Ghast: Inside ‘Pyrrhic’ and ‘Versus’
Free Love Digi are soon to drop the Versus album featuring a dizzying, mazelike array of underground people such as Resound, Dominic Ridgway, Nuaru, Atic, Goreteks, Sinistarr, Ghast, Hex… the cast members rolling on endlessly, with label boss Quentin Hiatus of course present too. Hybrid D&B disciple Ghast stepped up not only to chat but to very very very kindly supplied an exclusive tune.
That tune was first on the list to discuss.
Hi Ghast, thanks for this tune, can you tell us about it?
I’ve titled this freebie ‘Pyrrhic’, which is an early 17th century term used to describe the meter of a song accompanying a war dance.
It’s an appropriate choice for the merger of uplifting and sombre tones throughout. The whole contrast between the lush Rhodes and abysmal atmospherics is a defining characteristic of my signature ‘sound’ these days.
However, my love for organic elements in electronic music is present throughout, particularly with swung percussion.
So how’s 2015 been treating you?
2015 has certainly been a studio year for me, as I’d started a side project between Phoseph – who appears under the moniker ‘Æ’ on the compilation – and myself. Lure stood as an outlet for us to create some of the UK Bass/Garage sounds we’d been vibing on as of late.
We still haven’t really figured out where the tunes will end up, as long as it’s an outlet that will have people listening.
And how’s it been in your locality in the US?
I had the opportunity to open for LTJ Bukem and Armanni earlier in February thanks to my local homies at PHAT Ent. However, Tucson isn’t exactly the most thriving at the moment for anything forward-thinking, and I often find myself flying to Denver for the Recon and Sub.Mission shows… and an excuse to drink incredible beer.
Speaking of shows, tell us about a great gig you’ve done…
My most memorable booking was this one-off Halloween party back in Wisconsin. No headliners, simply a three story venue with great sound and an overwhelming turnout on every floor. Dubstep had just started to emerge in the states, and I was playing all of these great UK tunes instead of what everyone here was familiar with.
For whatever reason, it worked, and everyone ate it up.
For me it’d be a dream to check out the scene overseas, particularly the UK.
In general I love your sound and enjoyed your work on the Drake Equation ep…
Thanks! The Drake Equation was a great opportunity for me to experiment with the ever-merging borders between footwork/juke and D&B.
I have a bit of genre ADD and like to experiment with tempo, but ‘moody’ can easily describe most of my discography. Quentin gives us a lot of room to be tentative when putting together an EP, especially for a solo debut.
My last appearance on FLD was an 8 track split with Thomas B.
Him and I have very similar tastes, but it was a great way to tease the differences that led to solo releases. I still think ‘Aquatic Respiration’ from this is one of the best things I’ve written.
Now to the Versus comp for Free Love Digi… can you be so kind & talk us through what’s on here? It’s a superb album.
It’s definitely an interesting blend of half-time tech and ethereal liquid elements. A lot of the previously showcased FLD artists hone in on their skills, but it’s the newcomers contributions that really had me surprised:
Nuaru’s ‘Natural’, a certified earworm thanks to its haunting vocal samples that remain persistent, yet follow the incredible progression of the song.
Brandon Miles & Tricky Pat’s ‘Majutsu’, a wonderful marriage of heavy tribal roller and cinematic Japanese goodness.
Æ’s ‘Forevergreen’ rounds everything out. Field recordings, beautiful strings, a ridiculously catchy flute lick, and pitter-pattering breakbeats all contribute to a memorable experience.
And YOUR tune from Versus? The title intrigued me!
‘New Lust’ was a hinting towards my new-found appreciation for uplifting sounds being incorporated into my songs. The post-rock guitar riffs, jazzy rhodes, and silvery vocals are things I hadn’t typically made use of in past works.
Most of the music I had previously built was always shrouded in murky tonality, it wasn’t necessarily intentional, just likely a product of influence… this one broke away from all of those tendencies.
How do artists come to be part of the Free Love world? Do you all play shows together? Is it a shared mindset as such?
There definitely seems to be some regional ties to Quentin’s roster, lots of Arizona and Colorado love. But this compilation compels that through global reach for a particular sound.
Atic’s mix (at end) of the tunes showcases the unifying, yet completely diverse ear that he utilizes for choosing artists.
As far as shows go, I think that that’s something Quentin is really pushing for. Recently, Quentin, Atic and Kaset did a show with Amoss for Recon D&B, and I know he definitely wanted to bring some of the Arizona faction with him.
What tune is in your head right now?
Youngsta and the Swamp 81 guys have been playing a dub by Addison Groove called ‘Dreams’ on Rinse lately. The vocal cuts in that one are infectious as hell.
Random one yet connected… what’s some COMPILATIONS over time you like? Any choice ones?
Various: Deep Medi Releases Volume 1
Peanut Butter Wolf Presents Stones Throw: Ten Years
Noisia Presents: Ten Years of Vision Recordings
The Misfits: Collection II
Ninja Tune XX
Who are some influences for you?
Anyone who pushes sound design and inspires me to do the same. Amon Tobin, Noisia of course, Akkord, all of the Innamind gang, Jon Hopkins, Lorn, Culprate, Flying Lotus…
Lots of film and video game scores as well.
So what’s some films you’ve seen recently you liked. Or didn’t like.
Ex Machina is my film of the year thus far. Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow did an excellent job on the OST and it helps shape the film’s aesthetic in an unforgettable way.
Not necessarily a film, but Everything Is Terrible! did a show at my local indie theatre on their tour. Which is sort of a cheer-your-own-adventure through hilarious VHS clippings. Can’t say I’ve ever laughed that hard in one sitting.
OK thanks, any shouts?
Firstly, out to Quentin for choosing me to do this interview, he truly believes I deserve more recognition as an artist. Out to all the AZ fam though: Thomas B, Phoseph/Æ, Jpaul/HavocNdeeD, PHAT Entertainment, PC Party, Table Manners, Tamara, Blank, Dehga, and more. GEIN and the WI crew who still show me love when I visit and shaped the way I produce.
My friends, family, and supporters. Thanks to Atic for mastering and doing the LP mix. Of course, thanks to Drum & Bass Arena for the feature, never imagined I’d have had this great opportunity.
Atic Versus mix