Running Touch on coming out on anonymity, balancing projects and keeping things fresh
There's always beauty in the unknown. Whether it's exploring a city you've never been to, experimenting with things you've never tried, or wearing a black baseball cap on stage to hide your identity – it's anonymity that can force us to seek new experiences.
Matthew Kopp, better known as Running Touch, has taken part in all of the above, and although not the enigma that he once adopted as his onstage moniker, his music speaks of anonymity and experimentation, sending the Melbourne electronic music scene into meltdown.
"The purpose and use of it has evolved over time from the point of its birth until now. At the start it was all about a personal decision – I didn't want the project to be based on, or rely on, or worry about what I look like, who I am, my past, and if I'm being really honest, I didn't really think Running Touch was going to be that successful."
Online interaction has been the window to Kopp’s success. In recent years, his tracks have featured on triple j Unearthed, securing him a spot for regular rotation on the main radio network. Since then, his online presence has taken him to places that he never would have dreamed of, recently including a spot on showcases in the United States for South by Southwest.
"I definitely picked up the slack with a lot of things and honed in on elements that were going to be more attention-grabbing at the conferences I did,” Kopp says. “I wanted to incorporate more flair into it, including things like dancing. I'm not the greatest dancer by any length.
“It's something I've rarely incorporated, but it's also something I haven't really seen at shows at this level. I put a lot more instrument-based stuff and solos in as well, so people who don't really know me can appreciate it more."
Kopp splices genres together in a way that is unfamiliar with the Australian electronic music scene, using elements he has learnt in other music projects – namely his presence in Melbourne hardcore outfit Ocean Grove on keyboards and samples – that contribute to his overall sound and vibe.
“It's all subconscious ingredients – what you're listening to, attitude, challenging yourself. But for me, the biggest touchstone for always chasing a threshold and keeping things fresh and challenging is being in two completely different musical projects, you can get a different contrast. In this case, hardcore music. Taking from acts in different genres is quite important, and it's something I'd like to do a lot more of as Running Touch."
After learning a lot from the recording and writing process of his debut record, Kopp attempted to change his writing style and perspective on new EP A Body Slow.
"This one I really learnt a lot from, most of all because of the nightmare of its release. It was meant to come out last year, but then it changed to a different title, different concept, and had completely different tracks. A lot of things went wrong, we played the waiting game, and a lot of things changed, that affected the theme.
“I really learnt about the industry side of things. That led to the concept being a lot more honest, which was a big one because I realised I was being way too over elaborate. That helped me to see music more honestly and in a different perspective.
“I asked myself what was achievable, and most of all what was honest.”
With these new lessons in tow, and with a lot of buzz happening back home in Melbourne and overseas, Running Touch will return for a string of shows. Kopp says that crowds can expect a completely transformed live show and a very different experience that's true to himself, and most of all, filled with honesty.
"I haven't played at the Corner before, but I've seen plenty of music there. Everyone can expect a better and bigger live show. I've learnt to build on my strong points and trust my instincts and my experimental nature, rather than just blend in and do what I know will work.”
By Benjamin Potter
Running Touch will play Corner Hotel on Thursday April 20 and Saturday April 22 (sold out). A Body Slow is out now via Island Records.