Born from a mutual ethos and admiration, Endel has collaborated with LA-based label Leaving Records on a series of sound explorations — available exclusively on music platforms.
We caught up with founder and label manager, Matthew ‘MatthewDavid” McQueen, to talk about his “all-genre” philosophy, the modern functionalities of music, and the forthcoming releases on the horizon throughout this special project.
When did you first become aware of Endel, and how was the idea of an Endel & Leaving Records collaboration born?
Oleg, Endel CEO & Co-founder, was attending one of our concerts in the community art park in northeast Los Angeles, in 2019. I remember him approaching me at the end of the event, really enthusiastically, telling me about who he was and about Endel. Some time went by, and Endel reached out to me to potentially work on a collaboration between Leaving Records and Endel.
“The synchronicity of our exploratory ethos between electronic music and technology seemed like a perfect fit with Endel”
I started to learn and discover more about what Endel was, and then we started the conversation about how we can make this collaboration a reality. I reached out to my wife, Diva; Cool Maritime, Green-House, and Nailah Hunter. Everyone seemed to be interested in participating and collaborating with this cool technology. The synchronicity of our exploratory ethos between electronic music and technology seemed like a perfect fit with Endel. I was just excited to see what it could do.
These four initial releases have different musical perspectives. What is the concept behind each of the albums?
Each of the artists approaches their music, philosophically and conceptually, in different ways. The first release from Diva aka Yialmelic Frequencies was created with a slant of New Age healing. She wanted to ride the fine line between making music that was New Age but not too wishy-washy and hocus pocus — she wanted it to be serious, but with an element of the unknown and occult.
Green-House works a lot with this idea of environments and nature. Nailah Hunter has an afro/futurist/fantasy approach that’s definitely embedded in her music. Cool Maritime is a super tech-savvy wizard of modular synthesis — blending everything from tech, music, and motion graphics. Every artist has their own unique angle.
Endel adds a unique element to music composition, combining the emotion of music with tech and science. What has been the most enlightening experience for you and the artists throughout this creative process?
These compositions, these fully realized soundscapes, are brought to life with such little input. The most minimal stems can be wrapped together with the algorithm and it’s spat back out, and it creates something really enjoyable, lush, and surprising. It’s not like a normal music production where the artist meshes and mixes together all the music. You just submit these isolated, almost static sounds. That’s the most impressive part for me.
I think the outcome is really fun for the artists involved too. What is the technology going to create? When I first heard Diva’s soundscape, we were just sitting and waiting; we were very anxious to hear it. I think that’s a shared experience everyone will have when they hear these collaborations.
This shared bond through music was definitely heightened throughout the pandemic. Do you feel that music is moving beyond being just a listening experience?
I’m sure the idea of the functionality of music has been emphasized by the pandemic: home listening, the need for connection and inner healing — music has always been a guide for that.
“The need for connection and inner healing — music has always been a guide for that”
I’ve been using music in this way for many, many years. I had to go through a bunch of stuff and really grow up and mature to form a relationship with music in a way that was healing. Whether it’s getting it all out on the dancefloor, using music to help me sleep, getting through mundane chores, getting through work… whatever it is.
How do you see this partnership with Endel developing?
With these initial projects, we’re working within more ambient realms, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way, which is interesting. I’ve leaned into this philosophy of “all-genre” because each genre has its own set of emotive qualities. There are many genres that encompass micro-genres — electronic music consists of so many different styles. For us: as artists, listeners, and humans, it’s important to explore the entire spectrum of emotions that arise from listening to music.
It’s cool that Endel is looking outside the world of long-form ambient soundscapes — there are beats within the music, it’s plugging into different activities and emotions that connect artists and listeners. That’s definitely something both Leaving Records and Endel share — tapping into the functional uses of music.
Endel and Leaving Records are collaborating on four albums — each with a distinct life-enhancing function. Making up the first two of these releases is Yialmelic Frequencies aka Diva Dompé, with the album Meditative Frequencies, and harpist and composer Nailah Hunter with Sleeping Sea. With further releases from LA-based synthsmith Green-House, and aqua-electronic producer Cool Maritime. Endel × Leaving Records releases are available on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube, and all major music platforms.