Audiophile Music Group

Audiophile Prophiles: Fantom Freq & Eric Mark

For those out there that don’t know you, tell us about yourself and how your respective projects got started.

E: I’m Eric Mark, and I’m from Florida originally; moved to LA about 2 years ago. I was fortunate enough to have parents who supported me playing loud drums in my garage. It’s been a long history of jazz bands, marching bands, and a bunch of punk/metal bands during my high school and college days. While going to school in Tallahassee, FL, I didn’t have a space to play drums anymore, or record live music. But my passion persisted. So, I met a friend who introduced me to Bassnectar which was my first live electronic experience that really affected me. I remember things changing after that: I went online and immediately started researching how to make this music. It’s been a long, self-taught process and I’m happy it’s brought me where I am today.

F: So a little about myself, my name’s Josh and I’m born, raised and currently live in LA. I’m not going to give my whole life’s story here but I was interested in music at a young age, sang in choirs and taught myself guitar. I went to UCR, got my degree in mechanical engineering in 2011 all the while I learned how to DJ and got into electronic music. It’s hard for me to pinpoint how the name Fantom Freq originally came to me but I liked it and just ran with it. I went to Icon Collective Music Production School in Burbank from 2015 to 2016 and this really took my production skills to a new level. After Icon, I was equipped to bring my vision of “Fantom Freq” to life not to mention I was able to create a network of friends to work with and support my vision for the future.

 

How did the This is Yungle EP come together and what’s up with the name?

E: Josh and I have been frequent collaborators for about a year now. Last year, we made a bass heavy house track on Cats & Boots called “It Don’t Stop” which gave us a framework for what our collaborative sound is. We’ve continued to produce music since then and the samples just get weirder with each track! I had this tribal beat written, and Josh got the idea to add a sample about the mysterious “Jungle Demon”… it was pretty soon that the track began forming with the ominous themes and jungle sounds.

F: After “Jungle Demon” was wrapped up we decided to write a B-side. The funny thing is though our B-side ended up becoming the A-side because once we had the jungle theme of the EP setup, writing a new track was cake. We started with a basic bassline and drum beat that we sat down and wrote together and Eric had the idea of the vocal phrase “This is Jungle” and just recorded it straight off of the macbook’s microphone. Once we had that phrase the rest of the track came together easily and the second drop which was mostly Eric’s brain child is by far my favorite part of the track. Eric and I are notorious for using breaks in our breaks. Quite meta. Also, you’d think the EP title “This is Yungle” is a typo but that was purely done on purpose because Eric, myself and most of our friends have our own language practically and use dumb words like this all the time.

 

Who are some of your biggest influences in your music?

E: Since entering the world of dance music, there have been a few producers & DJs who I feel are very influential. Bassnectar was the first live electronic act that I felt nailed the music, lights, and entire experience 100%. He is still a massive influence for me. I’m also really into Boys Noize with everything he does: from the unique songwriting, varied collaboration projects, and unpredictable DJ sets. Another DJ I’m inspired by would be Anna Lunoe, purely because she knows how to keep things fun and is always pushing forward with the freshest music.

F: In my own music, some of my biggest influences to draw from include but aren’t limited to: Chris Lorenzo, Jay Robinson, Low Steppa, Marten Horger, Phlegmatic Dogs, Rrotik, Skapes, Treasure Fingers, Volac. If you ever hear one of my live sets you’ll likely see a handful of these dudes tracks pop up in my sets because I like to keep things dynamic and genre-bend.

 

When you’re not making your own tunes, what do you listen to on the daily?

E: It varies a lot… but some music I will never get sick of is classic jungle/footwork. Anything with a sped up amen break will forever be an instant favorite to me. There’s something so pleasant about hearing music made from sampling old records…which is why house music is so fun to produce. Besides that, I find myself going back to a lot of artists I will always appreciate: Radiohead, Bjork, J Dilla, DJ Shadow…the list is very long and varied.

F: I actually don’t listen to electronic music on a daily basis so I can keep my ears fresh. On the daily I’ll usually listen to some lofi hip hop while I’m at work because it keeps me calm and focused on my current tasks. While I’m driving I almost always listen to audiobooks because I don’t have a whole lot of time to sit down and read so listening to audiobooks while driving in LA is the best use of that time. I’ll also listen to audiobooks at the gym to work my brain while getting those gains. And sprinkle in some retrowave, R&B, blues and classic rock for drives when I don’t want to dive into a new book.

 

What are your go-to plugins?

E: I don’t want to list synths off because everyone’s got their favorite way of making sounds and that’s what works for them. I’ll just go through some of my current frequently used effect plugins. Xfer Records makes a free EQ/Filter called DJM Filter that’s great for adding a lowpass/hipass; it sounds like you’re playing on a DJM Mixer. It’s great for individual sounds in a track. It has a really resonant filter that has a lot of character. I also use a lot of Soundtoys plugins for things like saturation, delay, pitch shifting. Their plugins are great because the GUI is stripped back and kind of makes you play with the effect rather than trying to dial something in precisely.

F: I work exclusively in Ableton and my go-to synth would have to be Serum for a lot of my thicc basses and leads. Eric introduced me to Soundtoys Decapitator for distortion and it’s easily become my favorite distortion plugin. To be honest, most of the soundtoys bundle is just straight fire and I’m learning something new every time I try a new plugin out of that bundle. 11/10 recommend it.

 

What do you have planned for 2019?

E: Lots of releases! Forthcoming on Cats & Boots Records (LA), Late Night Munchies (Seattle), & Box of Cats. I’ll also be playing a big show on 3/9 opening for Walker & Royce at Sound Nightclub in LA!

F: I have plenty more collaborations, solo tracks and EP’s in the works. As a matter of fact, Eric and I have another EP coming out in April which is going to be heavier than This Is Yungle and much more on the UK garage side of things. I have plenty of shows coming up in LA and I’m working on some potential out of state shows for early summer.

Jimmy Freer is a founding partner in the Audiophile Music Group. With over a decade of experience as a label owner, DJ, producer, and a sound designer he strives to help push the joy of electronic music to fans around the world.

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