SHADES, The Collaborative Project From Alix Perez & EPROM

It’s nice when things live up to your expectations, innit? When you get exactly what you wanted out of a situation/prospect/opportunity it makes you feel good. And when you feel good you smile more. When you smile more endorphins start to flow and ultimately you’ll be a chirpier person for a little bit longer than usual. So it’s great thing to be able to say with tensed cheeks that the idea of SHADES - a collaboration between the omnipresent producer Alix Perez and EPROM, a Portland based producer who makes some of the most striking hip hop possible – totally lives up to my own level of giddy fanboy expectation.

Released on Daddy Kev’s influential and revered Alpha Pup label, the four track EP wonderfully melds the duo’s hardware wired approaches to beat music, with EPROM’s heavily mechanized soundset fusing with the type of poise and threat Perez posed with his ARP101 project pretty potently in places. Just imagine these tunes, thundering out of the speaker stack at LA’s scene defining Low End Theory… because (and I’m making an assumption here) that’s exactly what the pairing probably did while making them. For these tunes are weapons. Big, thick, juicy, room shaking, dancefloor weapons that ripple with an attitude all of their own.

So, I’m interested in how you guys first interacted? I mean obviously you operate in kind of similar worlds, but what/where/when/how did it all solidify into a collaboration?

Alix Perez: We actually met in person at Northern Bass festival in New Zealand for the first time during the 2013/2014 new year’s eve show. Prior to that I'd been into EPROM's music a good while and supporting it in my sets regularly. We'd spoken here and there before via the net but it was quite brief. I feel we really connected at the festival and shared a lot of common grounds whether it is production, music, vision or general culture. From then on we kept in touch and exchanged music until we met again in America in Los Angeles. I spent a couple weeks with Foreign Beggars writing on their new material and we invited Sander down to join for a few days at the Red Bull studios. The result was the Modus EP and from there on we decided we should work together on some original material.

EPROM: Yeah, I think we really connected most when we met up to work on the Foreign Beggars EP. We had a rental in downtown Los Angeles and as soon as I got in, we hooked up our gear and started banging out tunes. Like I had some sketch beat on the plane ready to go, Alix had his Arturia Microbrute and we just wrote 90% of ‘Minotaur’ in about 20 minutes. We didn’t even talk much about it, we were just like 'let’s do this' and made like 3 sketches in those first couple hours. Some of that shit ended up on the Foreign Beggars EP but some of it was so full-frequency that it wasn’t something you could conceivably rap over so we were like, ‘hey, let’s just put it out ourselves.’

Alix Perez: Then we finished some things remotely which eventually solidified into our debut SHADES EP on Alpha Pup. We recently wrote a bunch of new material for the upcoming Europe/Australasia tour which I'm excited about.

"We're just trying to push the envelope within our skillsets and bring a hybrid of both our sounds together. That's the kind of vibe." - Alix Perez

And what was it you liked about each other’s previous work?

Alix Perez: When I first heard EPROM's work years back, it really jumped out to me. His production approach and sound design is very unique which is something you don't come across that often. That's what really, primarily attracted me to his sound. It's been a great experience working together because I think we've both taught each other new ways of production and gained a lot of knowledge equally.

EPROM: Obviously Alix is a dude who has honed his sound design to a point where anything he touches has a characteristic sound, and even though we’d never met until 2014 there was a tacit respect there for sure. I’ve been following closely since the ARP101 stuff started popping off.

The SHADES EP has a truck load of impact. Like, it sounds big, hard and menacing. I imagine that that was something of a goal of both of yours? Making something that’ll make a ceiling collapse and have people overexcited about it? What were you trying to do with the EP – like was it just feeling each other out and seeing what could or might happen… or…?

EPROM: I think we share a lot of musical influences, so when we get together we just pick a BPM and go in. We both love ‘90s east coast rap, jungle, dancehall, roots, as well as influences further afield like soundtracks and esoteric electronic stuff.

Alix Perez: I think first of all the writing process was very natural, we didn't have anything particular in mind but to jam in the studio and have fun. I think that's important. It has to be fun and challenging. We both love hardware and own a moderate to good amount so it was basically us playing with different machines and pulling them together into coherent tracks. We did aim to make something leaning towards the dancefloor but we wanted it to also retain some listenability and musicality.

EPROM: We both like pushing what can be achieved sonically in a tune that’s still focused on the dancefloor so we’ll spend a lot of time designing sounds, stretching and manipulating samples, going in on various synths and arranging complex rhythms; and then sort of experiment with various combinations until we find bits that work.

Alix Perez: We're just trying to push the envelope within our skillsets and bring a hybrid of both our sounds together. That's the kind of vibe.

Does it mean a lot to have it out on a label like Alpha Pup too? I mean Daddy Kev and Low End Theory are such integral lynchpins for this kind of music…

Alix Perez: For me, it's humbling and also a very credible home for that kind of EP. Low End Theory and that whole movement is really special to me and to be embraced by those guys and being invited to play such a show there is incredible. It holds such history and is a very significant staple for that world of music so I'm grateful we could push our new project via Alpha Pup.

EPROM: Yeah, I’ve always felt very welcomed by Kev and the LA scene even though I’m not an LA resident. Low End Theory is like a musical second home to me. Kev has a strong vision for his label and we’re very happy to have it on there.

Alix Perez & EPROM make their UK debut presenting SHADES in the Exit Records hosted Room Two this Friday night.

Friday 9th October

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