Your EDM Double Feature: Phace Has a Chat and Drops the Premiere of 'Useless'
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It goes without saying that the pandemic was tough for everyone. The music industry has undoubtedly seen its closest wrestler in terms of the impact on both the way it operates and the mental and emotional health of its participants. There were some silver lining, however, as adjustments and changes quickly became more important than ever. Online systems became much more sophisticated and efficient, and multimedia and creative innovations became key if artists wanted to stay in the game. It has been a lot of pressure, but it has produced some serious gems in terms of quality, interesting and passionate work by artists who not only tried to entertain but also tried to save their own sanity.

At this point and in dealing with the real possibility of a system breakdown on many fronts, artists like Phace took this as an opportunity not only to create new and interesting music, but also to eliminate the stress and emotional chaos of the time and make a statement about all make these social systems that turned out to be much more fragile than one thought. His upcoming mini-album System Irrelevant is that statement.

Full of seemingly complex and chaotic drum structures, eerie sound design, and nasty synthesizers that sound more like a warning than a threat, System Irrelevant is a sign of the times, but for Phace it's more expansive and personal. It's a reflection on things we all had to think about, the feelings we didn't want to deal with and how it is no longer so easy to pull the wool over the collective eye. The existential and visceral system Irrelevant challenges us all to sit down with everything and decide what has become irrelevant in our own lives and what is really important. We talked to Phace about how he got there: creating.

* Premiere appears at the end of the interview *

You have decided to turn System Irrelevant into a multimedia project with the crazy UKF video stream and now the mini album. What made you decide to integrate all the different media?

I've always wanted to create a special audiovisual experience for Phace and it made perfect sense for me to develop a larger visual dimension for this release. Visuals help to convey the message of the music and to let it shine in its own light, so to speak. For this project, they also helped to clearly separate it from the styles of my previous work. I like streaming, or should I say online video format in general. There are so many cool and creative things you can do with it.

Going straight to the face with a standard stream of a cam or two while listening to music in a special place is just not enough for me. I don't find these streams really entertaining or catchy, a little pointless. When it comes to such a scenario, the live experience can't be beat. Using accompanying visuals in interesting ways and introducing a story or journey with it makes a stream more and more rewarding for me; it becomes more like a movie. In addition, all current release artworks are derived from the stream visuals. I wanted both the stream and the mini-album to have a strong visual connection.

How was it putting the video together when you first did this type of editing yourself?

It took a few months to put it all together and it was quite a mission. Not because it was super complex, but because it was a pretty new field for me. I didn't rush it, I wanted it to be as good and creative as it can be. I also saw the whole process as an opportunity to learn new things. I now feel more comfortable and confident about the visual ending of Phace. I want to do such multimedia things more often.

I wanted it to look contemporary but not too polished or too thought out. Mapping things to the green screen was quite a performance-intensive task. A close friend helped me post-produce the material with their super professional video system. The most intense part for me was cutting and syncing the visuals. When I went to bed after a day of cutting, I could still see flashing frames even with my eyes closed. It turned out to be pretty trippy.

Video or not, it seems you really wanted the fans to have a deep experience of the music, both in terms of perception and the emotions you wanted to convey. Why was that important to you with this publication?

In all honesty, it just felt right. I always use music as a valve to channel and process my emotions. Combining this with a visual mood makes it even stronger. I always like to make progress in what I do. I kind of push myself to do it. While working on the mini-album and the A / V set, I personally found myself in a rather challenging and emotionally unstable situation. The last 2 years have not been easy … I wanted the project to reflect my situation somewhat. My music is personal. I wanted it to be as authentic as possible and not just a music business product.

It seems that digital music, especially with the pandemic, has gotten a little more intense, it was.

The music business these days can be pretty cold and unemotional. It has become a very content-oriented and calculated market. For me personally, working in music was never about anything other than the music itself. Of course, I'm rational enough to understand that I have to be organized and follow parts of the market in order to make a living from art. I didn't get involved in reaching a defined number target, to get famous, to show how cool I am, how many plays my music has, or how quickly I sold out a venue. These values ​​don't really mean much to me and automatically come with me when your music is valued. There's no need to keep talking about such things just to say something on social media.

In my opinion, these values ​​don't say much about sustainability or performance. Especially the number of games of music is a nasty game. It is aggressively driven by platforms like Spotify and YouTube, multi-billion dollar companies with shareholders. The number of games that are viewed as a proxy for value is toxic when it comes to art. Social media also became such a tool and nowadays mostly feels like it's nothing more than a make-believe world or an advertising space. I think the real avant-garde in art has moved away from these platforms a while ago. So I tried to put a lot of effort into the visual “clothing” of the project, so that its media communication is based pretty much exclusively on digital works of art that are directly related to the project.

Speaking of visceral, let's talk about the technique: You're always very focused on your drums, but this time it seems like you really want to make the drums the star of the show, especially on tracks like “Altona” and “Useless”. How did you envision all of these drum layers and what was it like screwing them together so they would create the sound and structure you wanted?

I like drums. I generally like the technical side of music production. Just listening to music in its entirety is a less important aspect for me. Or should I say I have practiced technical things so often that they have become somewhat normal for me. From a technical point of view, music production is about solving problems and tidying up or creating spaces. This can of course lead to cool creative ideas. But it's very easy to get lost in this room and forget the funnier side to get lost in; the emotion, idea and mood.

How do you reconcile technology and emotion?

I don't want to lose so much on the technical side in order to have more creative capacity to focus on the rest, but for me that doesn't mean neglecting the technical side. I still love innovative sound design and it's kind of a never-ending fascination for me. Balancing is key for me here. While I was working on the album tracks, I felt like I was focusing the least on the drums. They're pretty simple and functional, nothing special if you ask me. I focused more on vibes and progressions. There aren't many layers of drums involved either, they're all pretty simple and straight forward in fact, but they do the right job of supporting the musical idea and groove rather than competing with the rest of the track.

You have said that System Irrelevant reflects your feelings about the downfall of things and the collapse of society during the pandemic and supposedly capitalism and democracy in the later stages. Your work always takes a sideways glance at dystopia, but do you think the composition here should reflect the fact that we were staring down the barrel of it?

The mini-album is a mirror of my feelings, that's right. But to avoid misunderstandings, I didn't want to make this mini-album a pandemic-related concept or a political statement or anything like that. Music is music and this release is primarily about my music. I think it's important to stand up for certain values ​​when you think it's the right time and the right context; Using your voice to maybe even help others and share your beliefs.

I am against all forms of discrimination. Just as a tiny pixel is an integral part of an image; we are all integral parts of the system, so everyone should have the right to be treated equally. It just felt good for me to combine my music with this point of view without being overly intellectual. The last few years have proven that we are still living in very challenging and confused times with so many barriers to the equality of our societies. In general, I'm a pretty optimistic and fun character. I've always been However, for this publication, it was the first time that I actually felt depressed and anxious while writing. So you could say that the music on the release reflects part of my inner chaos, thoughts or conflicts from that time.

The mini-album seems to have developed somewhat in relation to this whole decline in civilization mood. Did you place the tracks to tell this story in your own beats, so to speak?

I did not strive for a defined progression or, shall we say, drama in the music per se; something happened again. Each track became a bit of a journey as we worked, but overall things developed organically. In the end, I had the feeling that the music sounded consistent and complete. So I decided to release this as a mini album and call it done after 6 tracks. I felt like the story was being told. I'm not a fan of thinking too much about things or trying to fill this project with more tracks to make it a long play. At least for me, in a creative process that is driven by personal emotions, things will eventually arise and come to a personal conclusion in the end.

Some of the tracks were written in the correct order, which could add to the dramatic development of the album. In the end, however, I had to reposition two tracks so that the album could flow better into my ears. But none of this was planned or created beforehand.

What did you learn and hope other artists have learned from experiencing the pandemic? What should you watch out for and what gave you cause for hope?

As an artist, I think that an important lesson could be to become even more independent and also to diversify. Nowadays you don't really need a big label, distributor or manager to get your music out. Looking back on the crisis today, my outlook is a bit more positive, even if it seemed pretty tough and negative in the early stages. Over time, I've realized that every crisis is an opportunity for change and for the better, so many things actually gave me hope, especially the younger generations who accepted the circumstances. It has shaped a new internet-based scene and a new style of music. In my opinion, the crisis has produced more “real” and authentic music and fewer music products. I find that exciting and refreshing. I am happy to see that artists have found new ways to express their creations. I think diversification and change go hand in hand and the last two years have been accelerating overall.

System Irrelevant is your first solo multi-track appearance since you focused more on the Linked series. How did you like going back to this format? Do you have any plans to release more multitracks? Maybe a series around the system Irrelevant Concept?

Writing solo music is always what I enjoy most. When I don't have to make compromises and can fully immerse myself in a creative process to implement my personal mood or preferences. For System Irrelevant, I see this as a closed project with the six tracks on the mini-album. Also, I don't have any specific plans for future releases at the moment. There are a few things in the works, but pretty much everything is still undefined. Oddly enough, this year has been very busy for me when it comes to releasing music. I guess I had a lot of time being locked in the studio. Now I have to think about all of that and also have to relax mentally.

Of course there will be new solo material in the future and more linked bits. Most of all, I'd like to spend more time working on different genres as well. I have some layouts and ideas of different vibes lying around, but I'm not entirely comfortable with them yet. I've always been a fan of electronica, techno and house, as well as acoustic things. I look forward to spending more time working on slower tempo music as well.

System Irrelevant will be published in full in Phace's Neosignal imprint on December 1st. To buy or stream Useless, click here. Check out the stream and the video for the first single "Altona" here. Premium pace course is on Patreon.


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