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The global lockdown was for all of us an existential threat as much as a physical one. Not all of us made it out unscathed but for these two talented artists, the intensive nature of the pandemic allowed them to explore their creativity to produce an albums worth of transcendental audio delight.
‘Across Waves’, written and produced from their respective home studios in the US and UK is the culmination of mutual respect and friendship that developed over years of correspondence. Theirs is the ultimate musical story: bonded by a passion for audio design and cinematic sound not letting the vast distance between them hinder the creation process.
We’re obviously biased in saying its a fantastic work of art, so why not take a listen in full while you read about Joey and Myles and the journey they took to get to here.
Hi guys, congrats on the album! How are you both today? Before we get into the album, can you talk us through your Covid experiences? How did the global pandemic alter your day to day?
Joey: I’m becoming more introverted the older I get, so I kind of thrived during the lockdown. I spent a lot of time focusing on family and re-evaluating the things that are important to me. My day-to-day did start out rough and it took me a while to find healthy ways to stay motivated and focused without having the usual distractions in my life.
I really enjoy going to the gym as a form of stress/anxiety management, and that was gone when everything shut down. I also found that being stuck at home was not inspirational for writing new music. Luckily, I had some unique projects come up in the past year and a half to force me out of my slump.
I should probably also mention that I received some great messages from fans that always seemed to come at just the right time. When I was feeling at my lowest during everything going on, I would always seem to receive a message from someone who had a great story about how my music helped them through a really difficult time. It’s always uplifting to know you’ve helped someone through a unique experience.
Myles: Hey there, Music is 4 Lovers, I’m doing fab thanks for asking. Well during the pandemic, I couldn’t complain, I have actually been very lucky. I was extremely fortunate to keep my job of which I have been a Graphic Designer for 25 years. Prior to Covid, I was doing a total of 4 hours commuting every day to work in London. I have to say this was tough. To go from this to working from home has been fantastic.
Working from home has given me more time to spend with my wife and dog, and I now have time to go on morning and evening dog walks, do home workouts every morning before work, and have healthier meals due to having more time to spend cooking them. The extra added bonus of working from home is I get to spend more time in the studio. Like Joey I also suffered from a lot of anxiety before COVID, now I feel great. I don’t have the stress of commuting every day and I have time to spend doing the things I love.
We understand the album was a new collaboration between you. Can you tell us how you began to work together?
Joey: I’m trying to remember the exact details…
Myles: It was a while ago, I think it was around a time when I had just established a sound for myself which I was excited to develop. I first came across Joey when I heard his stunning work on Nick Warren’s renowned GU30 Paris compilation. From there I have continued to listen to his music which has been a strong influence on my own sound.
Joey: I remember coming across your first album, ‘Night Echoes’ in 2014. I briefly mentioned to our mutual friend, Roberto Sodano (Audioglider), how much I loved this album, and he put me in touch with you and we’ve been friends since then.
Myles: What I remember is: I thought the best way to get Joey’s full attention was to remix one of his tracks ‘Everything will Be Alright” and although the contest was finished and some great winners selected, I still managed to get hold of the parts which were still available online. So I did a remix of it and sent him the final result not knowing if I would hear back, but Joey replied almost straight away with an abundance of compliments. From there we both decided to test out our first collaboration EP ‘Rainbow Shore’ which we released on Bandcamp. We’ve been in close contact ever since…
Joey: I can’t remember who floated the idea of putting a full-length album together, but I do recall that once we got started, it all came together incredibly fast. We really seem to motivate and inspire each other, and the tracks seemed to write themselves.
Joey, you’ve had a varied and exciting career so far with some big releases. What made you feel ASTIR was the right fit for this album?
Trust. I almost exclusively release music on my own label due to multiple bad experiences with other labels in the past. However, ASTIR is a different beast. Simon is very passionate about the music he releases, and I knew this album would be in good hands.
Myles, was it a big step up working at Joey’s level?
Myles: Well, we all know Joey is a respected producer at the highest level, his creativity in sound design, melody, arrangements and quality of production output is mind blowing, he is someone who really does know his craft. Working with him on ‘Across Waves’ was not only exciting and challenging for me, it was an excellent learning process but I’d like to think that we both got something out of it from each other.
Of course, you guys have kinda worked together before for ASTIR: Joey, you remixed Myles’ track Alpenglow back in 2018. Can we expect this to be the start of a long term collaboration?
Joey: Absolutely. I think we will always hit each other up for remixes.
Myles: For sure, we’re a great team and really like the way we work and bounce ideas back and fourth. I would love to work on another LP together…if Joey is game!
Working on opposite continents must have been a challenge. How did you overcome the obvious time delays, set up differences and creative flows?
Joey: Internet speeds are so fast now that it’s easy to send large audio files back and forth, so there really was no technical limitations to what we could accomplish. Being in two completely different time zones could be challenging. Also, Myles uses a different DAW and setup than I do, so that could sometimes make final mixdowns tricky, but we were always able to work through it. The good thing was that it gave each of us a good look into each other’s technical approach to song writing and production.
Myles: The time difference generally works well for myself. The one thing that I have found a little difficult is, I have to be more patient. When you are in a creative mood and waiting to hear back from someone it always feels a long time to wait but even more so with a time difference thrown in. I have learnt to take time and put more thought into my initial productions.
Tell us about the album. Your inspirations for the tracks and how your creativity was sparked by joint working. Which are your favourite tracks?
Joey: I think inspiration for me mainly came from creating ideas and seeing what Myles would add to them, or vice versa. This album took more of a building block approach and then I’d often do a final mix down to make sure everything was cohesive. The overall album concept was two music producers working across the Atlantic Ocean, which is how we came up with ‘Across Waves’. Favourite tracks… I really like ‘Fly’ because I think it really encapsulates Myles and my sound so perfectly. I also like Resonance for the energy. Honestly, it’s tough to pick favourites though. I have something that I love about all of them.
Myles: I think Joey is spot on with how the album evolved and formed, it was a natural and very creative process with each track, I think ‘Escape’ was our first track, it certainly sparked lots of ideas for how the rest would pan out. ‘Escape’ for me has to be my favourite, I love the vocal and piano samples in there, I knew straight away how I could inject some ambiance into it, it’s almost like a movie soundtrack, with so much emotion. I just love it. There is something special in each track that I feel really encapsulates both our styles of music and I’m so so proud of it.
ASTIR has released 3 tracks from the album this year with some cool remixes from Audioglider, Drew Miller and Nichols. How does it feel to have your music remixed, what happens when the remixer’s vision differs massively from yours?
Joey: I used to hate when my music was remixed and didn’t properly convey the original idea, but that was a long time ago and I really enjoy having my music remixed now.
Myles: Well its certainly felt great that such talented producers like Roberto, Drew & Grant have wanted to remix our music and do a great job of it too. I’m always intrigued to hear how another artist with a completely different style will tackle it and so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results. I personally love to remix other artists’ work but only if I don’t feel the track initially, there has to be something about the music that sparks something for it to work.
So what’s next for you both? Have you got any more music this year?
Joey: I have some new ideas for a new Joey Fehrenbach EP and I’m starting on some pre-production work. I should have more news soon.
Myles: I’ve been working very hard in the studio the last couple of years on lots of new material and as a result, my music has been signed and awaiting release which is exciting. As you know I love to collaborate as well as work on solo material, but I’m very excited for one release in particular which is a collaboration I did with the extremely talented singer-songwriter Daniela Rhodes, 12 track LP called ‘Merged Horizons’ which will hopefully be released in 2022.
You can buy Across Waves here.