[Q&A] Phase: As a DJ I try to bring people the best music at the right time

Future Sounds of Sofia is one of the few organizations in Bulgaria and the region that actually march to a different drummer and try to bring diversity to the scene and its sound by conducting numerous quality events.  The organization focuses on the deep, stripped-down sounding of dnb music and regularly promotes its views at parties, through livestreams and on their monthly radio show, airing on BassPort.FM. FSS also try to invite international artists who push the 'intelligent' side of dnb forward, giving Bulgarian fans a breath of fresh air, coaxing them out of their comfort zone and away from what they are used to hearing.

The next event delivered by our forward-thinking friends at Future Sounds of Sofia will be held on the 28th of May. Special guest for the event this time is a young and upcoming producer that goes under the name of Phase. Despite his age, the artist already has releases coming for Metalheadz, Warm Communications and 31 Recordings, as well as releases for Med School, Demand and many others behind his back. Regardless of his career growth and exceeding popularity in Western Europe, Phase remains a stranger to the Bulgarian bass fans. Not to mention several cases when bassheads mistook him for German neurofunk producer in their posts on Facebook.

In order to introduce who Phase is to the Bulgarian audience, we invited him for an interview. Bram willingly said 'yes' and sent us awesome answers. You can read the short interview bellow.


The Interview

Hello, Bram! You come from Belgium, where the electronic scene has been rapidly evolving over the last couple of years. As a young artist, how hard was it for you to become recognizable? What were the toughest obstacles you came across when launching your career?

Hi! With the possibilities of the internet it’s quite easy to get your music out there really quickly. This wasn’t the case at all about 15 years ago. That’s why I think a lot of young producers have appeared in the scene these last few years, as it’s just so much more accessible.

My first steps in the promotion of my music was through YouTube. Like a lot of 14-15 year old starting producers I uploaded my music as videos and tried to gain as much attention as possible. This was right before SoundCloud became so immensely popular. The most difficult thing I had to learn when I was signing my first deals with labels (Demand Recs, Fokuz Recs, Radar Recs) was keeping my tunes just for myself and off the internet. I was so used to just uploading whatever I made immediately after I finished it. Things don’t work that way in more professional circles.

Your style can be described as soft and melodic, yet very deep. Which genres and sub-genres does your studio-comfort-zone engulf? The sound that you are after, how would you describe it? Generally, should drum and bass have as many different sub-genres and divisions?

With my recent signings on labels like Metalheadz, Warm Communications and Dispatch (which are getting releases this summer) my style really started to shift to something I’m much more comfortable with. I used to think as a DJ. I thought every track I made had to be playable in a set without too much trouble. I stepped away from that and I finally feel that I’m able to write the music I want to write. Working on EPs for these labels has really shaped my sound more towards the atmospheric music, but with a heavy focus on bassline and organic drums. I’m not the tech-y type.
My biggest influences are still Break, Calibre and Commix. And I think you can hear these influences throughout most of my newer music.

Subgenres is something I have mixed feelings about. I’m completely fine with labelling music, but when you start naming stuff like “power liquid” or “minimal jump up” it just gets really, really silly!

Behind your back you have releases for Metalheadz, Fokuz, Med School, Warm Communications, 31 Recordings and others. Where do you gain inspirations from? What other styles of music outside drum and bass influence you as a 175-bpm producer?

Most of the time I have a specific label in mind when I produce music. I gain inspiration from the back catalogue of that label and try to give it my own twist or take. This way I can also immediately set a goal for the track: getting it actually signed on the label it’s made for. Most of my non-DnB inspiration comes from old r&b and jazz. I sample a lot less than two years ago, but I still often try to recreate chord sequences or riffs and manipulate them with my own instrumentation.

In your opinion, what is of higher importance for an artist: strong studio productions or impressive skills on the decks? Where do you place the stress?

For me this is a very difficult question as I see both things as something completely different. I think strong studio productions are definitely the way to go for building reputation internationally and having your own “product” to show people. I think DJ’ing is equally important because people book you and you want to give them the best time possible during your set. People like Calibre can pull off an entire set of music he wrote himself, but I’m not someone who can. As a DJ I just try to bring people the best music at the right time, no matter who it’s from! 

At the end of the month you are about to perform in Sofia under the invitation of Future Sounds of Sofia. What can the Bulgarian listeners expect? What do you have up your sleeve?

First of all I have over 20 tracks that are still getting a release in 2016 on various labels. It’s the music I’ve been the most proud of in my 5 years of music production and I really can’t wait to show you guys what I’ve been up to! As a DJ I’m a fast mixer and I always mix on three decks. I’ll play anything, heavy or soft, as long as it got that little touch of soul and groove. You won’t be hearing any sterile, over the top produced tracks. You’ll hear organic sounding weight that will keep you dancing!

Thank you for the spared time! Wish something to our readers.

Thanks a lot for the questions! I hope I’ll meet you all on the dancefloor on the 28th of May. I can’t wait to see Sofia and meet the crew!
Big ups.


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