Principleasure is a new mysterious and unknown alias of a well known producer who has released a string of EPs over the past year in the lead up to the project’s debut album. Owning a vintage analogue synthesiser studio called Principle Pleasure in LA, the project focuses on the warm sounds that are created from his collection. With the third and final EP, Principleasure III, out last month, we caught up with the elusive producer to find out how the project begun, the decision to remain anonymous, how he started his incredible synth collection and what he hopes to see in a dystopian world.
There’s a lot of mystery around the Principleasure project, how did it begin?
I’d been making music for years under different aliases and it basically got to the point where nothing in electronic music was exciting me any more. Everyone was using the same sounds and everything was at the same tempo. I took some time out to start afresh, and started writing music using only vintage analogue synthesisers and drum machines. Nothing was sequenced and everything was just played in with few effects. I was hooked.
Why have you decided to stay anonymous for the project?
It wasn’t intentional and a few people have a hunch it’s “me”.. but electronic music dates so quickly and a lot of the stuff I did in the past was very of the moment and hasn’t aged particularly well. I’m not proud of much of it. I was happy to approach a fresh perspective with no traces of the past.
Your Principle Pleasure studio in LA hosts an impressive selection of analogue synthesisers. How and when did your collection begin?
I never really sold anything on since I was a kid. I started collecting musical equipment from a really young age and have carted it all over the world with me and just hoarded it all. I was really young when I got my first Roland SH-101 so maybe 20 years worth of collecting has gone into it all.
What’s your favourite synthesiser in the collection?
Probably the Roland Jupiter 8. Although it’s not mine. It belongs to Paul Wilson from Snow Patrol and I’m keeping an eye on it for him. Ha. I even keep a pillow under it in case there’s an earthquake and it falls off the rack.
Every track in your Principleasure III EP features a selection of these synthesisers, what draws you to the analogue sound?
It’s so rich and warm. There’s no comparison with plugins even with modelling. Most of my sound design is fairly rudimentary on the record but when you’re using a Juno square with some Roland chorus on it you really don’t need to do much. It’s just so thick and pure. The biggest challenge is having those sounds fit the mix properly because they’re so huge.
You have a very cinematic approach to your music with the third EP described as a dystopian soundtrack. Where does this approach come from? Do you tend to visual your tracks and what scene / film they would soundtrack?
Absolutely. I watch a lot of weird shit and ultimately I’d love to score something or place these tracks. If you think of most of John Carpenter’s tracks for instance, made back when sound design was incredibly basic, the music carries all the tension, suspense and horror. That’s exactly where I’d like to see Principleasure.
What do you hope to see in a dystopian world?
No borders. Imagine that.
Principleasure III marks the final EP before the release of your debut album, what can we expect from the album?
There will be a selection of tracks from the three EPs so far and some more “dancefloor” extended mix stuff. I’ve also done some ambient soundscapes with no drums which is hugely challenging to make. I’m trying not to do that typical electronic album cliche where the same drum sounds are on every track and it all sounds like it was made in one go. There were so many different studios used here that the biggest challenge is knitting everything together in a coherent way.