MBW’s World’s Biggest Producers sequence sees us interview – and have fun – a number of the best skills working in studios throughout the many years. The most recent instalment options Fred Once more, a British producer who’s labored intently with the likes of Ed Sheeran, BTS, and Stormzy. World’s Biggest Producers is sponsored by Hipgnosis Songs Fund.
You’re a younger producer. You’re all in favour of hits and success, but additionally within the nature and potentialities of sound. You need to collaborate with a spread of artists, throughout quite a lot of genres, and also you’re most frequently comfortable to be the man within the sales space moderately than on the quilt.
However you additionally need to pursue your personal, barely extra experimental initiatives, away from the highlight and farther from the mainstream.
Who would you like as your mentor?
Nicely, Brian Eno, clearly, the person who created that template. However, be life like. Or, alternatively, be Fred Gibson – in any other case referred to as British super-producer, Fred Once more.
The co-writer and producer on Ed Sheeran’s final two albums, Collaborations Undertaking No. 6 and = (each of which went to No. 1 in each the US and the UK), Fred has additionally labored with Stormzy, BTS and Romy from The xx, amongst others.
His first credit, nonetheless, got here on Eno’s back-to-back 2014 collaborations with Underworld’s Karl Hyde, Sometime World and Excessive Life. He co-produced each information, with Eno, of their entirety, aged simply 20.
In 2019, following an apprenticeship amongst the Gods, Fred had both a writing or manufacturing credit score on a staggering 30% of all of the UK’s No.1 singles that yr. Not surprisingly, he was named Finest Producer on the BRITs.
The next yr, he launched his first solo album, Precise Life, adopted by the acclaimed sequel, Precise Life 2, in 2021.
His significance inside Ed Sheeran’s present artistic staff, in the meantime, is illustrated by the truth that on No. 6 he produced/co-produced a minimum of 12 out of the 15 tracks (together with collaborations with Khalid, Cardi B, Probability The Rapper, Justin Bieber, Travis Scott, Eminem and H.E.R.), whereas on = he has credit on 9 out of 14.
Right here, Fred talks about two life-changing introductions, turning into one of the crucial in-demand producers on the earth in his twenties, and why there needs to be no such factor as an off day. Even if you happen to’re having an off day…
How did your large break come about?
It happened by no form of intention or plan on my half, that’s for certain. I used to be engaged on a bunch of various initiatives, and I used to be working with Brian Eno lots.
Among the individuals we had been working with fell away, considered one of them moved, considered one of them turned unwell, they usually had been all duos, so I stepped into these collaborations and ended up specializing in that for 4 or 5 years or so.
We have now to return and ask the way you got here to be ‘working with Brian Eno lots’?!
We met once I was 16. I did a live performance of this piece that I very grandly referred to as An Digital Symphony, for an orchestra, a band and a few rappers. Brian got here, he was invited by a good friend of a good friend. It was only a lovely coincidence.
He requested me to hitch his singing group and we turned superb mates. I used to be engaged on stuff with him and he would assist me with my stuff. After which we made the albums with Karl Hyde from Underworld.
It was an actual blessing. We’re nonetheless we’re nonetheless very near this present day.
It should have been arduous to imagine that, nearly by likelihood, as an aspiring producer, you’re all of the sudden being mentored by one of many best producers of all time!
To be sincere, I really feel that extra now than I did then – as a result of I used to be 17.
Funnily sufficient, Karl [Hyde] was extra like that, as a result of he had grown up with Brian’s music, and with Brian on the posters, whereas I hadn’t. In a bizarre method, that in all probability labored higher, as a result of it meant that I wasn’t overly awestruck, I used to be extra, like, come on, let’s make some songs!
However, in fact, as I become older, I admire it extra and positively develop into increasingly grateful for our relationship.
What had been an important issues Brian taught you? Not essentially technical issues, however maybe extra by way of the character of the job.
It might be completely non-technical issues, Brian could be comfortable to listen to me say [laughs]!
I feel essentially the most fascinating factor to me about Brian is he’s like a child. And I say that in nothing however an effective way.
After I first began working with him, I used to be the classical man, the man who had the speculation, and he would inform me to play one thing after which be like, ‘Oh my God, that was superb! What was that?’ And I’d be like, ‘It’s a C-major chord, it’s actually nothing to jot down dwelling about’ [laughs].
“the longer I work in music, and I feel this arc will proceed for the subsequent 50 years, the extra I worth precisely that intuition of somebody who’s unaffected and never on the lookout for something aside from the way it feels.”
However Brian could be listening to how it will sound and the way it will work in a specific a part of a specific tune, he noticed the whole lot in a much bigger image.
Initially, I form of didn’t get it, however now, the longer I work in music, and I feel this arc will proceed for the subsequent 50 years, the extra I worth precisely that intuition of somebody who’s unaffected and never on the lookout for something aside from the way it feels.
Your subsequent large break was assembly and dealing with with Ed Sheeran. How did that come about?
There’s a man referred to as Ed Howard, who’s Ed Sheeran’s A&R [and now Co-President of Atlantic Information UK]. I’d been working with him on a number of initiatives and he mentioned he thought the 2 of us would get alongside, so he launched us – and we actually did!
We have now a really comparable method, we each come from the college of wanting some form of self-discipline, working by it, even if you happen to’re not feeling on prime of your sport. We take pleasure in pushing one another.
We’ve each carried on writing in occasions the place you simply really feel a bit like, Nah, I’m shit immediately. As a result of issues may be alchemic, you may get previous that degree of feeling a bit garbage and actually good issues can simply all of the sudden occur.
We’ve realized lots from one another, for certain.
How does the artistic course of work between the 2 of you?
It’s principally at all times face-to-face, sat with a piano or a guitar and a laptop computer. We wrote the entire document earlier than the final one [No. 6 Collaborations Project] with simply my laptop computer and a set of displays in a home in Nashville.
We’ll possibly begin one thing on the guitar, typically over a beat, typically just a bit riff, after which go go go… The primary factor for me is to not get into that entice of manufacturing while writing; that’s a harmful entice.
“It’s extra just like the tune is doing the be just right for you, which is at all times a greater place to be.
I’ve discovered there isn’t a benefit in getting caught into manufacturing whereas writing, as a result of all you do is create shortcuts within the writing course of. There is likely to be a pleasant loop to work to, one thing to offer it a way of pulse, however then that’s it, then you definitely write a tune that doesn’t depend on any large thrills or [it relies on] shortcuts, like manufacturing cheat codes.
How nervous or excited are you in the case of launch an album like = that you simply’ve labored on extensively?
It’s prior to now for me by then. I imply, typically it’s six months after you’re executed. And by then I’m a lot extra enthusiastic about what I made final week or this morning.
What are your longer-term manufacturing ambitions?
I’m simply gonna preserve making music for 10 hours every single day and work with the individuals who encourage that course of. In the identical method that I may make plans a couple of tune, I may make plans about who I’m going to work with, however I’d moderately simply sort of go along with what occurs every day and try to work actually arduous at it.
What recommendation would you give to a younger producer simply beginning out?
I’d say hone the muscle of self-discipline. Similar with inspiration; it’s a muscle, and you’ll prepare it to be far more highly effective.
MBW’s World’s Biggest Producers sequence is supported by Hipgnosis Songs Fund. Traded on the London Inventory Trade, Hipgnosis was established to maximise the worth of music… whereas additionally proving that worth to institutional buyers. Music Enterprise Worldwide