Mr. Bill’s Phantasmagoria: Exploring the Magic in Electronic Music
There are some artists who have the most powerful ability to transform the way listeners hear and perceive sounds. Their minds are beyond the norm, and they take in frequencies in ways that many did not know was humanly possible. As soon as their music enters the ears of those who care to listen, they completely capture the minds and provoke the most vivid and implausible thoughts and feelings.
One artist who has been at the forefront of just that is Mr. Bill, a technically advanced tastemaker that has created some of the most unique soundscapes to grace this era of dance music. Over the decades, dance music has transformed in some miraculous ways, and Mr. Bill has been a staple of that.
Hailing from Australia, Mr. Bill dove into production and paid homage to a wide variety of different electronic genres, continuously doing something new and far beyond the norm with his take on audio creations. With his passion for sound stemming from an early age, Mr. Bill was introduced to a world of music via different pressed forms like vinyls and cassette’s.
“My mom used to work at a store that created tapes, vinyls, and CDs,” Mr. Bill shared with MP3 MAG. As a result, he and his brother would often listen to a variety of music, ranging from pop to underground techno. Throughout high school, Mr. Bill became interested in metal and played guitar for a while, eventually discovering electronic music.
Mr. Bill’s curiosity grew, leading him to explore new genres and creative methods. He recalled his first experience with the thrill of music creation, “I was playing guitar and had one a loop pedal. I’d record a riff, then another, and so on. It was basic layering of audio tracks over one another, and I found it pretty fun!” This marked the beginning of his passion for the creative process and set the stage for his future endeavors in electronic music.
In addition to discovering his love for music creation through personal experiences with instruments, Mr. Bill was also exposed to music technology during high school. He participated in a music tech program where he had the opportunity to borrow a four-track Boss recorder from the school. He experimented with recording various sounds and layering them to create unique pieces of music. Later, his parents got an iMac computer with GarageBand, which further expanded his creative experiences and allowed him to progress in music production.
Mr. Bill’s unique creativity has not only shaped his own artistic journey, but has also paved the way for other artists. His innovative approach to music production has inspired fresh perspectives and previously unexplored angles in the world of electronic music.
Mr. Bill has a catalog that runs deep, consisting of vast elements layered within his sound design, he’s continuously pushed the envelope and thought far outside the box when it comes to making music. There’s no doubt about it, he’s one of the most innovative and idiosyncratic creators of his time.
We see this in earlier projects like Suave, Settling For Mediocrity, and more recent like Phantasmagoria, which highlights his keen sense of production and molding a wide range of sounds and emotions. Mr. Bill has always had a knack for drawing listeners in with a curiosity and craving for more. He mentioned what inspired the reasoning behind remixing Phantasmagoria, vs other older projects.
In earlier projects, Mr. Bill had worked on remix albums, such as one for Focus, which he found enjoyable. However, with Phantasmagoria, he felt that many of the tracks were his interpretations of other people’s styles. As he explained, “I just thought other people could do a better job. For instance, if I was trying to emulate like a Kilowatts type thing… I figured, why not just have him remix that one.”
Given the distinct nature of Phantasmagoria, it was fitting to include a diverse range of tastemakers from various dance music genres. Artists like The Widdler, Culprate, Duffrey, Bwoy De Bhajan, and Player Dave can be found on the remix album, delivering impressive reinterpretations of the original tunes.
“I didn’t tell any of them what to do when I first sent out the stems. I just said, here’s the thing that I think you could do something cool with, do whatever you want. Some of them would send something back, and I might suggest a section needed more of the original flavor. So, I gave people a little feedback and direction, but only after they sent an initial version of a remix. Some people just got the initial version right, and it was awesome straightaway.”
While music is a gift, being in the industry isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Mr. Bill gets vulnerable, sharing some of the challenges and worries he’s faced during his career, such as balancing multiple personalities from people he works with and how music will sound on different platforms.
“The most challenging thing is the anxiety that come with being an artist. Varying from concerns like, ‘I don’t know if this is cool,’ or ‘I don’t know if people are going to like this one,’ to anxieties about the loudness of the track. The biggest challenges are working with a lot of people and maintaining numerous conversations.”
Finding solace throughout each challenge, the rewards at the end are always greater. There is something truly beautiful about doing what you love and making something that speaks to others and the creator. “The most rewarding thing is when you create something, and you’re like, ‘that is awesome.’ That feeling when everything is in the pocket, and it’s just working at the moment in the track, is the most rewarding part.”
Dance music has grown and molded into new genres and subgenres over the last few decades. We’ve seen new takes on production, sample sharing, and artists exchanging ideas. As someone who’s been in the scene for some time, Mr. Bill offers his perspective.
“I think it’s great. In the last 10 years, electronic music has become more serious. It’s now the main form of music happening worldwide, even in the pop realm. I like the state of the scene at the moment. Everybody’s sharing a lot, making samples, selling them, and trading ideas. Having everyone share their knowledge, tricks, and samples helps the music get exponentially better.”