There’s Nothing Basic About This Guy – An Interview w/ Paul Basic

written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life

Pretty Lights Music has yet another phenomenal artist on their roster that is making moves. Raised by the beats and destined to bathe the masses in synth-driven melodies,  Paul Basic is flourishing with his most recent release, Transient Horizons. Whether he’s touring with his fellow labelmates or locking himself in the studio, Paul is poised to be one of the most dangerous weapons in the PLM arsenal.

You can march to your own beat and never be alone. It helps if your friends are musically inclined and have a fondness for killer beats as well. Paul Brandt aka Paul Basic is taking things to the next level. His sound is a little darker and a little grittier than what you would traditionally expect from someone on the Pretty Lights Music (PLM) label, but he’s penning the next chapter in the “Chronicles of PLM” and welcoming us to the future. We discuss his foundation within PLM, his goals for the future, and his album “Transient Horizons.”

(some ear candy while you read: Paul Basic – Transient Horizons LP)

A’Damaged Pro – What were your earliest musical influences and how have those tastes evolved as you’ve matured?

Paul Basic – My earliest musical influence was marching drums at a parade when I was around 7 years old – I was totally fascinated. It left a serious impression on me and I started playing the drums a few years later. After that I got into almost every genre of music but instrumental hip-hop, 70s dub, and jazz were the my biggest influences at the time. My dad mostly listened to instrumental music, specifically anything focussed on drums and bass, and I ended up developing a similar ear. I got into electronic music about ten years ago and that seemed to be the last piece of the puzzle. I feel like all that has led me to having very specific, eclectic tastes and I’m always searching for anything that keeps pushing that.

A’Damaged Pro – Do you feel that where you have lived has influenced your style?

Paul Basic – That’s hard to say. In that last 10 years I’ve lived in Seattle, Brooklyn, Maine, and Colorado and even though I’ve personally been influenced by all those places I’m not sure how much it has affected my music. The people I’ve met in each place have had a huge impact though. Looking back I feel like all those years and moves were meant as a time to learn, experiment and explore, both with what I was listening to and what I was making, and when I moved back to Colorado in 2008 I was ready to bring it all together.

A’Damaged Pro – When did you know that you first wanted to make music?

Paul Basic – I knew I wanted to play drums from an early age, but when I was 15 and joined a band, with Derek Vincent Smith (Pretty Lights) and Michael Menert, I started taking it more seriously. When I started producing my own tracks at 19 it started to feel like a life-long commitment that I might try to pursue as a career.

A’Damaged Pro – How would you like your music to speak to others?

Paul Basic – Just like with most people, there are certain songs, albums, and artists that have left lasting impressions throughout my life. Whether it consoles you when you’re down, amps you up when you need it, or blows your mind into new thought patterns, music is a powerful mode of communication and I hope that my music brings some of those experiences to others.

A’Damaged Pro – Is there any underlying significance to the title of your recently released LP, “Transient Horizons?”

Paul Basic – It does have a personal meaning that I can try to explain. Before I started working on the album, I had spent 10 years making music while working jobs and going to school but I never released any of it. Making music was always my main passion and focus but it rarely made its way outside my home and was definitely not a career option. When Derek (Pretty Lights) put out my first EP ‘The Mirror’ on PLM in late 2011 that quickly changed and a few months later I was able to take music on full-time and pursue a career as a producer. It was around that time that I started working on “Transient Horizons.” During the two years it took me to finish, my life changed quite a bit and I was reflecting a lot on the past and how everything had evolved. A lot of those thoughts and memories were also related to Mike and Derek because we had started making music together back in 1997 and now, 16 years later, we were still pursuing the same vision and dreams we set out on back then, just as labelmates instead of bandmates. So, the album name came from thinking about the paths and dreams we set out on (horizons) and the elusive, unpredictable, transient ways they unfold, leaving you somewhere you might not have expected but still on the path you originally set out on.

A’Damaged Pro – How did you become affiliated with Pretty Lights Music?

Paul Basic – Meeting and joining the band with Mike and Derek would be my first affiliation, but at the time when Derek was starting the label, in 2010/2011, we were getting together every once in a while and playing each other’s tracks, that we were working on at the time. He was into the tracks I was making and once I had a solid collection of songs he wanted to put it out on PLM.

A’Damaged Pro – What mindset were you in when you approached remixing Pretty Lights’ “Color Of My Soul?”

Paul Basic – I actually felt a lot of personal pressure when I started working on it because it was the first song I heard and really connected with from A Color Map Of The Sun and also, since Derek is a close friend, I really wanted to do it justice. Luckily, I came up with some solid stuff early on and the rest of the track fell into place pretty easily. I’m definitely happy with how it turned out.

A’Damaged Pro – How excited were you to take over Denver for Decadence NYE, alongside several of your labelmates?

Paul Basic – I played Decadence last year and it was incredible so I was definitely excited to share the stage with SuperVision and Pretty Lights this year. Not only was it a killer show but ringing in the New Year with the homies is always a lot of fun.

A’Damaged Pro – Name 3 artists that you would like to collaborate with and how you feel your style would complement theirs.

Paul Basic – Boards Of Canada… I think my style would fuck theirs up but I’d still want to do it in the off chance that it wouldn’t.

King Tubby… I would mostly want to learn from him so it would probably go his direction stylistically.

Odd Nosdam… I think our styles would yield something raw, dark, heavy, and banging.

A’Damaged Pro – What is your dream gig?

Paul Basic – Red Rocks has always been my dream venue to play at and I’ve been lucky to play there twice as an opener. Headlining would be the next step but I’d like to refine my music a lot more before that ever happens, if it ever does.

A’Damaged Pro – You’re about to go on a tour with Break Science.

Paul Basic – I’ve done two tours with them already, three if you count Pretty Lights because they’re in his band now. I’ve got to know them pretty well and we’re working on a track for the tour.

A’Damaged Pro’s final words…

This gentleman’s creativity, humbleness, and genuine “cool cat-ness” ring PLM, through and through. His positivity and calm demeanor, alone, could take him very far but his motivation and drive, to bring his unique take on synth-driven melodies to the masses, are going to play a tremendous role in his success. It’s something otherworldly altogether when you can see the stars of fortune aligning to illuminate an individual’s path. I, personally, am very interested to see how things unfold.

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