Destination Brighton: Another singular soundsmith emerges from the Southpoint camp. His name is Freddie Martin.
Slowly creeping into the UK bass psyche last year with dramatic broken beat/bassline hybrids such as What Happens Now and The Antidote, this year he’s up-ranked with three significant dispatches so far. In January we had the break-busting Carnage with Dread MC. In March we had the guttural stomper What on Saucy.
Right now, though, we have Feel. Freddie’s boldest, most explorative document to date, across three tracks he spreads his sonic wings wider than ever and even provides his own vocals. We copped the title track but the whole EP is highly recommended. Last spotted on this site as a one to watch this year, here’s where Freddie’s heading…
I hear you coach tennis. Was the original plan to have a sports career before music bulldozed into your life?
Tennis was my life and the main priority for a long time for sure. But I can pinpoint the moment things started to change. I was about 14 and my mate’s older brother was doing music tech GCSE. He showed me FL Studio and I completely fell in love with it. I got it that night and started from there. By the time I was 17 it was less of a hobby and more of something I wanted to pursue.
Does this guy know what he started? Does he still make music?
No he doesn’t make music. He works with drones. But I say thank you every time I see him. I’ll never forget that day. He caused all this so I never let him forget what monster he’s started!
What did you start making first?
It wasn’t very electronic. I just got into it because I liked the technicality of it all. It was cathartic. It was less about making music and more about what I could do with the computer. I found it very endearing, and it helped me through a lot of tough times. Musically my inspiration is rock music. I love Muse. I was obsessed with them; the drama they create is so inspiring and unique. I know a lot of artists can rattle off loads of references and inspirations but for me it’s all down to Muse and wanting to create crazy weird stuff that’s never been heard before.
Making crazy stuff that’s never been heard before has got to be one of the best sources of inspiration?
Absolutely. I find conformity a bit mundane. That might sound a bit arsey, and I’m not saying all other acts do conform; there are loads who are making amazing music which I take influence from, but my main drive is to make something different and true to myself and get someone to question what bass music is about and music in general. I want to push the boundaries. I love the technical crazy thought provoking stuff that gets people wondering where the goal posts are.
The first time I heard you do just that was on the What Happens Now.
That was one of my very first tracks I put out. I wanted to put contrast in there with the elements. It’s airy and melodic and almost soothing in parts. Then the build up comes and there’s this riser and feeling of tension and when the drop comes in there’s a complete contrast. I like to get to the climactic part of the track and have people say ‘I totally didn’t expect that.’ That’s the best part of music. If you’re led to something you expect, there’s no surprise. I love getting those ‘where the hell did that come from?’ feelings.
The art of surprise. Something electronic music does particular well because of the extremities you can create sonically
Yeah. Bass music and the more technical and sound design stuff especially. Like Noisia and how they bring this unexpected turn of events. I love that. They’re a massive influence on me.
Bushbaby said the same thing in a previous interview. You’re on the same page there…
Definitely. A lot of us are on that page. Being around in a group with Harry (Bushbaby) and other guys there’s this push for our own weird bass thing. All the Southpoint lot; they’re a family who’ve driven me to be different. They’re never a collective who wants to see a cut-copy-paste artist and they support it from the ground up. it’s nice to be supported with whatever I want to do.
Big up Southpoint
Big up Brighton, too. There’s this openness to everything here. That’s where my open and varied tastes come from. There’s so much variety from the electronic stuff to all the bands. You pick up on that from being here.
There’s an interesting musical history in Brighton. Go right back to the mods or punk or Fatboy on the beach.
Yeah I think it’s a culture thing. People are in tune with creativity and there is a feeling like ‘if that ticks your box then go and do it’. A lot of prominent electronic artists coming out of Brighton are doing something different ands exciting. You’ve got Kideko and George Kwali doing cool things, you’ve got Taiki Nulight, you got Bushbaby, Zero, Distinkt… There’s a massive group – past present and future – that have taken that spirit and done something cool with it.
Let’s talk about Feel! It’s been a good year so far with the Carnage single and the Saucy release so far this year. This EP is another level up again, right?
That’s the idea. I wanted to take a break between releases and make sure what I came with was really different and represented what I can do musically. The idea was to have three chapters and concepts so as an EP it makes sense but they make sense as individual tracks.
And have that sense of contrast we were talking about
Sure. And the cool thing about Feel is that it’s got vocals from an old song I wrote when I was 15 called Feel So Good.
Oh cool. So when you say you came from rock you meant you play the instruments too?
Yeah I taught myself guitar and piano and sang a bit. Just really inspired by Matt Bellamy. Having those dramatic classic piano parts in heavy rock songs just blew my mind, and I bring that same awe into my own projects. So I wrote that song when I was 15 and it was one of the first things I put into FL studio. When I was writing Feel and remembered the vocal and thought ‘that might fit this’. I dug it out, pitched it around, did some production on it and it came together. I’ve brought together more of the elements of my musical upbringing. I’m so happy with the result of it.
Showing another level of your musicality
Yeah and it’s something I’ve wanted to bring it. It’s tough to do and to have the confidence. I love Shift K3Y for doing what he does in that way. It’s really inspiring and he’s so unapologetic about it. I love that. Maybe one day I’ll have the balls to not process my voice. I’d like to represent and explore all sides of my musicality.
Great way to avoid infamous singer longness…
Yeah, the immediacy is important. If I have an idea I can get on with it instantly and not wait for a response. Get the idea down there. That said, there’s a bunch of people I want to feature on tracks. I don’t want to dis vocalists!
Too late man, you already have. What else can you tell us about the EP?
Yeah, Limbo. I wanted to bring something dark and thought provoking when it came to writing that track. I wanted the first track of the EP to really be a demonstration of me and just how far I could take writing bass music. I’m a huge fan of soundtrack composition, and Limbo was hugely influenced by John Paesano’s A Better Beginning from the Mass Effect Andromeda soundtrack. It’s an amazing blend of electronic and classical components, and I aspire to hybridise bass and soundtrack composition in a similar way to his techniques. I wanted Limbo to tell a story; it’s got that sci-fi resemblance to it and I feel like it can take you on a intriguing journey through your imagination.
Job done. So what’s up with you and Bushbaby and Zero? You all see a lot of each other these days…
We’ve always wanted to work together since we’ve known each other. We get on really well, we’ve become close friends. Musically, our styles are similar, but we bring our individuality under that same umbrella I feel. We’re working on a track together at the moment, which has been really interesting creating something that brings a unique feel and represents all three of us. I’m excited for the end result! We got a few things bubbling but let’s just see how things blossom…
What’s blossoming next?
I got a track called 1995 which I’ve been teasing recently. I’ve got to shout out Holy Goof on this track. He’s been giving me some really amazing advice on what works on crowds and being a bit more focused with my ideas and arrangement. I’m a bit freestyle with my ideas sometimes and his advice has helped me reign it in. So yeah there’s that and loads of other stuff rolling up to the end of the year. I’m buzzing for people to hear it all!