As part of our live-stream collaboration with residency programme Amplify Berlin, techno artist and November mentor Phase Fatale joined us live in Catalyst’s music studios for an interview. Find out what fuels his creativity.
“I wanted to express something different than just a standard dance-floor 4/4 tempo.” Hayden Payne has earned a reputation as an electronic music innovator. Through his industrial techno project Phase Fatale, the New Yorker has reinjected spirit into a genre that many – including him – have recently accused of prioritising speed over substance.
A strong contributor is the conceptual foundation to his production. Phase Fatale’s acclaimed 2020 album Scanning Backwards was inspired by the mechanism of sonic control: from the mind-control experiments of the CIA in the ‘50s and ‘60s, to the high-powered sound systems of clubs like Berghain, of which he is a resident. By slowing down the tempo, he gives discerning listeners a chance to read between the lines – to pick up audio clues between the thrashing kick drum that reveal the music’s mysteries.
But we couldn’t leave it to Phase Fatale’s music to do all the talking. We were thrilled to host the Amplify Berlin November mentor in our Funkhaus studios as part of our collaborative live-stream series with the residency programme. Fellow techno artist Isabassi sat down with Hayden to chat about his creative workflow, technical process and life as an artist.
After the session, we asked Phase Fatale to share one thing that catalyses his creativity. Here’s what he told us:
“That one thing is hearing and experiencing an inspiring set on a top class sound system where I can feel inside the music. Whether it's a live set or DJ set, when different tracks are mixed together, it creates new sounds independent of the individual tracks themselves, leaving foundations for new ideas. Then the next day I can attempt to put those ideas from the dancefloor together into my own design.”
Amazingly, the interview wouldn’t be the last we saw of Hayden at Catalyst. Impressed by our facilities, he asked events and student experience lead Hannah Deans if he could return with Pablo Bozzi of Imperial Black Unit to film their Fact Magazine live set there, as the EBM-disco-synthwave duo Soft Crash. Last year, the pair released their debut EP, Spritzkrieg, on Hayden’s BITE label, which explores the blurred line between technology and the body. Shot by our Film Production students, with VFX by Visual Effects tutor Paulina Greta aka Imaginaria, the set celebrates the deep passion for synthesis that drives Hayden’s musical creations.