For years, the average listener drew a clear line between the production and keyboard noodling of dance music and the instrumentation of a rock band. Although certain genres and producers – see psytrance and Timmy Trumpet – have attempted to bridge the divide, much of it retains strict novelty appeal.
Running Touch has been changing that. A multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter, and vocalist, the Melbourne-based artist does it all effortlessly. Listeners got a taste a few years ago on “Better Together,” his collaboration with Hayden James. After releasing tracks and establishing his dance music cred through ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective label and by touring with ZHU, Running Touch started 2021 on a high note with “Juno.”
Since its release back in January, the track has garnered over 150,000 plays on Spotify and received support on TikTok, resulting in over 1,700 videos to date.
At the same time – and also showcased in the video for “Juno” – Running Touch has started his “Post Modern Collective Sessions” to fuse more organic live instrumentation with traditional electronic elements. The video highlights the talents of bass prodigy Blu DeTiger, vocalist Vera Blue, and Hayden James on guitar.
We had a chance to speak with Running Touch about “Juno” and his approach in general.
Tell us about your single “Juno.” What was your concept for creating this track?
I wanted to create a narrative. Specifically one rooted in art and nodding to a lot of the books and films I’ve come to love. It’s centered around art and paint. The main character is obsessed. I wanted as many references to paint in there as I could, lyrically only few worked in “The Meadow” and “Andy” (Claude Monet and Andy Warhol).
What was your process for writing and recording “Juno”?
The song actually began at what is now the bridge, the anthemic dance section. I had already written that idea. Eventually I realized it was that part that was holding the song’s structure back (I had it as the chorus), and once I changed that, the song came out really quickly. I wrote and tracked everything in a beauty studio because of COVID. The production for the song was finished really quickly; it was getting the drum programming and transitional effects that took me the longest. Finding that bridge between pop and indie music is hard.
You’re a producer, songwriter, vocalist, and instrumentalist: How would you describe your sound? What genre do you fit into?
Indie pop/dance is what I’d imagine someone would say. I would say that’s close! Although as a producer, I make whatever I want personally, so that goes out the window outside of RT. I love producing hardcore and techno.
How did you get started with music and songwriting?
I have been writing songs since I was young. But when I started playing in a band, I just fell into that role, and it stuck. No one else was really writing lyrics, so I started doing that, too. It was just natural.
You started as a member of Ocean Grove but went solo. Why did you decide to depart the band and go off on your own?
There was no real decision – it was just curiosity. The same as hardcore music…I wanted to create what I was listening to and what my idols created. I loved dance music and pop. It really was that simple.
You’ve worked on a couple of projects with Hayden James. How did you originally start working together?
I think we just connected on Instagram through sending some songs and ideas, and it just flourished from there! Our managers started talking and then came “Better Together.”
Tell us about your “Post Modern Collective Sessions”: What was your idea for this series, and how have you been selecting the artists featured?
I wanted an excuse to push instrumentation and give artists who would usually not be seen playing an instrument or with musicians from other genres the limelight. I always loved those “We Are The World” videos and the Zildjian live videos and wanted to bring something to the table.
Whether for your sessions or a collaboration, which artists would you like to work with in the future?
Pharrell, Bicep, Disclosure, H.E.R, Lastlings, Plini, Louis Bell, Julia Michaels, The Weeknd… the list goes on.
You came out with an EP titled A Body Slow in 2017. Do you have any plans to release a full-length album?
Yes. This year!
What should we expect following “Juno”?
I want to keep that dance chorus going, so probably something more dance orientated!