One of the easiest ways to describe Running Touch’s music is to borrow one of his own song titles, two words that seem to encapsulate the musician and the world he’s building around his craft: Post modern.
Raised in Melbourne, Running Touch’s work has always been one to bend conventional limits, regardless of the project it’s representing. As a founding member and key studio writer of Ocean Grove (the Australian hardcore band he formed when he was 13), he moulds heavy rock experimentalism with fragments of electronica and pop. As a silent member of Adult Art Club, he warps and buckles techno into its most potent and thrilling. As Running Touch, he’s a somewhat-enigmatic master-of-all-trades: A songwriter, producer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and creative director whose work stretches beyond limits to create art – entire, multi-sensory universes – that distinctly sound like Running Touch rather than anything else.
Since the project’s first introduction in 2016, Running Touch’s multi-disciplinary creativity has been at the forefront of his work. Musically, he plucks influences from artists that have a similar depth to their music; artists that like Running Touch, have projects that span beyond just one distinct sound. However, unlike many others, he takes influences stretched across media – live performance, art, design, photography, literature, film – and combines them into one, creating a sense of complexity that goes far deeper than just the musical surface.
Take his output in the last 24 months, for example. After sharing his debut EP A Body Slow in 2017, everything Running Touch has done since has encapsulated his exponential growth in not just production and songwriting, but how it intertwines with completely realised and fleshed-out universes. ‘My Hands’ was a masterclass in his multi-instrumentalist prowess that fused his distinctive vocal with coatings of guitar, piano and percussion, while ‘When I’m About You’ doubled down on his unique combination of indie, electronica and pop. ‘Make Your Move’, meanwhile, Running Touch’s artistic visions to life in more aspects than ever explored before, marrying another taste of his constantly-shifting sound with media formats that go beyond just the scope of a standard single, including a mini-documentary.
After making a striking entrance into 2020 with a win at this year’s APRA awards for
‘Most Performed Dance Work’ for his single ‘Better Together’ with Hayden James, and a release of the first track from his upcoming album earlier in the year, now commences the beginning of a new era for Running Touch, and an opportunity to refocus on the art that drives his passion for creation. With a rock-based footing that veers away from his typically more electronic-infused sound, ‘Signs’ is a gaze into Running Touch’s musical roots brought forward to the future; a chance for him to showcase the foundations of his craft – developed through bands like Ocean Grove – while proving how he’s evolved throughout his life, both musically and personally.
There’s a ‘coming full circle’ moment in there too, with the single’s accompanying video being the first installment of the ‘Post Modern Collective Sessions’, a drum playthrough video, featuring Running Touch perform the track with Ocean Grove’s drummer Sam Bassal, as well as Northlane drummer Nic Pettersen and Crooked Colours percussionist Lampy. It’s an opportunity for Running Touch to hone in on his multi-instrumentalist qualities while providing a sense of community for like-minded musicians, with later-coming videos bound to deepen the whole experience of Running Touch’s new era even further.
“I’ve been wanting to work my way into something like ‘Signs’ since I started; something that doesn’t let me hide behind a ‘dance music’ form,” he says on the single. Over the last few years, a gradual shift in Running Touch’s skillset, tastes and ambitions have all led to this moment, with ‘Signs’ being a commencement of a fully-realised vision for the musician that’s been years in the making. “With a lot of genres, I think as a producer you need to grow into them before jumping straight in (although you don’t want that to be true), you can’t force it – you can’t force a sound, you can’t force fans or industry to like something, it has to change organically.”
In 2020, Running Touch’s artistry is reaching its most potent yet, at least in the public eye. There is a full-length record expected later this year; a debut album that’s expected to go beyond the anonymity the project welcomes by exploring the brain behind it all, often at its most personal and intimate. Meanwhile, his live show is continuing to expand into the often-unexpected; allowing the Running Touch universe come to life in a way it was always built to be – electrifying and unpredictable, influenced by the likes of everything from Biohazard to Cirque Du Soleil, created with the idea of encouraging an all-encompassing theatrical experience, rather than just a show alone.
Since the very beginning, Running Touch and The Post Modern Collective – the group of artists and aliases linked to Running Touch, including the visionary’s solo project – have constantly been one step ahead of current day trends. That is, after all, what post-modernism is all about. In 2020, however, it seems that music’s genre boundaries are constantly being broken and shifted, and creativity is booming. So, how will Running Touch continue to not just sit in front of the curve, but define the curve itself? We’ll see, but you know it’s going to be one hell of a journey.