2016 marks a new chapter for the English musical savant, one where he’s decided to not only quit ghost production for good, but poke a bit of fun at it in the process. Teaming up with Gareth Emery, the two started satire group CVNT5, a bumbling duo with loads of cash and ego, ready to buy songs, but no talent to be had. Now in the wake of CVNT5 tremendous response and a new signing to Armada music, Wallbridge speaks to DJ Mag USA about deciding to fully enter the spotlight, and why he has left EDM’s problematic ghost production issue in the dust.
The CVNT5 project makes fun of the pandemic ghost producing issue, yet you are a participant in this having ghost produced several #1 songs. How do you reconcile this?
“We didn't make any statement about ghost producing, we just made what we thought was a funny as fuck video that was a satire of a lot of the clichés in dance culture today. We're laughing as much at ourselves as other people, a lot of the content for the video comes from stuff Gaz and I have actually done ourselves (maybe not the pissing in the fans’ faces part).”
Near all genres of music have other producers/engineers/songwriters/musicians involved in the process - what makes ghost producing in dance music a separate, icky issue?
“Producing for someone else is not an issue at all. As you say, it happens in all other genres – 99-percent of pop music won't be produced by the artist fronting the act. But there is a big difference. If you look at the album credits, these people are always named.
In an ideal world would there be no ghost producing, or do you see the need for it?
“I have been told that this year 'no amount of money will buy you an Ashley Wallbridge hit record.' What does this mean?
How did CVNT5 come to be?
“A drunken conversation down at the pub. Where else do great ideas come from?”
“I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you! We've got something pretty fucking amazing coming soon. We've been so surprised at how many offers for shows, collaborations, and appearances we've had – it’s crazy! We're going to continue to have fun with it for sure.”
Did you ever see CVNT5 as a long-term project or was it simply to make a point? What is its purpose?
“How do you feel about dance music becoming pop music and breaking into the mainstream the way it has over the past few years?
“I think it's great, seeing the kids out at a festival when 10 years ago it would have been a rock concert. Pop music comes in cycles and when it's chewed up and spat out dance it will move on to something else! The heartbeat of dance music will always be in the underground; it's where it began, and it's why it will never go away no matter what happens in the pop crossover world.”
What was the tipping point for you to decide to come out of the shadows and attach your name to your work?
People are well aware of ghost production within the dance music industry... but is there something that you can tell us about how it works that might surprise everyone?
Where do you see dance music heading in the next 10 years?
“I'm not sure about the next 10 years... there's probably some 12-year-old kid sitting in his bedroom on Ableton right now creating a new genre none of us have heard of yet! But certainly in the near future there will be a return to melody in the mainstream; as big room dies there’ll be more melodic, chill, really musical stuff.
You have several releases coming out with Armada this year - what's the working relationship been like? Why choose to sign with them?
“Armada is arguably the biggest EDM/dance music label in the world; they have a great team of people working behind the scenes. I've built up a pretty cool relationship with the guys there and it makes me feel a lot more relaxed as I get honesty.”
What forthcoming release are you most excited for and why?
You have an uncanny knack for emotional melodies - where does that inspiration come from? What's your process in the studio?