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Michael Janiec

Q&A

Phace’s Sonic Revolution: Creating ‘Everyday’ and Embracing the New

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Phace’s Sonic Revolution: Creating ‘Everyday’ and Embracing the New

Drum & bass titan Phace is making waves right now with his latest sonic masterpiece, “Everyday” – a brand new album from the Hamburg-based producer, which is out now on Deadbeats. 

And this is far from just another album for the acclaimed producer, but nothing short of a transformative journey, reflecting personal growth and a bold sonic shift.

Inspired by the challenges of fatherhood and a world-altering pandemic, Phace has shed genre constraints and embraced a broader musical palette. 

Join us as we delve into the creative process behind “Everyday,” exploring his evolving production techniques, his bold decision to master the album himself, and the impact of his new state-of-the-art studio. 

This is Phace, unfiltered and reinvented.

Hello Florian, congratulations on your new album “Everyday”! How long has it been coming?

Phace: Hey, Michael! Thank you! It’s hard to pin down exactly, but I’d say about two years. The whole process grew organically. I didn’t set out to make an album at first, but about a year ago, I realized the tracks I was working on belonged together. That’s when it hit me: this could be an album.

So, you got that inspirational impulse back then?

Yes, you can say that. Very often, things happen while you „walk“ or, better yet, while you progress. I’ve had the pleasure to release quite a few albums in my life, so I think I got some experience with bigger creative projects, bringing everything together in the end, tying up ends.

For „Everyday“ I ended up deciding I didn’t want to stick to just one genre, like only to drum & bass, for example. Such a more mono-dimensional idea wasn’t something I vibed with anymore, as I had done those kinds of albums before. So, to sum up, this album indeed took shape over time, also reflecting personal changes and a broader range of influences.

How have these personal changes influenced your music? Did you get to this point redefining yourself as an artist after so many albums? 

Well, yes, a lot has changed the past 6 years since I released my last long player “Between”. Especially with the pandemic and becoming a father. My daughter is four now, and my life has changed significantly over the past years. In a good way. The whole change wasn‘t and still isn‘t easy though. But we are all healthy and that is what counts. I think all these personal shifts naturally affected my music too and led to a new phase in my music „career“, yes. 

It feels like a natural process, though, and like a positive one too. Of course, there are downtimes involved too, like with everything you do. It’s all ups and down. Things can be challenging. Challenges belong to life. And music is a great channel to pack all of these emotions and feelings into.

I can hear that on the album! With all the time that has passed since your last album, did you approach production differently this time as well?

Yes and no, I always try to alter my music production methods with each project. I always try to dig for new things, and I always seek out for unusual ways to work with sonics. But I also like to work with methods and gear I have been working with for years. Things that make me feel comfortable, or confident, which I can trust, and which help me translate my ideas and solve issues that come up when working on music. 

For this album specifically, I worked in a new studio I set up at the end of 2020. A new room, a new PC, a couple of new hardware toys – a pretty fresh vibe. Also, it was the first time I had a studio outside of my apartment. It took me some time to get comfortable with the room and all the new setup. 

I also invested in new monitoring. That change specifically pushed me to try out new techniques and to listen to music differently. To also process it differently. With a new pair of ears, so to speak, aiming for a warmer, more cohesive sound.

“Everyday” as the title track really sets that stage sonically

I think so too; it feels powerful, punchy, and energetic, but not too pushed and harsh on the top end. I tried to go with this sonic aesthetic for the whole album. I wanted it to sound big and dancefloor-oriented but in a fresh and smoother way.

I actually mastered the whole album myself, which was quite a learning curve, for which I am very thankful. When I was unsure about it, I got positive feedback from other professional mastering engineers I highly rate, which reassured me. 

Mastering it myself allowed me to have it sound exactly how I wanted it to be without having to compromise a lot. It also allowed me to keep on fine-tuning all the mixes in a way that felt right for me, and the whole process also helped me to connect all the different genres on the album too.

That’s interesting, so did mastering it influence the creative process as well?

Looking back now, you can say so, but I did not plan for this initially, and the creative part in mastering is way more minimal than in writing and mixing. Mastering is more about controlling, shaping, or supporting a style that is already there. The creative process always comes before or first.

For this project, the specific workflow I ended up with was quite handy, but still intense, as I needed more time to reflect and gain objectivity. If I found something annoying in the mix while mastering, I simply went back to the mix and fixed that element or part. 

This back-and-forth process again helped me learn a lot about my sound and how to improve it. Even though there never is perfection. It’s a moving target.

Ultimately, mastering is about those small final tweaks, and I believe a good mix doesn’t need much mastering these days. All the technology, knowledge and tools are out there and accessible to anyone interested in. It’s not magic anymore, in my opinion.

And how did the new studio setup impact your work precisely?

One of the things that made a big difference was the new monitoring system I got. To me, this upgrade was a game-changer. I am using Kii Audio’s monitoring solution, and to me, it is like having magnifying glasses for sound—a tool I can trust, allowing me to make precise and fast decisions without the room’s acoustics interfering too much. 

I can focus on the vibe and not keep guessing about the quality of the sonics. You can say that this setup helped me shape the warm and big sound I wanted for the album.

Are you generally planning to explore more genres in the future, as you did on the LP?

I don’t specifically plan such things in detail, to be honest. I am not sure if that is a wise thing to do or not, from a business point of view. I literally just make the music I enjoy listening to myself. Likewise, I try to make sense of certain sounds and styles; I try to figure out what I like, why I like it, and how to put it on paper. And eventually, things come together in the end. 

This album happened organically while I was experimenting in the studio. I’m not really aiming to define my career by specific genres; I’m focused on what feels right at the moment. I always have been and probably always will. But never say never, maybe I end up doing “just” Techno one day 🙂 It’s all unwritten still.

What’s your take on the music industry and planning a career in it?

That is a big question. I think it’s about doing cool shit at the right time and being the right artist with the right vision, style, branding, and also having the right network or people around you. It comes down to so many factors to have a career. Planning it can work for some, but I don’t believe success in music is really something you can plan. 

For me personally, it’s more about the process, about staying happy with what I do. I don’t expect success with what I do; I am not in for the fame; I try to focus on the actual process and making the best music I can to feel good about myself. 

Of course, I have family, so I do have responsibilities to them and also to myself. But the business side of things was never a driver to create. If others like my music, I see this as a real benefit, and it makes me happy. Again, I am very thankful to be able to make a living of my art in this mainly capitalistic-driven system we are caught in.

And in terms of performing, are you touring with “Everyday” this summer?

Yes, I’ve already played a few shows under the “album banner”. I have some more gigs and festival appearances lined up throughout the summer, and we are working on adding more shows for the rest of the year. 

I’m also considering returning to the American market and to Australia and New Zealand, but only if there’s enough demand and if it makes sense. The event market is tough these days, so I sort of wait and see how things evolve. I have been touring so much worldwide over the past years. I love playing out still, it has to feel right, though.

Now that the album is out, when you are looking back on it musically, would you change anything about it?

Actually, not; I’m happy with it as it is. This is the first time I feel very satisfied with an album; at least that is how I feel about it right now. That might change in a few weeks, maybe it doesn’t. My opinions are often transforming fast. 

In the past, I often felt like I could have done more or better with more time or more of this and that, but not with this one, I think. I’m pretty happy and confident about it, and I believe it’s actually my best work to date.

You just had faith and let the process take over, so to speak

Yes, sort of. It felt good all over because I didn’t really push it. Don’t get me wrong, it was also mad to write it on some sessions. So, it wasn’t an all-smooth delivery. But I tried to let everything evolve at its own pace; I didn’t really have a timeframe or a goal. 

At some point, when I figured out which label was going to release it, it felt more like work to finish it properly. But that is also part of the process for such bigger projects. Up until that point, it mainly felt like one big jam.

With all the years you have worked in music and all the knowledge you must have gained; I saw you opened a Patreon start of 2020. How has that experience been?

It really has been a very cool one. I did not see that coming, but mentoring young producers helped me understand my own process better. Explaining my techniques to others made me reflect on and improve my production methods. This album reflects that growth too. I am very thankful for that and to have such a loyal Patreon community, which literally helps and supports me to be able to keep working on music every day.

Any advice for producers dealing with things such as writer’s block or not forcing things too much?

Most importantly: do something that makes you happy in the first place. If you create something that makes you happy, it usually comes across as authentic and is an enjoyable process. If you want to force something, maybe even try to fulfil someone else’s vision, you usually run into writer’s block faster.

And if you are in a writer’s block, I found that it can be really helpful if you do something different from what you usually do. If you’re stuck trying to make a drum and bass track, for example, try making a techno tune or do something completely unrelated like gardening. It can help me reset my creative mind. 

Sometimes, though, you have to bite the bullet; you have to get it worked out, stay right in it and solve the issue. Sometimes those more painful experiences hold the biggest opportunities for growth, change, and progress, in my opinion. Then it is about not giving up. That can work for me too.

And how do you stay sane and “fresh” in all of this, especially looking at the social media side of things? That game can also cause stress and pressure on artists

Of course, it can, it is not easy and not for everyone. I found my balance with it. Distance, but consistency, is key here for me, I believe. I’ve always been an early adopter of social media, but I don’t try to be state-of-the-art on it all the time; I do not run after every trend, and I do not let it rule my life. I am not a content provider, but an artist. 

So, to me, it’s about finding that balance that works. I usually just post when I have something interesting or entertaining to say. But, of course, social media is the main channel to get a message across these days. 

You are sort of forced to play the game. It got really noisy out there. A lot of social media channels have turned into sort of advertising blogs, driven by competition.

There are actually some artists who are successful, tour and release music and don’t have any social media accounts at all. It’s hard; those artists are very rare. But they exist, and it is possible if you have the right strategy and network backing you. 

In general, it’s totally fine when it is your approach to be big on social media, to make use of these channels, and to try to get the algorithm on your side. It’s just not my focus to do that. Social media is, to me, just a medium or channel, nothing more.

That sounds very reasonable. Looking into the future, do you have plans for any new releases soon?

Well, I just finished this album, and I’m letting it sink in for a little bit. However, I’m always working on something. I have a sort of restless personality. I will probably be diagnosed with ADHD one day. My mind is always ticking. I might release a single or an EP later this year, or maybe some remixes. We will see.

Looking forward to it! It was a real pleasure speaking to you, Florian. Are there any other final thoughts or words for young, aspiring producers?

Likewise, Michael, I enjoyed this too. Some words for young producers could be: seek feedback if you’re unsure, but try not to listen to any advice. I know this sounds paradoxical, but if you see feedback from a different perspective, as something you can learn from but not as something you ultimately have to implement, it is a great chance to understand more about what you do and what you could do. 

And keep on walking; the rest will usually come organically, if you have a real bite and passion for it. Most importantly, try to make music for yourself. Try to enjoy the process of creation, to focus on the craft, to stay true to your passion, to stay inspired, and to stay open to the new. All the rest will follow. I keep my fingers crossed for you.

The album Everyday is out now.

Follow Phace: Website/ Soundcloud / Instagram/ Patreon

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