Dutch don Fre4knc is steadily edging into the upper echelons of drum & bass.
His highly technical production skills have picked up the ears of a number of the genre’s finest labels including Dispatch, Invisible Recordings and Samurai.
His latest EP – Fre4knc – Systems 002 – just dropped on Critical. Featuring arguably his best work yet, it’s a five-track long smasher produced to an impeccably high standard.
“It’s really special for me releasing an EP on Critical – it’s one of the biggest labels for my sound and I really like what they’re putting out at the moment” he says. “I made some tunes about five years ago with Mindmapper and sent them to Kasra, who said he liked them but didn’t sign anything. Since then I’ve just followed my path and towards the end of 2014 he hit me up again asking me if I wanted to do something for Critical Music, and here we are…. A year later!”
We recently premiered the particularly massive Rotor from the EP:
It’s evident from this track that Fre4knc spends a lot of time on his production…
“I try something new with everything I make, which takes a lot of time. I could use the same samples and presets in every track but that seems like a boring concept to me, so I experiment with each new track” he explains.
But exactly how much did he experiment to conjure up Rotor? That scary, almost haunting noise in the intro and breakdown is one example; in true Fre4knc fashion, it’s not a sound he’s simply taken from a sample pack, but is instead the end product of some serious sound manipulation.
“I spent about twenty minutes running my finger around the brim of a glass with varying amounts of water in, trying to create some crazy noises, and then spent two days tweaking that recording in the studio to see how distorted and twisted I could make it sound. It took a lot of time but I feel that it really adds to the track.”
That’s not the only part of Rotor that is the by-product of hours spent fiddling and experimenting with random sounds, as Fre4knc explains…
“I was searching for a really open hi-hat but couldn’t find one I liked so ended up searching elsewhere. I somehow ended up listening to bird sounds and stumbled across a really weird one that I distorted the hell out of to make it sound like what I wanted. That’s the ‘open hi-hat’ you can hear at the end of each bar.
“I also worked a lot on creating the reese bassline – that was probably the hardest part of the whole process. A friend of mine is actually quite scared of it which is what I wanted to achieve! When you listen to my music you’ll very quickly discover that I like two things; weird sounds and darkness. This is especially evident in Rotor.”
What was the trigger for this obsession with sound manipulation, and indeed what was the trigger for Fre4knc’s career as a music producer?
“Several years ago, out of nowhere, I lost my job and had a lot of free time on my hands. I started making weird sounds around the house to cure my boredom and then began to make music from those sounds. The third track I ever made was signed by Noisia, so I guess that was a good start! Maybe losing my job was a blessing in disguise…”
Whoever fired Fre4knc from his job: we salute you!