Interview by Arnold van der Walt
As the year crawls to an end, we decided to treat you to one last premiere for 2018 from DYZPHORIA. DYZPHORIA is a Canadian producer who has racked up hundreds of thousands of plays on Soundcloud, each track building on his production chops as fans can’t wait to hear what he conjures up next. Consistently releasing songs independently as well as on Liquid Ritual, Evan Passier currently resides near Vancouver on Bowen Island, disconnecting him from the mainland’s music scene. Yet the internet still allowed him to connect to fans across the globe.
In early 2018, he released his debut album ‘DYZPHORIA Vol 1’ which saw him collaborating with Kyddiekafka further proving what he’s capable of in the production studio.
Our final premiere for 2018, comes in the form of DYZPHORIA’s ‘…it goes on’; an atmospheric and bass-heavy wave cut. Dramatic and club-ready, ‘..it goes on’ sees DYZPHORIA venture into emotional bass music with swooping synths and an almost orchestral overtone, providing the listener with his signature melancholic melodies. Blasting a big wave sound, DYSPHORIA truly shines in …’it goes on’.
The track is available for free download via Soundcloud.
We sat down with DYZPHORIA and spoke about his premiere via The Playground, how he went from ambient to club-ready tracks and how wave music is inspiring fans in war-torn Syria.
For anyone unfamiliar with DYZPHORIA’s dizzying, cascading allure, how would you personally describe the music you produce?
I always find it a bit tough to describe my own music, but I generally try to create huge walls of sound with a lot of bass, ambience, and trap-influenced drums. I like to make music with a lot of melody, emotion, and energy. I like to make music that makes you feel like you’re being transported to another dimension or something like that.
DYZPHORIA’s latest full release, DYZPHORIA Vol. 01 was released in March 2018 and features eight tracks including collaborations with like-minded electronic producer Kyddiekafka. Could you detail this recording process and how it may have differed to previous sessions?
Working with Kyddie is always a blast. We really just sent each other stems over the internet, since I live in Canada and he lives in Spain; I think the song ‘Slipstream’ started from an idea I had and ‘Possession’ started from some ideas Kyddie sent me. Working over the internet isn’t always ideal because of communication issues, but working with Kyddie always feels natural. When the vibe is right it just works.
Could you possibly give us some insight into your mesmerizingly deep and latest single “…it goes on”? And where do you usually seek inspiration from when producing or composing?
I had a really messed up year this past year, with a lot of ups, downs, gain & loss. Overall I learned a lot from my experiences this year and I think that energy was the main inspiration for the song. I’m not always certain where the inspiration comes from; sometimes I just sit down at the DAW and the music flows out.
Your latest track has a unique fan interaction behind it… What can you tell me about ‘…it goes on’?
Yeah! I recently got a DM on Instagram from a fan who lives in Syria. He told me about how Wave music has really helped him carry on in life despite his dire circumstances. He also mentioned Skeler and Sibewest as big inspirations of his. Just hearing his story and thinking about how drastically different my life is, and how truly lucky I am, was very inspiring. Stories like this make me feel like I really need to go hard with music to help people as much as I can; I’ve been given the opportunity to do something great here.
Will the latest single “…it goes on” be a stand-alone single, or is this particular piece going to be apart of something much bigger in the near future?
As of right now I’m just planning to leave it as a single. Who knows though! I may decide to put together an EP or album soon, which is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Maybe this song will make it on there! I’m really not sure yet. I do know that this song definitely represents the sound that I’m moving towards though.
What are your thoughts on the current evolving, yet ever-growing Wave scene? Are there any ways in which you think it could grow further, or do you feel there is something to change?
I love it. It’s so diverse, with so many producers from so many different places creating so many different styles of music. Personally I’ve been more into the super hype, fast stuff, like 160-180bpm bangers. A lot of that stuff is very inspired by American rap too, which is probably my favorite genre of music right now. Overall I’d like to see more people making the fast hype club stuff, and as I’ve said before, I think the scene still has a lot of room to work with more vocalists. I think that working more with vocalists would be a huge step towards getting tracks on the radio and into festivals.
Tell us about Vancouver’s live music scene. Are there any venues which you feel cater to your own personal musical needs? Or is there anything you wish you could improve or even change about it?
The underground scene here is great. Everyone is so supportive of each other and there is a real sense of community. For the most part, the underground scene that my friends are a part of tends to be very rap-focused. I love rap music so this is great for me, but I have to say, the electronic scene here is severely lacking. It’s really hard to get booked at a proper venue with a proper sound system here; all the good venues are owned by huge corporate companies that tend to only book bigger acts. My biggest gripe with the Vancouver scene is that there are not many good spaces to throw big electronic shows for less established artists.
How do your productions translate into live settings? Is there any room for experimentation, or improvisation, or do you like to keep it as simple and as straightforward as possible?
A lot of my older stuff was weird in live settings. I used to make a lot slower, more ambient music, which isn’t always the most energetic and exciting to play live. Over the past couple years I’ve been focusing more on faster, energetic, exciting beats with the club in mind. I’d say it’s definitely paying off and recently I finally feel comfortable spinning some of my newer tracks along with other club bangers in my DJ sets.
What do you look for in a collaboration? And if you could collaborate with any artist on the planet, who would it be, and why?
Vibe. Vibe is everything for me. I’m just looking to create energy and vibes with music. I’m going to pick two artists actually; Clams Casino is the producer I would most like to work with and Bladee is the vocalist i would most like to work with. They’ve both been huge inspirations to me in life & music and it would be a dream come true to work with either of them. I just really love their music a lot.
Are there any instruments, pieces of equipment or techniques you have developed which you feel is absolutely essential in creating DYZPHORIA’s stark, signature sound?
Marijuana hahahahah. Otherwise just Ableton really. Sometimes I studio sesh at other peoples’ home studios and they don’t have the plugins I’m used to; I generally will try to make it work with whatever is available. I don’t mind using stock plugins or sampling lots of stuff. Lately at home, though, I’ve been using the Arturia software synths a lot. They’ve got such a cool vintage sound to them. I also love to break the rules when I’m producing. I usually clip my kick and my snare at like +6db and then mix everything around that. People think I’m insane when they see how I produce & mix but it’s fun! I like doing things my own way.
Care to mention some of your own most personal and influential albums?
American Football – American Football
Pretend – Circular Reasoning
Tigers Jaw – Tigers Jaw
Brand New – The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me
Clams Casino – Instrumentals
Blue Sky Black Death – NOIR
DJ Smokey – Mystic Wayz
Shlohmo – Dark Red
Young Thug – Barter 6
Bladee – Eversince
What will 2019 and beyond hold for DYZPHORIA?
Hoping to release a ton more music and maybe go on a small tour. We’ll see how the year goes! I’m just going to try my best to stay focused and work hard.