Prior to the release of his astonishing new EP ‘Grey Unknown’ with Ambyion, we caught up with one of our very favourite artists: Phelian. Read our exclusive interview here…
Hey Phelian, first off, where are you currently based?
About an hour outside of New Orleans.
When was your first real exposure to music?
1992, have been listening ever since.
When did you start writing and producing music?
Towards the end of 2015. I took up playing guitar early on, I think I started playing when I was around 12. I played well into my early 20’s. As I started getting more and more into electronic music I eventually stopped playing. It was quite a number of years of just being a listener before I ever considered writing music. I think the biggest barrier I had to not starting earlier is that I never really felt comfortable putting my stuff in front of people. I have met some extremely talented artists, it’s amazing to see the young talent out there these days. I sometimes wonder where I would be now if I started 10-15 years ago as opposed to starting when I did.
The past 12 months have been hugely positive for you. What’s been your biggest inspiration?
The past year has been quite a ride, I’ve learned so much but still have much more to do. Inspiration can take many forms with me. I am usually latching on to an emotion that I am feeling at the time, and just trying to translate that feeling into audio form the best way I can.
It’s great to see such a close and engaging community of producers within our genres. Have you made any new relationships along the way?
Yes I have had the privilege to meet some great individuals. One even flew across the ocean to visit me.
What’s been your proudest experience to date?
Probably the collaborations I’ve been a part of. I think the music itself is simply a monument to the relationships you forged while making it.
Have you ever performed your music live?
I have never considered the music I make to be meant for live performance. I always considered it the type of thing you would listen to when you are alone.
Favorite record right now?
Pensees – Sleepaway.
Favorite record of all time?
Sorrow – Shinigami.
It’s easy to hear the passion and emotion you put into your work. What’s your musical goal for the next few years?
To keep learning new things in an effort to improve the fidelity of my productions. To explore and experiment with things and overall to just keep true to myself.
Any life goals?
Payoff my house and retire.
Has there ever been a piece of music or an experience that shaped you to become the musician you are today?
It’s hard to say really, there are many pieces of music that have influenced me throughout the years. It would be difficult to place one above the rest.
How would you describe your music?
Deep ambient electronic with influences rooted in UK garage, future garage and dubstep. I don’t know, lol. I try not to think about classifying or putting words to it. I just try and make stuff that reflects the emotions I am feeling.
How did the collaboration with Ambyion come about?
I heard his track “Reaching for the Stars” on SoundCloud and really liked the ideas I was hearing. One day I just sent him a message on SoundCloud, the message said: “collab?”. The rest is history.
Can you tell us about your latest EP and the process by which the two of you worked together?
Well I think it started out by me just sending over a few of my unfinished projects to see if it sparked any inspiration. Then he would add his sound and style over it and I think the end result was really a nice blend of 2 different styles. It’s different for sure, hopefully people will enjoy something from it.
Any other collabs in the pipeline? Are there any specific artists you would like to work with in future?
None really planned or set in stone, I think I might take a short break, it’s been a really busy few months and I am wanting to get back to working on some solo stuff.
Any other Phelian projects on the horizon?
Well there is always something on the horizon, but nothing I am ready to announce just yet.
Any other genres you would like to explore in future?
I have always enjoyed listening to other genres like dubstep, dub techno, grime, ambient, and cinematic stuff. I want to explore these more, but it’s a slow process for me, trying to figure out a way to incorporate these influences into my sound.
Would you have any advice for budding young producers?
I read somewhere that if you don’t want to listen to your own music, then you’re doing something wrong. So I would say just be yourself. When you’ve done something that moves you, then you’re well on your way.
And finally – any artists you want to give a shout out to?
In no particular order, I would like to thank the following artists: Eikona, Pensive, Azaleh, Enzalla, Aether, Vacant, Myst, Swept, Hajimari, Solace, Shanti, Bucky, and Tom Hartney.
Thanks so much Phelian. Very best of luck with the EP.
Phelian and Ambyion’s new EP ‘Grey Unknown’ will be released by Insight Music later today.