NYE is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year that was, and if yours was anything like Phace’s, then you’ve certainly got a few reasons to be smiling.
With his second solo album dropping earlier this year, 2015 has been huge for the German producer, and he’s wrapped it up with the Phace & Friends EP, as well as some fresh fire collabs with Mefjus on Neosignal, and the cherry on top: he’s joining us at FCKNYE Festival alongside an absolutely monster line-up. We caught up with the man himself to chat about the event, new year’s resolutions and what’s coming up in 2016…
Yes Phace, where in the world are you today?
At this very moment I am on a flight to Geneva to play an indoor festival gig at LE ZOO.
Safe travels! Now, first things first – you’re joining us at Brussels Event Brewery for FCKNYE. What a way to end 2015/ kick 2016 off! What are you most looking forward to on the night?
Indeed, this will be quite a perfect ending for a great and personally very fulfilling 2015! A lot of my friends are on the line-up so it will be fun to see them all and to cheer to the New Year together. Belgian people really know how to party as well, so this will definitely be a night to remember.
That it will! Are you looking forward to catching any other sets?
Definitely, I want to check out Apache’s set if I find the time. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to hear him playing out live yet but I am a big fan of his productions!
Got any exclusives in store for your own set?
Of course, there are always exclusives in my sets, but I really do like to play any music I feel, regardless of whether it’s released or not. A good track to me has something timeless and special to it, and to me the context the track is put into is just as important.
How do you approach your sets these days then? Do you wait until you can read the vibe of the crowd to decide what you’re going to play?
Actually I do a bit of everything. I do have specific parts in my set which I know work well, but I also like to leave freedom to decide on the night in which direction I will go with the music.
I always try to surprise people with my sets. To me they don’t really need to be non-stop dance or freak out. I’d rather play a set with ups and downs as simply rolling it out on the same level and vibe for 60 or 90 minutes.
Let’s chat about the Phace and Friends EP – what a release!! After the pressure of completing the album earlier this year was this just a case of just wanting to get into the studio with your friends and to feed off each other’s creativity with no pressure?
Thank you! Yes, you can pretty much put it that way. It was a fun project with friends without too much pressure. Even though at the very end when finalising a track or record it is always work and not so much fun. 😀
I especially like how every track on the EP has its own sound and vibe, but also how they work together. To me it’s a very enjoyable thing to work with others in real-time, I especially like the whole social side of it; sharing time with someone and getting to know them better. In my book that’s one of the greatest side effects of working with other musicians!
For sure! Before work on the EP started did you already know who you wanted to work with?
Yes and no, I wanted to work with all of the friends I haven’t had the chance to go into the studio with for a while, like Noisia, Rockwell and Mefjus, but I also wanted to work with artists I like but have never had the chance to write music with before. That turned out to be Current Value and Culprate, both awesome guys and I of course highly respect them for their skills too. But initially I had no fixed plan on putting all that music together on one release. This I decided on the path, when the idea became a more complete picture and I realised that all the tracks could really work on one record.
And that they do! Did you manage to get in the studio with everyone to work on the tracks?
Every track on the EP was written in real-time, together in one studio, except the track with Culprate. We had to work that one out by sending parts back and forth.
Technology makes collabs so much easier these days – do you think there is a bit of a disconnect when you aren’t working in the studio with someone in a physical sense, or does it simply not matter anymore?
To me it really does matter. I do prefer to work in the same room and to create a vibe together. There is nothing better than being in the studio with others and sharing the feeling of having something really cool going on musically. But of course it also is a great thing to have the option to send big data these days, to make things possible one couldn’t work out over longer distances that easy before. If I have the option to choose though, I will always choose to meet in person and to jam face to phace! 😀
Why did you decide to release the EP on Critical as opposed to Neosignal Recordings?
I’ve been friends with the Critical guys pretty much from the very start, and they approached me in July to see if I’d be up for doing an EP project with them. At the time I had pretty much just finished the last of the LP on Neosignal, so I decided to do the Phace and Friends project on Critical. I like the label a lot and whatever they do they do right.
Speaking of Neosignal – You linked with Mefjus again for Clock Off as part of his Blitz EP on the label – BIG tune! That second drop is absolutely BRUTAL. What is it about you guys that allow you to work so well together do you think?
Thank you again! I think we a) get along very well in person, b) do speak the same language (which actually isn’t a big thing, but it does help when it gets more detailed or when you really want to trash talk), c) musically like the same stuff, and d) simply have fun with what we are doing. I guess you don’t really need more!
Sounds like a perfect recipe for success! Tell us about the recent DNB60 mix you did…
The DNB60 mix was still part of the Phace and Friends EP promotion, so I of course played every track off the EP, plus a lot of other music from Critical + any other tracks I like to play out in general.
What’s coming up on Neosignal in the New Year? Any big projects in store?
Actually we are in the planning stages ATM; so there will be new music on both Neosignal and Neodigital Recordings. More details coming soon!
Do you have any new year’s resolutions?
To change the unchangeable! And to stay healthy.
What was the most disastrous New Year’s Eve you have ever had?
It was like 4 or 5 years ago at a friend’s party when I had pretty much a full bottle of Scotch to myself and randomly ended up doing dance moves on a pole but actually couldn’t really walk and talk anymore. Never again! 😀
Haha, so you wont be pole dancing at FCKNYE then?
Definitely not, unless Alix Perez and Audio will join me 😀
Hmmm, we’ll have to have a chat to the guys then… 😉 What was your highlight of 2015?
Releasing my new album and finally having toured America again. I also did a summer holiday in New York and fell in love with the city.
What’s coming up next for you in terms of releases, or is it time to relax, get festive and celebrate the New Year?
I did release so much music in 2015, so for me now it’s time to both relax and to reflect. Of course I will be in the studio again soon working on new stuff, but I don’t want to make any fixed plans or pressure at this stage, would just like to go with the flow in 2016.
Final words of wisdom/ shout outs?
A person can do anything – until he starts doing something.
Shout outs to everyone I know and especially to all my dear fans for supporting my mad music and making 2015 one of the best years of my life! You rock!
Catch Phace at FCKNYE. Tickets available here.