Just weeks after Archnemesis wrapped up its fall tour in support of Follow Me, the electronic dance project is back with a new EP, Free for All. The aptly named album — currently available as a free download on the band's tumblr site — is the fifth release from the Charleston EDM act, and the first with founder Curt Heiny on his own. His former Arch-mate Justin Aubuchon left the duo last year.
The EP won't be the only thing that's free. Heiny has decided to make most of the shows on Archnemesis' coming tour free or offer first-comers free and discounted tickets (sadly, this week's Pour House show isn't one of them).
"With how the economy is going, and the oversaturation of the whole electronic scene, I just felt like this was a way I could show my appreciation and give back to a fanbase that has been supportive for four years," Heiny says.
Way before the bass drops and the wah-wah-wahs of today's Aviciis and Krewellas, Curt Heiny was assembling samples and building dance music for the South Carolina electronica scene. Heiny partnered with fellow EDM artist Aubuchon to create Archnemesis after spending years on different projects.
Self-described as "electro hip-hop soul," the group samples from funk albums, blaxploitation soundtracks, and '70s soul. "It's important to me to have melodic structure and form and harmonies," explains Heiny. "A lot of the structure is more band based, as opposed to just putting a lot of electronic sounds together over top of a beat and calling it a song."
Like all great samplers, Heiny scours used vinyl bins and listens to obscure CDs for anything that catches his ear — whether it's a string section, a vocal run, or a funky beat — and layers it with original compositions until a song emerges. If a track takes longer than a couple of weeks, he'll let it go.
"I have a sense of what our sound is. The goal is to have songs that are melodically pleasing but also danceable and able to translate well across different genres. If I'm beating my head against the wall, after a while I'll just give it up. I'm not going to beat a dead horse." For Free for All, Heiny revisits the sound of early Archnemesis for a more funk-driven and less gritty sound than Follow Me.
Despite embarking on several nationwide tours, Heiny says he hasn't really seen an uptick in young EDM fans. "I feel that our style goes to more of an older crowd, from early 20s to maybe 30," he explains. "It is kind of interesting, you know. There is a certain brand and a certain culture that goes along with the Bassnectars and the Pretty Lights. I don't feel as though we see a whole lot of that fan base. I haven't quite figured it out yet."
Though Archnemesis hasn't achieved Skrillex levels of fame, he has been able to do what many small-scale musicians can't: pursue a career in music full time, all while supplying his fans with free music. "The general model has changed from five years ago. Labels were still successful," Heiny says. "The main reason for me was to get music to as many people as possible and get them interested in the live show. I'm taking a chance on someone listening to Archnemesis and wanting to see it in person instead of just hoping someone will buy it."
Because of the malleability of EDM, Heiny can use laptops and keyboards to manipulate and improvise each concert, creating a different sound while keeping the integrity of the original song structure. "I'm able to create a person's initial introduction to Archnemesis through an album and then elaborate and build on its production during a performance," explains Heiny. "The live show is always better."
You can download Archnemesis' Free for All EP at archnemesismusic.tumblr.com.