Melbourne singer, songwriter and producer Running Touch wants people to experience things they didn’t realise they were missing from live shows. Incorporating a live rock band to his production, he introduces a new energy to his sold out crowds. “I want the biggest takeaway from my live show to be that there can be a band in house music. That there can be musicianship in this music” he confesses.
Whilst the electronic backdrops of his releases may be slightly misleading, Running Touch is a rockstar at heart. With his roots lying in the hard rock world, he used to be apart of the successful Australian band Ocean Grove who still accompany him on tour for this new project. Adding this bold dynamic to the live show, they turn the volume up and electrify the production with big guitar riffs and grunge fuelled drum beats whilst still managing to hold onto the electronic formula. Prepare to still dance, jump and sing along the way you would to a Flume set, but just be ready to also get grittier.
“It is really cool doing tours like this because I think you forget how much people actually love seeing a live band if they do love house music. Or they may not even release they like that. So I like incorporating the rock feel to the show. Even if the music in the future doesn’t portray that, the live show will 100% will”.
Sitting backstage at The Triffid before his sold out Brisbane show, he is preparing for the biggest headline shows of his career to date, and he’s visibly excited. With the next night being a sold out homecoming show at The Forum in Melbourne, it’s something he’s dreamt about since the start of this project. There has been a long thought process going into how they can keep elevating the production and give people the unexpected from the live band, to the lighting to the stage set up.
With the centre piece being a giant ladder, there is a very experimental and industrial feeling to his staging. Starting the show on top of the ladder whilst shredding an electric guitar isn’t completely what you’d imagine from a Running Touch show but it feels right. Taking his place in the spotlight he sings his way through all the songs, plays multiple instruments and interacts with the crowd in a boisterous and fun manner. He’s an entertainer that knows how to lift the energy in any setting and give an unique and memorable performance. As he climbs the ladder during his Hayden James collaboration ‘Better Together’ he jumps off the top as the final chorus drops, leaving the audience stunned and simultaneously losing their mind. It’s these rockstar gimmicks that add to the nature of his empowering live show.
“I’m always thinking of what we can do next, how we can go bigger. I want people to constantly think ‘why the fuck do they have that on stage’. We even thought of doing a WWE inspired “Money In The Bank” segment from jumping off the ladder but I thought we better not because of health and safety” he laughs as he dreams of enlarging his live show.
Clouding himself with secrecy, Running Touch wants the focus to be on the music and the electrifying live show instead of a branded image. To help push that concept, he covers his face in photos, wears eye makeup during his live show and loves to wear hats and balaclavas to help add to the mystery. He also doesn’t sit down with media often, so there was an exciting energy to his candid stories and thoughts as we discussed his creative process.
“The initial reason behind the secrecy was from three years ago but it’s grown with me and become apart of the artistry. It really suits my aesthetic and who I am. The music is just as important as the visuals you create, but its about how you join them together. We just don’t speak as loudly about my image as much as we do with the music and that’s the way it should be”.
Throughout out this journey he acknowledges that there is still so much for him to learn and that excites him. “There are so many aspects and things to conquer in this industry and it’s not possible to be great at all of them. You can be a great musician but not a great performer and vice versa. Or you might not know anything about the technical side of the industry. But you just have to have a want to learn and grow”. He also cites bad shows as the biggest inspiration. “I walk away from some shows and think ‘do I quit now?’ but then it becomes the driving force for the next show and to grow as an artist”.
Reflecting on the music he’s released, he confesses that maybe he hasn’t been completely true to himself as he’s got a little consumed by perfecting the production of earlier releases and not by what he was trying to say as an artist. “I think I lost my vulnerability for a bit because I think I grew a lot as a producer and I think I got consumed by that. I lost a little bit of lyricism. I may not be the most prolific lyricist out there but I think I let myself down a little bit because I could’ve said a bit more in those songs”. Pausing for a moment, he confesses he’s at peace with it. “I can look back in retrospect and It’s okay with me. I kinda knew what was going on creatively but at the same time you just need to wear it and realise that it was where you were in that time. Life goes on. I only learn from it and maybe I’ve become more conscious or less conscious which allows me to naturally be more vulnerable now”. Coming from the hardcore world, he explains that there are some things he does now that comes across a little cringe because of the dark and personal undertones of that genre. Where as the electronic soundscape is more clean cut with it’s polish. So with learning how to grow he’s trying to find a way to contrast them together through his music and live show. He admits that he hasn’t really had a completely “vulnerable” moment yet but is hoping his next release will show that side of him.
His current single ‘Make Your Move’ is a song that oozes a pulsating electronic production along with an unique experimental touch. With the addition of little production quirks, he perfectly captures the underground club essence. He marks this track as the fastest song he’s ever written. “I went to my parents house and we were dropping something off before heading back to my friends house and in the space of an hour I jumped on a computer and did some loops, piano and the main line. And from there the track was born”. He always approaches a studio session differently because he doesn’t want to force a formula onto his music. He finds an important part of what he does comes down to being attentive with wanting to learn instruments and learning how to get better on others. “I’m a big believer in that you need to uphold your musicianship so that you can accurately portray what you’re trying to say. I try to do that with my music. I attempt to try different avenues and find something that feels natural to start an idea organically”.
Through the use of that mantra, you can be assured to always expect the unexpected with Running Touch as he continually grows and pushes the boundaries on the electronic music industry.
Check out this exclusive look from Running Touch’s Brisbane show HERE;
Photos by @xkenken
Running Touch will play the last date of his Australian tour this Friday, June 15, at the Lion Arts Factory in Adelaide. Tickets selling fast