MTS 2020: Hertfordshire-born producer Jon Gooch, aka Feed Me (aka Spor, Seventh Stitch, Unicron and Snort & Leisure), has been making premium quality drum ’n’ bass and EDM (in that order) on labels including mau5trap, Renegade Hardware, Subtitles Recordings and his own Lifted Music and Sotto Voce, since 2004.
Feed Me’s debut album, Calamari Tuesday, dropped to great acclaim in 2013, and 2019 saw the long-awaited arrival of the follow-up, High Street Creeps, featuring the subject track of this Producer Masterclass - filmed last year - electro-house banger Satanic Panic.
Jon’s road to mainroom stardom actually began in the world of graphics, in which he’s still very involved today - he created the design for the evil-looking monster used to characterise Feed Me himself.
“I suppose it was a giant accident,” Jon laughs. “At school, I was completely focused on art and design. I played in an orchestra and had a strong affinity for music - I listened to a lot of classic vinyl as my parents had eclectic tastes - and I had an interest in electronic music and sounds, but I didn’t have an education in synthesis or electronic production.
“When I got on the internet in my mid teens, my life changed. I got some software, lied about my age and started doing graphics commissions and stuff for Microsoft - Xbox, stuff like that. That was the gateway to generating income online, and it made so much of the rest of my life feel black and white in comparison. I was so excited to have this new personality, community and existence online.”
Around that time, Jon also started playing around with a music application by the name of FruityLoops on his PC. Now known, of course, as FL Studio, it’s remained his DAW of choice ever since.
“I was making sort of Squarepusher-y, abstract stuff, and a friend of mine at school was like, ‘If you can focus this into an organised track, people might dance to it’, which sounded exciting. So from that, me and him started a drum ’n’ bass act, and that went on until we left school.
Then I got signed to Renegade Hardware [as Spor] in South London, did my first gig at The End in Holborn, and started my own label called Lifted Music - I ran that for a few years.”
Despite finding considerable success under his Spor moniker, Jon “didn’t have a huge attachment” to drum ’n’ bass, and so Feed Me was born in 2008. To say the project got off to a flying start is an understatement...
“I put some stuff online,” Jon remembers, “and the next morning on MySpace, I had a message from deadmau5! I went to London to meet him, and he signed me to his management company on the spot. I sat on the idea for a bit and didn’t do many new records, but then when I released my first proper record on mau5trap, my life changed gear pretty dramatically.”
So how did Jon’s second Feed Me album, High Street Creeps, come together?
“I felt like my first album was a sprawling mess, really. I had a really good reception from it, which I was grateful for, but I was never artistically satisfied with it, so for this one, I wanted something more finely tuned.
“It was written over a huge space of time in various places. I flew to Beverly Hills for a week and a half, and was in Trevor Horn’s studio at Warner Brothers, just meeting people I thought were interesting. The really hard part was bringing it all together in one concise piece, which took me way too long; but I’m pleased with the results.”
In this Producer Masterclass and video, Jon lifts the lid on how he made Satanic Panic, one of the centrepiece tracks from the new album.
This Producer Masterclass originally appeared in Computer Music 268 (May 2019)