Eugene Hector is something of an electronic music prodigy. He has numerous releases under his belt, both under the name Dro Carey and his other alias, Tuff Sherm, but much more music trickles out weekly on his Tumblr page. The Sydney producer’s music is a hybrid of all kinds of influences, taking in elements of grime, hip hop, garage and electro, and shooting them through a damaged and beautiful melodic sensibility. Hector himself is polite, quietly spoken and a deep thinker, and when I catch up with him, not long after his return from a European trip, he is excited at all the new tunes he will soon have to share.

Given his current immersion in the world of bedroom-produced electronic music, it’s a bit of a surprise to learn that Hector got his start in classical music, taking instrumental lessons from a young age. “Learning piano was my introduction to being a musician,” he says, “and it established a really good theoretical basis. You may not always hear it, because the thing about dance music is that it tends to sound very spontaneous, but that detailed theoretical stuff has informed my music since the start, along with more conventional ideas of songwriting and beat-making.”

A childhood love of video games also strongly informs the beats and bleeps that Hector makes as Dro Carey – he once mentioned the Mega Man X soundtrack as a particular touchstone. While he still has an avid interest in video games, loving them from a design and sound perspective, he admits his musical pursuits don’t leave much time to play them. “They’re definitely still something I have a lot of affection for, whether it’s old retro stuff or newer games. They’re a great interest to me, and I find the techniques and ideas they use to compose for a non-linear medium, like the sound effects, are really interesting.”

In the early days of gaming, soundtrack composers had limited tools to work with, which forced them to stretch the bounds of their creativity, doing a lot with a little. This is something Hector finds particularly inspiring. “The composers working back then had to create something really memorable, without anywhere near the number of tricks that people have today. They didn’t even really mix their tracks, they just came directly out of the hardware. Composers in those days were really creative in what they did with the instruments available.”

“I really enjoy a lot of the old Macintosh games,” he adds. “They used a really early form of MIDI instruments, which was more detailed than the Nintendo chip, but not that much. I used to love SimCity 2000 and Lemmings – they were the games where I really noticed and loved the strange qualities of sound that the composers could tease out. For example, someone might play a flute in a really low register so it sounds nothing like it’s supposed to – weird things like that.”

When it comes to his Dro Carey releases, Hector is very prolific – he has numerous official releases under his belt, and many more out there in the ether. Unsurprisingly, he works on tracks almost all the time. “I like to work on one or two a day,” he says. “I always try to stay productive. When I don’t necessarily feel inspired in a particular direction, I’ll try and do something different, I’ll try and do something in a completely different genre to see if I can do it. I’m always trying out new software and new approaches – I work every day, definitely.”

Though he mostly works from a home studio, with a laptop connected to an interface and monitors, Hector is quite okay with working from a laptop on the road, as long as he can get his numerous ideas down. “I’ll often get ideas together directly off the laptop speakers. I did that quite a bit on tour – I’d get rough ideas directly from there, and worry about mixing them and getting them sounding good once I got back. I’m always about getting the idea down as quickly as possible, and then I’ll come back and worry about the details later.”

Hector uses Tumblr as his primary means of engagement with fans on the internet, but finds the haphazard beast of a blogging platform has its drawbacks as well as its advantages. “Tumblr is very informal, which I like, but it’s difficult because a lot of people on the site post pictures or new tracks without saying where they’re from or giving any context. That lack of organisation can be difficult, because it’s a bit of a hotchpotch – people might lose patience, or they might like something they hear but have no idea where it’s from. That’s the difficult part of it from a promotional perspective.”

Dro Carey’s next Sydney show is this weekend, and Hector promises a wealth of new material written after a recent European trip. “As soon as I got back I thought about all of the music that I heard over there, and started producing new tracks straight away in response to that,” he says. “I have a whole lot of new stuff to play. I’m playing with FunkinEven from the UK, so it should be quite an interesting night. It will be the longest set that I’ve performed so far.”

BY ALASDAIR DUNCAN

RA VS FunkinEven & Dro Carey at the Civic Underground on Friday November 29.

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