Blackout Blog Takeover
Phace Discusses Shaping The Random

An artist renowned for his twisted take on the drum & bass spectrum, Phace is a producer whose ethos behind his progressive and technical sound is surprisingly simple. Releasing a multitude of club-ready but intricate and adept d&b, including his third album, Shape The Random, not to mention his collaborative material with good pal and fellow German music maestro Misanthrop via their Neosignal label, you might think there'd be something rather complex responsible for those deep, rolling basslines. But when chatting to the man himself last week it became clear that his meticulous music-making is simply done to make “both himself and others happy”.

Set to join Black Sun Empire’s BLACKOUT clan in Room Two on Friday 24th July, we caught up with Phace on his theoretical whereabouts since the release of his aforementioned album earlier this year. He also recorded us a 30 minute blast of his blend of high octane cuts to kick off the BLACKOUT branded takeover of our blog space (which'll be running every week in the run up to the show).

Download: Phace - FABRICLIVE x BLACKOUT Mix

What’ve you been keeping yourself busy with this year so far? You dropped your latest album, Shape The Random a few months back, how has the response been?

Phace: The release of my LP has indeed kept me extremely busy for the first half of the year and still does in terms of touring. The response I got was absolutely great - at the moment one could say that I am a very happy man, simply trying to enjoy my life. Of course, there are the usual everyday problems like everyone has but in general, I do feel very free and am very thankful to be able to do what I do because of my music. I can't remember having ever toured this much and there is even still a lot more worldwide touring to come. It's great fun as I really enjoying playing out again - I didn't enjoy it as much as I used throughout the past year or so but with all the music and with all the great bookings and all the cool, open-minded people I get to play out to, it's great fun. Working with my new booking agency is a relief as they are extremely nice people and just awesome to work with.

I also re-structured and overhauled my whole studio and I am slowly getting back into the routine of writing new music too!

Looking back, how do feel about the record on the whole? Has it inspired you in anyway and if so, how? 

Of course, I still like it a lot. I still enjoy the music but for me, the album is in the past. In terms of producing, it inspired me while I was writing it but in all honesty, I am no friend of repetition or doing something too formulaic again and again - I like to move on. Each track, at least for me, has it's own identity and follows its own way of creation. In other words, I wouldn't want to make a similar LP again, I'd much rather focus on creating new and odd things.
"I simply try to create cool music to listen to that makes both myself and others happy"

You must feel as though it helped you progress as an artist...? I read that this album in particular gave you a lot more creative freedom compared to your previous records. Can you explain?

Yes, it did help me progress. I think you naturally progress once you finalize a big project, no matter what it is. If you focus on something for a very long time and work hard for it, your mind will naturally expand and your personality will grow with it too. I called the LP Shape The Random for a reason as I approached the album in a way that was fully free in terms of all the decisions I took. I used ransom inspiration of the moments in time while I was writing. In other words, I did not think about what people or the 'industry' would expect or about what would work best. The record is who I am and to me, it felt like a creative playground.

Aside from touring, have you had time to get back in the studio? Are there more releases in the pipeline? I noticed that you dropped your remix of Icicle’s ‘Dreadnaught' recently...

As I mentioned before, it took me quite some time to overhaul my studio but I did manage to find time to work on some new music -  on solo material and on collaborations. At the moment, I am actually finalizing my tracks with Rockwell, Mefjus, Nosia, Current Value and Culprate. My remix of 'Dreadnaught' dropped at the end of June, yep, so I am focusing on the second half of the year in terms of releasing new material. I also got myself a very nice and handy mobile studio set-up which I can take on tour with me - it's nice being able to write music while on the road and not have to carry a lot round with me! I think that the different locations, moments and surrounding help me to write music completely different compared to sitting in my studio at home, day in and day out. I love the concept of writing music while touring a lot.

So you’ll be joining Black Sun Empire for their BLACKOUT Room Two takeover later this month. What are you most looking forward to? 

fabric is definitely one of my favourite clubs in London to play at. Everytime I am out there, I have such a great time. There are so many cool people and artists it actually feels more like a class reunion! I also really like the power and clarity of the soundsystems in there. One thing I do love most about fabric is that when you get to test out new music, you instantly get a response from a very musically skilled and demanding crowd so you know if a track works or not.

Talking of BLACKOUT, where do you feel you’re at currently with Neosignal? Anything exciting you’d like to share with us?

In regards to the label, Michael and I currently have some plans for the second half of the year. Nothing is written in stone yet but there should be news and new music coming soon!

I read in a previous interview that you took on a lot of the different aspects of the release – marketing, design etc. – do you feel this decision to be more involved with the release was inspired by running your own imprint? 

Honestly, it wasn't really a decision inspired by running the label but simply the result of being in charge of it. We don't have any label staff or external label management working for us so we pretty much do it all on our own. Of course, we do work with a broad and professional network of specialists we need for each field when releasing a record. Someone always has to direct the strategy and that is usually us, the one who is in charge. Generally, I do have a thing for management and communication because of both my professional and educational background and also because of all the years working in the music biz, so it doesn't feel like a burden to me. It just takes up a lot of time. Time I would prefer to spend in the studio.

Saying that, everything has an end and I feel proud when I look back at the whole project. In truth, I am quite a sentimental guy, even given my kind of music. I am not a robot that follows functions or creates fast selling consumer goods, I simply try to create cool music to listen to that makes both myself and others happy.

Friday 24th July

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