Being compared to the likes of the Wild Bunch, Massive Attack, Reprazent, and whole host of other artists that make up the unique genetics of Bristol’s electronic music scene, it could be said that Phaeleh has some fairly large shoes to fill.
With his debut album ‘Fallen Light’ garnering the West Country producer both critical acclaim and one top flight fan in the form of Skream, 2010 saw his mournful, heavily emotive brand of dubstep creep into the sets of a number of the scenes big selectors, whilst the pop-like production sensibilities and delicate handling of vocal tracks have leveled him somewhere in the highly marketable gap between Portishead, Zero 7 and Burial.
With the noir-like dramatics of sophomore long player ‘The Cold In You’ released this week (August 1), we conducted a short email interview with the Bristol head, getting to grips with his take on 140bpm bass music, the Brizzle influence and
How would you describe your sound?
I always just refer to it as electronic bass music with a strong emphasis on melody and emotional content, there are obviously strong links to dubstep, but I’d never consider myself a dubstep producer.
When did you start producing?
I think I started making tunes on a computer around 10 years ago, but it was only around 2007/2008 that I started doing it seriously.
Are there any particular artists that influenced you to start producing?
I’d say Aphex Twin, The Prodigy, LTJ Bukem and anything on Moving Shadow were responsible for me getting into producing.
Phaeleh – ‘Caustic Storm’
Have you always listened to UK bass?
Well my background is definitely more rock based, which then progressed into electronica and drum & bass. I think around 2006 was the only time I had an active interest in UK bass, which was when I discovered dubstep. I’d say I was a bit out of the loop since then though.
What do you think of the progression the UK Bass scene has made in the last few years?
I think its great the diversity of music being made at the moment. So many sounds have developed from that stripped back dark garage sound which started it all.
In terms of dubstep, it’s obviously gone very mainstream now, which is why a lot of producers are making anything but 140bpm bass music, but I do think the added exposure gives producers like myself a chance to get the music out to a larger audience.
How has being brought up in Bristol affected or influenced what you do?
Well I was brought up just outside of Bristol, so wouldn’t claim I was born and bred here. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to work so hard on my music and push it over the last few years in London, but that’s probably more to do with the cost of living than the scene itself. I do think the deeper sounds of Bristol were more of an influence on my early dubstep productions than the London sounds.
Are there any artists from Bristol that you’d like to work with?
I’m generally up for making tunes with anyone if I rate what they’re doing musically, so think you could name any Bristol producer and I’d be quite content to make a tune with them.
As a producer, which vocalists are you listening to at the moment?
I’m not listening to anyone specifically at the moment, but would be open to working with some new vocalists on my next album. The only vocalist I listen to regularly is Maynard James Keenan from Tool. There’s my ultimate collaboration right there if anyone reading this wants to make that happen.
Phaeleh – ‘Should Be True’
How does your upcoming release, ‘The Cold In You’ differ from your previous releases?
I think it’s a more mature sound in my opinion. ‘Fallen Light’, my last album, was pretty much written in 6 weeks, and still feels slightly rushed to me. The tracks for ‘The Cold In You’ were written over a much longer period of time, and also not written as a release. I think this gave me a lot more freedom to refine the sound. Musically, I think it reflects the music I like to make a lot more, and incorporates heavy tunes, minimal stuff and more 2step influenced songs.
What can we expect from Urban Scrumping Records in the future?
Well since the latest release from J-One, we haven’t actually got anything solid lined up. I’m speaking to a few producers about potential releases, but would definitely like to diversify what we’re releasing. I think the next few things will be more on a chilled tip, possibly some more house influenced stuff too.
‘The Cold In You’ is out now on Afterglo Records.
Interview: Elissa Bradley