Fybe:One Biro’s And Bass

It’s been around five years since Fybe:One and I last spoke so when I received a promo copy of his “New Soul Music EP” I knew I had to get in touch. An accomplished graphic designer and artist he also pushes the boundaries of electronic music fusing garage, bass, hip hop and soul as a producer. This release features his first experiments into the territory of 160+ beats per minute, the result is a refreshing twist on modern drum and bass with a healthy injection of UK hip hop thrown in for good measure. True electronic fusion that is both a confident introduction to his trademark sound as well as proficient execution of a genre well outside his comfort zone.

I caught up with him for a quick question and answer session.

Introduce yourself to anyone that is wondering “who is Fybe:One”?

Hey! Fybe:one is the alias I’ve been going by for all of my creative outputs… so that’s music production, illustration and graphic design.

How would you describe your music?

It’s pretty varied tempo and mood wise so I wouldn’t mention any genres. I’d say it’s very melodic, pretty experimental and hopefully interesting! It’s not music for the dancefloor.

What does your studio setup consist of?

It’s pretty basic… Logic, midi keyboard… I’ve got an APC40 I sometimes mess about on too.

How would you describe your art?

I love drawing animals, birds especially, and will often combine these natural images with some geometric elements in Photoshop.

What are your art weapons of choice?

I always work with a Biro when drawing as I love the shading and texture I can achieve with it. Plus Photoshop as mentioned above.

It was three years ago that your Elements LP was released which was the perfect amalgamation of your art and music, can you explain how you came up with the overall concept?

It started as an EP and I kept making better tracks to go on there so it developed into an LP. I worked closely on the art concept with talented photographer and very old friend of mine, Nick Rochowski. We listened to the music together and picked it apart trying to think of real life objects that could reflect the musical ‘Elements’. We used dry ice / smoke to represent the hissing airy noises, stones and rocks for the percussion / heavy sounds and water for the melodies. So, it’s also a kind of take on the traditional ‘Elements’ (Earth, Water, Fire, Air).

You’re about to release the “New Soul Music EP” on Diffrent Records, how was this project conceived?

I’ve been working on and off with Diffrent for a while. Contributing tracks for compilations, doing remixes and collaborations but never released a solid EP for them so it was a long time coming.

What can people expect from it?

It’s a bit of a change from the Elements stuff and a lot of the House / Garage tempo tracks I’d been doing. The label release mainly DnB and half time stuff so it’s my take on that. There are still similarities and consistencies in the sounds I use as with my other tracks but tempo wise it’s mainly sitting around the 160 bpm mark. I enjoy working out of my comfort zone and challenging myself. Mood wise I feel there’s a mix of dark / light. I worked with MC Sense (another old friend of mine I’ve been making tracks with since I was producing straight hip hop back in 2005 or something!) who features on 3 tracks and also Hyroglifics collaborated on a track too. Lakeway has produced a remix of one of the songs too.

The EP features members of the extended Diffrent family, how do you tackle collaborations compared to your solo productions?

As I said, I’ve been working with Sense for ages. Unfortunately we couldn’t get into the studio together but I fully trusted he’d bring the goods anyway! And he did! I just made the basic track / loops and then worked it around the vocals later. Me and Hyroglifics had been talking about collaborating for a while, I started the music and then we just passed it back and forth until we’d had enough!

You surround yourself with expressive and creative people do you find this helps with being productive personally?

Yeah, totally! I consider myself very lucky to have an amazing network of cool, like-minded and talented friends around me. It definitely inspires me to see my friends doing well and constantly provides opportunities to collaborate together.

You have hand drawn 20 CDR covers for this EP, what are they of and who’s idea was that?

Yeah that was my idea! As I said, I like to set challenges for myself, although I did slightly regret it when I realised I don’t have the time to hand draw 20 CD covers! I do like to try and combine the art and music though and thought it would be a nice touch. Also, Diffrent Music have a DIY mentality too and often create their own packaging so it was my take on that.

You also co-run a label called “Shades”, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Shades has been going since 2011 I think?  We are a group of like minded music fanatics who wanted to get great, unheard music out there. As well as some of our own music too of course!

You’ve recently remixed Motsa and Boxwork, are there any other artists you would like to work with?

Ah, so many! I think the kind of artists I would like to work with are people who can bring a totally different angle to what I do. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jono McCleery, and it doesn’t get much better than that! I think Anderson Paak is incredible and would be interesting to work with, Jordan Rakei too. Hopefully I’ll be collaborating with Persian Empire soon!

So where do you go from here?

I don’t really have any musical goals as such and I’ve tried to keep music as something I enjoy making as I’m not trying to gain anything from it. Sometimes when your passion becomes your career, it can kill the magic and you start focusing on everything but the music. I’ve made graphic design my career and I create visuals for clients, working towards their vision, which I enjoy. I’m lucky to be able to live off one of my talents, but I don’t want the same with the music. Maybe somewhere down the line I’ll get into video. I’ve been learning bits and bobs but I would eventually love to be able to make videos to go alongside my music, fully integrating the visuals and audio.