Face Plant Sheds Light on Upcoming Sky.Lab Debut at Submersion Festival (Interview)

Face Plant Sheds Light on Upcoming Sky.Lab Debut at Submersion Festival (Interview)

face plant

Born in the quiet confines of quarantine, a musical endeavor that sought to explore a chiller and more emotionally driven side of electronic music began to take shape. Conceived by Jason Shepherd, also known as Face Plant, the Sky.Lab side project is one artist’s attempt to reconnect with nature and explore an avenue of music he believes has long laid dormant in his creative pursuits.

As clubs and venues were shuttered during the pandemic, Shepherd began to take a step away from his typical brand of dancefloor-oriented music (bass, half-time, glitch hop) while simultaneously attempting to reimmerse himself in the outdoors. The Philly-based artist began to abandon stout drum patterns for soft melodic chords and city streets for deep valleys and open pastures.

face plant

When quarantine finally ended, the evolution was already underway, and Shepherd knew that this was something he needed to continue pursuing. While he didn’t want to depart from the Face Plant project, he needed another vessel to explore these frequencies. Described by Shepherd as “music you can stargaze to,” the Sky.Lab project was born.

As massive fans of the Face Plant project, we were excited to see Submersion announce the debut of his side/sub-project this October.

submersion festival

As something no one has heard before, we were keen on having a word with Shepherd to see what fans can expect. In our conversation, he reveals the origin of Sky.Lab, the project’s influences and intentions, and a little bit about what he has planned for the Submersion set.

River Beats: Where and when did the idea for the Sky.Lab project begin? What were the environmental or circumstantial factors that led to its inception?
Jason Shepherd: The…..sub-project’s(?) inception was during the pandemic when there weren’t any shows happening. My hobbies outside of shows and festivals switched back to all nature-based activities like hiking, stargazing, swimming, etc. I’d say the ambition for the project disappeared for a little when shows first came back while I tried to revert my focus to heavier dancey stuff but I quickly realized my wants for my lifestyle, which directly affects my music taste and my creative output, had permanently changed. That’s when I knew the concept of Sky.Lab was here to stay.


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A post shared by Jason Shepherd (@faceplantmusic)

RB: You mentioned that during this time you began to listen to different types of music that weren’t necessarily dance floor-oriented or what you normally listened to. Could you share a few names and what specific elements or styles of theirs you were trying to draw upon?
JS: So I had always listened to Bonobo, Emancipator, and Tycho who were my Holy Trinity of chill shit. Mixed with the varying cinematic techniques I always enjoyed in Koan Sound and Pretty Lights, I would say I kind of wanted to make something near this sound for a long time. I think a couple of my older tracks could end up in this set [Submersion] to show them off in a more contextually relevant setting.

However, the Loci Records’ artists Koresma, il:lo, and Marley Caroll have been the more recent inspirations that I’ve been absolutely loving. I was told to listen to the artist Hidden Orchestra on my way to Egypt and while I don’t think I’m making music that sounds like him, I’d say he’s a massive influence on making me feel like cinematic productions are worth creating. I’ve also been really enjoying movie scores. I’ve been listening to all the classics of films I’m familiar with but also finding absolute bangers in scores of films I’ve never seen—most notably, “The Theory Of Everything,” about Stephen Hawking.

RB: What are your intentions with the Sky.Lab project?
JS: The mission is mostly to just update the soundtrack to my life. Lately, my life has consisted of beautiful nights in desolate places filled with stars, romance, pursuing chemistry more intensely, petting cats, all around more nature, taking care of my body, getting in touch with my emotions, and overall just being more intentional with how I can optimize who I am.

RB: What parts, if any, of the Face Plant project influence Sky.Lab? What is the relationship between the two projects?
JS: In the end, it’s from my brain still so I’m not sure I could leave Face Plant behind even if I wanted to. While I wouldn’t describe the project as sound design-driven, I’d like to think that I’m holding myself to similar standards in terms of complexity in synthesis. Other than that I’m truthfully trying to hit all the vibes that Face Plant didn’t.

RB: What are your thoughts regarding the creative catharsis associated with pursuing a “side project” or new direction as the Sky.Lab project appears to be?
JS: Oh man, it feels fucking great. I definitely did some mentally disrespectful things to myself over the Face Plant project for absolutely no reason cuz brains be braining so to add this outlet that has a clean slate (to y’all) is relieving, refreshing, exciting, and relaxing.

Koan Sound sunrise set
Koan Sound Sunrise Set – Submersion 2022

RB: Why is Submersion Festival the perfect setting to debut the Sky.Lab project?
JS: So many reasons! One: it’s my label’s festival which feels like it’s selling it short so let me clarify that this festival is a bunch of my best friends and favorite colleagues working together to throw what they deem as the perfect shindig. Two: it’s in my home state at one of my favorite venues. Three: The submersion crowd knows my project but is open-minded enough to give me the confidence that I can show them something new. Four: Sunset on a beach setting the vibe for what is sure to be an absolutely epic weekend jam-packed with top-notch music and art. Seriously don’t think I could think of a better environment.

Catch Face Plant debut the Sky.Lab project at 6:30 PM during the Submersion Early Entry Party (10/5) and keep up with everything both the artist and the festival have got going on in the links below!

Follow Face Plant

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud

Follow Submersion Festival:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tickets

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