Culture May 5th, 2017

Life After Zappos: Music Producer Planes

Create Fun and a Little Weirdness.

Yes, it’s true this fabled phrase is Zappos’ third core value, but it’s also the mantra of Las Vegas music producer Erisse Peterson’s life and work in music.

Her story begins at the age of 18 on the campus of Mississippi State. It was here where Erisse (who goes by Planes) took her musical prowess and followed her growing interest in rap.

“I’d record tracks here and there for fun,” she says. “It was pretty cool because people were digging the music I would put out, and they encouraged me to keep going.”

While studying for her degree, Planes befriended two producers, 100STACCS and FLYWLKR, both of whom she credits with helping her find her true passion in music.

“I got to a point where I just didn't want to take rap seriously. I couldn't find any producers who understood the sound I wanted, or the vision. It was kind of frustrating,” recalls Planes. “But witnessing their creative process really motivated me to find my own sound and dive into music. I became fascinated with both the rap side and the production side, and it was because of them that I pursued production.”

In 2015, Planes joined the Zappos Family and worked in the Customer Loyalty department. Her tenure was short-lived, however, as she left this past February to explore other career opportunities, including her love for music.

Fast-forward to today, after two months of hard work, and Planes is dropping her first EP, "SOMETHINGMISSING," with The Fader. With a self-described style of chillwave/electronic/synthetic pop, her collaboration with other artists, Heart of Troy, Shea, IRBYY and quaviusblack, is sure to bring a soothing blend of mellow, ambient sound.

“I love to make fun, synthy tracks that you don’t typically hear these days,” exclaims Planes. “Everything on my project is produced with a virtual instrument.”

I recently caught up Planes to discuss the release of new EP, musical influences, the creative process, and what she hopes to accomplish next.

How did you go from rap to chillwave, and what piqued your interest in this downtempo style?

I’ve always liked electronic music. I’ve always been inspired by artists like Daft Punk, but then I found myself stumbling across chillwave artists, like Toro y Moi and Neon Indian. I fell in love with the genre because the sound is just so unconventional. It has lots of heavy reverb, distortion and sick synths. It’s definitely my favorite.

Create us a Spotify playlist of artists and songs that have inspired your work.

In what ways does this style of music embody your personality?

I like to think I’m a pretty “chill person” and I’m all about good vibes. Plus I’m always dancing. The music I make describes my personality in a nutshell.

Who/what are your musical icons/influences?

Well, one for sure would be Isaac Hayes. Isaac Hayes was truly a legend and my favorite producer of all time. Nobody will ever compare. I remember the first time I heard “The Look of Love.” Life changing!

When you’ve hit a wall, where do you look to find inspiration?

I find inspiration from many things, but I’ll say it mostly comes from experiences. I make sounds that kind of emulate a mood. If I’m lonely, I’ll make a beat to reflect that. Or if I feel like dancing, I’ll make something more upbeat!

From creating to now producing, how would you say your music has evolved?

The beats I was making were quite minimal, and I couldn’t really execute them the way I had heard them in my head. It took a lot of effort and practice to start bringing these sounds to life. I’ve also developed my own sound, as well as the visual aesthetic to accompany it. Everything should come as a total package.

What unique challenges, if any, arose as you were finalizing the EP?

Yeah, this past Sunday when the headphone jack on my MacBook decided to stop working! I was freaking out because this was literally days before the release. I was like “Oh my God, this is not good.” I needed to be able to play these tracks on speakers and headphones before I finalized everything. I was so stressed. Luckily, I found one of those sound card USBs, so I was back in action.

If you had to choose, what’s your favorite track on this EP?

All of them. Every single one. Since it's an EP and its pretty short, its hard to choose just one. All of my artists did a great job on their features and really made it their own. I just can’t choose!

Now that this is finished, what’s next?

I’ll be looking for a band, and I’ll be working on a project with Heart of Troy in the fall that I’m super excited about. There will be a few videos released for songs on the EP throughout the remainder of the year.

What advice would you give our readers who want to create their own music?

Just go for it. I was nervous about putting myself out there due to my own self-doubt, but when you finally just let go and work hard to perfect your skill, it’ll come together. Remember to just be yourself and make music you genuinely like. That’s how I started — by making music for me — making sounds that genuinely made me happy. Start there, and the rest will follow.