Photography: Alex Reid
FD is back on The North Quarter this month with a new six-track EP: A Vision Of Hope.
Landing eight months after his evergreen Lanta Nights EP on the label, the new release features Fox and the first track lands today: Here With Me.
Like all releases from Freddie Dixon, expect the full D&B spectrum and plenty of contemplative moments along the way. Written during the intense early months of lockdown, the EP is the sound of an artist burrowing as deep as he can into his craft to shut out the frustrations and fears of the strange new world. As the title suggests, his burrowing was a great success.
The full EP lands March 19. We called Freddie in his Zurich HQ for more details…
A Vision Of Hope. This is you working through the challenging times of last year, right?
Yeah totally. Focusing on something to take me away from the world. When I’m in here, in this studio, I lose myself. I forgot how curative it is for a while. Obviously I do this because I love it, but it honestly does take me to a different place or a better place. It takes me out of any negative thought processes. Just before you called, I was completely lost inside a track I’m doing at the moment, a kinda techno thing.
Nice. At what point during these endless lockdowns did it come to life?
A lot of the ideas got written at the start of the year then were finished off later. But that writing period was March/April/May and I noticed afterwards that I definitely felt better during that time. Obviously there are other aspects like whether I’d been out of the house, or had exercise, but overall each of these tracks made me feel a lot better. They’re a complete distraction and I really burrowed down on them. We all need it don’t we? We need to see the good times. And I know that we will get there. But fuck me if it’s not really long and tedious and hard!
Amen to that. Your last release on The North Quarter came out during the peak of lockdown one. The most intense and emotional part of it all, I think. That must have been strange to be releasing a massive record during that time?
It was a bit gutting to be honest with you. A real mix of emotions, as seems to be the case with landmark releases. I had a lot of people whose opinions I really trust saying it was the best thing I’d done. That was quite saddening somehow. Like it was a missed opportunity or a tough pill to swallow. But as time went by I began to remember that at times like these, if anything happens, it’s a bonus. I have the opportunity to sit down to make this music, if someone who’s opinion I really rate enjoys it then that’s a bonus. I never want to succumb to the instant gratification side of things; if you do something you can stand by then it should have enough substance to it so it will stand the test of time. That’s what we should be doing as producers anyway, right? You don’t want to write something and go ‘oh wow that’s sick’ and then two weeks it’s gone.
Timelessness and trying to preserve some type of longevity is a dark art isn’t it?
Well I can’t speak for any one else but for me it’s just a case of being as pernickety as I can be. It takes me a long time to finish things. Sometimes I worry if I’m inefficient and can’t finish things properly, but I want to be able to come back to something I’ve done in 10 years time and say ‘yeah it’s alright, I still like that.’ Hopefully I’ll have progressed but I want anything to be the best it can be at that time.
Yeah man. Workforce quoted SP in an interview recently; a tune is like a tattoo, you can’t get rid of it once it’s out there!
Ah very good. Yeah SP is a good example of this. He’s got a handful of things out – as Code 3 or his stuff on Tempa. He must be really pernickety because it sounds like he’s right in there on every little detail. I can imagine Workforce is similar. That’s a good way to look at things. The right way.
You said you were lost in a techno-ish thing. What’s that?
It’s part of a collection of collaborations I’m doing. It’s been inspired by the current situation and how we’re missing that human connection. I was even talking to Smithy Total Science about doing a track over Zoom which never would have even been discussed before these times. They’ve been really interesting, though, because I haven’t done that many collaborations recently. I guess I was trying to find out who FD is which meant I had to be selfish in the writing process. When you collab you’re compromising aren’t you? It’s not ridiculous compromises because you respect each other but it’s still compromising. For the last few years I’ve been thinking ‘what do I want to get out of this? What do I want to sound like and how do I want to do it?’
This EP, Lanta Nights and your album are all part of that self-exploration?
Yeah, I would say so, and now I’m enjoying the collaborative process again and finding out what I can learn about myself. And I think when you find your sound, and people know that sound, then they will come with a certain vibe in mind, something that they think will fit with what you’re doing. For example if I was going to do a tune with Lenzman I’d think ‘right, I know your vibe, I know what to bring to the table.’
Cool. Sounds like you’ve come to the start of a new chapter…
Definitely. It’s been interesting and not all of it has been bad. We’ve just got to try and remain as positive or as hopeful as possible haven’t we?