Exclusive Interview with Palence

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Palence is Savanh Phaophanit, a London based recording artist and soundscape composer. Pushing his music under the self-contrived definition of ‘Post-Sludge’, he annexes musical elements from a plethora of genres including ambient, post-rock, IDM and 90s hip-hop. His upcoming EP release, Telophase via The Playground Records, incorporates Lo-fi ambience, meticulously tweaked drum patterns and an array of custom synths which collectively aim for a sound reminiscent of Boards of Canada’s warm analogue compositions.

We check in with the producer about his attitude, sound and what he’s been listening to.

Where’s your head at today?

Due to a number of noise complaints, I’m currently trying to come up with a cost-effective method for sound-proofing my room. Egg cartons, superglue and adopting an indifferent attitude towards whether or not my deposit is returned is seeming like the best option so far.

Give us an outline of your sound.

Post-Rock and Slowcore-èsque guitar often serves as a base for my melodies, over which I lay more contemporary-sounding DIY percussion (think the speed and flux of IDM rhythms combined with the timbre and heft of Hip Hop beats). All of the following is then usually passed through my grandad’s old 70s reel-to-reel and pitch shifted to give it a warmer organic/analogue feel. Boards of Canada are a huge influence when it comes to this process.

What artists are you drawn to for inspiration?

Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Duster, Low and Slowdive.

Artists you’re listening to?

I have a huge amount of love and respect for all the members of ‘Lethe’, a collective I started up roughly three years ago. The members are: gℓo, haven, v a s s h, Øfdream, Craset, Ajgor and Vacant. Between them they create such a vast array of different sounds and genres. I really enjoy listening to each of them develop and refine their own styles with every new track they make. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Falls’ stuff, an incredibly talented producer from Minneapolis, as well as Drip-133, whose music pretty much single-handedly inspired me to get into producing. Also, shout out to Fount, you know who you are.

What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks?

My most prized possession is my guitar, a 1981 Gibson ES-335. I saved up for years and still remember the day I walked into the guitar shop on Denmark Street to pick it up with my dad. I run it through a Focusrite Saffire 6 audio interface straight into my computer to record my guitar melodies, adding in effects/reverb whenever needed. Another important tool that I use is the 70s reel to reel player that my grandad gave to me. It gives my tracks a warm analogue tone which isn’t quite replicable through digital processes in my opinion. Finally, my computer equipped with Ableton Live 9 is the master tool that I use to go about assembling/splicing my tracks, as well as using it to run them through for final masters.

What’s your take on the following genres?

Classical:

I was trained classically originally, learning the piano, the violin (very briefly) and the Clarinet. I personally feel that being introduced to classical music from a young-ish age helped in my understanding of compositional structure. I was also required to study music theory alongside my instruments – although I loathed it at the time, I’m prepared to admit that it has also proved immensely helpful in the long run.

Blues:

I love Blues. It was the first style I was able to play competently on guitar and I really enjoy the freedom and abstraction that the genre pushes with regards to chord structure and solo-ing (in a similar fashion to Jazz). John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and B.B. King all feature heavily in my iTunes Blues playlists.

Soul:

I was brought up passively absorbing a lot of soul as a kid. My mum was big on Gil Scott-Heron and pretty much always put his stuff on when cooking. Admittedly though, it’s not a genre I’ve ever explored very deeply. I still rate the great Soul events London puts on though, like Soul Train at Bussey building.

Hip-Hop:

Hip-Hop is very complex since it’s not simply seen as a genre of music but a subculture and artistic movement of sorts. Sticking strictly to the music, I’d have to say that the golden years for me were between new school and the late 90’s. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but N.W.A., Wu Tang, Biggie and then the crossovers with genres like Nu Metal which birthed stuff like Korn – that’s my kinda era right there.

Folk:

Folk’s a funny one in my opinion. I find the guitar/ukelele/banjo melodies interesting, but more often that not, I find the lyrics to be vacuous and over sentimental. On an instrumental level, I’m sold, but on a lyrical level I don’t usually get it.

Trap:

90s Atlanta Trap & even early Gucci Mane – Yes please.
Contemporary over-compressed EDM Trap with excessive filters, risers & drops – No thanks.

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

I recently released a 3 track EP called ‘Gilder’ – it’s pretty decent, so check that out.
I also made an exclusive track called ‘tracery’ for a compilation put together by FOMH (Released on the 16th of June). I have several collaborations in the works at the moment, they’ll be announced in due course. Finally, I’ll be self-releasing a mid-length EP called ‘Torpor’ quite a lot later in the year, complete with a video that accompanies the whole thing

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