Artist Spotlight: Phaction

Thu, 29 June 2017 at 16:45

We are pleased to announce that this weeks Souls Apart interview is with Bristol-based producer Phaction. If you've been keeping up to date with Drum & Bass recently we're almost 100% certain that you've stumbled across his music. With releases on CIA, Fokuz, Soulvent, Limitless and Liquicity, as well as support gained from the likes of Lenzman, Halogenix, Friction and Goldie (to name a few), it's evident that the unique sounds of Phaction have gone down a storm in the scene.

Check out the title track from Phaction's EP on CIA recordings 'Signature Moves' (ft. Hugh Hardie). It's is our personal favourite!:

It's time to ask him some questions...

Hi Phaction, how are you? When did you first discover Drum & Bass? Was there a certain song which stood out for you first?

Hey, I'm very good thank you! So, when I cast my mind back the first drum & bass I heard was 2000 era liquid from the likes of Brookes Brothers, Futurebound, High Contrast and Adam F. Tunes like Racing Green, Promise, Dawn Treader and Circles, those were pure gold, and I never fully appreciated that original soulful sound till I had been through a phase of high energy drum and bass like Sub Focus, Culture Shock and Metrik (which I still have a soft spot for). I was well into my cars back in the 00s at the time and I was part of few owners forums, some of them had a mixes section and that opened my eyes to new music, often the mixes didn’t have track-lists so I spent some time finding out what I was listening to, sometimes a mission with dnb! - drum & bass + driving is truly intoxicating, a lot of my electronic music tastes were shaped on the road, but then I moved Bristol for uni and was introduced to the nights and scene here, and that changed everything. Hearing Dnb in the car is one thing but hearing it on a function one rig is another entirely!

What producing software / hardware do you use?

Ableton, PC Desktop and Mac, Focal Monitors, UAD, FabFilter, Izotope, Diva, Omnisphere, think that about sums it up!

How does it feel at the moment to be getting huge amounts of support from various big names in the scene?

Very very good, to have support from the people I look up to and inspire me (Lenzman, Goldie, Total Science), that is an amazing feeling and has given me a boost in confidence in what I’m making. I firmly believe you should aim to build a strong sense of what you want and what you’re about when you start getting more serious as a producer, one of the challenges is fighting self doubt, every producer will know this feeling and it can make or break you sometimes. When people you respect give you the nod of approval, it does something to quash those doubts, that's something I’ve grown to appreciate about the dnb scene, it is in my book very welcoming to newcomers and encourages fresh minds and approaches.

What's it like being a producer and DJ in Bristol? Is it hard to get recognition in a city with so many other people trying to get gigs and build a name up for themselves?

I think becoming a successful artist is a challenge anywhere you reside, but if you want to improve your chances - move to a city which inspires you, the kind of people you meet (the listeners and fellow producers), being around them will push your game up - the passion for music here is incredible. I was at the Fokuz night this weekend at Blue Mountain - meeting and speaking with the listeners, I swear some of them know my music better than I do - a surreal feeling! In terms of getting gigs, things are starting to pick up now, one of my challenges has been keeping a good presence online, I'm not naturally inclined to post up as I think the music should do the talking, but the reality is - you need to keep on top of social channels to maintain engagement with your listeners. That said I think it really pays to go out to nights and actually meet people face to face, you make a lot of real connections that way, I think that's more powerful than social media will ever be.

We're loving the vibes throughout on your Signature Moves EP out on CIA now, did you find making this EP straight forward, or was it a challenging process at times?

Glad you’re feeling it! Well both really, Solar Meditation was done in a week or so, other tracks like I Have You, I toiled with that one on and off for a couple years before it was ready to go out! But yeh, its just the way it goes from my perspective, some tracks are going to be slow burners and some flow out real quick - either way, perseverance and tenacity is key - if an idea you’re working doesn’t feel like its vibing, move on, save the project, come back to it later with fresh ears. Something that’s always worked for me is borrowing elements from unused ideas and integrating them in other more promising ideas - some of my best tracks are comprised of sounds from multiple projects.

What's the best gig you've ever played?

There have been a lot of good moments in the past 12 months, Hospitality in the Park was a lot of fun, and Collective in February, def one of my best sets to date, the crowd were absolutely vibing and being on stage with DLR, Total Science and Jubei, I felt very welcome there, like I had been accepted as one of the pack. The one that stands out for me though was actually one this June at a really intimate venue in Bristol called Take 5, I played my first ever B2B with Fluidity, we’ve struck up a friendship over the past year, like with Hugh, Henry and I both seem to know instinctively what we like to hear in music. That night we both had no real set plan, we just played it by ear as they say. It felt like a mess to us, but actually I think it was just making snap decisions and blends, taking a chance on track choices and going with it - the crowd seemed to love it! When I played ‘Should Have Known’, everyone sang along - I was a bit speechless tbh! Our only regret is not playing more of our own material, I think the crowd wanted to hear that based on the feedback after. Next time eh!

What can we expect from you soon?

I’ve got my first release coming on Shogun later this year, and a 2 track single coming out on Liquicity, all those tracks I’m really quite proud of, while they are very different from each other I think they strongly represent the direction I'm going in terms of sound (jazz influenced, deep & vibey). I want to start making some weightier, darker tracks going forward too.

Where do you wish to be in 5 years time?

I’d like to be doing more of what I’m doing now tbh, more regular gigs on the weekend, more production completed, Id like to be full time definitely. Currently the doors to almost all my dream labels are beginning to open up (Headz, Critical, Shogun, CIA), those labels I would be very proud releasing on in the future, CIA I think its my new base - Paul has been an absolute gent to me, he’s like a wise buddha - he’s given me a lot of wisdom over the past 12 months - I’m very grateful for that. After speaking with Goldie too I realised a Metalheadz project isn’t as far off a goal as I previously thought - I think Headz & Critical are pretty much the top of the stack in my opinion, so that's one of my missions now, I've got my work cut out for me, I have no illusion of that!

Cheers for the interview :)

Be sure to follow Phaction on his social media pages!:

Facebook - Soundcloud