of Chipped. The comfort to incorporate those hi-hats was not immediate, but earned over repeated sessions in which the external world began to matter less and less and the solitude of crafting among the sleeping became a welcomed inventor's hour. The Chipped EP feels born of the night, darkness is a material within the composition, but Herring also must have worked until daylight crept through the blinds to cause her to allow a little light into her production.
Read on for a brief interview with Herring.
Can you describe the inception of the Chipped EP? Were these songs created during a specific moment in your life?
They were created over several moments, but all very similar ones. “Video Tapes” was the first song that I worked on and I knew that I wanted to keep producing in the same way and in the same state of mind. Honestly, I’m not sure that I knew an EP was coming out of what I had done with “Video Tapes”… I just knew that what I was trying to convey was being conveyed back to me and that felt really nice. It started as something I would work on when I couldn’t sleep. So, only in those moments. And “Video Tapes” felt like the feeling of sleeping outside. The rest of the EP was created out of similar nights or mornings.
What sort of feelings and settings would you attach to the other three songs on the EP?
“Dynasty” – Lots of dizziness. Obsessive thinking. Running alone at night.
“Harwell” – Really long stares. The good ones.
“The Never Ache” – Knowing you’ll never know why, ever.
Do you traditionally make music at night? And how much of an effect does the hour have on your headspace in making music? Do you ever record during the day?
No I don’t. In the past it was with a cup of coffee and usually always in the morning. It’s a mixed bag. [Laughs] I’m a lot more efficient in the morning and a lot less sluggish but I overthink to the point of annoying the hell out of myself. And overwork things way too much. This working super late at night thing seems to free me up a bit and my production is looser. Not necessarily a one shot sort of thing but definitely not 713 shots.
For you, what it is it about these four tracks that felt like an EP collection? Because they seem to exist cohesively.
Yeah, I do feel like this is my most cohesive release and really do attribute that knowing what mind frame I needed to be in for the songs to stay super honest. I’m not a person that can recreate an environment and roll with it. It just has to be there to begin with. I’m way too all over the place for me to able to count on consistency.
What has changed for you or what changes have you noticed in your music since the release of the Kite Day LP?
Patience. Maybe that’s why I didn’t have any intentions of formally releasing it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want anyone to hear it, it just wasn’t the end goal I guess. I didn’t have a goal. I just worked on these songs when I felt a certain way and knew to stay away from it when I didn’t. I also didn’t sing on this release at all, that wasn’t intentional or decided on at any point, I just didn’t. When I went back and listened to the album as a whole, I didn’t really feel like it was missing. I’m not counting it out for the future though.
Does the Chipped EP function as a introduction or transition to your next full length? Have you begun working on that?
Definitely an introduction to the full length. And I’ve started working on it, but I’ll tell myself I’ve not. [Laughs]
Ellie Herring's Chipped EP is out now on Racecar Productions and available in a limited pressing of cassettes here.