Subtle tension, intricate sonic passages and minimal terrorism lay the foundations for this weeks guest. From the origins of Montreal, he began experimenting and immersing himself in electronica from the early 1990’s which paved the way for two full length album releases after debuting on Hautec Recordings with Mateo Murphy only a few years prior. As the timeline shifted over the years, his releases found their way on labels such a M_nus as well his own label Archipel, whilst at the same time he’s maintained heavy bookings across the globe.
Whether the medium is the studio or a live performance, he’s insisted, without compromise, that every piece of work participates in a hypnotising parade of illusive moods and evolving kinetic structure. It’s this take on music that segregates his work from his peers so make no mistake, this weeks broadcast doubles as a sentry for a warm territorial outpost.
Jean-Patrice Remillard, aka: Pheek steers the bristling lights from here.
Kn: It has been some time since you have released a mix quite like this. True to form, the mix is very elegant and intricate, weaving in and out of textures to create a collection of key moments. Tell us about your approach toward a project like this and how such an aesthetic is musically achieved?
Ph: Your appreciation is very appreciated! This mix was made effortlessly, which is very important in my way to make music. I try to keep in mind that dancing has to come from an itch to move and most of the time, that occurs from the most simple idea. It was recorded in one shot and ironically, in my moment of searching for tracks I would use. Usually, I do one rehearsal mix and then attack the work with what seems right but this time, the rehearsal became the mix itself. It is quite a good feeling.
The aesthetic was to play with the evolution of textures and mood while trying to keep the listener off guard and hypnotized at the same time. I have my own technique to do this but I rely on keeping things flowing.
Kn: Did you begin the process with a concept in mind for the mix, or did you start with a completely blank slate? What did you set out to capture when you started the process early on, choosing music for the mix and developing the idea?
Ph: Playing music that inspires me was the main idea and keep it as repetitive as possible. I like to stretch some ideas to the limit of what I can tolerate. It then creates a subtle tension that makes the next change, really welcomed. I always like to appropriate each track, layer them and make them personal in a specific context. Throughout the mix, there’s always several layers so it is possible to go back, give it a few listens and discover different subtle details.
I really felt I needed to play music from people who aren’t known much yet. I feel like the most interesting music at the moment is not in digital stores and are mostly unknown from people. It’s the beauty of Soundcloud I would say.
Kn: And what does it mean to you personally, to release such a special mix after some time?
Ph: Yes, I’ve been asked many times to do podcasts but wasn’t inspired. This one worked and it’s great indeed! I have to say that I almost felt like I couldn’t do one again so it felt really much of a relief. I just hope people will live an experience of their own by taking the time to listen to it in various contexts.
Kn: On the mix you have featured a new collab with yourself and Hubble under the name of EEBB. Is this something recent and can we anticipate any upcoming releases?
Ph: There’s one release coming out on Sleep is Commercial but we take it easy. It’s a really simple and fun project I do with my friend Giuseppe and we like to do long mystical songs. It’s mainly him and I do percussions. I guess the upcoming things are in the same perspective: we go with the flow.
Kn: You mentioned Soundcloud as an inspiring source of new unreleased music by talented, relatively unknown artists. As someone who influentially shaped the net label market with your own imprint Archipel, how do you see mediums such as Soundcloud impacting on the industry and the importance they play for a whole new generation of young producers?
Ph: To envision the future, you need to capture a bit of what’s happening now which is a part I’m a bit disconnected with at the moment. But I’ve been having a lot of fun hanging out on Soundcloud lately, where I can hear music that touches me as well as meeting talented artists. Soundcloud brings people together and is an open space to network. There’s still a gap for the average music consumer to discover new artists or music of their tastes because of the numerous options. So, I have the impression that is the next important step and perhaps a site like Spotify will answer that need. One exciting this is, there’s more tools for music democratization as well as ways for the unknown artists to reach markets, it can only get better as we find ways to make things work.
I have the impression we’re really close to some new technology that will help people get the music easier. I already am quite happy with the Soundcloud app on OSX that is a nice complement to iTunes.
Ph: It’s hard to say. I have the impression the average consumer is struggling to find the music he wants while the people who are relatively tech savvy can get everything, perhaps too easily. In both scenarios, who pays for that are musicians who have a problem reaching people and get some sort of support for it. You’ll see a lot of artists raging about this on social medias but that’s not going to change anything. Ironically, digital shops are trying to make things easier but still, I see family members not understanding iTunes, while myself, get completely overwhelmed after 10 minutes spent on Beatport due to a flood of similar music and new labels added daily.
A site like Spotify could really help. I haven’t been really in touch with that trend yet but it seems new generations are more interested in streaming than possessing mp3s. They also prefer intelligent phones to personal computers. That’s a market that is relatively clear about their needs and tastes. Will our generation follow that way of doing?
If downloads become less important, then this really changes things as Spotify gives money each time a track is played. Artists get supported, at last. Anyway, if that picks up, the business will change a lot in the next 5 years based around that approach, no doubt.
Besides that, I’m also really interested in those artists who don’t want to release their music and prefer giving it to a few DJs only. If some people really are attracted to stardom, some have the opposite feeling and want to be as mysterious as possible, which is hard with digital. But I find the concept fascinating and refreshing.
Kn: What are your plans for the near future?
Ph: I really have no idea! I have pretty much accomplished all my goals I have set when I created my Pheek moniker (1998). I could have decided to try to become a full time touring artist but a few years ago, I decided to abandon that idea. Changing my music to always fit people’s tastes (in order to be hot enough to have booking requests) and playing multiple gigs per week is not for me. The gigs I really love are the few ones I get, in front of 100 really music dedicated people who want to dive in a sound exploration experience. But that is rare nowadays, I find, so it sort of comes down to play 1-2 times per year. Perhaps in the years to come, I will get more invites of that genre and be able to carry my sound safari around.
Photo Credits: Tyna Phaneuf