Sarah Phelan AKA Drill Folly
Sarah Phelan AKA Drill Folly


25 March 2015

We're very happy to present a mix by Drill Folly in anticipation of her set at Progress Bar next week.

After the success of Lighthouse’s first Progress Bar last month, we’re eagerly awaiting the next edition on 2 April. From vanguard filmmakers and musicians to trending artists and activists, the Progress Bar is an ear-to-the-ground evening to discover new art, hear new music, and make new friends.

Each evening aims each to support a local DJ/producer, and next week we’re looking forward to welcoming Drill Folly. Drill Folly is the moniker of Brighton (via Melbourne) based electronic music producer Sarah Phelan. She was interviewed by Lighthouse’s Jenny Lindop.

Hello Sarah, thanks for making time for us, it is much appreciated. Could you describe your mix to us?

It’s a combination of selected tracks mixed with spoken word excerpts surrounding the themes of freedom, creative process and authorship. Recently I’ve been a little obsessed with the David Fincher/Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross film music partnership and I’m a long term Nine Inch Nails fan. It felt natural to turn to the Ghosts I-IV record because it was the first record completely devoid of lyrics, more ambient synth based and signalled to me a clear transition into Reznor’s film music phase. The lyrics and vocals were the only things that ever made me cringe a little with NIN but underneath that I always thought the music itself was brilliant. It also reminds me a lot of Brian Eno’s Music For Airports. Alan Moore (writer of The Watchmen, V for Vendetta) is a guru and listening to him explain the concepts of language, thought and magic with relation to creating and collective consciousness absolutely gels everything I already thought about the process of making music but could not express so eloquently. The meter of his voice is hypnotic and instrumental in and of itself.

Death Grips‘Guillotine’ exemplifies the power of words that Moore discusses in the sense that rap music relies on the sentiment of rhythmically constructed word play. Zach Hill cleverly subverts the construct of rap music by combining it with overt experimental electronic and noise elements. I love their ‘fuck you’ attitude; rough around the edges ballsy production value and the confidence and aggression with which it’s delivered.

Andrew Beresford is an old friend from my home town Melbourne. We used to gig together and I recently came across IRQ from his Facebook feed as a free download on his Soundcloud. I loved the track and I think he’s one to keep an eye on. It’s looking like we might join forces again for some shows in Brighton/London/Berlin this June.

There’s a Drill Folly track in there with a clip of Charles Bukowski reading his poem ‘The Crunch’. I love the meter of his reading and the weight in his voice. It goes straight to my heart no matter how many times I’ve heard it. I’m completely hooked from the opening line, ‘there is a loneliness in this world so great, that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock’. It’s another example of the power of words that echoes the sentiment of Alan Moore’s earlier clip. The thing that I’m trying to get at here, and I only really discovered it myself by the process of doing the mix, is that I take my influences from everything; writing, films, art, it’s all the same fundamental drive, but most of all it’s the people behind them that fascinate me; the cult of personality. I want to know who made it and why.

‘Venter’ made it’s way in on a few levels. I was lucky enough to support Ben Frost in Brighton recently so it had personal significance and HTRK are a local Melbourne band and one of the first that I saw out regularly when I was eighteen and getting into the live Melbourne scene a decade ago. It’s satisfying to think of what the eighteen year old me would think of the synchronicity that has manifested out of early dreams.

Vessel is an exciting new producer that came onto my radar courtesy of the kinds of bills he’s been playing on recently. I feel like I’ve been lazy lately when it comes to actively seeking out new music and I was conscious to include something recent. Red Sex is just a really cool track. It’s got touches of Suicide but the production is bang on. I like dance music that’s a little bit dirty; a bit disjointed; earthy; guttural; that seems to take it’s cues from a punk rock ethos. Dead Fader definitely fulfils that for me and the two tracks weirdly mirror each other.

Tobacco is a dirty analogue synth, gives zero fucks legend. The Tobacco + APC combo is bliss. This track recharges my batteries. It’s a “fuck yeah” song.

Fever Ray…well what is there to say about her really…she’s my heroine. Her decisions are just pure class. I get the impression that everything coming from her camp in squarely on her terms and think you can hear that in the music.

What kind of music do you produce yourself?

I hate this question. I think every producer hates this question. Describing your own music is a massive ball-ache because genre is so mixed now that it feels like trying jam a square peg through a round hole for the sake of easy digestibility. Also half the time you don’t know what you’re making until it’s made and then you can take a step back and look at it and all the influences come to the fore like a magic eye and then you go “OK I see where this fits in the scheme of things”. It’s a largely subconscious (even magical) process. I think all I’m really aiming for is to have the mutual respect of the people that have unknowingly got me here; to fit somewhere in someone else’s mind crammed between the music that I love. That’s rather ambitious come to think of it.

What do you think about the scene in Brighton?

Brighton’s got a very healthy scene. In Melbourne (great as it is) I felt like after a few years it was all the same fish swimming around a small pond. It doesn’t take long to hit the ceiling so to speak. Brighton’s a bit like that too but it feels more like a community. Maybe that’s because I’ve only been here two years. It’s close to London and Gatwick is the cheap flight gateway to Europe so playing small DIY shows in continental Europe isn’t out of the question even for emerging Artists. There’s a lot of possibilities and variety. If you have the desire and ability, Brighton will provide you the platform. Everybody knows everybody; is working at a grass roots level; and there’s something worth attending every night of the week. Most likely within a 20 minute walk of where you live.

What are you planning to do at the Progress Bar on Thursday?

Looking forward to getting an insight into the work of Elijah and Gazelle Twin. I love hearing artists talk about their lives and their work in reality. From my experience just being in a room full of people who are interested in such an event is nourishing. Providing some tunes in between is an absolute bonus.


Thanks to Drill Folly for this mix and interview. We’re very much looking forward to next week! If you would like to play at the next Progress Bar, please contact Jenny on



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