Just like contemporary hip-hop can feel far removed from its founding pillars (rapping, writing, b-boying & DJing) nowadays house and, more widely, dance music seem, sometimes, to get farther from, well, eliciting dancing. Under his main vehicle, his side conceptual moniker of Black Jazz Consortium or his occasional guise Anomaly, the Berlin based New Yorker Fred P. has been a quiet force channeling the very essential motion at the core of this music and culture for the last 15 years.
With influences reaching to the roots of American black music, UK’s broken beat and beyond, his unmistakably hypnotic brand of dance music is now occupying a central role in a scene over, below and parallel to the radar of marketed flavour of the week trends; one that is not looking to convince but to transmit a vision, constructing a message.
After releasing what is possibly the best house album of 2019 under Black Jazz Consortium, a slew of dancefloor movers that seem to suspend the listener in a timeless space and a series of very singular remixes, Fred P. comes back again with an incredibly soulful number for Apparel Music’s 10th anniversary double vinyl compilation.
To celebrate the release of this compilation and his contribution we asked the equally talented DJ to record a mix for us and sent a few questions to try to get some more insight into his vision and craft.
How have you been doing lately considering the strange times we are going through at the moment?
I have been the same as everyone all over the world doing my best to stay safe while watching waiting and hoping for a resolution to the current situation.
In an article from 2016 you mentioned that you were thinking about retiring the Black Jazz Consortium alias after the fourth album (Evolution of Light). The title itself seem to bookend the journey started with RE:Actions of Light; stylistically, also, with the return of more broken beat rhythm pattern. Is that still your plan?
I felt I reached a place where I wanted to end the project however I found new inspiration by the collaboration process. I learned to keep and open mind not just in music but life itself.
Could you elaborate on the reason that drove you to make this decision?
I have been traveling to Brasil over the years and always wanted to work with musicians there. It’s a familiar energy and unique story and I wanted to learn from that. Therefore while on tour I connected with some really amazing talents and my mind was opened to new possibilities.
What differentiate the writing of a Fred P versus a BJC track/album?
Concept and approach. These two things depends on the inspiration. There is entirely another thing going on with what I’m translating. What I mean by that is it’s not just for one environment or situation. You can be anywhere doing anything and what is going into your ears and mind will be the soundtrack.
How about Anomaly?
This project is still an experiment under development. My hope is that is will become more apparent like a sculpture.
Talking about your contribution to the compilation on Apparel Music, From The Other, what’s the context of this track?
Translation of something from somewhere else. It’s quite literal.
Where does it fit among your later productions?
For me it’s not a matter of fitting. There isn’t a matter of uniform or section, I create and move on so to say where would this or that fit doesn’t really make sense to me as it’s all information translated for the people.
I noticed that you have been using more voices on your newest productions whereas it seem this element was not often featured on your older material (especially under Fred P). Is this a conscious change?
Song with words are important. When the process is organic the song writes itself. Therefore if I’m really about the music I have to be open to what appears. My service is to the music and the music is for the people.
How do you view the place of the “human instrument” in this “machine music”?
In my opinion the machine is an instrument the human makes the music. However there are people out there that rely on machines to do it for them however these people are not musicians. Sadly this more popular than soul searching and being dedicated to your art. However I live by and for my art therefore machine or acoustic or tin can I can get something out of it. Thus humans make the music the machine is just and instrument.
You mentioned numerous time that your life revolves around an almost daily routine (only broken by touring) of spending your time in the studio making music from morning til night. Could you describe your creative process?
Sit down and work, shape mold. Rinse and repeat. Do my best to update learn something new apply and repeat. The goal is become a better translator.
Are you driven by a particular concept or idea when you start making music or are you just channeling inspiration through improvisation and see where the road leads you?
Music is a gift to this planet and I’m honored and very fortunate to have be given the gift one if able to communicate that. Which is inspiration enough for me.
Do you feel that living in Berlin, Germany and Europe in general has changed you, your vision, your sound?
It has widened my world view and I’m grateful for this.
What is happening with your label Soul People Music?
On hiatus at the moment.
It seem you were part of a tight knitted community back in the USA, have you found in your new home as well?
I’m grateful for the true people in my life I will leave it there.
Has the move to Europe helped fomenting new alliances?
From seeing you live and after having heard numerous mixes you have recorded, the material played and approach is wildely different. How do you usually approach a recorded mix?
The approach is simple I play what moves me. I’m looking to the future and future music although it’s great to pull classics however I’m fascinated with new music.
Could you tell us what we can expect from the mix you recorded for us?
Party rock and some deepness a bit of the light hearted hopefulness, that idea may seem cheesy but I think the world can use some of that right now.
Interview by Bowly aka OJPB