Neon Spellcraft Calling Quarters EP cover

Calling Quarters from Neon Spellcraft

My friend Neon Spellcraft just recently released Calling Quarters through the Applecross Music collective label. I’ve been in music programs with Neon Spellcraft for a few years and to my ear, his personality and passion for unique sound design, danceable arrangement, and creative composition comes through brilliantly in this body of work. This album is Neon Spellcraft’s debut and covers a broad range of musical styles in the bass music genre. You can listen to the album and support Neon Spellcraft here.

The album opens up with the track Five Point Palm that is a bass-focused track with Eastern string and mystical elements and heavy drops that are articulated with brass notes and syncopated rhythms. Neon Spellcraft takes the listener on a journey as the album continues with dark bass sounds in Vista Chino and Sunrise; trap elements in this track make it danceable and compliment the house-flavored first drop. Neon Spellcraft continues with the house character in his track Free Yeah that embodies the tech house genre with acid sounds and a solid four on the floor groove.

I look forward to future releases from Neon Spellcraft, he’s graciously answered a few questions I have for him regarding inspirations and influences on the release that you can read below.

Again, the links to listen to the album and support Neon Spellcraft are here.

Q&A with Neon Spellcraft

Can you tell us more about the inspiration for the album and the meaning behind the album title?

I wanted to create some kind of a narrative throughline for the entire album. I’m really into magick as a meditative practice. For me it’s a discipline, a practice, and an art that allows me to become connected to my higher self. I also feel the same about producing music. It was my goal for the entire album to be a sort of ritual. A way to inspire creativity and joy, and to always be a touchstone I could come back to and get into the same mindset again.

Calling Quarters is a ritual where you create a safe space for yourself to meditate or practice magic in. It has a lot of different names from various practices, but ultimately it’s just setting an intention that you are putting yourself in a state of mind to do your work.

Do you have any interesting easter eggs (sound design or otherwise) in the release that you can share with us?

A lot of my bass sound design was done using the same sort of generative process. I got really inspired by generative sound design last year while learning from Encanti, and I thought it was a cool way to tie everything together sonically.

As for easter eggs, there’s an Alan Rickman sample that’s a little more obvious, and then another sample from Fatboy Slim’s Weapon Of Choice that wouldn’t be obvious to anyone that I get a kick out of hearing.

What were the biggest challenges you encountered while curating from your work into this collection of tracks? Were there any hard cuts from tracks you wished you could include?

My biggest problem throughout this entire process was getting into a car accident. Back in July 2023 I got hit by a drunk driver and it took me out for a while. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

At that point I had one track finished that I loved, and I had just dialed in my generative sound design process for myself. 

The ironic thing was that my biggest hardship ended up being the biggest motivator for me to finish the album. The rest of the songs I actually wrote in a short period of time. 

As soon as I was physically well enough, producing music was the exact medicine I needed to get past my trauma and it helped me overcome the situation immensely.

Did you make any breakthroughs in the process of writing the EP?

My biggest breakthrough in this process was letting go of self doubt.

I think as artists we are our own worst critics. We’re constantly seeking validation and are waiting for someone to tell us that we’re ready, or that we’ve graduated.

The truth is, artists evolve, they don’t graduate. The Thom Yorke who wrote The Bends is a different Thom Yorke than the one who wrote In Rainbows, and the fact that we get to see his art grow and change is really cool.

When I let go of my self doubt it allowed me to write without judging myself twenty minutes in. It gave me the ability to put the tracks together in a way that I wanted and get some feedback from the people that I trusted most.

Finally, it allowed me to put it out into the world and feel good about it being there.

Where do you envision listeners hearing each of these tracks in context?

I imagine someone who starts with Opening Ritual and goes all the way through to Closing Ritual would be listening at home or in headphones.

Five Point Palm and Vista Chino I imagine someone listening to in a field on a really cool sound system.

Free Yeah I imagine hearing at an after hours set where someone is spinning a lot of french house and NuDisco.

Any hints on where you’re thinking of going next with your sound?

I want to start playing with more organic sounding instruments. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Afro House, and there’s something I’m really drawn to with the percussion. It’s very hypnotic in a way, and I think I want to go down that rabbit hole.