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Strict Face – Focus, Explode

Adelaide/Kaurna-based producer Strict Face brings us Focus, Explode, his first EP since the highly-successful Pulsers, out now on Nina Las Vegas’ imprint NLV Records.

In Strict Face’s words, the EP is a “solid collection of four hard-hitting tracks that I like playing in the club.” Doubling down on the rambunctious nature of his 2021 Pulsers EP, Focus, Explode cements Strict Face as a mainstay in Australia’s underground club-scene, showcasing his ability to create high-octane dance tracks with infectious groove.

Focus, Explode opens with ‘Liquid Gold,’ a bombastic thumper with a 90’s techno feel. Bells warp and meld with the rhythm, which Strict Face says is a result of “studio wizardry.” On ‘Platinum Strength’, released early November, distorted synths run rampant alongside a groove-driven bassline and sharp percussive hits. “Turbo Calc” ups the BPM, featuring digitized vocal chops and percussion with dizzying swing. Strict Face slows down the pace on the final track ‘Citrus Snaps,’ a mellow cut with a shimmering soundscape.

Connecting the dots between the soundsystem-centric world of dance music and pop production, Adelaide-based producer Strict Face is no stranger to NLV Records, having made his debut on the label with ‘Rouge Park,’ a grime-tinged instrumental which made its appearance on the label’s introductory sampler in 2015.

Off the heels of his 2016 single ‘Murderer’ (featuring R&B singer K-Major), Strict Face has gone on to release numerous efforts with the label: his first long-form project, ‘New Racer’, was released in collaboration with UK label Local Action in 2018, bookended by 2017’s “This Heat” and 2019’s “Urgency,” with each release welcoming other inspirations into the fold whilst refining his ear for percussive sound design and long-standing interest in kinetic drum programming.

“Pulsers,” his third EP with the label, landed in October 2021. With the producer casting a wider net over his influences (brokering personal connections between Miami bass and tribal house with mid-00s R&B production and UK funky), the five tracks of the EP showed a much bolder, brasher side that ‘Urgency’ first hinted at, unwittingly becoming his biggest calling card to date when lead single ‘Tasteflash’ made its way onto an episode of the Netflix reboot of Heartbreak High in September 2022.

Off the back of his deft ear for production through the years, he’s earned production credits for LE1F, Cadence Weapon and Cakes Da Killa and remixes for Dawn Richard and Dro Carey. He has shared the stage with Pearson Sound, SOPHIE, DJ Plead and DJ Q (amongst countless other producers/DJs), garnered support from influential selectors such as Jubilee, Hipsters Don’t Dance, Jamz Supernova and A-Trak, and played FOMO and Laneway Festival, whilst having the opportunity to contribute several guest shows for NTS and triple j and mixes for Crack Magazine, i-D and FACT Mag.

Strict Face’s ‘Focus, Explode’ is OUT NOW via NLV Records.