Anonymous producer aliases – no matter how hyped or how subtle they arrive – pretty much always go like this…
A brand new artist launches with full backing of a label or high profile peers that seems a little too strong to be invested in a freshman on their debut release. A shroud of mystery ensues.
This secrecy leads to reactionary comment box gossip, which develops into far-flung (and often misguided) speculation then, in most cases, we have the eventual ousting.
Cue endless explanations from the producer on how they didn’t want to upset, confuse or lose their existing fanbase or that they simply wanted to start a brand new project without any expectations or presumptions from their past work.
Some proceed to run both projects successfully (eg: Spor / Feed Me) while most eventually ditch their old one altogether and starting anew on their fresh one (eg: Lee Mortimer / Friend Within or Ben Westbeech / Breach or Dave Spoon / Shadow Child or Maddox / Riva Star or Touche / Fake Blood, the list goes on…)
Now there seems to be the new breed of alias. A more conceptual style. For instance, Bear Grillz’s one-fingered salute at EDM and, even more recently, Pylot.
Signed to Monstercat and backed up with detailed narrative and concept, Pylot takes the idea of a conceptual alias to a whole new – and really interesting – level.
The basics: Pylot is a character who’s based in the 80s and has awoken in a motel room with no memory of his past life. All he has is a leather jacket with keys to a motorbike and a wedding ring. He’s got vague memories of a cake and a petrol station. Oh, and he’s got a notepad to help him – and you – make sense of it all.
An immersive adventure that unfolds exclusively on social media, each journal update is complete with all sorts of deep-seeded clues to Pylot’s identity, is illustrated with iconic graphic novel style graphics and – most importantly – funky-assed 80s beats like these….
Speculation on the true identity of the producer behind Pylot is, typically, rife. But it’s clear they’re not going to give anything away. They don’t plan on ever giving themselves away.
And why should they? Serious creative investment has been made on this project. Knowing who’s behind it would ruin the illusion.
I think that me being anonymous is really great for this project itself. The story at its core is about a man who has no memory of who he is, and so I want people to experience the music and the story without the added distraction of a ‘producer’ behind the music that may take them out of the world I’m trying to immerse them in.
Knowing where they’re coming from, however, won’t ruin the illusion. So, under strict secrecy and passed through several middlemen, we were able to conduct an anonymous email interview with the person behind the project and find out a little more about it.
Is this your first anonymous interview? This is a bit weird…
Yeah this is my first interview of this style so it is a tad weird, although I’m very excited that people will be focusing more on the music and the story and less on the ‘producer’ behind it all.
What can you tell us about yourself?
I love writing music. As cliche as it sounds, I really do! I spend a lot of time in my studio, working on ideas and experimenting. It’s where I spend 90% of my time.
I know what I can tell… You have musical training
Yeah that’s right. I’ve been playing a range of instruments for years, from guitar to piano and drums. I’ve had training at basic levels on numerous instruments but I’m mainly self taught. I’ve had training in music production too, although the majority of my knowledge stems from spending time in my studio and teaching myself.
I’d imagine it’s a liberating experience, hiding behind a character in this way…
It gives me total freedom to write the music I want, which is great! Also I think that me being anonymous is really great for this project itself. The story at its core is about a man who has no memory of who he is, and so I want people to experience the music and the story without the added distraction of a ‘producer’ behind the music that may take them out of the world I’m trying to immerse them in.
As for my own identity? I don’t think I’ll ever reveal who I am.
Tell us a little about how the character and concept came about….
I wanted to create a project driven by a narrative. Centering this project around a guy who doesn’t even know who he is gives me the freedom to create a story that the listeners can discover alongside the character as time goes on. I want the listeners to feel like they are helping Pylot to discover who he is, this is why with every song release I leave clues hidden in the artwork, journal entries and other resources for people to discover and / or decipher. The listeners have an opportunity to help Pylot piece together the information he finds and / or writes down, with a little detective work of course! Some people are already latching onto small details and are trying to piece things together, which is great.
Why do I keep thinking you’re in the 80s? The Italo/synth boogie feels of the music, the illustration, the narrative….
You’ve nailed it! This is the era I wanted the music and story to be placed into. Although as the story develops you will see much more of the world Pylot is in, it’s not your typical homage to the 80’s. Not everything is as it seems.
I’ve always thought that music can be much more intense when the listener is given a narrative and a context to explore and learn more about. Looking at the art and reading the journal entries whilst listening to the music really creates an experience that’s entirely different and much richer than conventional music listening. The music adds so much to the story, and the story adds so much to the music. I’ve designed this project so that they both go hand in hand and so to fully enjoy and appreciate one, you need to have the other.
The music is a little at odds with the scenario. I’d imagine more of a sense of dread or eeriness or straight-up paranoia if I was to awake in Pylot’s condition. Please explain the relationship between the funk of the music and the funky situation Pylot has found himself in…
I knew when I started this project that I wanted to create atmosphere within my songs that builds into a more energetic drop. As with every song I write, the music has to be written with the context of the story in mind always. So for example, in the track ‘After Dark’ you first hear Pylot leaving the motel, walking to his bike and driving off. The music then starts by setting an atmosphere to help introduce you to this journey. After a short time, the music becomes very rhythmic and there’s a lot of re-sampling in there. It’s important that I write music people can dance to, music that has a build-ups and drops, music that I can play out. For me it’s about finding that balance between creating an atmosphere for the narrative whilst also writing music that dynamic and diverse enough for people to enjoy listening to in a club environment.
Some sharp eyed characters on Facebook have suggested there is writing on the underside of the post-it note on entry one. Is there?
Yes there is, no one has got it right yet though! There are little things lying around in both the journals and the art work for people to find. Through this story more clues will show up in the art and journal entries. Not all have clues that I have put up have been found yet either…
Will there be subtle clues to your real identity?
As to Pylots identity? Yes there will be! Anything he learns about himself the audience will learn also. As for my own identity? I don’t think I’ll ever reveal who I am.
Do you even know the end game yet?
In terms of the story content, not entirely! I have ideas about where I want to take the music along with the story, sometimes I’ll write the track first based around the general idea I have for the story. Often the music helps inspire me to write better. In terms of knowing what I want for this project I do have goals that I want to achieve, for one I can see Pylot playing live shows.
That’s what I love about this project, it’s very spontaneous and I have the freedom to try whatever I feel would work! I’m not tying myself down, let’s see where Pylot’s journey takes us!
Actually… If he’s woken up with no memory, how did he know he could ride a motorbike?
Pylot remembers nothing about his past life or who he is. However, similar to films such as The Bourne Identity he has retained certain knowledge and skill sets from before he lost his memory. Skills such as driving a motorbike. He’s regaining fragments of his memory all the time, so there’s plenty of room for him to remember things he may have forgotten as the story progresses too.
Another sharp eyed person has suggested you’re British because of the way you’ve written the date. Are we all looking too deeply?
Not at all! Everything you see in the art and in these journal entries is never placed by mistake, everything there is intentional and is there for a reason, your job as the listener / reader is to find out why. Asking questions and piecing bits of information together is exactly what I want people to do, so this reaction is great and I really want to encourage people to continue to ask questions and to try and dig deeper. It makes the story ten times better if there are answers further down the line to questions that people want to know!
Have you learnt more about yourself personally while being someone else?
I think that whilst immersing myself in this world I’m trying to create I’m also finding out about my own interests and what makes me tick. Whilst writing the music and this story I’m always thinking “As a reader what would I love to see happen in the story? As a listener what music would I love to hear to accompany this part of the story?”. I’m learning about my own tastes all the time which is cool.
What – if anything – can you tell us about the future?
For Pylot, the future is whatever he can make of it. He has a journey ahead of him, one that I’m certain followers of Pylot will really enjoy. What you’ve seen and heard so far is merely the beginning, a tiny taste of what’s to come. The plot thickens fast and many clues will be revealed and left for the followers to discover as the story un-folds. Most importantly, the music will continue to echo the foundations of the story, bringing Pylot and the world he’s in to life.
As for the future of this project I will continue to write the best music and story I can. Pylot may even show up at a few clubs to deliver the 80s goodness too!
What’s important is that the listeners realise that Pylot shares his story via social media. The listeners can actively be a part of the discovery of Pylot’s identity by following his journey online. His journal entries, the art work and other resources that enhance the story will be uploaded along side the music releases and in between them as the story develops, and so its important for anyone that wants to enjoy and experience the music within its full context to follow Pylot on social media here: Soundcloud / Facebook / Twitter