Beside Soul-Stirring Sound
If you look up New Orleans-based music producer, Phelian, in an effort to find out what his music is like, you’ll find words like, “ecstasy,” “ethereal,” “haunting,” and “evocative” being used. His unique sound is sometimes ambient, and sometimes energetic. Regardless of the mood, each inspiring tune is bound to pull you in. Phelian is quickly rising to the top of the future-garage scene, a type of music characterized by deep bass paired with driving melodies and soulful vocals, creating a type of techno that rivals any electronic music’s experimental minds thus far. Phelian is one of the fresh, new artists determining the future of this young, fairly unknown genre.
Since the tender age of 11, Phelian has always felt “a lingering desire to translate” his thoughts and emotions. After being introduced to computer-based recording, music was the perfect outlet, and he dove right in. “Back then, I had absolutely no knowledge of anything related to electronic music. All I knew was that I played guitar and wanted to record it. I purchased a cheap guitar interface, which I still have to this day, and slowly started learning the basics,” he says. This kind of do-it-yourself attitude is one of the hallmarks of music production today as long as you have what it takes to succeed on your own art: a passion for the work and a willingness to learn.
It wasn’t until 2011 that Phelian started venturing down the rabbit hole of the future-garage genre. “I was instantly transfixed to what I was hearing. Before then, I had never known electronic music to carry that kind of emotional weight,” he recalls. His 2019 album Beside You was surely a great testament to his ability to convey emotions through sound. However, Phelian says that his proudest moments have not been those album releases – but the messages he receives from fans expressing that his music has helped them get through dark times. “It reaffirms why I decided to embark on this endeavor, connecting with people on that baseline level of sound,” he shares. This connection to his fans is glaringly apparent in the comments section of YouTube, a place usually known for hate and criticism. For instance, when you go listen to Phelian’s song called “Aerias” on YouTube, you will also find fans commenting things like, “Pure bliss,” “This makes me feel very good,” and “This music cleans and helps my mind, thanks so much for letting me hear these sounds.”
Despite the emotional intimacy of his music – or perhaps because of it – Phelian chooses to anonymously connect with people, and his choice of moniker reflects exactly that. “Phelian is a name I conjured out of thin air,” he explains. “I thought it would work out well since at the time I thought of it, there were almost no Google search results for the word.” He adds that this decision has been beneficial to not only himself, but everyone involved in his music and life. His plans for the future include continuing to evolve his sound and to “reach people organically” through composing music. “I want to explore some other genres, try, and show my versatility. There’s a genre I’ve been trying to master for many years now, and I am still not quite ready to release anything yet,” he says.
When asked for advice to those looking to follow in his footsteps, Phelian affirms: “Just be yourself. Be yourself, and be open to learning – and do not give up. Persistence is the key to success in anything. It’s something I still practice to this day.”
Writer: Lydee Striplin
Photographer & Videographer: Alexis Interiano
Stylist: Jessica Lauren
Men’s Grooming: Chasity Stevenson
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Terrell House Bed and Breakfast (@theterrellhouse - www.terrellhouse.com) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)