It sounds weird and cheesy and you’re super critical of yourself. When we uploaded the track I was expecting everyone to comment and say ‘this singer is terrible! Sack them!’
When it comes to official artist-curated mixes, there are a handful of series that command Gold Standard status: Fabric, DJ Kicks, Rinse and Hospital.
This week Fred V & Grafix have stepped up to deliver the latest Hospital blend. Perfectly timed for all summer antics and beyond, it comprises 32 tracks – eight of which totally exclusive – and is something of a dream ambition for the Bristol-based duo…
“It’s actually been a dream more than releasing an album in some ways,” says Fred. “Hospital Mix 5, mixed by London Elektricity, was one of the very first mixes that got me into drum & bass. There’s been so many great ones since. Etherwood’s mix last year set the bar particularly high…”
Opening with a devilish double drop salvo of two massive tunes of 2015: Cyantific’s High Water Mark and Dimension’s Whipslap, it’s big business from the off with bruisers from the likes of Reso, S.P.Y, A.I, Proxima, Maduk and many more all featuring.
Most importantly: the Hospital Mixtape unofficially kickstarts a new wealth of beats from Fred V & Grafix themselves… Including a new album!
Besides 3D Glasses, which appeared on their remix album Unrecognisable, both Major Happy VIP and This Can’t Wait are the first new productions the guys have unleashed since their debut album Recognise.
“This Can’t Wait is me back on the vocals,” Fred explains. “I think it’s a normal thing among singers, but I hate the sound of my own voice! It’s a bit like hearing yourself being interviewed on the radio; it sounds weird and cheesy and you’re super critical of yourself. When we uploaded the track I was expecting everyone to comment and say ‘this singer is terrible! Sack them!’”
This Can’t Wait takes off where Fred’s vocal debut on Recognise left us. Inspired (albeit self-critically), he’s now writing more vocals – for both himself and other vocalists on future productions.
“I’m definitely more comfortable singing than I was to begin with,” he tells us. “Recognise was really weird. When I first presented it to Hospital everyone at the label said they liked it, but I thought they were just being nice. Then Annie Mac played it on Radio 1 so it was like ‘ah okay, maybe it is alright then!’”
“I love that so many people are doing it in drum & bass now; Calyx is just incredible, TC has recorded his own vocals for a while and Woody (Etherwood) has a beautiful voice too. It’s the one thing no one can copy from you. Once you’ve heard that voice, you always know it’s that particular singer. There’s like a tonal thumbprint that’s unique to you.”
It’s a tonal thumbprint we should expect to hear plenty more of as we can exclusively confirm that Fred V & Grafix are definitely deep into the creative process of their second album.
“We’ve got quite a few tracks finished and ready to go,” he tells us. “We’re not sure what the next single is going to be and we’re writing vocals for other singers to record. But we’re definitely looking at album number two for next year.”
Just before you start holding your breath… This could be any time next year. Long game enabled: Fred warns in advance that their technique doesn’t necessitate quickfire album shooting…
“We have a very slow process of writing tracks. Probably too slow!” he laughs. “There’s always one thing we want to tweak or change. And there’s a lot of layering in our sound so it takes so long to perfect and agree on everything… Especially when my vocals are involved!”
Hospital Mixtape: Fred V & Grafix is out now. Support: