I sat down over tea and cake with PRESS to talk about his debut release, The Angel EP, and what made him get into music.
It doesn’t take much musical knowledge to know that electronic music and the cultures spanning from it have never been bigger than they are today. Electronic musicians sell out massive events like never before, and the music charts are dominated by dance inspired tracks. So it comes as no surprise that more and more people are starting to produce their own killer electronic sound.
One such producer is the 20-year-old Folkestone born Greg Kennedy, more widely known by the alias of PRESS. He joined me on a wet Monday afternoon in a café near Clissold Park to talk to me about his background and how he came to release his debut EP.
Who is PRESS and how did he find his sound?
PRESS told me that he “began on a little launchpad when I was 13/14, and I couldn’t get it to work because I couldn’t afford Ableton. Eventually, I got Ableton and I’ve been producing ever since”.
It was during this part of the interview that the waitress brought out two pots of tea. It has to be mentioned that whilst PRESS is making waves with his music, he will never be making waves with his ability to make tea.
After the tea was poured, PRESS went on to tell me that he initially got into producing through listening to other electronic artists.
“Kaytranda is probably the biggest and the first inspiration, his music is sick. He’s a producer that went viral on Soundcloud, and then because he sounded so different, he made his own album and is really successful. And oh yeah, when I went to Wildlife festival, I saw Disclosure and they were playing like disco classics and stuff, music that I love. Their music is also some of the best produced I’ve heard”.
Elements from Kaytranda and Disclosure can be found within PRESS’ music. It’s perhaps why it has more recently gained the attention of the right people.
The right people, or person, in this case, is Patrick Topping. Topping played one of PRESS’ unreleased tracks live in a DJ set on top of Edinburgh’s Calton Hill last summer. When PRESS first watched the set, he told me that he presumed it was a “mistake”, and that Topping had played his track accidentally.
But what he was watching was no mistake. From then on, PRESS has been working on a full-length EP as part of Topping’s TRICK record label. This is a label founded by Topping, showcasing the emerging talent of music producers from this side of the pond.
According to PRESS, the EP had been in the works way before anybody close to him even knew. He was keeping it a secret until the last minute.
“The lead track I produced, Angel, I produced around two years ago. I was in a good mood and I just produced it. It was at another label before Trick, but Trick took an interest and I took a dive and said I’d rather release it there. I mean, it’s a bigger platform and it’s owned by Topping. And then out of the blue, you hear the track playing at Topping’s Edinburgh set. The rest of the EP has been in the works for about a year. I’ve been on a mission for the past year or so, making tracks and sending them, hoping they would be the right ones for the label”.
So that begs the question, what is the EP actually like? Well, as a fan of many elements of electronic dance music, and more importantly, as a fan of PRESS as a person, I can say the EP is pretty damn good as a debut. The EP is comprised of three tracks, and one remix of the title track.
The title track is, by quite some way, my favourite of the bunch. The Angel features a fantastic disco flavour throughout. It layers on a plethora of strings, some tasty slap bass rhythms and a pulsating beat. This is right up to the climax of the track when a melodic saxophone loop is introduced.
It’s an instantly classic dancefloor sound, and it’s a track that will almost definitely be heard out loud when the clubs re-open. The remix from producer Darius Sossian tones the track down. It adds more highs and lows, making for more of a progressive dance track.
The build-ups are appreciated, but they did not hit as hard on the remix as they did on the original. The third track, I’ve Got The Feeling, has a classic 808 feel to it in the melody line.
It starts with a very impactful throbbing bass throughout. It’s one that is reminiscent of a bassline found in many Underworld tracks. The melody pounds on and it features a simple yet effective looped chord progression throughout, which pairs well with the vocal sample.
For me, the track really comes into its own around the 3:00 mark, where the song climaxes until the endpoint.
The final track follows suit with the previous, even sharing a similar name. I’ve Got The Groove features a funkier and lighter groove, with hi-hat hits and a good low end. The track centres around a vocal sample and couples with another simple yet effective electronic melody. This one has a grittier and more futuristic tone behind it.
So the EP, while short, features a good and healthy mixture of dance genres. It ranges from disco house to progressive house, to a blend of techno in the final minutes.
For a debut, this is good work by PRESS and luckily, the EP outshines his tea-making skills.
The Angel is available to listen to on Spotify.