“I avoid thinking about the end results and focus on sharing my truth instead.”
Main photo credit: Pierrick Campoy Amador
Interview by Arnold van der Walt
French producer Uppermost is well-known for his emotive tracks that always manage to ignite the soul of the listener. With a slew of hits behind his name gaining him more than 50 million views on Youtube alone, ‘Flashback’ and ‘ Beautiful Light’ has seen tremendous success and stands tall among the rest. Being on a consistent release schedule has made Uppermost one of the most reliable, yet also unexpected producers in the industry. Fans are well aware that whenever this dynamic producer teases new music, it will undoubtedly drip with his signature euphoria.
Because of all the support from fans and media institutions alike, he was lucky enough to start his own label in 2011, delving even deeper into the underbelly of the music industry. In his own words, “I created Uppwind Records in order to share the music coming from my heart without the constraints of an industry obsessed with money and profits”. Never separating the art from “the truth that brought it to life”, Uppwind Records provides a space for artists to enjoy true artistic freedom.
It’s on this day (8 March) that Uppwind Records released it’s first ever compilation; Uppwind On Air. Containing tracks from genres across the spectrum of electronic music, fans can expect french touch electro, house, wave, synthwave, ambient, and even a drop of liquid drum and bass. Putting his musical mind to the test, Uppermost curated some of the finest tracks from the likes of Satin Jackets, Digitalism, Elder Island, Mesita and more including a brand new original track from Uppermost himself. On this new release, Uppermost comments, “I am happy and proud to put out the label’s very first compilation. I’ve always been looking for ways to showcase the work of talented and passionate people through an independent brand that focuses on quality rather than quantity.”
We sat down with Uppermost and spoke about his label’s first compilation (Uppwind on Air), providing smaller artists with the opportunities he wished he had, and encouraging imperfections.
Hi Uppermost! Before we get into things, what have you been up to lately?
Hey! I’ve been working on my label compilation these past few weeks! Excited for the release 🙂
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
I’d describe it as cinematographic electronic music. I like to incorporate deep atmospheres into my tracks, I love the idea that music can make you travel just by closing your eyes and creating an imaginary story.
Your label, Uppwind Records, just released their first compilation album; ‘Uppwind on Air’. Why did you decide on this type of release?
My mission with this release and the label is to give back exposure and attention to all the talented artists that don’t get the recognition they deserve. I feel like Electronic music has become so much about individuality, I want to take a step towards giving back to people, that’s the purpose of Uppwind Records.
What was the thought process behind curating the artists for this compilation?
The main focus was the quality of every track during the process of selecting the music. No matter how big or how small the artist’s fan base is, if the track is good then it deserves to be on the compilation! That is somehow the kind of opportunities I wish I’d have ten years back: no exclusivity or constraining conditions, just a chance to share the passion for music.
You’re probably not allowed to pick favourites, so is there any track on Uppwind On Air that holds any special significance for you? (apart from your own track(s))
A track that I find myself listening to very often is ‘Harmonies’ from Furrer feat. Waltz. A beautiful piece of art from talented guys that deserve way more exposure.
You also shared a brand new Uppermost track via this release ‘Days and Nights’. What can you tell us about this song?
This track is from the series of new singles I’ve been releasing since January, each of them holds a very special place in my heart since I’ve radically changed my workflow in the process of creating them: I avoid thinking about the end results and focus on sharing my truth instead.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
It starts off pretty messy with a lot of different ideas, melodies, chords and samples, then I try to generate mistakes, things I wasn’t planning on putting together until it feels deep and moving. I think I spend 70% of my time generating mistakes, and the 30% left to clean, organize and fine-tune the whole thing.
Gary Numan is quoted as saying: “I have always been far more interested in sound than technique, and how sounds work together, how they can be layered. I think electronic music, (in its infancy anyway) allowed us to create music in a way that hadn’t really been possible before. It created a new kind of musician.” What are your thoughts on this statement?
That is beautifully said, and very true in my experience. Electronic music is such a wonderful opportunity for creators: it’s not much about the tools we use anymore, the magic lies in the unlikely combination of sound waves that give birth to deep emotions.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
By far music creation for me. Nothing can compare to the process of spending countless hours on drawing a specific sound and refining it. Lately, I’ve been thinking about bringing this process in my next performances, so the purpose wouldn’t be as much to entertain people anymore, but rather to showcase the craft behind music creation.
What has been your most memorable performance so far?
I played in a French festival named House and Peas last year, it was organized by such a wonderful team of passionate people through their association Odela. It may not be the biggest, nor the most hyped place I’ve played in, but there was a sense of humanity, care and sharing that I never felt anywhere else.
Apart from the artists on the compilation, are there any other up and coming artists on your radar?
There are a lot, and that’s the crazy thing these days: how is it possible for so many talented artists to remain unknown while 10 big names monopolize all the attention? To name a few of the artists I’d love to see gain more recognition: Fibre, Poetically, Deccies.
What 3 tracks do you currently have on high rotation?
Letherette – A Good Love / SG Lewis – Again / Jon Hopkins – Luminous Beings
Apart from the release of ‘Uppwind on Air’, what does 2019 hold for Uppermost?
I plan to release EPs from some artists I love on the label in the following months, together with my own singles coming up every month!
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with The Playground. Lastly, what are your famous last words…?
Thank you to The Playground team for your dedication and quality work since so many years. Last words: let’s share more!
Buy/Stream Uppwind on Air here.
1) Uppermost – Better Days Ahead (Digitalism Better Beats Ahead)
2) A.M.R – Flight
3) Uppermost ft. Jack Lena – Days And Nights
4) Elder Island – Welcome State
5) Furrer Feat. Waltz – Harmonies
6) Howle – Phase
7) Mesita – Compliments
8) Randloev – Patience
9) Direct – Oath
10) Last Island – Only Up
11) Joe Garston – All Day
12) Uppermost – Step By Step (Satin Jackets Remix)
13) Remy Bourgeois – Closing It All
14) Medium Douce – Phase
15) Kamil Beker – Hold On
16) Siarate – Trainspotting