Endorphin (Eric Chapus when he’s at home) is something of a quiet achiever in the Australian music scene. Without making too much of a fuss about himself, he’s managed to release five albums, produce a stack of remixes and singles, score a documentary series and a surf movie and tour the country, almost non-stop. His latest album, Shake It, is a return to his dance music roots, a record full of knees-up fun with a hint of the Middle East. It’s inspired, he says, by the highways and byways of Australia.
[Shake It] comes on the back of a massive tour we did last year, Chapus says. Every pub and club in the country we played at, it was pretty full on. Some places were full but others, like Ballina which is just 30 kilometres from Byron Bay, we had about 20 or 30 people and could hear crickets between the songs. But that is a good experience, even then we managed to win over the 20 or 30 people who were there that night.
It was a really successful tour, but if it’s a success every single night you start to get a swelled head.
It was the left-over energy of 80 days on the road that sparked the general sound of Shake It. Its Middle Eastern sounds, though, have a more public inspiration.
I love Middle Eastern sounds, and that’s where everything is happening in the world with Iraq. It was a subtle way to say -˜hey I’m not making an American-sounding album’. But it’s not on every song. It was just a bit of a tribute to that groove and it’s minor but it’s what ties the album together. My last album was very chilled and kind of nu-jazz. I like to do different things every album. This one I want people to get up and dance.
Chapus came to Australia in 1984 from France and got his first big break in 1996 when he won the Triple J Unearthed competition. His subsequent debut Embrace established his fan base, who then got to see him touring with some of the biggest electronic artists of the 90s -“ think Moby, Massive Attack and Portishead. Since he first caught the attention of Australian dance music fans he’s worked hard to stay in the business. At this stage, he has no plans to slow down.
I think I’ll stop when I stop having something to say, or when enough people tell me my album is crap, I guess, and then I’ll take up painting or something. As long as it’s fun, I’ll keep doing it. It’s not often you get a job where you’re paid to be artistic.
Endorphin’s latest album Shake It is out now. He will perform at the Metro in George St this Saturday 13 November as part of the Triple J Groove Train tour. Visit www.triplej.net.au for more information.