With his debut EP dropping today, Flite talks to us about the release, drum & bass in America, Twitch streaming & more in this exclusive interview
Out today is the new EP from American drum & bass producer Flite, released on the prestigious Liquicity label. With four incredibly diverse and dynamic tunes, Flite has once again proved he’s a force to be reckoned with – and we were lucky enough to get to chat with him more about this impressive release!
The title track of the EP, ‘The Cure’, opens with an energetic, rolling beat that immediately lifts our spirits high. There’s a certain ethereal quality to the leading melody, and we’re transported to another world of bliss and harmony. The vocals have an earnest warmth to them, perfectly complimenting the congenial vibes of the track as a whole.
‘The Cure’ is airy and carefree, flowing out our speakers in a serenade of sunny sound. This is the type of energetic drum & bass tune we absolutely adore – guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face. The perfect pick me up, Flite has demonstrated his masterful skills as a producer with the opening track, setting the bar high for what’s to come!
Next up is ‘Cloud District’, opening on a slightly more subdued tone than its predecessor. The melody is poignant and emotive, touching us in the way only liquid tunes can. This track has a real presence to it – bold and elegant, Flite definitely gives us something different with this one, but we absolutely adore it!
‘Be Still’, the third and penultimate track, has an incredibly catchy opening that builds into an incredibly expressive melody. Another very emotive tune, this track is full of fervor, Flite’s passion apparent with every note. Vibrant and elegant, ‘Be Still’ perfectly encapsulates Flite’s sound, bringing us to the end of the album with the final track, ‘Earth Past’.
This one opens with a slightly retro feeling instrumental melody that is complex and equally emotive, delivering the perfect fusion of organic and electronic sounds. Gentle vocals kick in alongside a more chiptune infused sound, reminding us a bit of Porter Robinson.
The track explodes with bright and colourful sounds, alive and bursting out our speakers with an infectious energy. The vocals add a certain innocent feel to the track, creating a sound that is both vivacious and pure. One of our favourite things about liquid in general is the emotion packed in to every track, and this certainly is no exception. A perfect finish to an amazing album, we’ll definitely be listening to this one on repeat!
We were lucky enough to get to sit down and talk to the man behind this extraordinary album, as well as talk about the drum & bass scene in America and what snacks fuel his production.
Hey Flite, thanks so much for joining us today! How are you?
I’m doing great, thanks for asking! Hugely excited about what’s been happening this year and last year.
You’ve got a pretty big release coming up – care to tell us a little bit about the concept behind ‘The Cure’? Do you have a favourite track?
The Cure is definitely a big release for me, as my debut EP. I’ve been writing music for years, but have never put together a body of work such as this before, which really excites me. The EP as a whole is meant to feel euphoric and uplifting. The Cure, the title, might metaphorically be my goal for this EP–to create something people can relate to using the emotional language of music. Find what you will through each tune’s story; almost everything I write has an environment, or a story written behind it musically. Some pieces will be more obvious than others.
My favorite track off of the EP is probably Earth Past–this one is almost musically paradoxical, and the lyrics are unsettling if you pay attention to them. I think there is a lot that can be taken from this one, and I really hope people dig into it.
What has it been like having your debut EP signed to a label as big as Liquicity?
I’m very happy to have signed this EP with Liquicity, because they have been one of my biggest supporters throughout the years. My first track as Flite, Blue Spark, was uploaded on Liquicity 4 years ago, and I couldn’t be prouder to release a full 5 track EP with them. They are an extremely strong brand and they have an amazingly loving community behind them that constantly surprises me with their kindness.
If you could work with any other artist on the label on a future track, who would it be and why?
With people who have released music on Liquicity in the past, I’m particularly excited about working with either Hugh Hardie or Pola & Bryson; both have had amazing years in 2016, and I really enjoyed the tunes/EPs that they’ve been working on with their respective labels. Both have beautiful styles.
As someone making drum & bass in the USA, can you tell us a little bit about the scene over there? How does it compare to some other places you’ve played?
To be quite honest, I’ve never been able to play anywhere other than the United States yet. I’ve been searching for the opportunity to play in Europe for years, and I think I’ve finally found the year to begin. The United States has an amazing online viewership for Drum & Bass, but the issue I find here, and this may come off as controversial to some, is that the leaders of the scene here are not very open to new sounds and new people. Drum & Bass fans in the United States seem to be very generationally divided, and often there is a large amount of elitism involved in the older crowd, whether it’s towards music tastes, choice of acts, or purely based on the ages of artists or DJs. I’ve found it difficult to collaborate with United States DNB scenes, being 22, because so much emphasis seems to be put on being a “proper” DNB artist (what does that mean?) which feels very exclusive.
My answer to this is that I hope to engage this issue head on. It might be through causing a stir and asking the older generation of Drum & Bass heads to realize that their scene will die if they do not incorporate and grow artists from the new generation of producers (who started around 2010 and the rise of dubstep). I see the United States, my home, as a much harder puzzle to solve than anywhere else for me, but I really hope that one day the scene around me and across the nation will come to terms with its stagnance and begin adopting the influence of EDM on its sound rather than seemingly entirely rejecting it. I look forward to talking with people about this, and I hope that instead of feeling like blame, it inspires artists, DJs and promoters to begin expanding and growing the culture of Drum & Bass in the US with new sounds and new faces.
If you could only play one drum & bass track for someone who had never heard the genre before, what would it be and why?
I would likely pick Pola & Bryson and Loz Contreras stunning tune ‘Diamonds Fall’–I personally love the tune, it’s vibrant and energetic, dynamic and well produced, has a very strong composition, a beautiful vocal and atmosphere…it was tune of the year for me in 2016. I would love to see that tune represent the genre for any new listeners.
We’re thrilled to see you join the lineup for this year’s Liquicity Summer Festival in July – what can we expect to hear from you there?
I’m thrilled to be playing there as well! You can expect to hear a HUGE amount of unreleased music and dubs, a couple secret bootlegs to surprise you, and generally an upbeat fusion of DNB rollers, bouncy dancefloor tunes, and whatever else I’m feeling at the time!
We’ve noticed you livestream a lot of your production process on Twitch – does it help your creative process to share what’s going on when you write music?
It doesn’t really help my creative process as much as it helps my productivity; the real reason I stream is so that I can keep myself accountable for my time that I spend making music. I’ve gotten very good at keeping up with my streaming schedule and consistently making music…last year alone I think I made about 35 pieces of music due to my full time schedule as a streamer. And that’s not all, at this point, due to being partnered with twitch and my incredibly generous viewers, I am actually sustaining myself full time through my regular music production streaming. It’s an amazing way to interact with my fans and I’ve made some awesome friends through stream. I really think that it’s the way forward as an artist, being able to interact with your listeners and show them how you really are when you work really helps you grow. As a matter of fact, I wrote nearly 90% of this EP on stream, so some of my most active viewers have put probably 50-60 hours into watching me create this body of work…it really shows their commitmen
t, and I’m very humbled to have viewers who enjoy seeing the process just as much as hearing the result.
We know there are a lot of important factors to consider when producing a track, but what we want to know is what snacks fuel you in the studio?
It’s funny that you mention Snacks, because that’s actually the name of my cat. And he’s my sole motivation for writing music these days…just kidding 😉 — but really, he’s a great pleasure to have sitting in the chair beside me or in my lap as I’m building snares or writing arpeggios. He’s a giant, fluffy white siberian cat with little ginger ears. And I’m going to shamelessly plug his instagram account: @snacksthesiberian
As for real studio snacks…food is good, but it’s expensive. So I’d rather just drink loads of coffee and not eat. I don’t always eat snacks…but when I do, it’s pistachios or cashews.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today, we have one final question for you, and that’s what more can we expect from Flite in 2017?!
Thanks so much for asking! I’ve been working with several other top shelf labels lately and hope to announce some brand new music available starting this summer…My twitch channel has been growing tremendously, so you will likely see me continuing to write new music every Monday, Wednesday, and for other producers, Production Feedback on Friday. You can find my twitch chanel at http://twitch.tv/flitednb.
Otherwise, I hope to announce new shows in the US and abroad, potential work on a videogame score, and even a new online music promotion brand. Only time will tell, but it’s proven to be a busy year already!