CODE First Play: Black Atlass, 'Blossom'

Black Atlass

Richmond Lam

Black Atlass, the alias of Canadian producer Alex Fleming, makes lush, layered, R&B-infused electronica that caught the attention of A-Trak who signed him to his Fool’s Gold label. Listen to the premiere of “Blossom” exclusively here:

The story of how Black Atlass got signed would make any new artist jealous while recalling the days when labels would scour clubs, not the Internet for new talent.

“I was introduced to Fools Gold through a local Montreal producer/DJ named Simahlak, who has a close relationship with A-Trak and Chromeo,” Fleming explains. “Simahlak was passionate about what I was doing. He brought [Chromeo’s] P-Thug to my first show in Montreal, and a week later I was contacted by A-Trak.”

While Black Atlass’ blend of soulful crooning and soft-shoe techno is very much on-trend, his songwriting is so emotionally earnest and thematically timeless, trends are irrelevant. Committed to making every beat count, each track on “Young Bloods,” his forthcoming EP, is steeped in meaning.

“‘Blossom’ is about a first love. My first love, anyone’s first love,” Fleming says. “It describes a period in my life where I was experiencing something completely new and exciting and complicated and pure and all of those feelings were being shared, minute for minute with someone else. I wanted to capture that feeling, and be able to remember it and feel it again every time I hear or perform the song.”

Fleming’s method for musically capturing those feelings is a somewhat complicated process. He says it involves running synths through Adobe Audition, then programming those recordings into a drum pad before playing the song again, putting it into Reason before editing and re-assembling each song.

“It was a really intense and intricate way of doing things, and to this day I've never come across anyone who can fully comprehend my method of producing those songs.”

Like his new label boss, Fleming is a native of Montreal, though he grew up mostly in London, Ontario. Lately, he has spent a fair amount of time in Paris, where he’s built a following partly through gigs at Paris Fashion Week. Fleming says he understands why he’s found an audience there.

“I always create from the roots of who I am and from the experiences I have throughout my life and try and put every part of that into my music,” he says. “I think designers and creative directors in the world of fashion create in a similar way, and can connect with that element in my music.

The “Young Bloods” EP is available February 18 on Fool’s Gold.

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