While enjoying a plethora of sub-frequencies and melodic-mids at The Untz Festival, Demiurg3 had a chance to sit with DJ and producer Phers after his set and get his opinion on his journey thus far, groundbreaking soundbenders, and advice for those looking to be more involved…
Demiurg3: So what inspired you to be involved in music?
Phers: It wasn’t until I started going to dubstep shows in the the 2000s that I was inspired after seeing the DJs on stage having the time of their lives
D: What musical influences did you have before electronic music?
P: As a kid I usually listened to what my parents were listening to like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Doors, etc. I used to rock Queen CDs in my player before Apple took over. But as I grew older, I listened to a lot more metal or what some would call nu-metal like Disturbed, Godsmack, and System Of A Down. Teenage angst at its finest. Around high school, my taste just flipped to dance music and to hip-hop. I started listening to all these old school hip-hop records and immersed myself in beats and beat culture which translates a lot now into my music and sets.
D: What artists in your opinion are pushing boundaries that people should know about right now?
P: A LOT.
To name a few, Potions. He’s seriously doing the most with sound that no one else is really doing. Milano, Untitld, Cambot, sketchy ppl and any of the Lost Dogz crew, more than any others in my opinion are definitely pushing the boundaries. Also locally my homies Womp Rat and Concentrate are both killing it at the moment. They’re both making groundbreaking music right now.
D: So, in your opinion, what makes a good set?
P: I mean if you’re playing a headline spot, people are there to hear the bangers. If you can take them on a journey through a ton of bangers, hell ya. What makes a great set, in my opinion, is also an understanding of your current audience. Like an understanding of where you’re playing, when you’re playing, what the timing is during the overall day, outside, inside, what state, what city, what’ve people been playing already throughout the day all contribute. For me personally song selection and energy that reflect the moment are huge. Everyone’s got bangers, just make sure your bangers work and they’re not abrasive or jarring, allowing people to be sufficiently brought by the music. Things don’t have to be incredibly consistent of flowing at all but it can’t be too jarring. As a patron, I enjoy listening to bangers. If the DJ messes up a transition or two thats not a big deal for me.
D: Has living in the Bay Area affected your musical preference or sound?
P: More than I can ever express. I grew up in a tiny town called Healdsburg in Santa Rosa. A tiny wine town and tourist trap that’s pretty quiet and doesn’t really have a music scene or any real connection to the metropolitan, outside world. I then moved to Emeryville for school and now Oakland for the past 3 years or so now. Moving to Oakland has influenced me incredibly, especially my involvement with Wormhole and just hearing the sounds that make Wormhole what it is. Since living in the Bay, I’ve been to Emissions every year which has also influenced my sound as well after just hearing the artists who have performed there over the years. Just immersing myself in bass music has opened my mind and influenced my tastes.
D: Where do you see the music scene going from this point on?
P: I think streaming really needs to figure itself out. It has the potential to pay out artists and sites but sites like Spotify become too greedy. Giving an artist .005 for a stream is just ridiculous. You can pay artists a livable wage off of their continuously streamed music without breaking your own budget. Streaming is the future whether we like it or not because of advancements in technology. Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and all those platforms seem like they’re here to stay and the future of the industry.
D: What advice do you have for artists trying to play more shows?
P: Go to more shows! You can make the dopest track in the world, but if nobody knows about it, its not going to matter. Networking, for me, helped me get to where I want to be. I never thought I had any sort of talent for making beats, like I think my music is not up to the same level as what my homies are doing, but I’m really good at networking, socializing and meeting people. I think you should make dope music first, definitely; but to play more shows, go to more shows. Meet people, be social, ask who runs the place, who are the promoters, who are the DJs? Get connected with your local crews. If you’re anti-social, stop! The only way to play more shows if you’re anti-social is to make incredible music to where they have to book you. Unless you’re in that top percent, you need to be going to shows and meeting people. Make friends!
Phers plays a birthday set at Wormhole Wednesday this week in Oakland alongside Krakinov, Keota, and Tsimba with a takeover from the Caustic Creative Crew in the side room. Don’t miss out if you’re looking for a great time with a great community!
Catch Demiurg3 on air every Thursday 2-5pm, on his show, ‘The Smile High Club!’ And be sure to check the schedule to find more breaking electronic sounds.