WHO IS PHRASER?

“It’ll be good to give it a go and make the best of it you know.”

Amongst the beckoning sounds of bassline and drum and bass, is a multi-instrumental producer incorporating sounds from reggae, hiphop, dub, afro beat and dubstep. We caught up with Phraser about his upcoming projects and his musical style.

 

“So I’ve been producing for the last, probably like year and a half, after a lot of playing in bands and stuff before that. I’ve always been quite into sound system music, like decent reggae collectives, so I’ve always been into that stuff, then messing around with live music and stuff, thought I’d like combine the two.

 

“I started producing and recording live instruments; got myself a synth, working with samples and building up the sound like that. Started with dub really, and sorta old school dubstep, and over the past year started messing around with a few other things.”

 

Ruairidh Fraser, a history and politics student at University of Leicester, told me about his involvement with instruments: “(I played) drums mainly, that’s probably my main instrument. I play a bit of trumpet as well, there’s a fair bit of brass on the second song Storm Bound, all that’s live, keys as well but I’m not that great.”

 

His recent EP ‘Gold’ was released a couple weeks ago, he told me about the works behind it all: “Those tunes have been sitting on my laptop for about half a year pretty much, nearly finished but it’s taken a while to just get them to a state where I’m finally happy. Cos obviously there’s like vocal features on there, and getting all those guys happy with it, so yeah it took probably like 6 months, 6 or 7 months.”

 

Phraser continued to explain the creative process behind it: “A lot of it is to do with the bass side, quite a lot of influence from dub, a lot of sub energy. Then also there’s a few bands that I really like who like to blend in that with hiphop and afro beat. I don’t know if you’ve heard Nubiyan Twist? They’re really sick, their blend just really, really works. I try and put my own spin on that and just see what happens really.”

 

He then continued to talk about the music he is listening to at the moment and the current dub scene in Leicester: “As much as possible really, I’m getting back into my 140 stuff. Especially dub, you know Juan Forte? It’s nice to see that kinda music coming back into Leicester, cos there’s so much just like bassline and drum and bass.”

Phraser told me about how he goes about performing live: “So obviously there’s a lot of loops, so kinda stick it to the mixing desk, do live delays and reverbs and build songs one by one, bring in vocals and effects.

 

“I’m trying to get it together with a full band as well, cos I reckon that would really work. Just getting a few rehearsals going but hopefully in a couple weeks will be doing some gigs around town.”

 

Festivals are on his potential plans for summer, although his last run-in did not go according to plan: “With my last band actually we played one back home which was pretty decent, and we totally fucked it up. They provided loads and loads of free beer, we were really hungover as well and we were like yeah let’s just do it, actually got to sound check and realised that we’re not in a good state and it didn’t go that well, but just gonna forget that happened.”

 

With one EP under his belt, he continued to tell me about the content he is currently sitting on: “I’ve got another one that’s pretty much ready actually, I’m probably gonna stick that up in the next couple of days, it’s more back to the 140 reggae dub kinda thing. Then a couple more sort of more up tempo, almost like jungle stuff, which I’m working with Holly who sings on Storm Bound. That'll be around Easterish, depending on uni which is the main sticking point, finding time innit. Got 2 months left of that then I’ll actually have a life again which will be good.”

 

The North West born musician compared the music scene in Leicester to his hometown: “Well it actually has stuff happening, which is a nice change from back home. The nearest city with anything going on is Manchester which is 2 hours away, so actually having gigs on your doorstep.

 

“It’s gotten better since I came as well like 3 years ago, I think underground music in Leicester has really really come on. It was pretty much just Beastwang at Sophbeck when I came, and now obviously Beastwang have become absolutely huge, yeah it’s really good.”

 

Phraser remained humble as he shared his aspirations as a musician: “I’d like to be doing it to make a living eventually, and to be able to just be like yeah, that’s what I do, but I’ve kinda accepted you know. Might as well get a degree now and then support it with part time work and see what happens. But the main aim is to make it the full thing eventually, give it a few years and then, I don’t know.

 

“It’ll be good to give it a go and make the best of it you know.”

 

His music is a genre hard to define to one word: “I’d probably go for like a mix of reggae and hiphop, that’s like the sort of basis of it. But then with the sort of latin and afro beat is a big bit to the sound as well, jazzy rhythms under deep sub bass. Probably about as close as I could get.”

 

The artist’s upcoming projects are expected to be heavier than usual: “That was one of my first proper productions (Storm Over Mango Island), I really like that. The one I’ve got out in a few days is almost more back to that, it’s quite heavy on the ears.”

 

Phraser went on to say how his recent EP ‘Gold’ would not fit into the club scene: “I wanna get stuff I can play in clubs as well, cos obviously it’s so much more defined on what you can get away with. Would be good to have a few dub tunes that I could be like, oh I could play this at a 140 gig, whilst the EP stuff doesn’t quite fit into the brackets of that you know.

 

“It’s good to get a balance to being able to play out.”

Big up Ruairidh for killing it and making unique sounds!

Phraser:

https://www.facebook.com/phraserproducer/

https://phrasermusic.bandcamp.com/

Matthew Knight

March 3rd 2018

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