‘A gateway to infinity’: Producer Phazz on new BEATSURFING plugin RANDOM

French artist and producer Phazz has spoken to Headliner about his illustrious career to date, and his new plugin created with BEATSURFING called RANDOM, which, he tells us, offers creators “a gateway to an infinite sound bank”.

Launched earlier this year by tech company BEATSURFING in collaboration with Phazz, RANDOM is essentially a random sound generator designed to inspire greater creativity within its users. Rather than serving up an array of pre-existing sounds, it produces entirely new sonic possibilities with every click of the RANDOM wheel, prompting users to pursue new and original ideas at every turn.

For Phazz, whose life and career in music can be traced back to the very earliest stages of childhood, the pursuit of a unique, signature sound is something that has informed everything he has turned his hand to. This dedication to crafting ever new and compelling sounds has led him to work with numerous high-profile acts, including the likes of Orelsan, SCH, Angele, and more.

“I started making music as a pianist when I was three or four,” he says, explaining his pathway into music. “I was always trying to make music and was really fond of electronic music. And I was interested in music production. I ended up studying music in Lyon and graduated there, which is when I bought my first laptop and download my first DAW. I had no money, so there were some tough moments, but it made me who I am. It was a time that inspired a lot of what we have built with the BEATSURFING team.

“I had so many restrictions and that built my creativity and pushed me to create my own sound with nothing. Then I started to put my music on Soundcloud, and it was around 2013 that I released some stuff, which was mainly remixes. I always loved ‘90s and ‘00s R&B. That’s how my career started, and it blew up really fast. I was getting millions of plays on Soundcloud and then I went on tour, travelling all over the world.”

After spending a few years on the road, Phazz teamed up with fellow artist Jorrdee to move away from remixes and work on some original material that would prove pivotal in elevating his career to new heights.

“It was a weird R&B vibe that was really forward thinking, especially in France,” he says of the work they did together. “Working with him got me into the rap scene. It didn’t do big numbers but everyone in the industry was like, ‘what the fuck is this project, it’s crazy’? We got a lot of opportunities from that, and I was contacted by Orelsan, so I started to work with him, went on tour with him opening his shows, and I’m still working with him now. This opened a new door, and that’s I how I met a lot of the big names in France."

RANDOM is a space where we put creativity at the centre of the process Phazz

He continues: “I also scored some TV shows and at some point I thought I should find something else; how can I build something that would be useful to the community and that is different to what’s out there? Like sample packs etc. There are already really good sample packs, so I thought about how mine could be better. But eventually I decided I wanted to make a new plugin. So, I went to the guys from BEATSURFING and I was like, ‘guys, I want to make a plugin’, which is how we made RANDOM.”

On the surface, RANDOM is essentially a random sound generator with infinite possibilities. Yet for Phazz, it’s central aim is to help artists and producers tap into the farthest depths of their creativity.

“RANDOM is a space where we put creativity at the centre of the process,” he states. “Music is amazing today as it’s so accessible – you have a laptop a soundcard, some speakers, and you could be a multi-platinum producer. That’s great, but at the same time, I people seem to have greater access but less creativity. Why is that? It’s because we have built so many places to get things instantly, like Splice. It’s a great platform - I use it every day. It’s amazing, but we all use it. Which means that we all have access to the same sound banks.

“Of course, we all use the best ones, but as long as you use this you don’t build your own sound, because you are just trying to make something you’ve heard before. That is great, but how can you keep making something better? Some people aren’t interested in that, they just want what they want instantly. So, I put these two ideas in the same bag, shook it, and thought, how can we build a tool that helps people get creative?”

Phazz highlights the point further by referencing producers who not just made great sounding records, but ones that are instantly recognisable as their own.

“There are millions of producers in the world, and so many genres,” he concludes. “Something I have witnessed in the rap scene is that you see people like Dr Dre, Timbaland, and they all had a sound. Whenever you heard even just the drums you knew who produced it. I would challenge you to know who produced a song today just by hearing a beat or a drum sound.

“And I don’t want to talk about these guys using tags, as that’s just someone coming in the room and going, ‘hey, I’m Adam, here I am’! It doesn’t link to a sound. There are few guys of course who can do it, but generally I think we are in an era where people just want to make beats that are a copy of what they’ve heard and expect a placement afterwards. That’s fine, but I think if you try harder, you can create something new and better, not just making something that already exists.

“We don’t want another Drake; we don’t want another Michael Jackson. We don’t need it. That’s what’s important with RANDOM. It’s a gateway to an infinite sound bank that you will never find anything else like. In a click you’ll have something you’ll never have again. Of course, you can save it if you like it, but you can’t create it again.”