Today is the one event that producers throughout Seattle look forward to every year. The second annual BeatMatch put together by Do206, Hella Good and KEXP brings in 16 producers for 4 rounds with only one person leaving with the belt. I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of competitors, Pheso (or Joe Dillon by day), to discuss his music and his thoughts on tonight's competition.
DMM: So lets start with a little bit of background information for all the people out there. Where are you from originally, and what's your musical background?
Pheso: I grew up in Portland, OR, but moved to Seattle to attend UW for Biochemistry. Growing up I was really into Hip Hop like Eminem, NWA, Dr. Dre, Deltron 3030 and Atmosphere. I was just really into the storytelling aspect of Hip Hop.
DMM: So where did the shift towards Electronic music happen?
Pheso: Like most electronic fans in 2008, I was really into Dubstep.
DMM: Also having a degree in Biochemistry is super cool, do you find that your degree ever crosses over into how you view and make music?
Pheso: I have a more analytical approach when it comes to making music. I prefer to work through things as I create. I'm kind of like a mad scientist, tweaking sounds on the computer until I find something I like. I'm not the kind of person who just hears the instruments I want in my head, I prefer to sit down and mess around with it until something clicks, but I'm continually learning.
DMM: So when did you start producing?
Pheso: I started producing just as a hobby originally, until about a year ago. Meeting people around Seattle who were also passionate about it kickstarted into me trying to make money out of it. Seeing people play made me inspired to do the same.
DMM: And what software do you use, and why?
Pheso: I've always used Ableton. When I first started out I just googled "How does Dillion Francis make music"
DMM: How did you get involved with Lightwav?
Pheso: There was a Pacific Patterns show at Q where I was introduced to Nic (Sir Nicolas). We hit it off instantly, and the friendship just happened organically. This was back in April of last year and their goals were in line with mine, so it just worked out perfectly.
DMM: Would you say being in a collective makes everyone more competitive, or is it more just friendly support?
Pheso: It's friendly competition. We've all got our own styles and our own unique goals. It's really nice to have them their to use each others feedback, especially from each of our different perspectives.
DMM: Speaking of competition, who are you most excited to compete against?
Pheso: I'm excited to hear what Torbjorn is bringing to the table. He has some really heavy, experimental stuff and it'll be cool to hear. He just really stuck out the most to me.
DMM: What are the coolest parts about BeatMatch to you?
Pheso: I'm just really excited to build connections and meet everyone. It's also been really fun since it's a different approach to writing music than I am use to. It's been challenging, but fun, and it's an excuse to just spend all my time writing bangers.
DMM: So is the stuff you're presenting for BeatMatch going to be different than your normal songs?
Pheso: Not different, but more hype for sure. Normally I like to write songs based on my current emotional state, but that doesn't necessarily play well in a situation like BeatMatch.
DMM: How would you personally describe your music on a normal day?
Pheso: I'd say percussion heavy, slightly glitchy, and downtempo smooth. I like to make music where something new happens. I like my songs to be textural and I like to fill them with field recordings, both my own and downloaded from the web. I especially like to use organic sounds. I just really like the storytelling aspect of music. It takes me back to being a kid, lying in bed and just listening to music. It was so immersive back then for me, and I like to recreate that.
DMM: Who are your current inspirations?
Pheso: Soulection, J. Robb, Rezz. Medasin is my favorite producer right now, he balances heavy and smooth/laid back really well. He also uses field/organic sounds. I've also been listening to a lot of those LoFi Hip Hop 24/7 stations on YouTube.
DMM: Do you have any influences outside of music?
Pheso: I'm really inspired by movies too. They help influence me art wise. I especially like horror movies and really anything with intense emotion in it. David Lynch is a pretty big inspiration. I also get inspired from soundtracks and scores. I really like Johan Johansson. He did the score to "Arrival" and it's really tense and ethereal.
DMM: What are you most excited for at BeatMatch?
Pheso: Playing my music on that big of a system is exciting. I'm also excited (and a little bit nervous) about getting immediate feedback from the crowd. I'm mostly excited to meet everyone else and hear what they made though.
DMM: Last question, what can the crowd expect from your music at BeatMatch?
Pheso: They can expect lots of nodding heads, lots of people going "OHHHHH." I just want to keep it interesting. They can expect to be surprised with a new style, and as always they can expect lots of dancing and moving of bodies.