Running Touch: poetry, anonymity and his debut EP

Words by Niki Dahlenburg

Having just performed his first shows on foreign soil at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, Running Touch is due to kick-off his national tour in his hometown at the start of next month. The Melbourne-based 22 year-old electronic producer caught up with YEWTH to discuss his soon-to-be-released EP, A Body Slow, creative influences, and the modern-day challenges he faces while trying to retain his anonymity as his notoriety and popularity increases both at home and abroad.

“I think musicians are definitely self-proclaimed poets, that’s for sure, but whether we’re all actually poets - that’s, uh, yeah, I don’t think that’s really true,” laughed the enigmatic artist, producer and documentary filmmaker who presents himself to the world as Running Touch.

“But no, definitely, I read a lot of poetry to get influenced by those things, and I think that’s necessary to be objective, because you need as many perspectives as possible to gain an objective view, rather than just letting your biases shield your rose coloured glasses,” he says.

Speaking about his new song, ‘Lovely’, that premiered on triple J’s Goodnights on February 23, Running Touch described how the song is a compilation of stories fed from three close friends, who he describes as "all very interesting individuals".

“They’re definitely all day-job kinda guys, but they’re all very interesting, with very in-depth personalities, inner-battles, and varying backgrounds. The experiences of those things I wrote about are definitely a testament to the fact of how ridiculous they are, like some of the things that they’ve done are just, yeah — unspeakable — so that’s a lot of the reason why I wrote about them.

"These guys are such ‘ordinary’ guys, but they’ve just done these incredible things that deserve to be written about,” the producer says. 

Due out on March 31, A Body Soul is Running Touch’s debut EP, and features singles ‘Aubrey’ and ‘Courtesy Of’, both of whom have received high rotation on triple J and community radio since their respective release dates in 2016.

Responsible for writing, recording and producing all of his own music, as well as all the tools, video-clips, artwork and behind the scenes videos that accompany it, Running Touch is no ordinary artist. Speaking about the cover art he designed for the upcoming EP, he explained that — rather poetically — it is representative of the two incarnations the album has had after it was originally prepared for release in late 2016.

“I’m a big fan of visual art design, and art in general, and there’s a lot of designers that I’m greatly inspired by. A few of them have been doing these really kind of broad, in-depth ageing pieces, and a lot of them were these shapes, or, like, outlays of vinyl, and so that’s kind of what got my brain ticking, and really in the mood for that kind of aesthetic," he says.

"Then, to go one step deeper, what I actually did was, I had my first cut lino-vinyl that we did for ‘Courtesy Of’ laying around, and I always love doing scanner art, so what I did was I scanned this little 10-inch plastic sleeve, and just went from there," he explains.

"So there was some double layered sentimental value to it, and then, because the EP has taken two turns — like it was meant to be released last year, and there was actually different cover art for it last year — the little picture in the middle is actually the original cover art for [the EP], and then the new one goes over it,” he says. 

With no plans in the pipeline as yet for any collaborations with other artists (“I want to focus on finding my own feet, and, kind of, admitting defeat to being naïve just for a little bit, like seeing what I can do before bugging other artists,”) Running Touch confirmed he was looking forward to playing in Adelaide, and hoped that crowds would turn out to support him at his May 5 gig at Rocket Bar, like they have at previous Fat Controller gigs in the past.

The infamously anonymous performer admitted that he doesn’t use social media in its traditional sense. “It's good because you can always evolve with it, because it is faceless - you can always mould it to what you need it to be, and you don’t have to worry or rely on yourself or your looks."

"[Having said that], I definitely think projects do get to a level where you probably can’t really reach a certain notoriety or level of notoriety by being anonymous these days… but if you want to know who I am, go to the show, come see me live.” 

Running Touch is set to perform at Cats at Rocket Bar on Friday 5th May 2017. Tickets available through Moshtix.

'A Body Slow' is out this Friday, March 31st. Pre-order here.