Mikey Perry’s music project Paces has had a breakthrough 2016. The producer released his debut album Vacation and has played shows pretty much non-stop all over the country (including a now-legendary Splendour In The Grass set in which he brought Guy Sebastian on stage). The Gold-Coast producer also secured a support spot for one of the US’s biggest producers Dillon Francis on his mammoth Aussie tour.
Paces doesn’t really fit into this growing category of Aussie producers, struggling to catch a break and make themselves known above others. That’s because from the start he’s done things differently, and this year he was one of the few producers to make the bold move of releasing a full-length record. Vacation featured no less than 12 different singers and collaborators, giving Paces an incredibly diverse record.
Although he’s just wrapped up a mammoth national tour and played a set at MTV’s Beats And Eats Festival last weekend, he’s already been announced on the 2017 lineup for Party In The Park and will also play Southbound festival and Beyond The Valley at the end of December.
We caught up with Mikey to chat about the importance of full-length albums for producers, expanding his live show to keep up with the changing dynamic of live electronic music, and bringing Guy Sebastian on stage at Splendour…
Music Feeds: Beats And Eats sounded like an awesome day out. How was stuffing ya face with delicious food and playing music all in one place?
Paces: Yeah man, music and food – two of the greatest things in life in one place. I was stoked.
MF: Was there anything unexpected or special you put into that set, and what can we expect from any of your other upcoming shows?
P: I’ve got a bunch of new music that I’ve been writing over the last few months and I’ve been sneakily testing them here and there. So I’m going to keep testing out some new tracks and see how they go.
MF: You’ve had a massive year in 2016 with your album coming out, but you’ve played a lot of shows as well. How do you find striking a balance between the two?
P: It can be tough because I do need to spend a lot of time practicing for the shows, so yeah it is quite a juggling act. So in between tours I usually just try to clear my schedule and lock myself in the studio, and spending two weeks doing nothing but writing tunes that I can come back to later. It’s a constant juggling act.
MF: Just seeing you a few times this year it seems like you’re incorporating more and more hardware into your live sets. Has that been a conscious effort from you to develop your show in that sort of way?
P: Yeah definitely, I’m always hoping to keep adding to the show and keep making it bigger and better. One of the ways I’ve been able to do that has been by adding more instruments for me to get busy on, and some other things. I usually bring dancers along and the visuals, and guest singers. I just keep adding bits to it like Lego.
MF: Do you think that to stand out as a producer you need to be bringing more of that live aspect?
P: I think you can still break through just on the strength of your songs if they’re good, but once you’re competing with those massive international headliners I feel like you do need to bring that something extra. Otherwise it’s just so hard. You’d be playing before Dillon Francis, who’ll put on a massive show with crazy visuals and stuff, so if I didn’t bring dancers and singers I’d just be this guy just standing there. I think once you get up to that stage it’s important to try and make it a bit more of a spectacle if you can.
MF: Obviously your Splendour set was epic as well. You can probably claim sole responsibility for Guy finally making his Splendour debut. Was bringing Guy into your work something that kind of just happened or were you trying to square it up with Nollsie getting so much publicity this year?
P: [Laughs] It really did just happen organically. After he was on my album and then we did Like A Version which was all going really well, we just felt like it would be a nice way to complete the circle. We just thought we’d come this far, let’s do a live performance, and Splendour was the obvious choice.
MF: Your debut album features twelve different vocalists and collaborators. Tell us a bit about why you like sharing the process with other artists?
P: I just love how everyone brings something different to it. You could send the same instrumental to an R&B singer or a rapper or a pop diva and come back with totally different results. So it’s really exciting when you’re working with different people to see where it takes you.
MF: There aren’t too many producers who’ve put out full-length albums this year. Why did you choose that format over say, an EP?
P: I know that just putting singles out is the most cost effective choice for dance artists at the moment but I’ve just always been an album guy. So I guess it’s just been a goal since I started making music that I wanted to be a producer who releases albums that hopefully people will hang on to and listen to on road trips and at house parties. So there was never any choice for me, I’ve always been working towards that.
Paces Tour Dates
Saturday, 3rd December
Spilt Milk Festival, Canberra
Wednesday, 28th December
Southbound Festival, Perth
Saturday, 31st December
Beyond The Valley Festival, Melbourne
Tickets: Beyond The Valley
Sunday, 1st January
Field Day, Sydney
Field Day — SOLD OUT