Producer Fred Gibson, AKA Fred Again, is rarely out of the headlines these days: when he's not wowing Zane Lowe with his insane finger-drumming skills, he's leading fans on group bike rides around London or blowing up social media with a viral Boiler Room set.
All this hubbub has sparked our curiosity, and got us wondering how exactly the Eno-endorsed producer makes his tunes. Thankfully, Fred sat down with Jamie Lidell last week for a lengthy chat about his approach to music-making, as part of Lidell's Hanging Out With Audiophiles podcast.
In the episode, Fred revealed his love of in-the-box music-making, praising the "laughably limitless" possibilities of a laptop-based set-up and jokingly coining the phrase, "if you're bored of laptop, you're bored of life." He also dove into his musical origins, discussing how after starting off with a four-track recorder when he was 10 years old, he soon progressed to the Logic-centred set-up he still uses today.
"When I was 15, I got a laptop. So then I could do Logic every minute of every day," Fred told Jamie. "But what that meant is that by the time I met Brian [Eno] - and I know he wouldn't mind me saying this, because he said it himself - I'd spent so much time obsessed with making the laptop my main instrument, and trying to get better at it than I was at like marimba or piano, that my selling point was that I was just able to get around it so quickly, because I had just been using it every minute of every day. So I was very much set in my Logic ways by then, or my laptop ways."
Fred also recalled the moment he realized that Logic could handle MIDI instruments, after working exclusively with audio during his early experiments with the software. "My guitar teacher had Logic, and at the time, I was just used to the four-track, audio, plug the jack in, hit record. So I would use Logic in the same way. And I had my mind blown by all the plugins, and the way I could see the audio file and move things around and all that," he recounted.
"But then I remember the day that my guitar teacher just typed in 'new track', and hit software instrument. I was like... There's a whole other type of track? He was like, yeah, this is this thing called MIDI. I thought, are you mad?! Like... you can now change the individual notes and all of these sounds?! I remember that really well. I remember thinking, I really missed a trick here!"
Fred went on to discuss his experience of collaborating with Brian Eno, who he met early on in his career at a singing group the pair both attended. "I would go to the singing group, and we'd hang out after everyone left and he'd play me a new synth plugin he'd been messing around with, or something."
"Then I would go away for a week and work for 23 hours of every day, making hundreds and thousands of ideas out of this one simple plugin, so that I could then come back in the next Tuesday and look all casual and be like: oh, yeah, remember that plugin you showed me, I messed around with it a little bit. I'd always try making that really casual, like I hadn't just been awake for 72 hours straight."