by Ben R
January 23, 2021
iANO is the moniker of Texas resident Chris McCracken, who has quickly gained a RateYourMusic following after the release of five consecutive EPs in 2020. With the EPs (all titled SOCND #1, SOCND #2, etc.), McCracken vows to explore every unmined depth of the burgeoning genre that is Hexd. While we begin with some familiar bitcrushed beats, perhaps a little more on the trance side than typical, it’s not long before we’re in uncharted territory. SOCND 3 is an authentic black metal release smack dab in the middle of this experimental electronic saga, and in a way, this is unsurprising; what are these artists known for if not being bold and taking risks? Of course, this is still a bitcrushed take on black metal, a genre mashup reminiscent of fellow 2020 newcomer Sematary’s sampling of black metal riffs. EP 4 chills out again, McCracken leans left into trip hop, then right into techno. It starts to feel like you’re listening to him perform live, making decisions on the fly, and it’s hard not to feel exhilarated. The feeling lingers throughout the final EP, a loud, psychedelic shoegaze sprint that hardly slows down. Sometimes a new synth layer will come out of nowhere, and then exuberantly find its perfect place in the swell.
Taking SOCND 1-5 in one sitting is like watching a short movie, and by the end you’re sitting back thinking about your favorite parts. The series has not been continued since the release of the 5th EP in November 2020. McCracken’s only other release on Bandcamp is an ambient single under his own name. The music is genuinely excellent; deeply atmospheric, and tranquil yet gloomy. The high quality of both his conceptual work and this one-off release leaves much anticipation for whatever he will do next. Enjoy this interview with iANO/Chris McCracken, another one of so many new young artists pulling from such a wide array of influences and still maintaining total individuality.
interview from december 17, 2020
Hello Chris! Awesome to have you here today with me. Thank you for being part of this interview. How are you feeling right now? Been working on any new music recently?
thank you, i’ve been feeling pretty good! right now i’m planning out the final 2 EPs in the series and just generally putting down ideas as i go along.
I figured the series ended at 5. Excited to hear the next two EPs. So, to let others know more about you. How old are you, where are you from, and when did you start making music?
i’m 17, i’m from texas, and i’ve been creating music in one way or another for about as long as i can remember. right now i’m making all my stuff of logic pro X, which i’ve had for about 5 years now.
It’s amazing to see so many young musicians and artists creating lanes of their own. Lots of creative people out there that have a platform to gain a fanbase now.
You released about 5 EPs this year under the iANO alias. All hitting an average of 10 minutes. What made you decide to drop them under separate projects instead of compiling them into a mixtape or album?
well, it really started whenever i first made the first. i’d had that first section of the song lying dormant in my projects for a very long time, and when i returned to it, i found myself adding more and more to it overtime, to the point where it became long enough to basically qualify as its own little EP. at that point, i realized that i operated best just letting tracks flow from my brain for however long as they needed to be, and the SOCND series is practically an outlet for me to share the results of these little experiments.
Each EP is an experience. I like how its just one song progressing with a bunch of turns. Highly engaging and definitely different compared to the short songs most people release now.
What does iANO and SOCND mean and how did you come up with those names?
thank you! iANO is a name i had on soundcloud from when i was in middle school that i decided to keep. SOCND stands for “Stacks of Cash and Despair”, a throwaway joke name i made for the first one. if i had known the series was going to expand outward as much as it has, i probably would have put more thought into naming it.
I think there’s beauty in randomly naming things from the past. Makes it mysterious, personal, and unique.
Your SOCND series likes to borrow elements from different genres while blending and bending them to an entire new sound. One of the freshest pieces of work I’ve heard all year. What are you most inspired by and who are your greatest influences?
although they’re not the artists i generally listen to the most, i’m most inspired by artists that take a very amateur, auteur-esque approach to making music. seeing someone make their music at home and release it is always incredibly inspiring to me, no matter the level of success they reach from it. some off the top of my head would be jandek, panda rosa, alex g, coin locker kid and daniel johnston. anytime i hear one of their records, i want to immediately go make an album.
it’s also worth noting that although my music taste has expanded outward since then, i had an intense EDM phase through most of middle school that i feel still resonates through the stuff i make today
I do hear the trance, edm, and dance influences. I also had a big electronic phase growing up and in middle school. I find trance and dance pop music very nostalgic. Virtual Self / Porter Robinson captures the soundtrack of my childhood so well.
Love alex g! House of sugar is an elite record and enjoyed seeing him live. Bedroom musicians are making the most exciting music compared to industry artists that have access to lavish studios, engineers, and writers. DIY aesthetics feel so much more genuine and raw.
Do you see yourself pursuing music as a career or is it just a hobby for you right now?
i would love to go into music! throughout my life it’s been the one interest of mine that’s been retained, and one of the only career paths that i can’t see myself getting tired of.
Are your friends and family aware of the music you make? What do they think of it? Are they supportive?
my family knows that i do it as a hobby, and they’re generally pretty supportive of it. i haven’t bothered showing them what i’ve made at this point, because i know that it’s not the type of music that they would be into, but they recognize that it’s a big passion of mine, and i’m grateful that they’re not opposed to it.
I want to thank you again for taking the time out of your day to do this. It means a lot. What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
thanks so much for having me! i have 2 more EPs planned for the series, but after that, i honestly don’t know. i think that especially with music there’s a beauty in the uncertainty of what may come next. that’s certainly been the concept behind how i sit down and make something on the DAW, so i think i wanna continue abiding by that and let iANO go in whatever directions appear as i go along.