After collaborating on the EP release ‘Sentient Duality’ late last year, Lazarus Moment x Phelian share their words of wisdom in this Insight Interview.
Known for their captivating soundscapes and creative future garage style, we discover the inner workings of two iconic producers. From their studio setup to the production style of their latest EP, you can find out everything there is to know below.
Hey guys! Please tell us about yourself in a few words (who you are, where you’re from, what you do etc.)
L. My name is Nils, I come from the southeast of Sweden, a small naval town called Karlskrona, I work a full time job as a bicycle mechanic. My free time I mostly spend by writing music, which is my biggest passion of all. Alongside that I ride mountainbike, paint and draw! Something which I am trying to rekindle with a bigger flame.
P. My name is Phelian, I hail from New Orleans. I make music.
How long have you both been writing/producing electronic music?
L. I don’t really have a fully accurate pointer to how long I have been doing it, but I would say that it is gathering up to somewhere around 6 years or so!
P. I started in 2015, so 5 years.
Run us through your current studio setup..
L. Right now I run an Acer Aspire 2013 model laptop as my main workstation where I use Fruity Loops 12 for the DAW. Alongside that I run 2 KRK Rokit 8 monitors and a focusrite saffire 6 audio interface. The headphones I use are BeyerDynamic DT990 Pro 250 ohm.
For additional gear, I use a Mackie FX 12 mixer. Into that I run a Waldorf Blofeld desktop, a Behringer Crave semi modular synthesizer, the Korg Monotron Delay, an Organelle M, and my trusted and incredibly loved Alesis Quadraverb. I also use a Yamaha MT3X 6 track cassette deck.
P. I run a custom PC hooked up to a pair of KRK Rokit 5’s. My interface is a Presonus Audiobox 96. I have a Mac mini as a backup, a Korg Monologue, Minilogue, and a Teenage Engineering OP-1. I also have a few midi controllers such as a NI M32 and APC 40mkII.
.. and your favourite piece of studio gear?
L. I do have to say that Alesis Quadraverb. It is just so warm and massive, and it’s an absolute joy to work with. Very adjustable in terms of designing reverb. It’s inspired lots of atmospheric journeys.
P. Right now my newest piece of gear, my OP-1. I never travel without it. It’s been amazing for capturing sounds and song ideas on the fly.
As an artist, what do you try to express through your music?
L. For me, music is and has always been an emotional outlet/therapy. I don’t try and convey any particular feeling, but I do try and conjure what feelings/thoughts I have in my mind at the moment of the production.
Usually all those thoughts I can relate to nature and how all things flow in an eternal cycle, saying that there is no such thing as a supposed way to be or feel, as nature always does its thing, and so do we, since we are ultimately just as big a part of it as anything else, so that goes as well in hand to the fact that there is nothing that can limit what to be created, because it all comes from the same source. Nature and our soul, which are ultimately the same thing.
What I am basically trying to create with my music is a my perspective on the all connecting grid of what makes us humans, and the things connecting us all.
P. I think my approach to producing has evolved. Sometimes I don’t know what I am trying to convey, but it reveals itself to me as I continue to build a soundbed. Usually I just feel like being productive and creative, and whatever I end up with is what I work with, I may put it away for a year or more before coming back to it. If the feeling is not right I will rework it until I feel it’s carrying the right vibe.
Early on I used to rush out tracks as soon as I finished them. Now I will soak test them for extended periods, months usually, fixing minor things in the track along the way. It’s a process that’s kind of fleshed itself out naturally for me over time. It’s a routine I’ve grown comfortable with. I think I would get very anxious before when I would release music that I didn’t sit on for a while, because I wasn’t sure it was going to hold up or be received well. I think that soak testing for extended periods helps to alleviate any release anxiety, because you’ve already become comfortable with your work by then, and confident with it.
“Just be yourself, be patient, be persistent, and don’t worry about outside noise.” – Phelian
Who are your major musical influences?
L. I have many more the ones I pick out here, it’s really hard to be fair when picking out a few since pretty much everything I listen to is an inspirational source, but to name a few major ones Volor Flex, Phelian, Phaeleh, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Hammock.
P. Early on I was influenced by future garage, mostly. Lately I’ve kind of stopped listening to electronic music altogether. I’ve started exploring neo-classical, contemporary classical, world and other avante-garde musings. I actually recently made a playlist on Spotify that highlights some of my recent influences, you can check it out here.
What can fans expect to hear from your latest collaborative release ‘Sentient Duality’? Which direction did you want to take your music for the EP?
L. I would say to expect an interplanetary / otherworldly journey. Exploring different realms and landscapes through sound. We tried to paint the picture of worlds in different dimensions, for example Traversing The Cthonian is for me a perfect example of this. You enter a mystical planet, exploring this stripped down barren landscape, yet filled with life and intricacy.
P. I think we definitely touched on an alternate plane of reality with some of the atmosphere that we created. The direction we ended up going in, didn’t really come about until mid way through the project. Fans can expect some transformational soundbeds layered with organic/foley percussion.
To those who may not have collaborated on music before, how does the process work?
L. The usual way it goes when I collaborate with other artists, and this way is the easiest way to go about it in my opinion is simply working with stems. Stems are single audio tracks/samples, that one of the artists create as a starting point for a track. It does not have to be a lot. Say just a simple scetch. Maybe a couple of drums and some melodies, or just straight up soundscapes.
Then it is sent over to the other artist, to be given their treatment. Adding their own sounds on that. Then its sent back and forth like that, until it becomes a full track.
P. I decided to approach the collaboration process a little differently by sending over to Lazarus some raw soundscapes I had made. I’ve always been a huge fan of Lazarus’s drum work and really wanted to hear what he could lay down. There really wasn’t too much back and forth needed, our sounds went very well together.
How has your music evolved since you first began writing/producing music?
L. My music has evolved immensely since I first started out, I don’t think there is even a way to describe the difference since then because it is so big.
Now I am able to create something out of “nothing”, when back then I was rarely able to make something that I thought sounded good. It was really discouraging to be so disappointed so often, but I just practiced and was persistent and it did pay off. I even feel like my music and production has evolved and improved a lot over just this past year. Now I personally can say that I enjoy what I create and feel proud of the creations.
P. I think the core of my sound has remained intact for the most part, the biggest evolution has been my approach. There are different areas in music I want to explore, but it can be tricky incorporating the influences into my sound.
What’s on the horizon for you next as an artist?
L. My next step is as usual continuing to grow and learn more, but i recently got a new laptop to use as my main production station. This will open up many new creative possibilities like music video production, other visual elements and such.
I also plan to launch some kind of mix series. It is still loosely in the works but once I get set up I feel positive to my new opportunities! I just want to be creative in as many ways as possible so that is what I am working towards at the moment being!
P. I want to really reach into the listener’s soul and move them. I have some ideas of where I could go next but I don’t want to reveal too much. Going forward, I plan to concentrate more on the instrumentation in my productions.
Any advice for those musicians just starting out?
L. My biggest advice is to not give up, it may sound cliché and in some way maybe it is, but it is truly what i believe is the key to achieving what you want.
All creativity is worth nourishing because it will blossom into something beautiful if you’re dedicated and persistent with what you do. It may also inspire others to do what they want to do, and that is the truly beautiful thing about it. Inspiring others to better themselves and their craft, and in that regard also bettering the world that we live in, by producing something that will soothe peoples hearts, giving something that people can relate to, and like many of my inspirations has done for me, help me in the darkest episodes of life.
That can be a motivation, to one day be able to give someone the same feeling that you get when you hear your favourite music. Don’t take any shit, and don’t disregard advice!
P. Just be yourself, be patient, be persistent, and don’t worry about outside noise.
Last of all, hit us with three singles you would highly recommend we check out!
L. Again I could recommend so so many, but for this time I want to pick these.
Rhekluse – Floating In A Silk Kimono
This track condenses some of my favourite ways a track can flow, heavy yet soothing, raw drums combined with an incredible lead melody, its a fantastic production.
Also a really fine production. It combines the classic future garage sound with orchestral/score-esque melodies and progressions. Beautiful vocal that fits the mood perfectly. A wonderful soothing and kind track.
This is a track thats stuck deep in my soul since I first heard it. One of the first future garage tracks ever heard so it sits high on my list! Just a perfect track.
Thank you to both Lazarus Moment x Phelian for the opportunity to interview them both! You can find a FanLink to their latest collaborative EP ‘Sentient Duality’ here, or hit the Bandcamp link below to listen/download!