Hailing from Montreal, Solid Stone has been beloved in the progressive house underground for many years. Long a favourite of the world’s top DJs, the Canadian artist sits down to chat with us about new musical directions and his recently launched Phenomena imprint.
Hello Elias, I hope you’re having a good day and thanks for joining us, what are your plans for this week?
Hey absolutely! I’m doing great! Setting everything up for my Body Language EP to be released on Friday and continuing working on new music of course!
Tell us about growing up in Canada, how did you find your way into the world of electronic music?
I grew up in Montreal more specifically and I first discovered electronic music at a young age when I first heard Robert Miles’ s iconic track Children and Sasha’s amazing Xpander. There was something special about how these tracks sounded and where I could not find anywhere else in other genres of music. It only took me a decade to start making my own music afterwards!
Tell us about your record collection, where do some of your early influences lie?
I started listening to electronic music with sets from Markus Schulz and what would be released on Coldharbour Recordings back in 2003-2004. There was just something special about the deep, dark basslines and hypnotizing melodies that just did it for me.
Is there a story behind how you settled on Solid Stone as an artist name?
There is no story unfortunately hah! I just figured if I could put my sound into words, Solid Stone is what it would sound like. I pictured that my music would have phat, meaty bass and kick and it seemed to make sense!
When you were finding your way and finding your sound early on at what point did you know you wanted to pursue being a producer and DJ seriously?
I started making music because I wanted to become a DJ first and foremost. I knew that in order to stand out you would need to create and play your own productions. I knew that in order to succeed I would need to be 100% invested into this.
Looking back over your discography, what would say was a pivotal point in your career? Is there a release that stands out which really helped establish you?
I don’t think I could point out “THE” track that really set me up. I believe each release played its role in defining who I am as an artist and where I want to be in the future. From what I’ve experienced it has been a steady growth as I kept on experimenting with different styles and looking for my sound.
Earlier in your career you were best known for being associated with many of the world’s largest trance labels and DJs but you’ve reestablished yourself outside of that recently, how has your career and music changed since then?
Where I’m at right now with my sound is where I want to be and I want to expand on it. In the past I’ve had the pleasure to release on well established labels, being supported by the big players and to play some big shows! The change definitely had an impact on my career however I am really looking forward to grow in this new direction and I hope that my fans will like what they hear!
Was this something that just happened naturally in the studio? And when did this shift in vision and sound begin?
It’s something I started thinking about quite a few years ago actually when I started attending events and seeing a variety of different Dj’s playing different genres of electronic music, such as deep house, tech house, techno, progressive house, trance etc. By hearing so many different artists and listening to so much music I was able to really understand what I like to hear in electronic music: grooves and simple yet effective melodies. I also like it dark! Music that I could play and also have fun doing so! And so I’ve shifted towards this sound over the last couple of years.
Your Phenomena imprint launched this past summer, what eventually led you to start it and what vision do you have for it?
Yes and it has been an exciting project for me. I mainly wanted to create a home for myself where I would be comfortable releasing what I want and when I want without thinking about fitting into a label’s specific sound. The goal is not only to release my own music but to release music from other artists as well and possibly in the future hosting events for the label.
You have a new EP out due out shortly on your Phenomena imprint entitled ‘Body Language’, tell us about the inspiration and production process behind it?
This release took quite some time to make, roughly 2 months as I started being very critical about my work and patient as well. Reworking things until I’m really happy with everything so it’s hard to pin point the starting idea of any given track. However I knew that it had to be different than what I’ve made before and then just go with the flow!
Is that typical of your studio process or do your projects differ in terms of where they start and how they reach a finality?
Well this is something I started doing over the past couple of months. I do go in with a general idea however it always changes over time as experiment with different elements. I never think“Ok today I’m doing a peak time banger!”. I just let my creativity take me wherever it feels like going.
There are a lot of factors which affect the perception of an artist other than his/her music these days, social media for one, how much emphasis do you put on stuff like this? and what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?
I do think that social media is a necessary tool for an artist’s development whether you like to use it or not. Nowadays, making it is not so much about how much talent you have but rather how well you can promote yourself. Don’t get me wrong I still think that talent plays a big role in getting yourself out there but it is also important to adapt to how the industry changes.
How much of an influence does music outside of the electronic spectrum have on you?
I’ll be honest I’ve never really got into other styles of music, maybe a bit a rock but I’ve always kept it electronic and so they never had an influence on my sound.
I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. Is this something which is true of yourself? Where does inspiration come from?
Somewhat yes. For me inspiration doesn’t just come from what I see only or hear rather everything put together and how I feel at the time of making music.
Who are some great Canadian artists that we should be keeping our eye on?
Definitely Tim Penner who is getting out there more and more and just has a slew of amazing productions. Check him out!
What fans can expect from you for the remainder of 2018 and early 2019, what can you tell us about?
Working on some possible Open To Close shows for the remainder of the year and getting some new music done for early 2019!
Let’s end with a hypothetical, if the final DJ set of your career was this weekend, what track would you close with?
It’s hard to chose but I’ll go with one that helped me discover electronic music: Sasha – Xpander
Solid Stone’s ‘Body Language’ is out now on Phenomena, you can purchase the release: here