We catch up with British producer Myles Webb, better known as Xspance, whose gorgeous, downbeat ‘Melodyheart’ LP recently came out on Section Records.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us!
No problem, it’s a real pleasure and great to be featured on Change-Underground for the second time 🙂
First of all, can you tell us a bit about how you got started making music?
I’ve had a musical ear from a very young age being encouraged by my father to play guitar, violin & piano, which gave me an appreciation of harmony and melody, and throughout my college days it was always an aspiration of mine to one day be able to produce my own music and learn the art of music production. I was first inspired by Ulrich Schnauss’s debut album released 2001 – ‘Far Away Trains Passing Me By’ – and I knew after hearing this, I wanted to make music of a similar nature in the electronic / downtempo genre. Unfortunately, the only thing that was stopping me was being able to afford all the equipment and to get it up and running. Thankfully not long after finishing college, about 20 years ago, I got a job as a Graphic Designer and started to save my hard earned cash, with one thing in mind! About 10 years ago I finally began my journey.
You’ve described yourself as a ‘self-taught’ producer. How have you gone about picking up the skills you’ve needed along the way?
It was definitely a challenging task starting out without any clue of where to begin. Through lots of research, I established the right computer and software for me to start creating, I knew the type of music I wanted to create but at the time I didn’t know anyone who was already producing to turn to for advice. I spent hours learning from YouTube tutorials, reading computer music magazines, went on forums, all of which gave me enough knowledge to get started on some interesting sounds which would evolve into tracks.
I started to post a lot of my music on Soundcloud, and suddenly seemed to gain followers, other more experienced producers were listening to my work and offering some great feedback, mostly positive. I would however get some very critical followers who would hear the potential in my music and kindly offer their advice. This included things I was oblivious to, like my kicks were too punchy, basslines were getting lost, some of the synths and pads were getting muddy and undefined, so their feedback really helped shape my sound quite considerably. It made me realise that I had to start using my ears a lot better but also delve deeper into the technicalities of music production – the panning and placement of the various elements, EQ, effects, compression, etc… I was and still am creating some seriously complex tracks with multi-layered pads and synths so it was so important to master these things to get the best out of my productions.
What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?
A huge highlight for me this year was being asked to remix a track for an inspiration of mine – Joey Fehrenbach. I’ve been a huge fan of his music since I discovered him on Nick Warren’s ‘GU Paris’ compilation in 2003. So, I’m really looking forward to that release!
During the summer months I worked together with my pal Roberto Sodano aka AUDIOGLIDER on our collaboration album ‘Kollision’, which we hope to release next year. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Rob on this project, as we were bursting with creativity with stunning results, and now we are looking forward to getting this one out there!
I have to say, the biggest highlight in my career so far, was getting signed to Section Records to release my new album ‘Melodyheart’. It’s great to know that your music is appreciated and valued by someone who can see the potential. So, I’m very grateful and thankful to Nick Brennan (aka Tripswitch) for believing in me and my music and giving me a platform to kick-start my career.
‘Melodyheart’ has already picked up some very positive reviews, as well as receiving great reactions from the likes of D-Nox and Barry Jamieson, which must be very gratifying. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for the album – what made you want to make a long-player, and what shaped the direction it’s taken?
Of course, it’s amazing to already have such great feedback about ‘Melodyheart’, especially from the likes of D-Nox and Barry Jamieson, I’m so pleased I can create music which touches people in a way for them to react like that.
The inspiration for this album evolved from my long journeys back & forth to work on the train. I’m always gazing out across the fields, watching the sunrise and sunset on the horizon, the way the light changes the sky… so I wanted to translate these beautiful warm shimmering visions through my music and this was the overall theme and approach I followed throughout this LP. I began by thinking of song titles which all connected, which helped with the musical translation, direction and flow of these tracks. ‘Sunlight Song’ was in fact the first track written out of the 12, which evolved into a very melodic and uplifting ambient soundscape, and the rest seemed to take shape and evolve from there. ‘Melodyheart’ has a soundtrack feel to it which is what I initially intended, designed for each track to tell its own story as well as take you on a musical journey of enlightenment when listened to in its entirety.
Can you tell us a bit about your future plans – what have you got lined up for the rest of 2016 and its long overdue successor, 2017?
Believe it or not, I’m actually planning for 2018! I have certainly put in the studio time and it has been a fantastic year for me musically, developing my sound, working with other artists and releases. I’m very excited with what’s to come from me in 2017 though. As I mentioned briefly earlier, I plan to release a collaboration album I worked together with fellow Section Records producer AUDIOGLIDER, a perfect synergy of both our styles and a project we are both very proud of. I’m also thrilled to be releasing another album on John Johnson’s label NYLO as well as completing the sequel to ‘Melodyheart’. There will also be some remixes and singles emerging throughout the year too.
As far as kit goes, I’m planning to take up the guitar again and incorporate that into my future productions, so that will be a very exciting, creative and experimental time for me, so stay tuned big time!
Current Top 5?
There are so many talented producers on the electronic scene right now, that every week I discover lots of new and exciting music, but I think my favourite current Top 5 would be:
1.Ulrich Schnauss – No Further Ahead Than Today
2.Olafur Arnalds – Island Songs
3. Dave DK – Val Maira
4. Max Cooper – Emergence
5. Moderat – III
These guys constantly surprise me with their creativity, this selection is all stunning music you can have on loop and never get tired of.
Thanks again! ‘Melodyheart’ is out now on section, and you can pick it up here.