New York has always been a metropolis that harbours that continuous cultural catalyst as its lights recede every night, that’s no secret. Perhaps what’s even more pressing, is the strong sentiment that its burrows, perhaps Brooklyn in particular, are representing that spirit of electronica more so than ever. The parties and artists that have emerged from that part of the world have certainly impacted the scene of late, none more so than our guest this week. The founder of Soul People Music, and shadowing the alias of Black Jazz Consortium, he’s progressed from his early days of producing hip hop and has levelled his assault firmly on those subsonic transmissions associated with his imprint, and no doubt the cities of the world that are comprised of a heavy touring schedule.
That lands us to this coming week. The East Coast is fronting for his return showing in Australia. Brisbane’s Subtrakt crew face up to kick the tour off this coming Thursday April 17 at Capulet, followed by Inner City Savanna on the Saturday in Melbourne, and closing with Mad Racket in Sydney the following Saturday. There’s a lot of big things happening this year already that are yet to be announced, but this is one of the best. Get onto this Australia. Fred P lines up Kana Broadcast 046.
EC: First up, there’s been a lot of praise directed towards your corner of late. How does that work in with your own personal direction, and I don’t just mean music. I mean you’ve been doing this for around 20 years now, so it’s probably more a spiritual thing as well. How does that fit in with your ‘soul’ ?
FP: I am grateful. Focus always forward..Honest self expression is a good thing for life in itself. Suppression or regression of that or even stagnation is the opposite. So for me I have this thing where I create things out of sound. I stay true to it for as long as I can remember and it gives me an outlet. That alone is medicine for life.
EC: …and obviously Soul People Music is a big part of your work, and your ideology circumnavigates the concepts of the the present whilst filtering into the future. What’s the purpose of it in respect to the world you want to construct out of it?
FP: Soul people music is an alternate universe. A left turn if you will. When you put it all in perspective you see it very clearly. There is something special there, however it is like a treasure hunt. I honestly did not have a preconceived idea of this. In the beginning it was just my own music. Then it became more diverse. What unfolded was a gift that I could not ask for. Thus a opportunity to honor and create in my own way a musical landscape in this space and time that is it’s own.
EC: Well it’s been some 9 years since you founded it and a lot of label owners go through a fairly big learning experience throughout the process. How did the project kick off, and what did you learn most from it along the way? The do’s and don’ts?
FP: SPM started digital I did not know it was possible to make a physical record I simply didn’t know how. Also having not such great experiences in the industry with shopping music digital was the best option. Why? My priorities changed after so many failed attempts. I was not making music to get signed anymore. I was making music because I love it. I wanted to share it and after a few digital ep’s I was given a opportunity to do my own thing. SPM became physical when I decided to quit making music all together. At that period I was in a bad space mentally financially and emotionally. My being was in conflict and I wanted to continue it, but it was not feasible. So I made up my mind to stop and focus on a job that would sustain my life and somehow a future family etc.. Honestly I thought that’s what you do. I wrote the album called reactions of light as a love letter to dance music lovers. I pressed up a limited quantity of CD’s and released the album. A couple local record shops picked it up. A few weeks later a opportunity came to work with Jennifa Mayanja. I was always a fan of hers. Of course I jumped at the opportunity that led to meeting her husband Jus Ed. I owe him because he tought me how to make a record. From that point forward SPM became a vinyl label.
EC: If we looked at one face of the process, say distribution, how does that sit with you regarding how distributers are functioning at the moment, given you’re pretty directed towards vinyl at the moment. What do you think they’re doing right in general, and what could work a little better? (most people aren’t aware of how this work, so your insight would be great)
FP: As time goes by you learn to mature and spread out. In my experience I would say if you have the opportunity, try to have a clear vision of what you are doing and where you are going. What not to do is ignore having a clear vision. I can not complain about anything, the idea is get the music into as many hands that want it. Make it available, that’s the best you can do. Still it’s a work in progress but still it is progress.
EC: Digital distribution is obviously one sector that’s undergoing a change as far as the underground networks are concerned. There’s a lot of artists using various facilities to get there music out there. Have you ever thought up your own system that you think would best benefit the artist directly?
FP: Yes I have, digital can be an amazing point of access. However the piracy element does not inspire a supportive audience. What happens is a devaluation of the material being presented. There is no quest to give value to the experience of obtaining an artists work. Going to a record store and digging is an experience. Following an artist and buying into his or hers journey is an experience. Web stores are great, but in my opinion it’s difficult to break through. They are like expanding oceans deep and wide. How can you find anything? Most of the time you find everything you don’t want. There is no A&R being done on that side of things, and if it is, it’s not the right kind. It’s far better to self distribute digital, but how to do it without pirates stealing your work? CD’s are better and I see that side of the market making a come back as well. Take a look at what’s happening in Canada. Until digital products can be protected there is no way to insure the proper return to the artist. I use digital as a means of promotion and a way to give back to the people. Soundcloud and band camp are pretty good in that way. However most, if not all my content, is on vinyl these days.
EC: That brings us to today, and you’re pretty close to landing in Australia for another tour. What’s really been your focus of late and where’s it going, be it the label, your own creative vice ventures outside of that.
FP: SPM is slowly becoming a network. From the label to the weekly radio show and vemo channel, there is a development into other forms of communication. Earth Tones and Boards have made the dialog more vast and opened the door to tell a more detailed story. Approaching the 10 year mark is a mile stone for anyone in any profession. For me I am honored and humbled, yet invigorated and full of enthusiasm. Technology is great and getting better everyday. The people are excited to hear what I have to say in this alternate universe called soul people music. I am even more active production wise than ever. My goal is to be as creative as possible in any form and share it. This is a special time, this music is New Age. It is the 21st century and as of right now it is the unfolding of the future.
Fred P plays –
Brisbane – Subtrakt – Thurs 17th April
Melbourne – Inner City Savanna Sat 19th April
Sydney – Mad Racket – Sat 26th April
Elliot Clarke, Tuesday April 9 2014