Matt Preston has been a man who’s spent years developing his inimitable style of cinematic dance music, creating a stylistic aesthetic that blends garage, dubstep and ambient into one broad mix. With a slew of dates announced for the next few months, a new album from Phaeleh is set to drop in the summer. We catch up with him to talk his new favourite producers, his musical accomplishments and more.
Generally, you're known for making quite chilled and melodic bass music, with the occasional heavier tune too. How did you find that trademark Phaeleh sound? Was it a conscious choice or did you just have a 'eureka!' moment?
I think the music I make has always had a similar sound, whether it was playing in bands, or just making tunes on an ancient version of Cubase, just using general midi sounds. I've just always been inspired by music which had an emotional effect on me, so I've always been more interested in feelings created by harmonies and melodies, rather than following a specific genre or style. I think over the years I've just been influenced by more sounds and more life events.
You're known as being a dab hand with several musical instruments, particularly the guitar, which is predominant in your 'In The Twilight' track. How does all this feature in the studio?
My background as a musician definitely helps getting ideas going sometimes. But I don't work in a set way, some songs are made just using a mouse, where as others are written solely on the guitar or piano. It does tend to either be the initial idea for a track (like with In The Twilight), or it might be the last thing I add to finish the track off (like Should Be True).
2013 has been a busy year for you, touring the globe whilst also knuckling down on your 2013 LP. How do you relax when you're not touring or in the studio?
If I'm completely honest, I'm generally working on music related stuff all the time. I did have a week off of music and the internet last year which was quite good for recharging the batteries, but generally I'm thinking about what ever is next on the 'to do' list. I have always got time for a quick game of Mario Kart and a nice cup of tea though, so I guess they'll be my answer.
Coming back to the LP, does it follow a similar musical direction to previous Phaeleh releases or does it take a new direction?
I definitely think it sounds like 'Phaeleh', though in my opinion I'd say it's a more mature sound, and a bit more varied than my last album 'Fallen Light'. I did write a lot of material for that album, but it was mainly the 140bpm tracks which ended up on there, as it was all done in quite a rush. I've been taking my time with the new album, and some how have started just shy of 300 tunes for it, which has given me quite a few more styles to pick from. It's probably the only release I've made where I'm generally pretty happy with how it sounds.
Any more info you can share with us about it? Any special collaborations?
We're aiming to get it out in time for the Summer, as it definitely has that kind of vibe to it. Though just waiting to come up with an album title, which I always find strangely challenging. There are more vocal tracks than the last release, and it does feature some people whose vocals I've worked with before.
You're spinning for We Fear Silence on Saturday here at Cable. What are your past experiences of Cable?
I've been lucky enough to play a lot of awesome nights at Cable in the past. I always enjoy the sets, whatever room I'm in. It should be a good chance to test out some new tunes this weekend too!
How do you prepare for your DJ sets?
I'd say most of my time goes into sorting out my CD wallet. I'm a little meticulous with that side of things, and have everything organised by style or general vibe. I tend to find knowing where everything is makes it a lot easier to just decide the flow of a set whilst I'm actually playing it, rather than militantly preparing something before hand. As I don't have a set up to mix at home at the moment, I will listen to new tracks I've been sent on the train to a gig so I can quickly check there's nothing there that's going to catch me out when I play, which did happen a fair bit when I started Djing.
What can we expect from your performance on Saturday? Plenty of unreleased material?
I imagine it'll be a mix of my tracks and other tunes I'm rating at the moment. I'll definitely be trying out a lot of new tracks from the forthcoming album, it will be good to see what they sound like on the system there. Plus I've got a bit of a backlog of stuff I've been sent recently, so will have a load of tracks I haven't played out before too!
3 artists that you're digging right now.
Caski, Anex, Geode.
3 tunes that are ripping it up?
I'm really bad at these questions, but a lot of the stuff from Versa & Rowl and Anex always seems to go down well.
Your 3 favourite Phaeleh tunes or remixes?
In The Twilight, Numb, Lounge
And finally, anything else you want to shout about?
I can't think of anything, but I'm sure nearer the album release that will change!
We Fear Silence // This Saturday // Cable London
Phaeleh, Girl Unit, Lil Silva, Deadboy, Scratcha DVA, Redinho, The Clairvoyants, LX One, Flight, Tasha & more.
More info / tickets are available here.