Ataxia is defined as ‘the loss of full control of bodily movements’. Through the destabilisation of traditional beat patterns, Rian Treanor aims to precipitate just this in his audiences.
In his debut album, Treanor appears to take influence from a wide array of electronic genres. Elements of garage, electro, bleep, and synth-pop, are combined and then systematically deconstructed. It is computer music created for the club.
The result is a sound that is catchy and listenable, yet syncopated and brutal. In walking this tightrope, Treanor has carved out for himself a unconventional niche in the electronic music scene.
I spoke to him ahead of ‘Ataxia’s’ release to find out a little bit more about its conception and the drive behind his alternative sound.
How would you define your sound to someone unfamiliar with your records?
Rian: Electronic dance music with weird rhythmic patterns.
Where, and who, do you take creative inspiration from?
Rian: I guess I’m mostly inspired by the music I listen to and the people I spend time with but I think a lot of ideas come from the tools you use too. Growing up around Sheffield I’ve always been inspired by the music coming out of the city like industrial, synth pop, bleep and bassline etc.
But I also think you can be really inspired by things you don’t want to do .. like working in the opposite direction to something.
In what environment do you imagine your music is most potent, and best experienced?
Rian: I make music with specific kinds of places in mind, like if I get offered to play at a club or gallery, tunnel, church or something I’ll try make something that I think will work in that space.
For dance stuff if there’s a decent PA that fits the room it’s perfect. But really it’s more about energy of the people there, you can play a rough PA and if the crowd are on it you don’t really need anything else.
Are you formulaic about how you work, or, like your records, is there an element of disorder to your creative process?
Rian: There are definite formulaic elements like drums, bass, synth, chords etc.. separate events that are distributed over time. But you can still do playful or unusual stuff with that. As a listener I like things that are a bit unpredictable so I approach my production from that angle too.
I think the creative process needs a sort of unknown element to it, like something you discover as you make it. If you know exactly what you’re doing it’s not really creating, it’s more like you’re constructing something from a plan.
How do you ensure that your sound maintains its unique and experimental edge?
Rian: I’m not saying that I achieve this but that is really how I define whether a piece of music is successful or not: is it doing something unique or is it adding something to the conversation. I guess that comes just from spending time exploring what you do and understanding the things that you like and the things you don’t.
I wouldn’t say my music is that experimental either, I’m not making anything really that’s new, like new ways to hear sound or innovating radically new technologies etc. I’m using elements that are functional, I’m just trying to put them together in different ways.