Setting The Pace: A Chat With Paces

He’s been described as “the human equivalent of summer”, and we couldn’t agree more. Gold Coast producer Paces (aka Mikey Perry) has certainly enjoyed his fair share of success lately, and that is only expected to rise as he continues pumping out tracks probably made of pure sunshine. His latest single Hold It Down featuring the vocals of Reija Lee is no exception, and is the reason he is about to embark on his second national tour of the year come August and September.

It’s good vibes and carefree attitudes rolled into a track, tied together by kalimbas and breakdowns PC Music would be jealous of. It’s no surprise that there is an insatiable urge around the country to see the man himself play this to a heaving dancefloor, and considering he’s such a nice guy, he is happily obliging.From just sneaking into triple J‘s Hottest 100 earlier this year with the track he produced for Tkay Maidza (Switch Lanes), to becoming a club and festival favourite, Perry has become one of the more prominent names in the electronic scene, and his next tour looks set to only reaffirm this fact.

There are undoubtedly huge things still to come from the producer, and his infectious tracks and outwardly positive nature are the keys to his success. Not one to sit still for very long, we nabbed some time with Paces ahead of the 10 date tour to chat all things the internet, that time he remixed Tinashe and what the hell “swagwave” means.

I feel like I should congratulate you – it’s been a pretty big few months for you!

Oh thanks, it’s been good times lately!

Has there been any major highlights for you? 

Oh yeah! Switch Lanes getting in the Hottest 100 was a big highlight for sure. That was one of the most surreal days I’ve had in music so far. I had no idea, I was at the beach with my dog and my girlfriend and I came back and my phone was just blowing up!

Well then from there, you’ve been pretty busy as well. A few singles under your belt and now your second tour of the year?

Yeah, I’m all about touring. I love it!

You’ve got a fair few dates on this one, and the same for the last one too – does that take it’s toll on you? 

No, not really. I’m pretty at home with being out on the road and playing shows. I just love catching up with people, and I’ve got so many mates around the country from music so everywhere I go it’s like, “Oh yes! I get to catch up with this person!” It’s also really great just being able to connect with people who like my music as well. I love it!

Do you have any tips for being on the road so much? Making friends in different cities would be pretty good I’d say…

Yeah, that’s a really handy one because you’ve got people to hang out with and the occasional offer to crash at someone’s place if you need it. A good travel tip is to have a toiletries bag with a separate set of toiletries that you never unpack. Otherwise every week you have to come home, unpack, then repack it. You just have one that is already ready to go.

That’s pretty good! 

It’s pretty handy!

So with this next tour, you’ll be hitting the road with Leon Osborn, right? How did that come about?

We’ve only met once, when we played a show together in Perth. I’ve just always thought his music was incredible and I think it’s a good match. I just want to see him play some sets! I’m a fan of him really!

It’s funny because I have heard of him a lot in the Perth scene, but it’s strange he’s never really cracked the national scene, in a way. This will probably be really good for him I would say!

Hopefully! Hopefully it’s good for both of us. If people are into my music, we might share a bit of demographic. There is a good chance people will be into both of our shows.

Are there any shows you’re particularly looking forward to? Any places you can’t wait to go back to?

I always love playing in Perth. It’s incredible. On the last tour as well, the Sydney and Melbourne shows were the biggest, so I’m interested to get back there.

I saw videos of you getting everyone up on stage during the last tour! Will that be happening again?

Most definitely!

I saw in one video, there were some girls actually fanning you with palm fronds?

*laughs* That was hilarious! I think there was an actual, real palm tree on stage and I had everyone up and then all of a sudden I was being fanned by this big palm leaf!

That is so good!

I couldn’t have planned it better!

Now, with Hold It Down – it’s such a rad song. I especially love the vocals on that track, from Reija Lee. How did that come about?

A few years ago she had a big EP out with a producer called Kito. It was out on Mad Decent and I was a huge fan of it, so she’s always been in the back of my mind as someone I’d love to work with, but I have never really tried to make it happen. Then, pretty recently I was having a chat with her brother who is actually Shockone. It just popped into my head so I mentioned it to him, and he was like, “Oh yeah! I’ll introduce you!” So a very short time later, we were making music!

That’s awesome! And it worked so well!

Totally. She’s a legend. She lives in London so we couldn’t get into the studio, but we Skyped a bit and it was really easy to communicate with so it all came together really easily.

That’s interesting that you say that. You also hadn’t met KUCKA, but you made Nothing’s Forever with her just through the internet as well. 

Yeah! It’s funny, a lot of the time these days that’s just how it goes. It’s pretty rare that I’ve ever been in the studio, actually recording the vocalist. For me at least, I guess because I live on the Gold Coast too, there aren’t many touring artists that come through here in my area of music. It’s just easier to reach people long distance over email I think. But there are ways you can do it and still have input with it. You could send a reference track or show them some other song you think might push them in the right direction. But I just really like to let the singer come up with whatever is in there mind.

Oh okay, so they have the freedom over that part then? 

Yeah exactly. They’re always going to get the best results if they have freedom I think, so it’s pretty important to do that. With Reija, I actually started that song with chopped up samples of someone else and it was just going to be like that. But then I thought that could work, so I removed the vocals and sent it to her, and that was the starting point for it.

Man, what a time to be alive! The internet!

*laughs* Isn’t it just?!

I find it so interesting. Some bands don’t even live in the same city as each other and they just work via the internet now! Is it weird to actually meet them in person after the song has been made? 

It’s the coolest thing ever. The first time I met KUCKA was in Perth for our show there, when I was touring our song. She was going to come along and sing at the show. So the song was out, and it was getting lots of airplay and everything, but we still had never met. She rocked up to the venue and it was just like, “Hey, I’m Mikey! Hey, I’m Laura!” And we did the soundcheck and the track – it was almost like a celebration, like all the work was done now so let’s do the fun thing! *laughs*

That’s awesome! I have a question for you now: you describe your music as “future beat” or even “swagwave” – what does that mean? What is swagwave? I saw you use it and now it’s actually becoming a thing!

*laughs* That is so funny. I just started tagging swagwave as a joke on my SoundCloud, as a running joke. I just think it’s hilarious when people say things are “swag”. I just started calling it swagwave as a silly thing, but yeah it’s totally catching on now! I have seen it on blog features and stuff and people are actually taking it seriously. It’s like, “Paces’ latest swagwave release” *laughs* It’s out of my hands now!

No one realises it was a joke!

I want to see it become a thing.

Maybe you can combine future beat and swagwave as your next step?

Maybe! Future beat is a real genre. People recognise that as a real thing. But if we can get swagwave popping, I’ll feel like i’ve contributed something to popular culture.

In 20 years, we’ll be looking back and saying, “Mike Perry, where swagwave all started.”


With future beat though, I see that everywhere as well now, but how soon until we are IN the future that everyone is actually making music for? Will it just be beat?

That’s the million dollar question, really. We’ve sort of been there for like 5 years now, but because it’s called future, that’s the beauty of it. It’s always that new thing. It’ll still be the new thing in 50 years hopefully.

It’s so funny. Because of SoundClound and the internet, everything is blended and combined. I think I saw a track recently that was described as “aquatic future RnB” or something…

Wow… How bizarre!

It kind of worked, it was all arpeggios but I’m still unsure about it.

That sounds kind of cool, I’d like to hear some of that! Any aquatic future RnB artists, send me your tracks!

Shout out to the aquatic frontier! Now, I also wanted to talk to you about your Hermitude remix – that’s obviously huge. Hermitude are amazing!

Yeah, those guys are my heroes for sure. I’ve been a huge fan of them for a long time.

You’ve also remixed for Years & Years and Tinashe as well… What goes through your mind with that? Tinashe is like a proper pop star!

I know, hectic right? *laughs* The Tinashe one just sort of fell in my lap so I didn’t really have time to panic about it or anything. This opportunity just popped up with a really short deadline and I was just like, “Yeah that sounds great, let’s do this!” So I turned it out without really having to fret about it. But with the Hermitude one, I had enough time to have the existential crisis where you’re like, “Oh I could never do this song justice, but you know, anything you do in your own style is what they want so just do your thing – but I can’t do it!”

So a bit tougher with that one?

A lot tougher, because I had the time to worry about it.

Well I definitely think you did it justice. It must be such a trip though!

Yeah, it was pretty dreamy for sure. I was super psyched!

Looking forward now, what else are we talking for the rest of the year? 

As we speak, I’m looking at eight instrumentals that I’ve got that are possible contenders for our next single. I’m about to have a phone meetng with my manager to see where we will go with those and get his vibe on them. From there, we’ll just start planning what’s next!

Straight back into it!

Yeah, totally. These things take a bit of time because it takes time to get organised with a singer and get the track made, then get it mastered, then scheduled with the label. There are a few months between making it and when it actually comes out.

So that’s your break time there?

If I’m not planning for the next thing now, the tour will end and I’ll have nothing going on.

You want to have something to come home to work on!

You’ve got to keep your momentum up. I’m always writing music so I may as well be putting it to good use!


Paces Hold It Down tour dates:

Fri 7 Aug – Flyrite, Perth WA
Sat 8 Aug – Beats In The Heat, Karratha WA
Fri 14 Aug – Shebeen, Melbourne VIC
Sat 15 Aug – Snowtunes Festival, Jindabyne NSW
Fri 21 Aug – The Brightside, Brisbane QLD
Sat 22 Aug – The Helm, Sunshine Coast QLD
Fri 28 Aug – Newtown Social Club, Sydney NSW
Sat 29 Aug – The Grand, Wollongong NSW
Fri 4 Sept – Cats @ Rocket Bar, Adelaide SA
Sat 5 Sept – Rattlesnake Motel, Gold Coast QLD

All tickets available here