Phonon shook the dubstep industry with his Beatport #1 song, Polyriddim – a tune that received World-wide press coverage and trended globally for its genre-breaking approaches. Hailed as the “Dream Theatre of Dubstep” by Oolacile and compared to Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd by musicians and non-musicians alike, Phonon’s music is played and supported by industry legends such as Modestep, Subtronics, and Svdden Death. Phonon’s music has been streamed/viewed more than a million times across all platforms and reached audiences beyond EDM with famous YouTubers like Adam Neely and Ludwig discussing/playing his music. This young, acclaimed musical genius, who just began releasing music in 2019, has already had six top 100 songs and four top-five EPs on Beatport, with more cross-genre-melding, rule-breaking songs scheduled for release in the coming year. Phonon is shaping the next evolution in dubstep, so don’t miss out, experience the sonic movement for yourself. Read the interview below!
Hi Phonon! How are you doing?
I’m doing great! Thanks for doing this interview with me!
Tell us how it all began, how did you get into producing?
I originally found dubstep in 2014, and then from there I started branching out to more melodic genres and kind of forgot about it. However, I rediscovered my old dubstep playlists in 2016 and instantly fell back in love with the genre. By far my favorite artist at the time was Virtual Riot, and through him I found his music production livestreams. Watching him produce on stream was fascinating and is what eventually drove me to getting ableton and starting to produce in July of 2017. Since then I’ve basically spent all the free time I could producing and just trying to learn as much as I can!
How have you been staying productive during the quarantine period?
For me personally quarantine isn’t much different from what I would be doing normally. Only thing it really changed is that it made my school online for the last bit of the semester, and honestly being able to stay home and do everything there greatly increased the amount of time I had to produce. Since school has ended, I’ve just been trying my best to put as much time towards producing as I can. Some days are much better than others, but I think overall I’m being pretty productive. I know there are a lot of people who are struggling with self isolation, but for me it’s something I’m super used to as I’ve basically been doing it for the last couple years, which is helpful.
For those who aren’t familiar with your music, could you describe your personal sound?
In my head I sort of divide my sound into sort of 2 eras. The first one being the vast majority of my work and basically everything that’s out now. It’s this sort of bouncy resonate-y type of sound, and the mixdowns on my tunes also have a pretty distinct sound according to others. While the ideas in this style aren’t the craziest or new, it established the base of my sound. The next era is a lot more focused around the ideas of the music, while still retaining my sound from all my previous stuff (this isn’t really a choice, no matter what I make it ends up sounding like me just because of how I produce). This next era is really only in its infancy, polyriddim is the only tune out that I would put in that category, and all the songs that will be in this style are still just in my head as ideas. Polyriddim is gonna be the bridge between the two styles, a transition point if you wanna call it that. Basically, I’m only just getting started!
Your latest single “Polyriddim” has been out for a few months. Could you share the creative process behind about this song?
The idea for polyriddim came from listening to an artist named Jacob Collier. His music is really pushing the boundaries of harmony, seeing how much he was innovating and how much music theory people aren’t using in dubstep really inspired me to try and use these things in dubstep. Something that most people don’t know about polyriddim is that it actually changes tuning systems multiple times throughout the song, or in other words it moves to microtonal keys that don’t exist on a traditional keyboard. The 7/4 time signature is the most mild of all the theory used in it, yet it’s the thing most people know the song for. Odd time signatures are common in other types of music, but are rarely ever used in electronic music because they’re much harder to dance to. My eventual goal is to break down this barrier to allow people to experiment with weird time signatures and not fear backlash or be too scared to do them.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from it?
If you look at the comments on any given upload of the tune, there’s quite the split between people who think the song is amazing and people who think the song shouldn’t even be called music. However, if you just look at the like to dislike ratios and other things of that nature you can see that the vast majority of people actually enjoy the tune, but the people who don’t like it are just very vocal about it. The coolest feedback I’ve gotten from it though is from Adam Neely and Shawn Crowder, who make up the band Sungazer. Both of them are also youtubers, and recently they both released a video on nested-tuplets and discussed polyriddim. Adam Neely gave a brief tutorial on how to make nested-tuplets inside ableton, and Shawn Crowder actually transcribed all the rhythms in the song accurately and then learned how to play it on the drums. They were both the only people to actually notice the nested-tuplets, which are actually the most complex thing in the song theory wise. I myself didn’t even know how rarely they were used! If you’re interested in learning more, check out both of their videos!
Who do you hope to work with in the future, if you could name top 3 producers/artists to work with and why?
My top three would have to be Svdden Death: I love his music and what he’s doing for dubstep. He’s been pushing a lot of really crazy ideas recently and I think if we put our brains together we could come up with something really insane, plus his production would just make it that much better.
Sungazer: It would be really fun to write something specifically for Shawn Crowder to play, and Adam Neely’s knowledge could just elevate everything past what I could do on my own. Plus doing a dubstep x jazz fusion collab is something that I really wanna hear/do.
Koan Sound: They’ve been such a big inspiration for me for a long time, I have no clue what a collab between us would sound like but it would be insanely fun and such an honour.
Would you like to share something else with the followers of Let The Bass Get You?
I’m working on a lot of new and better music! It will be a while before you get the next polyriddim type track, as these tunes take a lot of time to make, but I promise the wait will be worth it 🙂
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