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An interview with Drift Prism on his latest EP, ‘Heavy Breathing’

Lush, intricate and deeply emotive are just a few of the ways to describe the latest release by Cape Town-based beatmaker Drift Prism. Titled Heavy Breathing, the four track EP looks set to be one of his most successful releases to date. 

Opening the EP is ‘Warmth in Shadows’ which features Jade Fortune on vocals. It’s a metered track with lulling percussive arrangements that platform occasional trills and the fanciful delivery of Jade. ‘Veneer’ then ups the tempo with a flourishing assortment of feverish drums and synth while ‘Ovoid Ye Lust’, a stand out track on the EP, is as smooth as they come. ‘Run’, true to its name, finishes off Heavy Breathing on an eery and somewhat anxious note that propels its listener forward with a rhythmic and cyclical use of drums. 

Overall, Heavy Breathing is an impressive body of work, largely characterised by Drift Prism’s shrewd use of percussion. There’s a multiplicity of sound evident in the EP and due to the producer’s attention to detail, it all comes together brilliantly. Ahead of the release, we spoke to Drift Prism about the process of crafting the EP, his approach to making music, and his self-induced perfectionism when it comes to his work.      


You seem to be somewhat secretive and shy when it comes to your music. How do you feel after putting out this EP?

I never like to make a big deal about my music or myself, so I prefer to leave it up to people to find my music on their own without my persuasion or irrelevant personality attached to it. I just feel weird when I have to sell myself, I don’t know if my music is good. I’m happy to be putting this EP out since it’s been so long since I put out a collection of songs, and not to sound like a hypocrite but I am quite proud of it.

How long has Heavy Breathing been in the works? Can you take us through the process of putting the EP together?

Heavy Breathing was an album concept I came up with a little over a year ago, where I had three different girls who would contribute their lovely voices on. The idea was to make the songs quite dark and have breathy vocals which coincided with the more sensual side that heavy breathing may imply. After sending multiple tracks their way, two of them bailed without really saying anything but “I’ll send you something next week, I promise” over and over again. I worked on the album for about six months, producing more music than needed. I got really fed up, and started to dislike all the music, so I scrapped the whole thing. The reason being I tend to fixate on details, and by the time a song is finished, it’s lost its initial energy and character. Even though the concept wasn’t what I intended, I kept the name and wrote this EP in about three months. I tried to spend no more than a week on each song. Some tracks took only two days. After letting go of that perfectionist approach, I felt a lot better about the quality of the music, rather than the production.

‘Warmth in Shadows’ sees you working with Jade Fortune again. How’d the two of you start working on music together and what’s the process for collaborative tracks like this?

Jade and I have been friends for years. She is really great to work with. Always keen and very dedicated. I will always take what she gives me and completely change it and send it back and she’ll be cool with it. For instance, this song was sang for a completely different track. We had been working on it for months back and forth until I decided I didn’t like it anymore and had to break the news to her. She was understandably pretty upset and so was I, but it had lost its essence. I redeemed her in the end with this new track, and I think she was actually way happier with it, even though I only used like 40% of the original lyrics.

Your tracks are all pretty dense and intricately layered on this EP. What’s the inspiration behind the sounds? 

Layering was actually something I tried to avoid this time around. With past releases I would always just add more and more layers to something until it sounded really big and epic. With this EP I tried to focus on making individual sounds more rich on their own while using less of them. I feel like with my previous EP I spent so much time trying to create ‘a drift prism sound’ but with this one, I wanted each song to sound really different from each other, with a combination of sounds that all work together for that particular song but not necessarily as a whole.

Looking ahead, where would you like to see Drift Prism go?

I really have no idea. I don’t have, or have had any future plans for this project. There are always shows! Which I would love to be doing, but I just don’t have the courage to do right now. I really enjoy producing this music, so for now that’s my plan I guess. 


Find more by Drift Prism on his Soundcloud, Facebook, and Bandcamp

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