Since his first EP way back in 2005 Phetsta has been unleashing beast after beast of production gold, racking up top ten appearances across drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep charts internationally. One of Perth’s original dons of D’n’B alongside Pendulum and ShockOne, Phetsta has again proven his beats are ever-evolving with his most recent offering from the lab; an excursion into the latest flagship of bass – trap. JO CAMPBELL has more.
With the rise and fall of dubstep, it makes sense that the appearance of trap would eventually find its way into preceding forms of bass. Phetsta’s most recent EP, Drop That Down, illustrates this next logical progression; an experiment that worked out well for the producer, coming in at number two on Bearport’s hip hop charts, despite the unusual categorisation.
He may have quipped on Facebook in his often irreverant towards EDM style that he was considering purchasing a bouncy car and a bandana, but Phetsta’s tone is more philosophical and less class-clown as he explains how he first reacted to trap. “To be honest, when I first heard it, I thought ‘I hate it, I think its shit’ (laughs). I guess when something new comes out, it’s sort of in its primitive form and as it develops you start seeing cool things happen. So I started getting into Baauer, mostly Baauer stuff. He did that track with Just Blaze – Higher- and I was just sold. It was huge.”
Initially a dubstep track, Drop That was Phetsta’s first sojourn into the new tempo. “The dubstep thing just started kind of dipping out of the mainstream and I’d done the track Drop That and I thought, just to switch it up to make it a bit more current, I’d put an 808 bass drum in instead of a dubstep bass. And I just kind of rolled with it like that.
“Down was an intentional trap thing. By then I was playing a bunch of it out so I thought I’d give it a go and see how I went, to mix it up a bit so I don’t get bored.” The EP was released on Kid Kenobi’s Klub Kids imprint almost on the same day as Shockone’s venerated LP, Universus.
“That was actually a fluke,” Phetsta explains. “The way the EP came about was Jesse (Kid Kenobi) hit me up and said ‘look, we’ve had something fall through in the release schedule and if you can get something done in two weeks from now, we can have it mastered and out by the end of that week’. It was literally down to lunch time that day and I just finished it at work. I took it into the studio at a place I work (his day job) and snipped up the stems and cut it up really roughly.”
The process may have been last minute but the resulting release once again illustrates Phetsta’s talent for polished, tight production. It’s also topped off by some quirky artwork designed by Phetsta himself. Known for his antics fashioning himself as a living Internet meme on Facebook, the EP cover features a disembodied Phetsta face morphed into a cat’s head set upon an intergalactic backdrop hemmed in by a pretty bunch of mewling kittens.
“He (Kid Kenobi) hit me up saying ‘you have this Internet following, not just because of the music but also because of all the stupid stuff you do’. I throw them together (the memes) in five minutes, when I’m having a break, just for laughs. I guess that’s why I like trap as well, cause it’s not completely serious. A lot of dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass guys can get into it so much that they almost seem negative when something doesn’t fit their real strict genre parameters. So I made the stupidest thing I could.”
Taking the piss might be one of his fortes, but stupid Phetsta is not. Currently working on a four-track EP to be released around Christmas with label opportunities presenting themselves from multiple sources, Phetsta is planning to make the big move to the D’n’B Mecca of London. He’ll be following long-time collaborator ShockOne and, although the two haven’t formally worked together since their two part banger Crucify Me, which spent six weeks on the top of Beatport’s Drum & Bass charts, they still share ideas via Dropbox.
“We are really on the same page and produce the same way. There was a time period there when all of the drum stuff on all of our tracks was 90 per cent my work and all of the synth work was 90 per cent him. Now it’s switched around – I’ll do a lot of sound design and send presets over and he’ll do a lot of drum stuff.
“We video call each other a lot, just to get some input and I’ve got a few people that I video call and send clips to that I send to people, even musician friends of mine that aren’t into electronic music, just to get some feedback.”
Catch Phetsta headlining at Shape this Friday with support from Rregula, Houst, Nartex and Jazza.