Paces On Introducing Pop To The Club & The Booming Aussie Music Scene

Written By Sam Murphy on 08/18/2015

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Paces is the sunshine-soaked nice guy of the Australian music scene. With a sunny disposition, he's consistently produced equally hot tracks working with a selection of Australia's finest vocalists including KUČKA and Tkay Maidza. On top of that, he's added his own flavour to some of the year's biggest tracks by R&B superstar Tinashe and British newcomers Years & Years.

He's part of an energetic, vibrant frontier of electronic music championing Australia's scene at the moment. More often than not he's playing shows with friends, exemplifying the strong community that has only just started to build in this country. Paces is currently on a headline tour around the country showcasing his new single Hold It Down and the sunny B-side Bamboo. It's taking him from the warm Queensland weather and spat him out in the middle of winter in some of the more Southern parts of the country. It's hard to get punters outside in this sort of weather, but if anyone's going to warm them up, it's Paces.

We recently caught up with Paces in Sydney to chat through the state of the Australian music scene, his favourite vocalists to work with and what to expect from him in the future.

How’s the tour going so far?
It’s really only just begun. Done two shows so far which has been really cool.

How is it having a few new tunes to spin?
Oh yeah, it’s good. Always like to have my new tunes ready to test out when I’m touring. Especially if I have tracks that haven’t come out yet I always include them in the set. A) it’s hopefully a little surprise for the crowd to hear something they haven’t heard and B) it gives me an idea of whether the songs going to connect with people or not.

Are there a few songs that you write to heard through headphones as opposed to being heard in the club?
Definitely. Most of the time I want it to work in the club and as an almost pop sort of thing. I want to be riding the line between, “oh this is a cool song I heard on the radio” and also going off in the club.

Is that a fun game to play?
Yeah. It’s an endless quest. I think a good example of that is, you know Katy B’s Katy On A Mission?

Oh yeah, it’s a classic.
It’s like a pop song but it’s totally a club track.

Was it a planned move to drop Bamboo just before your tour started?
Yeah that’s the B-side to Hold It Down and we wanted Hold It Down to be the main event and let that sit for a few weeks and then right before the tour we thought it would be cool to put Bamboo out so people could have a bit of time to get their head around it. It’s going to be on Rage and stuff so it’s ended up getting a bit of traction.

The videos awesome. How did that come about with Ego?
Ego’s a good friend of mine from way back. He just hit me up out of the blue and was like “Oh, I have a whole bunch of tropical bits and pieces, do you need me to make anything for you right now?” And I had Bamboo there ready to go. The timing couldn’t have been better. He’s just such a legend. I sent him the track and then a week later he sent back that video.

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PacesPic1

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Amazing. I assumed you had the track first and the video was purposefully made around it.
Yeah, the track was just going to come out with no video and he just offered. I owe him some beers for that.

The first time I heard the track it was a really miserable day in Sydney and I was just hit by this injection of summer. Have you got your summer tool-kit of sounds that you use?
Yeah, I have a constantly evolving template that whenever I’m using a sound in a song that I think “oh, I’d like to use this in a lot of songs” I’ll add it to the template. So each time I start a track it’s got all my favourite stuff in it ready to go. It’s easy to just get to where I want to go quickly.

Has that been a recent development?
Yeah, I probably started. Ah no, I’ve been working that way the whole time. I think this is the third year now that I’ve been serious about the whole Paces thing. I’ve always been pretty OCD about being organised.

What about working with vocalists. Was that something you wanted to do from the start?
Always. Pretty sounding vocal music is always what I felt like listening to when I got home. So when I decided Paces was going to be my project where I’m going to do all the things that I always wanted to do it was high on the list.

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[soundcloud width="1150" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/pacesmusic/hold-it-down-feat-reija-lee-2[/soundcloud]

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How did the Tkay collaboration come around then?
Tkay just hit me up at a festival and she’s just a really cool person. She’s just a down to earth legend and she just hit me up and said, “Hey, do you want to make a track together.” This was around the time that Brontosaurus was out. She wasn’t like this massive superstar yet, like she is now. I made that, sent it over and said, “here’s an idea, see if you like this.” And then she wrote that awesome vocal for it and it ended up on her EP.

Did you see her set at Splendour?
Yeah, I’ve got footage of when she started that track and the whole tent went crazy.

It really felt like a superstar was born that day.
Yeah, she’s going to be a worldwide superstar.

And then the next vocalist you’ve worked with is KUČKA. It feels like your track with her is one of the best vocals she’s laid down.
She’s got such a unique sounding voice. As soon as you hear a KUČKA track, you just know who it is. She’s awesome. I had never met her when we made that track. I didn’t meet her in person until well after it. We just did it all over email. But I found her on Unearthed. I was just clicking through Unearthed listening to different singers really. And I listened to her song and I was like, “oh my God, this is amazing.” Then I researched her a bit and I realised A$AP Rocky had sampled her. I just emailed her out of the blue asking her if she’d like to be on the track and it must have been good timing because she was able to jump on it.

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PacesQuote2

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I read that one of your dream vocalists was Grimes. I feel like KUČKA has that same kind of vibe to her.
Yeah, definitely. If I could ask some superstar singer to sing on a track, someone who had never heard of me, I’d ask Grimes or La Roux.

Have you had La Roux on your radar for a while?
Yeah, her instrumentals are way different to what I make, just her voice has got such a richness to it. She was on a Kanye track and I didn’t know who it was and when I heard the hook that she was singing I was like “What! Who is this?” In my head I was thinking hopefully it’s some underground person and then I researched it and found it’s La Roux and thought, “oh well, never mind.”

When you’re listening to tracks are you often listening specifically for the vocals?
Always on the hunt for vocals.

Who are some Australian artists at the moment that you’re digging?
There is Madeline Vida. She’s a singer that I’ve had on one of my tracks. She’s fresh in my mind, I just ran into her. She’s a legend. She’s this girl, based in Sydney. Amazing, amazing voice, super cool to work with because she just gets it. She’s one of my favourites for sure. I’m actually going to try and find some male vocalists for my next stuff because I’ve been so heavy on the female vocalists. If I don’t try and get some male vocalists in my catalogue then it’s going to be ridiculous.

What’s your live set up like?
What I do, I haven’t DJ’d as Paces. It’s a live set-up where I have stripped down version of my tracks - my originals and my remixes. So say they might be missing the drums in the first section of the song and then they might be missing the chopped vocals in the next bit. So as that stripped-down version is playing, I’m playing live over the top using an MPD which is kind of like a trigger pad. It’s basically like a finger drumming show.

Would you ever think of expanding the on-stage thing to a band?
Yeah, I’ve been thinking lately about expanding it but not to the full extent of a band. More a few more things for me to do. I’ve been weighing up about whether I should add a keyboard and an extra drum pad or something. As long as I keep it a one-person show I need to find a balance. You don’t want to be stressing out about all the different elements up there. There’s ways around it. With good planning you can do alright. I’d really love to be able to tour with singers.

What’s on for the rest of the year following this tour?
After this tour ends I’ll put out one more track this year and then I won’t tour again this year but I have a handful of festivals that will fill out the rest of the year.

Are there any overseas plans?
I’m hoping to next year start heading over to the States a little bit. I don’t have anything locked-in yet but that’s the plan - dipping my toe into that part of the world.

Paces Quote 1How’s it been to be part of the Australian scene over the past few years when there are so many good producers popping up?
Yeah it’s amazing. It’s funny I always used to read about these exploding music scenes in different parts of the world, before Flume happened which I guess has really kicked off what’s happening for us. Before that time, I used to always read about like Baltimore Club in Baltimore - all these really cool globalised scenes making music that was coming out in one spot. I wanted to move somewhere like that because it sounded so inspiring and then this whole Australian wave of rad electronic music happened and it’s so cool. I really feel super inspired by all my friends. It’s amazing to be apart of that.

It feels like it’s a combination of having heaps of great producers here but also audiences being really responsive to homegrown music.
You could have a really big festival with just Australian acts and it would be cool.

Are there any plans for you to release an album? It was a rare thing for producers in the past but Alison Wonderland did it this year plus a bunch of others and it’s really worked.
It’s actually on my list for sure. I’m one hundred percent sure.

Is the thought of doing one daunting?
Yeah it is a little bit daunting but I think mainly exciting because with an album you get to write tracks that don’t have to be dancefloor compatible. You can put a few more in there that are headphone tracks. I think that would be cool - planning out the balance.

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Paces is the sunshine-soaked nice guy of the Australian music scene. With a sunny disposition, he's consistently produced equally hot tracks working with a selection of Australia's finest vocalists including KUČKA and Tkay Maidza. On top of that he's added his own flavour to some of the year's biggest tracks by R&B superstar Tinashe and British newcomers Years & Years.

He's part of an energetic, vibrant frontier of electronic music championing Australia's scene at the moment. More often than not he's playing shows with friends, exemplifying the strong community that has only just started to build in this country. Paces is currently on a headline tour around the country showcasing his new single Hold It Down and the sunny B-side Bamboo. It's taking him from the warm Queensland weather and spat him out in the middle of winter in some of the more Southern parts of the country. It's hard to get punters outside in this sort of weather, but if anyone's going to warm them up, it's Paces.

We recently caught up with Paces in Sydney to chat through the state of the Australian music scene, his favourite vocalists to work with and what to expect from him in the future.

How’s the tour going so far?
It’s really only just begun. Done two shows so far which has been really cool.

How is it having a few new tunes to spin?
Oh yeah, it’s good. Always like to have my new tunes ready to test out when I’m touring. Especially if I have tracks that haven’t come out yet I always include them in the set. A) it’s hopefully a little surprise for the crowd to hear something they haven’t heard and B) it gives me an idea of whether the songs going to connect with people or not.

Are there a few songs that you write to heard through headphones as opposed to being heard in the club?
Definitely. Most of the time I want it to work in the club and as an almost pop sort of thing. I want to be riding the line between, “oh this is a cool song I heard on the radio” and also going off in the club.

Is that a fun game to play?
Yeah. It’s an endless quest. I think a good example of that is, you know Katy B’s Katy On A Mission?

Oh yeah, it’s a classic.
It’s like a pop song but it’s totally a club track.

Was it a planned move to drop Bamboo just before your tour started?
Yeah that’s the B-side to Hold It Down and we wanted Hold It Down to be the main event and let that sit for a few weeks and then right before the tour we thought it would be cool to put Bamboo out so people could have a bit of time to get their head around it. It’s going to be on Rage and stuff so it’s ended up getting a bit of traction.

The videos awesome. How did that come about with Ego?
Ego’s a good friend of mine from way back. He just hit me up out of the blue and was like “Oh, I have a whole bunch of tropical bits and pieces, do you need me to make anything for you right now?” And I had Bamboo there ready to go. The timing couldn’t have been better. He’s just such a legend. I sent him the track and then a week later he sent back that video.

PacesPic1

Amazing. I assumed you had the track first and the video was purposefully made around it.
Yeah, the track was just going to come out with no video and he just offered. I owe him some beers for that.

The first time I heard the track it was a really miserable day in Sydney and I was just hit by this injection of summer. Have you got your summer tool-kit of sounds that you use?
Yeah, I have a constantly evolving template that whenever I’m using a sound in a song that I think “oh, I’d like to use this in a lot of songs” I’ll add it to the template. So each time I start a track it’s got all my favourite stuff in it ready to go. It’s easy to just get to where I want to go quickly.

Has that been a recent development?
Yeah, I probably started. Ah no, I’ve been working that way the whole time. I think this is the third year now that I’ve been serious about the whole Paces thing. I’ve always been pretty OCD about being organised.

What about working with vocalists. Was that something you wanted to do from the start?
Always. Pretty sounding vocal music is always what I felt like listening to when I got home. So when I decided Paces was going to be my project where I’m going to do all the things that I always wanted to do it was high on the list.

How did the Tkay collaboration come around then?
Tkay just hit me up at a festival and she’s just a really cool person. She’s just a down to earth legend and she just hit me up and said “Hey, do you want to make a track together.” This was around the time that Brontosaurus was out. She wasn’t like this massive superstar yet, like she is now. I made that, sent it over and said “here’s an idea, see if you like this.” And then she wrote that awesome vocal for it and it ended up on her EP.

Did you see her set at Splendour?
Yeah I’ve got footage of when she started that track and the whole tent went crazy.

It really felt like a superstar was born that day.
Yeah, she’s going to be a worldwide superstar.

And then the next vocalist you’ve worked with is KUČKA. It feels like your track with her is one of the best vocals she’s laid down.
She’s got such a unique sounding voice. As soon as you hear a KUČKA track, you just know who it is. She’s awesome. I had never met her when we made that track. I didn’t meet her in person until well after it. We just did it all over email. But I found her on Unearthed. I was just clicking through Unearthed listening to different singers really. And I listened to her song and I was like “oh my God, this is amazing.” Then I researched her a bit and I realised A$AP Rocky had sampled her. I just emailed her out of the blue asking her if she’d like to be on the track and it must have been good timing because she was able to jump on it.

PacesQuote2

I read that one of your dream vocalists was Grimes. I feel like KUČKA has that same kind of vibe to her.
Yeah, definitely. If I could ask some superstar singer to sing on a track, someone who had never heard of me, I’d ask Grimes or La Roux.

Have you had La Roux on your radar for a while?
Yeah, her instrumentals are way different to what I make, just her voice has got such a richness to it. She was on a Kanye track and I didn’t know who it was and when I heard the hook that she was singing I was like “What! Who is this?” In my head I was thinking hopefully it’s some underground person and then I researched it and found it’s La Roux and thought “oh well, never mind.”

When you’re listening to tracks are you often listening specifically for the vocals?
Always on the hunt for vocals.

Who are some Australian artists at the moment that you’re digging?
There is Madeline Vida. She’s a singer that I’ve had on one of my tracks. She’s fresh in my mind, I just ran into her. She’s a legend. She’s this girl, based in Sydney. Amazing, amazing voice, super cool to work with because she just gets it. She’s one of my favourites for sure. I’m actually going to try and find some male vocalists for my next stuff because I’ve been so heavy on the female vocalists. If I don’t try and get some male vocalists in my catalogue then it’s going to be ridiculous.

What’s your live set up like?
What I do, I haven’t DJ’d as Paces. It’s a live set-up where I have stripped down version of my tracks - my originals and my remixes. So say they might be missing the drums in the first section of the song and then they might be missing the chopped vocals in the next bit. So as that stripped-down version is playing, I’m playing live over the top using an MPD which is kind of like a trigger pad. It’s basically like a finger drumming show.

Would you ever think of expanding the on-stage thing to a band?
Yeah, I’ve been thinking lately about expanding it but not to the full extent of a band. More a few more things for me to do. I’ve been weighing up about whether I should add a keyboard and an extra drum pad or something. As long as I keep it a one-person show I need to find a balance. You don’t want to be stressing out about all the different elements up there. There’s ways around it. With good planning you can do alright. I’d really love to be able to tour with singers.

What’s on for the rest of the year following this tour?
After this tour ends I’ll put out one more track this year and then I won’t tour again this year but I have a handful of festivals that will fill out the rest of the year.

Are there any overseas plans?
I’m hoping to next year start heading over to the States a little bit. I don’t have anything locked-in yet but that’s the plan - dipping my toe into that part of the world.

Paces Quote 1How’s it been to be part of the Australian scene over the past few years when there are so many good producers popping up?
Yeah it’s amazing. It’s funny I always used to read about these exploding music scenes in different parts of the world, I guess before Flume happened which I guess has really kicked off what’s happening for us. Before that time, I used to always read about like Baltimore Club in Baltimore - all these really cool globalised scenes making music that was coming out in one spot. I wanted to move somewhere like that because it sounded so inspiring and then this whole Australian wave of rad electronic music happened and it’s so cool. I really feel super inspired by all my friends. It’s amazing to be apart of that.

It feels like it’s a combination of having heaps of great producers here but also audiences being really responsive to homegrown music.
You could have a really big festival with just Australian acts and it would be cool.

Are there any plans for you to release an album? It was a rare thing for producers in the past but Alison Wonderland did it this year plus a bunch of others and it’s really worked.
It’s actually on my list for sure. I’m one hundred percent sure.

Is the thought of doing one daunting?
Yeah it is a little bit daunting but I think mainly exciting because with an album you get to write tracks that don’t have to be dancefloor compatible. You can put a few more in there that are headphone tracks. I think that would be cool - planning out the balance.

11903950_914179891986686_7899709677025406887_n

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