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PhaseOne Drops ‘UFO’ and Speaks on Coming to America [Interview]

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PhaseOne has been a solid staple of the Firepower team for some time now. His style is one that cannot be summed up simply, as he is constantly evolving his sound and bringing new elements from several genres and influences into his music. We had a chance to catch up with PhaseOne as he prepares for his first ever American tour and releases his latest heavy hitting single, ‘UFO'. After hearing the track, I was slack jawed, it was definitely a monster. I noticed that it was unlike anything he has previously released, but still had some of his signature styles. I love PhaseOne's ability to properly use samples in his tracks. He does so in a way that builds tension and gives the song a story line, but still does not take away from the production.

“I find vocal samples everywhere, in the News, in movies, on the internet. I feel they have a place in certain tracks, especially the songs that I use them in. I like having vocals in my songs, but generally if a song is less melodic and doesn't call for sung lyrics a nice substitute is the spoken word and I have to agree it helps build tension in the song, and I hope the listener feels the same way, as an added “epic-ness” to the song.”

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When listening to one of his tracks, you immediately notice that song structure is a bit different. At every drop you do not know what is coming after the build. Time signature and tempo changes are frequent and make the listening experience incredibly exciting. I asked PhaseOne about his ability to keep the listener guessing and where inspiration came from to continue to mix things up. He has a slew of Drum'N'Bass releases as well as many that just fall into the umbrella of Dubstep. That being said the thing that unites them all is that at the end of the day a single genre does not do his sound justice.

I used to play in rock/metal bands before I started producing electronic music, the technicality of the songs I was playing/writing was a lot more complex to the standard 4/4 or 6/8 time signatures people are used to (especially in dance music). My writing would involve a lot of tempo changes and time-signature changes, even key changes. I like interesting music that changes often otherwise i get bored, so I try and bring that influence into my writing of electronic music. But at the same time, I cant do too many crazy changes, because at the end of the day it is dance music and I don't think people know how to dance to time-signatures such as 7/8 or 5/4 haha. But yes I like to keep things frequently moving/changing within my productions and I try and bring a unique-ness with the whole metal guitar and drum influence.

This coming tour is PhaseOne's first proper introduction to America. He grew up in Sydney and has been consistently making the rounds in Australia for years now. I was curious what the process of obtaining a visa for a major tour was like as well as his thoughts on the dance music climate in America. Obviously America has a slightly different relationship with all forms of EDM than most other countries do. It is a diverse landscape where millions of people indulge in all different genres, it is a formidable task embarking on a nation wide tour. That being said having the backing of a major label like Fire Power does wonders for your legitimacy before you ever hit the decks. Mix that with PhaseOne's mastery of production and forward thinking brand of bass, and you get some serious excitement from the fans.

“America has a huge market for electronic music, and have been where I’ve been targeting my audience over the last few years, and as a result of that I can safely say that's where the majority of my fan base is from. So its very exciting to finally have gotten my O1 work visa, which allows me come and go on tour for 3 years, So I will be back many a times over that period. I signed with the talent agency ‘Warpath Group’ who are bringing me out and have booked all my shows, so between them and my management they did an excellent Job in sorting out my visa.

I've never been to the US before so its really going to be a huge culture shock (in a good way) and learning experience. I’m excited to see what each city has to offer in terms of the crowd response. I’ll be based in LA most of the time, I can imagine it will be one huge party + networking fest as that's where so many people in this industry are based, so I'm just looking forward to getting amongst it and showing them what Aussies are all about, planning on getting in the studio with a lot of people as well! I’m also a big traveler too so I’m going to be in tourist mode a lot of the time, I’m going to do my best to see as much as possible! I think the differences in the dance music scene is just the scale of things in America, so I'm super excited to immerse myself in it.”

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While America brings new opportunities for PhaseOne, there is some serious controversy brewing back in his hometown. Sydney is going through some serious trouble in the world of electronic music and its associated culture. New laws, known universally now as ‘Lockouts' are changing what the live music landscape looks like in a city that was known for its rich and unique nightlife. It has limited many clubs ability to bring in international talent and hold large events. Luckily this only affects Sydney itself, so the rest of the country remains unaffected. Still that would be like the US cracking down on New York. Yes there will still be other hubs to operate from but taking a stab at a cultural center will send shock waves throughout the scene as a whole.

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“It is very sad to see! The nightlife has struggled immensely as a whole in Sydney due to the lock out laws that were enforced! For Bass Music there are a few clubs & events which are still booking international bass acts, such as Chinese Laundry & Distortion, which are always a good time. I consider them part of the roots of my electronic musical career, so shout out to them!

Sadly, the ‘lock-out' laws have forced many events and venues to shut down. BUT we still manage to pull off some decent shows despite of all that, which really shows the dedication and it’s amazing that we've kept that drive, where dubstep has turned almost non-existent in other parts of the world. Thankfully the rest of the country hasn't been as affected by the government, so I personally haven't been too affected by the changes in Sydney as I play all across the nation and O/S. But it’s still sad to see, Sydney is my home town and I have lots of friends that are struggling from the changes.”

PhaseOne has not let the unfortunate, Foot Loose level of restriction in his home town affect his production though. This shows clear as day with his latest release, ‘UFO'. The track is massive, it is grimy, intense and original as hell. The discussed above vocal samples bring in an undeniable eerie vibe, and a tension filled drop gives way to a drop that is absolutely unexpected in all the best ways. When making a track like this, I was curious what the entire creative process from creation to obtaining feedback looked like before going live with it.

“It usually takes me months on & off to finish a track, there is a lot of layers and composition within my songs, I can also be quite picky. I worked on UFO for about 6 months. I think its just one big learning process, if you go and listen to and artist you should almost always hear and improvement in every song they release, whether it be production value or even composition wise. When I first start a tune, I can usually get a good idea where I’m heading with it, but I’ll take breaks and then start on another tune, a lot of the time it takes me having a writers block and then coming back from it full of ideas / motivation and a lot of the time having learnt some new production technique which I’ll then take and add to the unfinished song, which in a way I'm kind of glad about because it means the track overall has improved compared to if i just wrapped it up months ago and released it.”

So with all of that we'd like to thank PhaseOne for his time and urge everyone possible to get out and see this guy on tour as he continues his American takeover. Check out ‘UFO' below and check out PhaseOne and Firepower's socials at the bottom as well.

You can find ticket links to all of his tour stops through this link via songkick!

PhaseOne's Socials

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Firepower's Socials

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