Tuesday, 7 December 2010
INTERVIEW: The Phantom [Senseless/Top Billin]
Another producer in the Polish contigent - whose hardcore, dancefloor aimed productions have breathed a little unexpected life into our ears on many occasions over the last few months - The Phantom, and his tunes have been rollocking around the globe in the record boxes of some of the most influential, tastemakers around. Sharing an affinity to the perplexingly infectious synthesized grooves of labels like Night Slugs and Hum + Buzz, The Phantom’s own rhythms centre around the 4x4 pulse, but come unique with a highly melodic slant.
Equipped with the rhythm and drive those shuffling, incessant snares provide his music hits heavy, but it’s the uplifting lean of his lead lines on tracks like ‘Girl’ and ‘Night Game’ that really stand out. With tracks and remixes for people like Jack Dixon and Supra1, popping up with ferocity and a debut EP for the Senseless imprint - out earlier this wee - we caught up with the producer to talk our way into grabbing the 63rd Sonic Router Mix…
SR: Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?
The Phantom: Hi, Bartosz Kruczynski here. I'm a currently Warsaw, Poland based producer/DJ.
Outside of music who are you? What do you do on the daily?
Studying the culture of early modern England! I'm writing my master's degree thesis on ritualistic laughter. Apart from that - sleeping a lot, watching obscure films, listening to weird experimental records.
How did you first get into making music? What was it that infected you to do so?
I started putting together some ideas at the age of 15. All the tunes back then (made with a friend of mine) were sample-based, sort of early Coldcut or Big Apple Productions, despite being a fan of early XL Recordings rave records. At that time, I became influenced by the bootleg scene as well - Richard X/Girls On Top, Soulwax, Mark Vidler, Soundhog. All the early pioneers. Been making bootlegs for a couple of years now (I still produce them occasionally). Got back to writing my own music like a year ago.
What’s your production set up like? What’s your favourite bit of kit in the studio?
Just a laptop and a pair of ears really...
How would you describe your music? I mean it shares a kinship with UK stables like Night Slugs and Hum & Buzz... Are those guys an influence for you?
Yes, they definitely are! I mean, thanks to Supra1, I was lucky enough to DJ alongside Bok Bok in Cracow, Poland like two years ago! And I was already a Faggatronix fan back then, as well as a a regular reader of Lower End Spasm (RIP). Club experiences are definitely a very important influence to me. The same with Ikonika playing at Unsound last year or, let's say, seeing Dam-Funk live. As for my music. I'm trying to keep it very raw and simple sounding, almost dated. It's also about the melodies, or particular chords rather than beats.
Where do you take inspiration from when making music? I mean it’s easy to hear the influence of more tribal drum patterns but outside of that...
If I had to choose any particular tracks sharing a similar sound these would be perhaps 'Desire' by Robert Hood or 'Strings' by Da Posse or some South African house music. Pop esthetics are important as well - I'd name Madonna's 'The Look Of Love' as an influence behind my own track - 'Night Game'. Apart from that - I'm using quite a lot of jazz chords.
You’ve turned ears with your remixes of people like Supra1 and Jack Dixon. Do you approach remixes differently to your original productions?
Yeah, to some extent. It is rather unconscious, but I always try to experiment a bit more when remixing, later incorporating the ideas (like new presets) into the original tracks.
What’s the scene like in your native Poland? There seems to be some really good producers putting out records at the moment... I mean we asked Sentel the same thing, but is the club side of it blossoming and is that affecting your profile do you think?
The scene is definitely growing strong here. Apart from Supra1, Zeppy Zep, Sentel, Sekta (releasing a new EP on Shifting Peaks soon) there are a couple of yet to be discovered producers like Rhythm Baboon, Venice Calypso or MCQ and Vanatoski. There's obviously also the tech-side - Catz N Dogz or Czubala. Lots of events here as well - almost everyone from the scene played in Poland - NB Funky, HH Banton, Crazy Cousinz, Untold, Kode9, Ikonika, Jackmaster, Bok Bok & Lvis, Girl Unit, Guido etc. All thanks to promoters like Unsound, Supra1, Sorry Ghettoblaster, BBQ or Gangsteppaz. As I said earlier - all the gigs definitely influence my music.
Are there any producers you rate the world should know about? I'm really into what Glamfranklin is doing,
I think signed to Hum & Buzz actually! Also the likes of Salva, Tri-Funk, Akhluts. I'm a big fan of Jam City as well.
How did you link with Senseless for you forthcoming EP? Did you choose the remixers yourself?
Senseless approached me over a year ago proposing the EP, despite me being completely unknown at that time. At first two completely other tunes were meant to be released. Decided to scrap them eventually tho. The remixers were chosen deliberately - already had quite a good contact with both Brenmar and Hackman (and Zeppy Zep obviously), loved their work so we offered them remixes.
The Phantom – The Phantom EP [Senseless Records]
What other projects have you got in the pipeline?
Working on a couple of remixes now, including Voltron (Discobelle Records) and French Fries (together with Zeppy Zep). Releasing an EP on Pets Recordings (Catz N Dogz label) and a single track on a Top Billin compilation. All early next year.
Tell us a little bit about the mix you’ve put together for us…
The mix includes a couple of new releases I'm really enjoying - 'The Alps' or the Brenmar remix (I think they are out already at this point), a demo by JTRP (Deep Teknologi Records), an African house anthem by DJ Bongz and 'Shivers' by Skalpel off their second LP.
Any words of wisdom, for our readers?
Don't eat the yellow snow.
DOWNLOAD: The Phantom – Sonic Router Mix #63
Robert Hood – Clash – M Plant
Bateman – Tephra Riddim (Grevious Angel Remix) – Unreleased
Brenmar – You Make Me Say (Ikonika + Optimum Remix) – Forthcoming Discobelle Records
Braiden – The Alps – Doldrums
DJ Bongz – Underground Ft. Kgomotso – Huge Entertainment
JTRP – Shady – Unreleased
The Phantom – Night Game (Hackman Remix) – Forthcoming Senseless
Storm Queen – Look Right Through (Dub) – Environ
Untold – Come Follow Me – Soul Jazz
DJ Orgasmic – How Clap Low Trap (Joe x Ludacris) – Unreleased
Girl Unit – IRL (Bok Bok Remix) – Night Slugs
Jack Dixon – I Let You (The Phantom Remix) – Silverback
Ikonika – Simulacrum – Hyperdub
Skalpel – Shivers – Ninja Tune
The Phantom EP is out now on Senseless Records.