Space Tours: The Legacy of Phoenix is the extraordinary new concept album from Mitch Wellings. Based on the fictional backstory that his label Space Tours is the worlds first intergalactic travel agent, the album positions itself as a company propaganda piece, telling the transformational journey of one passenger on the first ever Space Tours flight.
The word ‘journey’ is somewhat overused when it comes to describing electronic music sets and albums, but it is entirely appropriate when used in the content of The Legacy Of Phoenix. Encompassing elements of house, electro, garage, disco, funk, breaks and ambient, the album is a trip in every sense of the word, with Wellings creating both an incredible sense of place and a narrative thrust that keeps you completely engaged throughout.
Thanks for taking the time, where are you today and what are you up to?
I’m taking a break from the studio to sit in the sun in a park nearby and chat to you. Breaks are actually really important I find when mixing down to keep perspective and objectivity on what you’re hearing, so you’re helping out. Plus it scorching 🙂
Paint us a picture of where you grew up… How do you think – if at all – your early childhood shaped the music you create today?
I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent. It’s one of the lowest income areas in the UK. The main industry here was pottery, until it almost all got outsourced to the far east, to be produced under cheaper labour conditions. Many of the cities workers were left without jobs or any transferable skills, so it left an unemployment vacuum in the city. The knock on effects are still evident today, even though this was decades ago. As much as it’s had a hard time and gets a bad rep, the people here are incredibly friendly and the nature spots are beautiful.
Fortunately my mum was a big music fan, so there was always music playing. From David Bowie albums to The Fugees. Then I became a dodgy download addict from about 10 years old. I buy all my music now of course but due to Napster and Limewire I amassed a vast and eclectic digital collection before I’d even left high school, into the tens of thousands, which gave me an extremely rounded musical upbringing. I wouldn’t have been able to afford to just walk into a record shop and buy music regularly so that changed the game for me and made it accessible. I think this shows in my music as my style is literally combining multiple styles.
Can you remember the first record you owned?
I was bought the same Michael Jackson single twice, by both my mum and dad one Christmas, as they had separated and hadn’t realised the other had bought it. They clearly knew I liked that record however. It was Earth Song; maybe not the most credible selection from his back catalogue but I was 5 years old. I still play some MJ bits when I can.
How has the music you’ve both produced and DJ’d evolved over the years?
When I started when I was really young, I didn’t care I just made everything, from hip hop to trance. I had a bit of a break after high school, then reignited it in my early clubbing years when I started DJing/running events. I got back into producing in a big way. I was fully drawn in by the minimal boom at the time and wanted to produce those kinds of sounds to play in my sets. Now I’m back to the beginning again, full circle, producing whatever I feel like on any given day. This is what keeps it fun for me and satisfying.
Tell us what motivated you to launch Space Tours…
I wanted to do things on my terms. Make the music I wanted to make, without having to fit into any other labels sound. Complete creative freedom and endless possibility to move forward in any direction I wish. I also fancied a challenge.
One of your releases got the nod of approval from Resident Advisor – that must have been nice to see!
Yeah they said some really nice words, that was lovely. This particular one had some insane support across the board just by chance, from being printed in the staff picks in DJ mag, to getting an email from Sasha’s team asking for the masters after he’d just been listening to the previews in Phonica ahead of release. It’s crazy how these things happen sometimes, especially for self-released music from Stoke-on-Trent, which had a marketing budget of £0 haha.
Talk us through your new album – what themes does it explore, and what can we expect, musically speaking?
It’s main themes are positive change and awakening to new perspectives. The lead character undergoes a full epiphany that there’s more to life than just working a 9-5, from boring IT guy to being spiritually awakened, from his experiences in space. There’s big shifts in his philosophy, which is rooted in Stoicism, Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, with an overall sense of connectedness and gratitude.
Musically the themes are translated through different genres, energy’s and vibes. I’ve also used 6 different voice actors from around the world to bring the narrative to life and try to make it seem like a truly global event.
How do you feel about finally having the music out there for other people to engage with?
It’s expected to be out June the 9th, which will be around 2 and a half years since I first started making it, or at least first mentioned it to close friends that I was making one from what I can tell by searching whatsapp ha.
What does the future hold for Space Tours, this year and beyond?
I’d love to support some other artists although I’m yet to sign anything anyone’s sent. It’s got to be special but I’m all ears.
There are 3 Space Tours events lined up for the rest of the year, one in my hometown of Stoke, then Manchester for the labels fourth birthday and then I’ll be back to Barcelona for the end of the year. It’s the dream to keep on bettering the events. Keep taking them to new cities and of course getting some of my favorite producers and DJs to put their favorite records together. I want to create some really immersive audio/visual trips with every event. That’s what Space Tours is all about.
Final words for our readers…?
I’ve just got back from Nest Microfest in Barcelona which was a lovely experience at a beautiful location in the hills, playing to a really switched on crowd. This weekend is release weekend and I’m at another small festival which is happening in a castle so that should be pretty surreal. It’s a private thing in its 9th year, with fancy dress themes each day where everyone goes all out. Extra silly and plenty of fun with friends. There’s some really nice gigs coming up actually in some of my favorite cities so it’s exciting times and of course the 3 Space Tours events that I’ve already mentioned. Also looking forward to be at Houghton as an attendee.
Thank you for your questions and the biggest appreciation for all the readers who’ve made it this far. Hopefully we will get to party together at some point soon 🙂
Our final words.
We’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Mitch Wellings for taking the time to share his musical journey and the fascinating story behind ‘The Legacy of Phoenix.’ His passion for creating a unique and immersive audio experience truly resonates through this discussion.
If you’ve enjoyed this deep dive into Mitch’s creative universe and his innovative label, Space Tours, make sure to follow him on his social media platforms for the latest news and updates. Don’t forget to stream or purchase ‘The Legacy of Phoenix,’ available from June 9th, to embark on an incredible auditory journey.
Share this interview with friends and fellow music enthusiasts, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We’re sure you won’t want to miss the next interstellar trip Mitch has in store for us!
Thank you for joining us, and until next time, keep exploring the stars through music.
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