A melting pot of genres featuring Aloe Blacc, Flux Pavilion and many, more, Symbol is Engine-Earz Experiment ’s debut album. Prash Mistry’s endeavor as a producer, songwriter, performer, and engineer under his Engine-Earz Experiment alias is without doubt the project from which this rising star will be born.
With the same sensibilities of the likes of Massive Attack and The Prodigy, Prash fuses varied genres and instrumentation, while enlisting an array of collaborators to create a distinct style of genre – hopping electronic music.
Noctis were lucky to catch up with this rising star for a 5 minutes with:
1: With such a huge amount of work as an engineer how did the Engine-Earz Experiment come to be?
It’s funny because I actually started Engine-Earz while running a studio in Reading when I had a feeling I wanted to get back to my electronic music roots. After touring for years and while we were finishing up the last bits on the album my friend Zubin was asked to lend me ears to what would be the now iconic Jorja Smith debut “Blue Lights”. That progressed naturally into me being her inhouse mix & mastering engineer based at new facility Forwa3D Studios in London.. I try to approach every project I work on with the same creative mindset that I do with Engine-Earz so it all feeds into my outlook as a musician and informs my sonic decisions.
2: There is a huge mix in your output for this current project, which could be best described as Genre spanning. Is that due to your own ear or influenced by who you have worked with?
It’s probably a mix of both to be honest, I’ve worked on and love so many different types of music that I really try to not see things in genres and more search for the emotional cues in each form. Some of the tougher dnb & dubstep type music we released in the past was a reflection of an anger and frustration at the state of the world so it manifested through those kind of sounds, while at the same time a simple string ensemble helps bring out a sense of empathy and hope. I really enjoy trying to mix and match those palettes to construct a cohesive musical narrative. The collaborations tend to follow, I worked very closely with Steven Braines & Nick Halkes to figure out which artists really suit the overall story of the album.
3: You have achieved huge acclaim for your work with multiple hottest records in the world and viral charts. How does it feel to have those for your work?
Of course it’s a nice feeling to receive those accolades and see music being enjoyed, but more than anything its an affirmation that the teamwork involved is paying off and that my skills in my artform are improving, that’s what I really strive for most. I’ve been on a mission for as long as I can remember to create and engineer phenomenal sounding records, unfortunately that takes years of constant study and the best possible equipment…but I can say im finally in a place where I can begin to make things sound like they do in my head!
4: Has it been hard stepping out from behind other artists to walking into the limelight yourself?
YES! It’s honestly terrifying. I have borderline anxiety attacks every time we put out a record, but I know this album feels right so I have to deal with it. I’ve been so lucky that Circus Records have given me the chance to fulfill my creative ambitions with it, from the vinyl, visuals for every song to even a 5.1 & 9.1 Auro 3D surround edition which is being released on pure-audio blu ray! This is something I couldn’t be more proud of.
5: How do you pick who you would like to collaborate on with tracks such as Ane Brun & Aloe Blacc?
So with Aloe Blacc, I was his keys player while he performed in London at the Massive Attack Meltdown festival a few years back and we became good friends. Between rehearsals we would jam then eventually we got in the studio. I love his creative approach and message…to be honest he’s an absolute genius, but that will come as no surprise to anyone.
With Ane Brun, full credit goes to Braines on that one. I remember it was boxing day when I wrote the instrumental, I had sneaked off back to the studio after family time became a bit overwhelming! I sent it to Braines and he said, leave it with me. 48 hours later Ane sent over the vocal and I was absolutely floored! Ane has become such an inspiration since, her approach to writing and use of visual media has definitely shaped how I approach things. Her own cover of our song went on to feature on the “All starts with One” album which reached some great chart positions in Europe and gave me in more faith in our vision.
6: A lot of your upcoming album is featuring other artists. Do you prefer working with other artists to get the best out of your tracks?
I love producing tracks by myself but the aim of ‘Symbol’ was always to bring together a team of stellar story-tellers, however much I try I could never deliver what Akala or Aloe or Lisa Gerrard or Jenna G do. Im a huge fan of all of these artists so feel so blessed they wanted to be a part of this project.
7: What is your process like in the studio and when writing?
The only constant is that I always name the song before sitting down to compose to keep me on ‘track’ through the process. Otherwise its very easy to get distracted and ill end up just making weird noises for 8 hours. Once that vibe hits its really just all a blur and I try to keep my conscious mind and insecurities as far out of the equation as possible.
8: The upcoming album has some special work put into it and seemed to be quite an ambitious project. How did the idea for the whole piece come to be and what were the pitfalls of working on it?
I guess the idea has always remained the same in terms of telling a story of a quest to find a way through the madness we’re all living through right now. Since writing ‘Kaliyuga’ that story was always an undercurrent for the band. I’d say the biggest pitfall was touring during the dubstep days – I absolutely love playing live but its extremely hard to write original stuff when you’re hearing so much of other people’s music. There was a time I felt I got stuck in a loop of subconsciously trying to create what was already out there. It was only when we went on hiatus did I find my path again. Touring with The Streets & DJ Shadow or Enter Shikari on the other hand was nothing short of a dream and fed the creative process massively!
9: What is next for you?
Definitely writing the next album in my new studio! I’m also really excited about putting together a new live show around Symbol, something special hopefully working with the surround technology. On the mixing front amongst other things, I’m deep into Jorja Smith’s debut album which is sounding absolutely stunning while she’s away on tour with Bruno Mars! Other than that I’m really excited about handling the sonic for a new artist called Maisie H Peters that Brad of The Nextmen fame has been writing with, some incredible music coming from them. If you’re up for some great entertainment I’ve just mixed & mastered the new Kurupt FM single on XL which is too good!