Ibiza Voice Podcast 550 :: Fred P
Download :: www.unlock.fm/9xy
Fred Peterkin is one of those rare artists whose dedication to truth flows like a river from every track he makes. Last year he had a boom twelve months, playing his first live show at the prestigious Mutek Festival, releasing the final instalment of his FP-Oner project on Mule Musiq as well as his second album ‘The Incredible Adventures of Captain P’ album from his Captain P project. To accompany his Ibiza Voice podcast, he delivered a heartfelt and revealing interview that discusses his battle with alcoholism and the moment of desperation that lead to his breakout release, New Horizon.
Ibiza Voice: How did you record the mix?
Using two Technics 1200s, a Pioneer mixer and my Tascam field recorder. I wanted to record a live, all vinyl mix although I had to play one track from CDJ and that was my remix of Cassy and Damir as I didn’t have the promo vinyl yet so I played the file. I was looking for a party rocking vibe, raw and to the point and there are no effects, except once near the end of the mix.
Where do you get your music from?
I have a few spots I got to in Berlin. I hesitate to say where because I like the amenity of just digging and bouncing with a stack unnoticed. I check promos all the time. I play most of them that I receive. I do that with most of the music I get from artist friends and the promo pools I’m linked to.
How much time do you spend digging a week?
It’s a constant process all week long. I [dig] in my downtime from the studio, I go online or at lunchtime, I may pop into a shop. There is no set pattern, I’m always on the hunt.
Tell us about your record collection?
I have had a few collections. My most recent collection in Berlin is what I like to call the Flat Stacks. It’s basically all the music I have collected since I moved into my flat (here). Prior to having a steady place, I would only buy music to play out on tour. However, [once] based in one place, I began to collect music for home use such as jazz, ambient and leftfield [music] just for my own inspiration. This is something I had not been doing for some years so there is a entire section of things that I listen to when in a particular mood.
Tell us about the scene you came up in?
What comes to mind is the [legendary 90s New York Club] Sound Factory. I would go there every week during and post high school. I felt I fitted in there and it made me feel a bit of freedom. I was into dancing all night and getting lost in the music. This led to me buying records to make mix tapes for myself to listen to during the week. That process inspired me to make music.
My first tracks were house tracks that I made to go with the music I was listening to. This opened the door for what I am doing now and I never stopped making music. There were breaks but I never stopped being creative musically.
What's been the biggest turning point in your career so far?
Releasing the New Horizon EP on my own label. It was a low point in my life. My relationship at the time of 10 years was ending, it was very early into my sobriety and I was very close to relapse. I didn’t know if I was going to have a future in the field of music and I was suffering from depression.
One night I was trying to sleep on a lumpy futon in the apartment I lived in with my ex-girlfriend, I couldn’t sleep, I was under pressure. I just had half of the stock of my third release returned to me from the distributor. I sold half but not the rest therefore I made no profit. No one wanted it. This added to my depressed state.
Feeling frustrated, I got up, switched on my gear and began to bang on the keys of my keyboard. I kept smashing my fingers into the keys, I broke Middle C that night. I was lashing out because I had no answers. I felt hopeless.
Then my fingers came down in a way I can’t explain and there was the first chord of New Horizon. I heard it through my pain and it became clearer as I played it over and over. I began to cry because in the midst of such darkness, this beautiful chord was for me, in that moment. I went with it and worked until the sun came up.
By that morning, I was finishing off the strings. My tee shirt was soaked. I had cried from the beginning to the end of this creation because I had no answer to any of my worries, I took it all and put it in this song.
What took place after, I have to say, was divine intervention. I put together the EP in the hopes of at least keeping things going. The record came out and took off. It landed on nearly every top ten year end list, either at number one or at least three.
My life changed after that completely. It makes me emotional every time I tell this story because there was no hope, no way, no light, no love, there was nothing. I was preparing for the worst and then came a new horizon. This is why I work so hard and make so much music and release as much as I can because of this opportunity to live again. The music has always been my friend and I will serve the music forever.
We live in the age of video tutorials and although there are lot of tutorials for the obvious things, very few teach producers how to make the kinds of records you make. How did you learn your trade?
Music is a language. It’s a higher form of communication. I learned the basics by listening. I feel what makes an artist realise their potential is curiosity and a drive to figure out the path to manifest their art. That in itself is the building blocks, in my opinion. When I was a youngster I would listen, watch and imagine. The same is true today. I love music so I’m always imagining and attempting something.
In the early days, I had some luck [in finding] someone that would help me to organise my confusion into things that made sense. The gentleman’s name is Greg Spooner. He taught me my first scales and how to make chords.
What I learned from him, and my need to get the sounds out of my head and onto tape, shaped my process. Today there are programs and VSTs that save you a lot of time, but the process to arrive at a result is priceless and I do not deny myself that. I learn from experimentation. I get good results, I apply that to the next thing and imagine the next step. It’s art and life mixed in a higher form of communication. I feel very fortunate because music is essential. I live for it.
What's the biggest challenge you've had to overcome in your life so far?
Getting sober by far was the biggest challenge hands down. Somebody came along at the right time and gave me a hand. I will always love this person because I tried a bunch of times with no success. He came along and helped me to figure it out. That was ten years ago. I’m alive today because of that person.
I’m not religious by any degree, but I have a moral compass and understand energetic principles. Getting sober helped me to get past my depression and helped me to see life with different eyes. I’m no saint and totally imperfect, but it’s a process and there is a soundtrack to that process and I am grateful to share it with the world.
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