Putting a 2018 spin on a classic sound, Paraphine are the EDM duo everyone is talking about. In a short time, they’ve amassed hundreds of thousands of views and made some very famous friends. We were lucky enough to sit down with Dean and Elena, the husband-and-wife team behind Paraphine.
We found out about their influences, how they make their distinctive noise, what you can expect from their forthcoming live shows and much much more.
Paraphine really are like no one else out there. Remember where you heard about them first! Check out Paraphine’s new single, ‘Good Times’ and enjoy the interview.
How did you first meet?
Dean Korso: It’s a funny story – I was looking for a female singer for my new music project and one my friends from LA gave me Elena’s number. Before we met on a street in a rainy September evening I told her on the phone “You will recognize me easily – I’m the only crazy guy who wears orange pants in this dirty weather”. She told me “It’s funny but I’m in orange pants too”. We sat in a restaurant and didn’t order food for 2 hours because we were so enchanted by each other and just couldn’t stop talking. Nobody knew then that I met my future wife and she met her husband. We went through a really tough time before we got married but it’s a different story, maybe one day we will film a movie about that. It was a true battle for our love and lives.
What does Paraphine mean?
Dean Korso: It’s just our own word that has the right energy, it’s a mixture between paraffin and morphine, so we made own ingredient that is soft and plastic as paraffin but dangerous and addictive as morphine!
You are one of the best up and coming EDM/Pop Duos we have encountered on the internet! And your latest track “Good times” is one of our all time favorites. Our question is how do come up with your melodies? Also, what is your creative process like?
Elena Korso: Oh thank you! Melodies are Dean’s part of the work – he is really good at it, he even holds songwriters master classes. He is very experienced because he is the CEO of Backstage Secrets educational project for producers and mixers and the founder of the Pantheon production company, that works with legendary producers such as Jimmy Douglass (Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Pharrell Williams), Mark Needham (The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Pink, Moby), Matt Wallace (Maroon 5, Faith No More) and other big names. But behind every song we have spent a lot of time building the ideas and rebuilding them again and again. “Say It Out Loud” took almost 8 months, we can make an album out of the melodies that were thrown out of this song! We spend most of our time at our home studio, it’s so good that you can make a song even in the bathroom! Sometimes Dean can wake up in the middle of the night and record some ideas from his dreams, it’s really cool, except for when he wakes me up.
Dean Korso: Usually we are collaborating with arranger and sound designer KILLA, who’s worked with me on Paraphine’s songs. Sound design is a very important part of the process now and we always pay maximum attention to it.
I always prefer to start from a vocal melodic line and build all of the instrumental around it. We recorded vocals in Los Angeles with another good friend of ours – mixing engineer Ben O’Neill (Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Mutemath), who’s actually mixed the song. One of the most interesting moments for me is working on backing vocals, it’s like a magic when you hiding lots of vocal elements in the mix, they are not really evident but they can make song’s idea much sharper.
Elena is a strong experienced vocalist, she is also very flexible, she can catch all we need in minutes, put her energy and vibe inside of the line and voila – magic happened!
Our good friend, an amazing mastering engineer, Chris Gehringer (Chainsmokers, Rihanna, 21 pilots, Halsey, Lady Gaga) is always finishing the process. He has such a great taste and skills so I never even ask him about particular things, he always knows what to do.
So as you can see it’s definitely teamwork.
Your first track “Say it out loud” is another great example of how capable you are as a producer/singer duo! The mixing is on point and the melodies/ideas are out of this world! Could you tell us more about your studio setup and some of your favorite plugins?
Dean Korso: of course! I’m working in Logic and Ableton, mostly in Ableton during the composition process, the best mixing platform is Pro Tools for us. There’s no perfect DAW, but Ableton is pretty flexible if you are making electronic music. We are using only plugins at the time, no analog synths. Our main synth is Serum, on a 2nd row are Massive and Sylenth, sometimes Pad Shop is very useful. I love Omnisphere as a sampler but it’s easy to get lost in such a huge variety of presets because it’s not flexible enough as a synth. UAD, Fab Filter, Valhalla, Waves are always on a table. Ah yes, Kontakt libraries are important too. Hmm, it’s just too hard to name everything… And I’m using Fractal Axe Fx for the guitar parts.
Your signature sound reminds us of the sound of some of the greatest bands of the early 2000’s (Evanescence, Depeche mode among others) with a 2018 twist! How did you manage to achieve such a professional sound in such a short time? Can you tell us more about your musical background?
Dean Korso: Haha, you hit the mark! Depeche Mode is one of my favorite groups ever (except last albums). They did more than a lot and I don’t think modern electronic stage can get this amazing results without their contribution. But our background is various: Elena loves Stevie Wonder, Weeknd, Sade, Rihanna and most of her favorite artists are mine too. I grew up on heavy music, played guitars in metal bands but now I’m absolutely omnivorous – my favourite heavy band now is definitely Bring Me The Horizon, I will always love genius music of Simon Posford (Shpongle, Younger Brother), Halsey is amazing, Imagine Dragons, Lana Del Rey, also I’m a big fan of Max Martin and his team, I like almost everything he did for Pink, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, even for Bon Jovi. As for guitarists – my always #1 is Steve Vai, #2 is Nuno Bettencourt, but #3 is shared by many. And of course movie composers like Hans Zimmer – they are from another planet for sure. Sorry for the long intro)) Our sound is a team work, where I, Elena, KILLA and our mix engineer Ben decide what can make the song better. We always keep eyes on a ball and analyze what’s going on in the music world. The thing is not just to follow tendencies, but to predict and make your own actual sound. We are making almost all of our synths sounds ourselves, without using presets. Music is music no matter what tricks you are using, you just have to understand it’s rules, especially if you want to break them. My music background starts from guitar, I don’t have a formal music education but I spent some time in a jazz school. Now I’m trying to play almost everything that can sound. Not sure it’s always good for Elena’s ears but I’m trying my best.
Elena Korso: I graduated as a vocalist and worked in the music industry all my life. My side business is a vocal school for talented children, it’s called “Korso Kids”.
You have only started putting up music on Soundcloud a year ago and you are already getting hundreds of thousands of views! How does it feel to receive such a warm welcome from the community?
Elena Korso: It’s a pleasure if your music is inspiring somebody, no matter if it’s a few fans or thousands. But it’s always great when hundreds of thousands love our songs. In the beginning, you put almost all of your energy into it and when it comes back, it’s amazing. Thank you all for your love and support!
What are your goals for 2018? Any upcoming projects we can get excited about
Dean Korso: Tomorrow we will film the music video for our next upcoming single ‘Higher Lies’. It’s a deep and touching electronic ballad about all of the lies that surround us from birth to death, lies that sometimes feel like a painkiller that can help us survive in our tough world. We will film it in an abandoned lutheran church that has a right vibe. Our next single will be our cover of Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Doomed’ where Elena’s voice will be fully revealed. (She is a rockstar, haha) It’s not easy to compete with Oliver Sykes in vocal delivery and with Jordan Fish in melodic instrumental lines, but we did an interesting electronic version of this awesome song. Hope you’ll like it!
Elena Korso: After ‘Doomed’ we will release ‘Need You’, that I personally like a lot. This song is about a couple that lives in parallel realities, they are dreaming about each other but can’t meet in a real life. It’s a fantasy about common way of thinking about your perfect half that probably doesn’t exist. And I hope we will take a break this summer and go surfing on Bali!
Dean Korso: Yes, sometimes it’s a good idea to rest from music for a month and then get back with fresh ideas. After a vacation, we will start rehearsals to prepare Paraphine’s live shows. Nothing can compare with live energy on a stage! Fred and Chris, our friends, Nerdmatics’ founders (stage production company that works with Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Flume, The Glitch Mob and Halsey) will join us to help us make an amazing show for you guys! Have fun and keep your best music with you!
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