DSF Q&A Sessions 19: Phaeleh

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Postby pete bubonic » Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:46 pm

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Phaeleh is a name synonymous with detailed intricate synthesis, superb rhythm and a driving energy in his music. With releases on Urban Scrumping (his own creation), Surface Tension, Afterglo, N-Type's Wheel and Deal and Skreams label Disfigured Dubs, it is easy to see and hear why he is known for what he does. A stack of new and exciting music forthcoming, everyone from the heads to the Guardian championing his music, it's a pleasure to open the DSF Q&A Sessions with Phaeleh.

Albums
Fallen Light - Afterglo 2010

Singles & EPs
Reflections E.P. - Urban Scrumping Records 2008
Inside E.P. - Urban Scrumping Records 2008
Within The Emptiness - Urban Scrumping Records 2009
Lounge - Surface Tension Recordings 2009
Fire - Surface Tension Recordings 2009
Untitled 333 / Tachi - Wheel & Deal Records 2010
Afterglow - Afterglo 2010
The Cold In You - Afterglo 2011
Free Tunes - CounterAction 2011
Falling - Disfigured Dubz 2011

DJ Mixes
Afterglo 0.01 - Afterglo

Let the inquisition begin!
I make music solo as Forsaken, you can DL all my unreleased (and a couple released) bits here.
Latest release:
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Postby wub » Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:47 pm

May as well get the basics out the way;

What's your setup, hardware & software?
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Postby phaeleh » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:24 pm

wub wrote:May as well get the basics out the way;

What's your setup, hardware & software?


Fair first question!

Hardware: Event TR8XL Monitors, Shitty Midiman style 2 Octave Keyboard, Presonus Firebox, Focusrite Compounder, Borrowed Nord Lead 2, Korg MS2000, Waldorf XT, Vermona DRM1 mk2, Presonus TubePre, JSH Drum Synth, Line6 Pod, and amongst various instruments my pride and joy is a PRS Custom 24.

Software: Cubase 5, Audiomulch, Granulab. My softsynth folder is a bit of a mess, but like the sound of Rob Papen stuff, but mainly seem to be into multi-samples and resampling at the moment! At the moment it's all running off a £166 barebones PC from novatech, but hoping I can invest in a decent machine next year!

Hope that that answers the question! :)
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Postby wub » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:30 pm

It does.


Got another - how do you feel your production style has evolved from your earlier beats, to 2008 release, to your output these days?
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Postby soulkids » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:31 pm

fav movie(s) before y2k?
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Postby RINSE » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:33 pm

you do amazing stuff with vocal artists, such as anneka and indi kaur, who would you like to work with again or any future prospects in the pipeline?

going for a 2 in 1, abit cheeky, but whats your favourite remix done one one of your own songs?
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Postby harley » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:37 pm

as a fellow guitarist, what got you into dubstep and dubstep production in the first place? which came first?
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Postby ambinate » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:50 pm

how do you usually start writing a song? i've read in other interviews that you studied music and were playing guitar before you got started with production, so i'm just wondering if you like to come up with riffs, melodies, chord progressions, etc. before sitting down at your computer to get a tune going, or if you create a beat or something in your daw first and work from there.

big thanks for doing the q&a! huge fan here, can't wait to hear what you've got coming next.
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Postby phaeleh » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:54 pm

wub wrote:Got another - how do you feel your production style has evolved from your earlier beats, to 2008 release, to your output these days?


I think I'm a lot more confident now with what I'm doing and definitely feel less restricted in terms of the sounds I'm using. I still write with the emphasis on musicality, with the tightening of production happening after the music is written in most instances, though would say I do a lot more of this whilst writing now, as opposed to the 2007/2008 sound where both processes were a lot more separate! I think at the moment I'm trying to get out of repeating what I've done so far, so can see the next album being a lot more diverse in terms of sound.

soulkids wrote:fav movie(s) before y2k?


Used to love Pi, though always a sucker for Spinal Tap!

RINSE wrote:you do amazing stuff with vocal artists, such as anneka and indi kaur, who would you like to work with again or any future prospects in the pipeline?

going for a 2 in 1, abit cheeky, but whats your favourite remix done one one of your own songs?


Thanks man, I've definitely been very lucky to work with the vocalists I have. I always tend to get itchy feet, and want to work with new singers after a few tunes, so can't really say what I've got lined up. Would consider doing stuff with anyone I've worked with before, but obviously they've all got their own plans and depends if timing and things work out. Would definitely like to work with some new vocalists in the future to keep things fresh though.

harley wrote:as a fellow guitarist, what got you into dubstep and dubstep production in the first place? which came first?


I've been playing guitar for nearly 20 years (fuck me i'm getting old...) so that definitely came first. I dabbled with not very serious production at school, when the music teacher would excuse me and a mate from class so we could just fuck about on Cubase, sequencing Nirvana and Pantera songs.

I've tended to sway between playing and producing a fair bit, but guess it was when I went to uni around 2001 that I got more into making noises than strumming. I think I've hit a point where I'm happy with the amount of guitar I'm incorporating into tracks, but wish I had some time to play properly, rather than just picking it up to record and then leaving it sitting there until the next tune wants some guitar.

I was producing ambient, breaks, jungle, electronica etc for different projects, but remembering hearing dubstep properly for the first time in early 2006, and really loved what I heard, but wasn't until later in the year where I tried my first tunes, one of which is Willow which appeared on an early Scrumping release

ambinate wrote:how do you usually start writing a song? i've read in other interviews that you studied music and were playing guitar before you got started with production, so i'm just wondering if you like to come up with riffs, melodies, chord progressions, etc. before sitting down at your computer to get a tune going, or if you create a beat or something in your daw first and work from there.

big thanks for doing the q&a! huge fan here, can't wait to hear what you've got coming next.


There's definitely no set way of making tunes. Sometimes I'll start with a beat, but it's normally a chord sequence or a pad or something. I might hear an instrument which is new to me, and start playing around with multi samples and come up with a riff, other times, i write on the guitar and just sequence the notes in on a synth when I get fed up with how bad I am at playing in time these days! Glad you're rating the tunes too mate! :)
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Postby Cubicle » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:04 am

Amazing, I watched your set in Hoegaarden (Belgium) and I closed my eyes throughout the whole set while everyone was like 'This ain't dubstep wtf'. Best set i've ever heard. Big props mate.

That brings me to my question: What's your ultimate goal at the moment? In other words, do you feel like you're on your level right now or do you still want to achieve a certain goal?

Massive thanks for this Q&A.
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Postby tuckerlinen » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:11 am

What drives you to create? I mean, why do you do what you do?

Bit of a broad question, but it's one I ask most artists I encounter. I'm interested to see what an artist at industry level has to say.

Also I should say that I'm a huge fan of your work, listening to sundown right now!

EDIT: I suppose this is essentially the same question that cubicle has.
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Postby phaeleh » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:33 am

Cubicle wrote:Amazing, I watched your set in Hoegaarden (Belgium) and I closed my eyes throughout the whole set while everyone was like 'This ain't dubstep wtf'. Best set i've ever heard. Big props mate.

That brings me to my question: What's your ultimate goal at the moment? In other words, do you feel like you're on your level right now or do you still want to achieve a certain goal?

Massive thanks for this Q&A.


Thanks man, always like playing in Belgium! There's always a few WTF crew, but I normally pick up the pace in the 2nd half of sets to try and keep them happy ;)

I guess my only goal musically at the moment is to be as happy as possible with the next album. I haven't started anything for it yet, but a lot of my releases have been rushed quite a lot. With the exception of 'Lament' and 'Afterglow', Fallen Light and the Afterglo mix were done in 6 weeks. I'm still happy with the release, but would just like the next album to be the opposite, very intricately planned and placed, each note deserving to be there, every sound I'm 100% sure should be in the song.

I'm sure that most artists should stop writing if they're ever completely happy with what they're doing, but I want to try and push and get as close to that feeling as possible. I want it to be an album I can be completely proud of, and know I've poured my heart and soul into for 12 months at least!

I think I've relaxed a little though, my days of chasing dubstep labels to get a 12" released are definitely behind me. Just want to focus on albums from now on, as I think my sound suits the format a lot more. That isn't to say I'm stepping back from the heavier sound, just appreciating the fanbase I have, and not feeling so much pressure to 'make it' these days!

tuckerlinen wrote:What drives you to create? I mean, why do you do what you do?

Bit of a broad question, but it's one I ask most artists I encounter. I'm interested to see what an artist at industry level has to say.

Also I should say that I'm a huge fan of your work, listening to sundown right now!

EDIT: I suppose this is essentially the same question that cubicle has.


I think this is a different question mate, you're all good! :)

I guess in the long term, music has always been a form of expression for me, i'm not the most positive person in the world, so always found it a good way with coping with the crap life throws at you. In the last 12 months or so I've definitely slowed down with the amount of music I'm making, but I think that's just because I'm getting better at knowing when it's a waste of time and I'm better off rinsing my housemate at fifa instead ( big up dave)!

I do think it's still a very emotional thing for me, if i get lost in the moment or a sound, i'm gone man, completely thinking about melodies, feelings, how the sound will affect other listeners, dwelling on the past, worrying about the future. It's never just 'making a beat' for me, and I think that's why my music seems to have such wide appeal, yet often seems to completely bypass the usual hype machine channels.

I'm definitely very lucky as able to generate some income from making music these days, but in terms of creation it will always be a very personal thing and a way of exploring my own thoughts and feelings and trying to convey those through sound.
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Postby jte1984 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:46 am

hey bud.saw you on the beach at outlook...was a convergence of amazing people and sick music. ur set was amazing!i produce dubstep/future garage and was wondering if you have many templates in cubase and a structure already layout? also i've tried to replicate ur rollin hats and find it quite difficult.any tips?keep doin what ur doin bro.look forward to music from ya in the future. ;-)
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Postby kizza2435 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:47 am

With the amount of gigs that you play, how much do you change it up each night? How much of your set is set in stone and do you ever go a little bananas and drop tracks that are completely out of left field just to muck with the crowd?
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Postby phaeleh » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:07 am

jte1984 wrote:hey bud.saw you on the beach at outlook...was a convergence of amazing people and sick music. ur set was amazing!i produce dubstep/future garage and was wondering if you have many templates in cubase and a structure already layout? also i've tried to replicate ur rollin hats and find it quite difficult.any tips?keep doin what ur doin bro.look forward to music from ya in the future. ;-)


Nice one man, that set was crazy, was not expecting it at all! :)

My default project has some standard sends I use in, with eq after the effects, to save me setting up each time, but that's it.

Have you got swing set up? My stuff is typically either 33% swing or 66%, depending on how garage I'm feeling. Velocity is also your friend. If you imagine a drummer hitting real hats, he's never ever going to make each hit the same as each other, so variation in velocity is really important. I find tapping the desk with the rhythm I want is a good way of working out which hits need to be louder and which can be a lot softer.

kizza2435 wrote:With the amount of gigs that you play, how much do you change it up each night? How much of your set is set in stone and do you ever go a little bananas and drop tracks that are completely out of left field just to muck with the crowd?


That's a really good question man! Tbf, it varies, but i obviously know which of my tunes mix in key together. Certain gigs will be completely freestyle, and I might not play any of my stuff, but it's definitely my tunes where I get more fussy about key matching. The recent beach set at outlook was pretty much preplanned (until the set was cut short, so had to ditch a few tunes on the fly) as I wanted to make sure I wouldn't miss anything out.

There was definitely an opening selection of tunes I used a lot for a few months before the summer, which meant I could suss out the mixer/monitoring and get used to the setup, and then after about 10 minutes so go in on the freestyle!

In general i think its not about planning sets, as best to just read the crowd, but in some instances like outlook, where i knew i'd be well nervous, it definitely made things slightly less stressful! :)
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Postby jte1984 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:19 am

unexpected perhaps but extraordinary none the less!definitely going outlook nxt yr!safe for the tips man.will get on the old velocity 4 the hats 4 sure.if ya ever get any spare time wud be proper safe of you to check outa tune me and my mate made.thanx again man ;-) http://soundcloud.com/sunyata2012/gutch ... ng-the-sky
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Postby vertx » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:39 am

Big ups for offering up your time on this Phaeleh,

You said you love to pour reverb on things, what's your process when choosing a reverb?
Do you have a few favorites you find yourself most often using?
How many different sizes or types of reverbs would you use in a standard project?
In general terms, what eqing on the reverbs are you doing for each of the separate parts e.g basses, pads, leads etc?
Last edited by vertx on Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jrisreal » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:27 am

What synthesis method do you prefer? Also, how important is melody in your opinion?

and ofcourse:
Coca-Cola, or Pepsi?
...in my opinion
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Postby Elliottm » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:17 am

First off (sorry for the cliche) but your music is top notch, both production-wise and the musicality of it!

Im gonna be a bit cheeky here and ask a few questions, hope you dont mind :P

1. The atmospheres you create in your tracks are amazing (especially in Healing and Losing You). I find filling out tracks with ambience and generally filling gaps is quite hard, any tips?

2. Panning is always an issue with me, I've read/heard some people like to put alot of things in mono, especially bass and drums, both for effect and mix-wise. How would you go about panning a track?

3. How would you go about processing your vocals? They always sound so clean and crisp but with alot of space aswell?

4. Mixing/Mastering tips and tricks?

Hope that isn't too much haha

Cheers, Elliott M
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Postby sweetleww » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:51 am

Yo! Thanks so much for doing this Q&A, your music is amazing, not to mention inspiring!

A few questions:

1. How do you go about drum programming? Do you generally use MIDI or do you prefer straight audio hits on a sequencer?

2. How do you go about your subby bass? I can't quite get anything with the same vibe.

Cheers,
Lewis
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