Telepathic Beat: Q&A with Ennui

ennui – a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.

While we all have felt a sense of ‘ennui’ at a time, music always finds a way to break through all of the tedium and gives us something to feel excited about again. Such is the case for Pittsburgh’s Jim Doutrich who goes by the name of Ennui and is gearing up for his first solo release, Telepathic Beat, on September 23. If you’re wishing summer would just stick around for a few more weeks, this album will keep you content, along with dreamy synth-scapes that will have you over-using the starry-eyed emoji!

I caught up with Doutrich, mastermind behind Ennui, to talk monikers, the recording process and what he’s been listening to lately (because I’m nosy).

1. For those not familiar, tell us about yourself and your music.

– I’m an electronic pop artist from Pittsburgh, PA. Telepathic Beat is the first album I will release as a solo artist. The music is very synth-pop, but a tad hazier and the parts of the songs are a bit more mixed up than what you would find in a regular pop song.

2. Why the ‘Ennui’ moniker?

– When I first started Ennui we were a full band and we picked the name off of a refrigerator magnet. I like the literal meaning of the word but recently it has come to mean “Don’t stop, keep working” for me.

3. Telepathic Beat is fantastic from start to finish. What influenced this album?

– Thank you. I was influenced by so many things while making this album. In the early stages I would say Prince, MJ, the Better Off Dead soundtrack, and the German pop star Sandra. I listened to a lot of Warp Records’ past catalog like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Boards of Canada and also many of the comps they’ve released. Towards the late stages of the album, I really stopped listening to other music because after spending so many hours working on my own music, I didn’t have the ears left to listen to anything else. Also, you can try to emulate someone like Aphex Twin if you want but good luck.

4. What can you tell us about the writing and recording process?

– It was a very long process. Despite recording the demos fairly quickly, I ended up with over 10 versions of each song before I landed on the ones I liked best. I read an article about the artist/painter Andrew Masullo where he talks about taking pictures of his painting as he works on them so that he can revert back to them if he gets too far off course. That’s sort of how I work. I’d go back to version 5 of a song and find that I liked a part I deleted and bring it back into the current mix. I could’ve probably worked on each song forever but eventually you have to stop.

5. We’re always curious to find out what our favorite artists are listening to. What are your current top 5 favorite songs or albums at the moment?

1. FKA twigs – LP1

2. Caustic Window – Caustic Window LP

3. Hundred Waters – The Moon Rang Like a Bell

4. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

5. Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence