In the realm of music, a phase is a compositional technique in which the same part (a repetitive phrase) is played on two musical instruments, in steady but not identical tempi (dictionary.com). The phase of a sound wave will occur when two waves with the same frequency and phase combine to create a single sound of greater amplitude. String multiple phases of sound waves together and you will produce music that breathes magnificent volumes of powerful, heavy synths and breakdowns. It was only fitting that upon learning this and of the complexities of sound, Graeme Duffy would choose to make it his own, and take the name, PhaseOne.
Hailing from Australia, a continent known for its unique natural wonders ranging from coral reefs to waterfalls, and host to unusual plant and animal species, Duffy was drawn to bass after finding a lone Gemini song on YouTube through UKF. And after Skrillex came along and showed him the grittier side of dubstep, he had to get in on the fun. He is both a consistent and significant talent in the scene with his metal influenced tracks and notable collaborations with the likes of Excision, Virtual Riot and Megalodon. His first two EPs through Datsik’s Firepower Records, ‘Touching The Stars’ and ‘Matter Of Time’ cemented his path to stardom, and left waves of eager, bass-loving fans wanting more.
Upon signing with the famed Disciple Records in 2017, PhaseOne propelled his third EP, ‘Origins’ atop the charts with jaw-dropping singles and neck-breaking collaborations. It was no surprise that he followed that up with his fourth EP venture, ‘Dreamscape’, which floored both fans and critics alike. Boasting collabs with Oolacile and Figure, his 5 tracks left an earthquake behind him. Ready to slay the streets and the minds of his devoted fan base. His sound mastery is one that not many can top and his sheer devotion to the music shines in every track that he makes. There is a reason fans, bass lovers, and fellow artists will continue to revisit his tracks, their phenomenal break downs and massive sounds simply stun all those who listen to them. Once you hear a PhaseOne song, you contemplate if any other sounds have ever given you the chills like this before. Your brain craves more of his filth… and soon, your mind will be taken ahold of. Don’t expect it back; he plans to continue annihilating it with his grimy, heavy-hitting, metal-style dubstep. Enter into your mind, the PhaseOne sound. Once it takes hold… there is no going back.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with PhaseOne on the comfy couches at Hospitality after his set at Big Dub.
How did you decide on the name PhaseOne?
It’s a pretty boring story, I just kind of went back to what I was studying, all my audio notes because I had all these tunes written. I’m like I’ve got to put a name to this. So yeah, I went through all my old notes and went back to my first week of studying, we were talking about “phase”, like phase cancellation and fading in and out. So I thought that was a pretty cool word! And then I just took that and added “one” on the end. Its pretty uneventful, but that’s how it came about.
You’re from Australia, how did you discover bass music there and what is the bass scene like?
So going back to like 2011, I never really listened to too much electronic music until… like a lot of people say, heard Skrillex I guess. I started to listen to him and through that it was like a gateway for me basically. I heard a lot of other things. The very first dubstep song I actually heard was a UKF upload. I saw a bunch of my friends post it online, and I was like what is this? So I finally decided to check it out, it was UKF upload in like 2010 of “Oxygen (remix)” by Gemini. It’s that classic, melodic dubstep… it’s the first song I heard and I was like woahhh, this is different. I heard that and then Skrillex came around with the all-aggressive side. And most producers like him have come from rough or middle backgrounds, such as myself. So you can definitely see the similarities in the genres, it kind of got me hooked! I’d been doing production with bands before I even started electronic music. Then I immediately started messing around with Ableton, and I started making tunes. Next minute people were trying to poke me, so I’m like f**k, I had to teach myself how to dj… and yeah, next minute we’re here
You’ve been producing for a few years now, how do you think your sound has progressed over that time?
With my dubstep sound, when I first started out I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was just trying to kind of get the hang of electronic music coming from a background of none of it at all. I always try incorporate my own sort of twist on it with the whole metal thing. Especially in the last year or so I’ve really tried to make that more of a thing, a very noticeable touch to things.
You’ve recently done a lot of work through Disciple Records, how did this relationship form and what is your favorite song you’ve released through them?
Rob and Rossy, the co-owners… so Rob is Dodge of Dodge & Fuski, he used to tour Australia a lot because his girlfriend is Australian. So he used to come around a lot and my manager/agent is also his agent, so he got us together and whenever he’d be in Sydney we’d hang out. We get food, and hang out and talk music and all that sort of stuff, and I sent him some stuff without being too spammy. Then through him I met Ross, they got together and founded Disciple, and we became good friends as well. His girlfriend is Australian as well, so he used to come around a lot and they used to both come to Sydney. So my girlfriend and him and his girlfriend used to hang around a lot on double dates, it was really romatic. And yeah, that’s how we got close. And through there dubstep was still like a thing, and one day when I got to a stage when I guess I was good enough or something, he was like “We want you to be part of the family”. That’s kind of how it all started!
My favorite song… the biggest, the most popular one is “Welcome to Mayhem”, that’s the one everybody knows. I mean… yeah… that’s probably my favorite tune haha!
Who are the artists who really got you into dubstep?
Guys like Gemini, for the melodic side of things, Xilent, I was with him last night… he’s actually a good friend of mine now. Originally, I used to look up to him with his melodic stuff with his sound design for back then, I was like what?! Then the heavier sort of stuff like Skrillex back then was heavy for the time. He was really a gateway to the whole American sound of dubstep. Zomboy as well! Now they’re all my friends, its kind of weird, super weird, but its cool!
You designed these cool t-shirts through Disciple, how did you choose the name to put on the back?
I think it was a pretty inevitable choice! Since it’s the song everyone knows… I remember Ross was like “What song do you want on the back?” And I was like I don’t know, could be just put like “Welcome To Mayhem” and do that? But it was just too long and he was like “We can do two lines!” And I was like “Hmmm, that’s perfect for that”! Haha!
Your latest EP, ‘Dreamscape’, was pure bass destruction and full of a lot of heavy tracks – what was the inspiration behind it, and what was your favorite song off of it?
Inspiration? I guess once ‘Origins’ was done, people really recognized I’ve really got new sound that people were really digging, its like I wanna step things up. I wanna try to something even more metal, that was kind of my mind-set behind it. So we kind of went with that approach. I also have a collab with a Japanese metal band, and me and Figure had worked on the track about more than a year ago. He was happy enough with it to put it on the EP, which is amazing. Favorite song? I think the most popular one off that is “Circle Pit” because its catchy and its got the flow with ripples and everything. That’s probably my favorite I think!
Who are some of your favorite dubstep producers?
I’m bias! Like Virtual Riot, he’s the all-around talented guy. Anything he even touches he’s good at! It’s frustrating, but he’s amazing, I’m so proud of him! Oolacile… he’s making some like out there shit, which no one has ever done before on a really engineering and professional level. It’s so loud and wide and his mixdowns are pretty great. It’s good to be able to work with him as well, he’s a good friend of mine.
Your song “Revive” with Oolacile is super filthy and different, how did you two come together for this collab?
I started out the tune, and had the riddim kind of song, and I thought it was cool but like it needs something else. So I was like, “Cooper, do you wanna help me out on this?” I had the bare bones of the tune, the skeleton of the tune, it was cool, but it needs something else, so he did all the rest. When I was on tour earlier this year, he lives in LA now, so we were back at his house and we had like 3 sessions to smash it out. And yeah… I’m pretty happy with it! It’s cool!!
You’re coming up on a lot of shows to tour, how do you prepare your sets for each show?
To be honest, its just a matter of looking at the lineup and seeing whose on there and taking the songs out of whoever is playing there, taking their songs out. And its really frustrating, because I really wanna play their songs, but I can’t! So its like ugh! That’s what it comes down to! From there its just kind of free for all!
What did you think about your Big Dub set?
Big Dub was cool! It’s a really interesting experience! Its safe to say ive never really played an outdoor event of this size, so it was really cool. Good vibes… everyone is always vibing and moshing to some good songs which was nice. I’m a bit jet-lagged, I’m tired, but this place is cool, I made it work! Haha!