Last month, Liondub International presented a standout EP from Pharoah, a producer out of Norwich who is making waves with his second major release, ‘Origins’. With Liquid, Jump Up, Jungle and Neuro all in the bag, this release has something for everyone who loves Drum & Bass, and it gives a preview of what will be featured on his forthcoming LP.
The ‘Origins‘ EP is a breath of fresh air as it showcases different sub-genres with a modern take. I had the chance to chat with Pharoah and ask him a few questions.
How did you first become interested in Drum and Bass?
Pharoah: “I got into Drum and Bass listening to old tapes with my friends like One Nation. I remember the first tape that got me into DNB was Nicky Blackmarket. Listening to the songs, buying the records, and mixing them. Mixing definitely came first and things progressed from there.”
Would you say it was a Logical Progression? ;]
[laughs] “LTJ Bukem is a freak of nature. I met him a few times and that guy looks exactly like he did 20 years ago! He is a big inspiration. Progression Sessions is still one of the classics. We used to grow up on that. And obviously, Jungle Mania. I remember having the Jungle Mania tape pack.”
Which artists were a big influence for you then?
“In terms of Drum and Bass, Bad Company, Stakka and Skynet (I love Stakka and Skynet), Dieselboy, Marcus Intalex, Calibre. Calibre is a freak of nature, because he’s still doing it and Marcus would’ve been. Rest in Peace.”
How did you begin producing music?
“First, it was just an interest. One of my friends got a computer with Reason on it. We started playing around on that and eventually, a few of us ended up going to college for music production courses. There were a couple of notable names in the program that we were inspired by.”
What influences you when making music?
“I take influences from anything. I like to use samples, vocals, anything with soul. Like a sample from The Temptations, anything. I like to use samples as a catalyst. I’ll go through samples and if something grabs my attention, I will go from there.”
How’d you get the name Pharoah?
“I was really into Egyptian history. I went there when I was a kid. It really came from something I was into when I was a kid. I try to work that in as a perpetual concept throughout my music.”
How do you usually start a track?
“I never have a set way of starting a track. I will mess around with a synth and come up with a melody or maybe even an idea recorded off of my phone. I rarely start with a beat. There isn’t a set process for me with the initial creation of a track. I feel like people hold themselves down by having a strict process. I just operate based on however I’m feeling at the moment and it keeps it easy. I’m not a methodical, mathematical kind of guy who has a template set up with pinpoint details. I work every track slightly differently.”
What do you focus on most when making a track?
“This might sound vague, but I like to focus on the feeling. I try to work on setting a tone in the intro. The drop is obviously very important, but it has to have an element of soul.”
What’s your favorite song on the EP?
“‘The Omen‘ – it’s the most “out there” track on the EP. I made it like 3 years ago so it kind of frustrated me. It was one of those tracks that just wasn’t finished and I almost forgot about it. I’m really glad I got it out there, because for some people it is their favorite. Everyone likes something different, but that one is my favorite and I spent the most time on it as well.”
How has your experience been working with Liondub International?
“Erik Weiss (Liondub) is a legend. He made me believe in what I was doing alot more. He’s a great guy, super positive, and he’s working hard constantly. The label is consistently putting out good music. It’s been a nurturing experience and he is giving me massive direction for the next couple years. He couldn’t be more influential for me and I couldn’t say anything better about the label. He’s given me freedom and had patience with me. It’s been good. We’ve got alot of plans ahead of us. I look forward to working with him for a long time.”
What kind of advice do you have for the next generation of DJs and producers?
“Keep making music and don’t doubt yourself. Self-doubt is one of the biggest things. Do you. Give it a go. You have to get it started, but you need to have self-belief and not be afraid to play people your music as well. Alot of people sit on music. They’re making great music, but they’re scared of putting it out there and there’s so many examples of that, I’m sure. Follow your dream, it sounds cheesy, but go out there and do your thing. Get your music out there and get the peoples’ opinion. That’s the important thing. People actually hearing your music and enjoying it.”
What’s next for Pharoah?
“Album coming before the end of the year. My EP is pretty much done so keep locked on that. Big up Erik! The future is bright. I’m hoping to work with alot of new producers and I look forward to hearing these songs out on proper systems where you should hear it. I think it’s gonna be a good year.”
Purchase here >>> Pharoah – Origins EP [Liondub International]
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