FD: Alone With Everybody
FD is back with another stellar release, this time gracing Lenzman’s revered North Quarter imprint with the eloquent sounds of the Alone With Everybody EP.
The 9-tracker sees FD at his most inspired, weaving a lush sonic tapestry throughout the release, and tying it all together with a handful of carefully constructed interludes.
Focusing on quality over quantity, FD’s back-catalogue paints an impressive picture of an artist not afraid to evolve, take risks and push the boundaries of his own production. Alone With Everybody sees him doing just that, even treating us to a superbly crafted ambient techno number, showcasing a broad sonic scope reminiscent of legends such as Calibre and the late Trevino.
We took the opportunity to catch up with the man himself to discuss the release and more…
Alone With Everybody… Vibes from start to finish mate. How long did it take to piece together – has it been a long time coming?
Nice one! Some of the ideas were a bit older, but overall, once we decided to go ahead with the project, it all came together quite quickly.
How did the link with Lenzman & The North Quarter originally come about then? You guys must go way back?
Yeah, we first met in around 2008 in London and I’d been a fan of Teije’s music before that, and we became friends over time. We talk regularly about music and as he’s been working hard on the label recently, we’d been discussing that too. I really like the aesthetic that he’s been building and what the label looks to be standing for, but thought it would be just for his music. I had a few half finished bits that he liked but didn’t realise it was really an option to sign them to The North Quarter. The conversation then came up again and regarding ‘This Is Now’ he said ‘oh I’d love to sign that’ – and I said yes please!
You linked on a sublime collab on the EP too – Baby Blue. You worked on Joanie’s Theme together a few years back, how was it getting back into the studio again for a release on Lenzman’s own label?
Joanie’s was done together in The Hague when Lenz lived there – unfortunately this one had to be done remotely, which involved less gourmet food being cooked for me, which was a shame. But it was fun anyway, and came about quite quickly. I just started an idea and then we bounced it back and forth until we were happy with it.
We both seem to be on this vibe of working quickly at the moment, and trying to find a certain spontaneity in the idea and sound we create. This helps with making tracks together as you’re not getting frustrated with one another if something takes too long or the idea starting to become stale.
The D&B community is such a tight-knit group, I often wonder how mad it must be to essentially be growing up with your peers and seeing each other reach various milestones in the industry?
Yeah it’s funny isn’t it, we all seem to be so close together sometimes, you often can really see what each other is doing and support one another with it. It’s really nice when it’s a friend too and you just see them developing musically and doing what they love and really believe in and people digging it – that’s a lovely thing.
Was Alone With Everybody produced specifically with The NQ and the label’s ethos in mind then?
Basically yes, it was. Initially there were a couple of tracks that Teije wanted, and when we decided to go ahead with the project, it was going to be an EP following in the vein of the label. I really like these concept EP’s that he’s been doing, and I felt that doing one of my own was really going to be a chance to flex out a bit musically, and try a few different things. We then built the rest of it up with this in mind, working and developing the idea of the EP closely together, with me sending him ideas and possible tracks, and then kind of curating the overall thing together.
The title is quite poetic, anything in particular inspire it?
Haha yeah, a real poet (you’ll have to find it yourself though). I thought it over for quite a while but somehow this title seemed to capture my mood currently. It doesn’t really relate to a musical thing, it’s more about how the world is these days, a political comment, or a comment in relation to social media, technology etc..
For everyone playing at home – the poet is Charles Bukowski.
Only You floored me. Such an unexpected track on the EP which really showcases your range as an artist, and your ability to reach beyond D&B. Immediately reminded me of Calibre and Intalex/Trevino’s broad scope. Do you think it’s important for producers to look beyond the genre they’re known for? And why do you think so few artists do this regularly?
I reckon it’s a time thing mostly. I really want to spend more time making other music as it’s really fun and really freeing, but I just find that I need to spend so much time on making drum & bass. I think it’s important for me to make other music as I really enjoy it. Suddenly all the rules and things you think you know go out of the window, and you just write, put an idea down. So, yeah, I think it would be great if more people did it too – you can start to bring other ideas, techniques and palettes into your ‘normal’ genre, and surely that can only be a good thing?
Absolutely. So can we expect more of this type of output from you in future?
I hope so, yes. I don’t know if it would necessarily be under the FD name though, but let’s see.
I love the interludes peppered throughout the release as well, which you don’t generally hear on EPs. Such a nice touch which makes for a proper listening experience. Were they produced after you had already completed the crux of the track list?
They were done in parallel with the rest of the tracks, after the first couple were locked in. I really enjoy those joining up bits of sound, and I don’t think of them as afterthoughts, and so wouldn’t make them in that way. I quite often play them in sets if I think people will be receptive to them, and I like the kind of mood they can often set.
Ice Cream is suave as fuck and a personal fave. The kinda tune that takes me straight to a beach at SUNANDBASS, cocktail in hand… How do you approach your creative process these days and where do you draw inspiration from? Do you go into the studio with a specific vibe in mind, or is it a case of experimenting until inspiration hits?
Thanks, I think it might be the most ‘fun’ tune I’ve made so far haha! I guess inspiration often comes from music that I’ve been checking and liking, but it can also just be my mood that day or what’s going on around me or in the world.
I’ve always loved listening to music since a young age, and that’s why I make music now, it’s just how that love has progressed. I try to take in as much music as I can, and there’s so much amazing stuff, whether it’s from 50 years ago or yesterday, and it’s all so accessible now. The hard bit for me is finding the good stuff, and then finding the time to listen to it all and give it the time and concentration it deserves. But that can often be where the inspiration comes from. hip-hop is one genre that I feel I really grew up loving, and I was (and still am) really into that sample digging and manipulating thing, and so if I hear a certain something that catches my ear, that can be a sure fire way to thinking of a track idea.
The tune with Fox is another smooth number. Was it written with him in mind, or around his vocals?
I’d had the track finished as an instrumental for quite some time, but wanted a vocal on it to just ramp it up that bit more. I’ve been wanting to do a track with Fox for a while, as I love what he does and after having done a few shows with him and been next door neighbours at SUNANDBASS, love his vibe – he’s a great positive force and it’s always a pleasure hanging with him (don’t tell him this though!).
I thought he could be the right person for this track and so sent it to him, and he just came in and made it his own and absolutely smashed it – that chorus though!
Perfection! You’re hardly new to the game, what’s the biggest change you’ve witnessed within yourself as an artist over the years, and has your relationship or view of the industry/ genre changed drastically?
I’d like to say that I’ve become a lot more confident in what I do and always know I’m making the right choices, but that would be a lie. I’m definitely better at being confident with stuff, but it’s always a journey for me with that. I’ve definitely become more confident in my ability to get an idea down and in those initial ideas though, and I currently feel that that’s the best way to write good tunes, so that feels like a good and big change.
My relationship with the genre certainly has changed, in that I kind of feel I have an inseparable tie to it now (maybe I felt that before, but wasn’t aware of it), and find it hard to look at it from the outside, if that makes sense? I feel like I have a good understanding of the genre and what makes good music within it and I guess that must be something that has come from being so immersed in it for so long.
I wouldn’t say that my view of the industry has changed that much – I feel like I understood how it operated for some time, but maybe some of the romance I used to it feel towards it has gone. I don’t see that as a bad thing though, it’s just what it is, and is a totally natural thing, just like with anything if you’re tied to it for a long time. I find it interesting how my love and passion for the music has shaped my life so much, in so many aspects. I read in Spirit’s recent interview for UKF that he called himself a ‘d&b lifer’. I knew exactly what he meant, and for better or worse, pretty much put myself in that category too, having seen lots of ups and downs with this all, I’m still here, and plan to be for a while yet!
Glad to hear it! So what’s next on the horizon for the rest of 2017 and beyond?
Studio time and writing as much music as possible and playing shows – I’m really looking forward to both!
Artists/ releases you’ve been vibing on of late?
The Redeyes North Quarter EP was ridiculous in my opinion, so so good, and I’ve been loving some of Alix Perez’s musical bits. Anile, Satl, Zero T, LSB, Total Science, Lenzman, Ulterior Motive – they’ve all got some wicked bits in the works, it’s worth being excited about the next year for drum & bass for sure!
Agreed! Final words of wisdom/ shout outs?
Words of wisdom: do what you want and not what you think you should do, and just follow your own path and what you believe in, there’s no point trying to be someone else. Obviously I’m talking musically but…
Shout outs: To Lenz, for believing in my music and helping to put together and develop the concept of the EP – and not cutting any corners, doing it right. To Isabel and my family for always supporting me, and all my friends who do the same. And to Fox and Tyler for smashing it out – killed it G!
Alone With Everybody is due for release October 13, pre-order here.