A Letter From The Editor
He’s sitting across from me. Fred-fucking-Falke; pioneer of french house, Mr. 808 at the beach himself, bass line master, 1-degree of Kevin Bacon to T-Bang and Guy Man. He nonchalantly rests a leg on his knee, while I make awkward small talk and search through my phone for a voice recording app. A large oak wood table separates us. We are surrounded by Maori artwork and design, in what can only be described as a Tiki Boardroom. Before the interview begins we get to know each other; he is humble, kind and truly genuine.
DnM: Fred, let me just say it is an absolute honor and privilege to be here with you today.
Fred Falke: Thank you. I am very pleased to be here actually.
DnM: I’m happy to have you.
DnM: Let’s break the ice, something simple, something easy. What do you miss most, aside from friends and family, when on tour?
Fred Falke: Uhhh. My X-Box?
DnM: You are a video game player? What do you like to play?
Fred Falke: I’m playing Destiny. It’s awesome. I don’t get to play much, and I have been playing video games for a long time so I am very picky.
DnM: Well you’ve picked a good one.
DnM: The way I like to do interviews is sort of like a Christmas Carol, go over the past, the present and the future.
Fred Falke: Ahh, alright.
DnM: You’ve been playing piano since what 4? Give or take.
Fred Falke: Yes, on my grandfather’s then father’s piano.
DnM: You were in funk/disco bands in your late teens, as a bassist, and now music production for nearly a decade and a half. It’s been a long time coming.
Fred Falke: Yeah.
DnM: It’s been 15 year since you released ‘The Intro’ with Alan Braxe.
Fred Falke: Yeah, 15 years now.
DnM: And for me, Intro has stood the test of time.
Fred Falke: Oh, yeah totally.
DnM: And what I think the reason is, is the bass line and what’s most surprising is that when you break it down it’s mainly just D, A and F.
Fred Falke: Simple or complicated when it comes to music it doesn’t matter. When people dance to it, I think that’s the most important thing. When I create new bass-line or music, it’s all about the groove. It sounds very corny. But that’s what it is, it’s all about the groove. In terms of complicated, none complicated, it’s just what feels right. It can come in 5 minutes, or 5 days or 5 weeks. You never know.
DnM: Well considering you’ve said every song represents you, is a piece of you. What about that groovy-bass line represents you. Is it your funk background?
Fred Falke: Yes and No. I have played a few funk bands. Jazz Bands. I don’t listen to funk at all. I don’t have a big funk culture.
DnM: Without that inspiration or background and history, how does the groove come about?
Fred Falke: It’s just me going in. I’ve been through all the phases, jazz, funk, rock, pop. As a teenager I was listening to rock music, I never had a funk culture. I like Chic, but if you talk to any serious funk guy, Chic is too mainstream, but for me that is what I love.
DnM: What I am curious about is the majority of your songs, and I’ve been crushing your list of what’s nearly 100 remixes, they are bubbly, up-beat, and danecable. Which is a reflection of you, as you’ve said.
Fred Falke: Yeah.
DnM: But, what about the none bubbly, the none dancey, the dark remixes like your most recent Ghost remix?
Fred Falke: Nothing can be 100% dark, or dance, they are complimentary, and when it comes to the remix it’s just a matter of what does the song inspire me to do. And Mystery Skulls went dark. That’s what came out first, you know?
DnM: I’ve noticed a trend in your music is that you tend to have a bit of an affinity towards , and I’m not sure if it’s intentional or otherwise, female vocalists.
Fred Falke: Yeah.
DnM: What the cause for that?
Fred Falke: I don’t know, it’s not a choice. People come to me, I listen to it and if I feel like I can do something I like than I will. It looks like there are more female vocalist songs than male that come to me. For example I’m not listening to a track thinking and saying I could do a dark remix or I could do a happy remix. I listen to it. It has to be very natural and emotional because that’s what carries to people.
DnM: So there needs to be truth to a song?
Fred Falke: Absolutely. You have to be honest when you do this stuff. Whether it’s Golden Cage remix, or Intro as you’ve said standing the test of time, or Hot Chip remix, the thing is all these songs are done when I try to bring emotion to them.
DnM: A sincerity?
Fred Falke: Yeah, that’s what you want from music. Why do you listen to a piece of music 10 years after? It’s always the same feeling, emotion or vibe, it still carries this power. And in another 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, it will carry the same power.
DnM: Do you like to play piano outside of music your music production? What’s appealing about it?
Fred Falke: I do. I just sit down, open the cover and I play. Music has to be a pleasure first. Maybe sometimes I play and I say ‘oh this is good’ and maybe this ends up in a track, you know?.
I did this track, on my first EP, called ‘Part 4’the last track ‘Memories’ was done in one take. I mean, the piano part. It’s just like it has to be done that like because it’s very…
DnM: ‘Je ne sais quoi’?
Fred Falke: Yes. Very Je ne sais quoi.
Fred Falke: And it’s important. It’s very fundamental. For me it’s this emotion in music. It’s one thing you cannot tear apart, music with no emotion is music you forget instantly. Music that carries emotion is the one that talks to everyone. It’s like the soundtrack of your life, music. Some people go on holiday and they listen loud to an EDM track in their car, and that is going be the sound track of the summer. And someone is sad because they just lost their girlfriend they are going to listen to Jeff buckely. That’s it, you know, the soundtrack. It doesn’t matter if it’s up-tempo or down-tempo, or whatever, as long as it touches you.
DnM: As long as the listener feels that. The relationship between them and the artist. So is that why do it? To create that relationship?
Fred Falke: Yeah, that’s what you want. When I do track s or remix I am in a certain state or certain mood and the idea is to share this with the people and the same tonight when I’m going to play tracks – I’m like now I feel like i should drop this track, it’s an experience, where that’s what I want to hear now and people react to that.
DnM: So are your sets premeditated?
Fred Falke: Oh no. You can’t. If you do that your finished. Cause how do you know what the people want? That’s the basic of DJing. It’s just watching the crowd. Play a set, watch the crowd, did we connect on that track? Yes, next one, next one. If you do things ten right it’s fantastic. If it doesn’t work, then change the track. I’m here to have people happy, I want people to have a great night, the idea is take them from A-B and go everywhere in between. It’s not about syncing kicks to 127 BPM. There is absolutely no point in that – I’m going to play great music for 2 hours, music that I feel is right, music that I love. Let’s share that together.
DnM: I ask this question to everyone I interview. It’s more about the experience let alone the details. If you could any drug with any person past or present, who and what would it be?
Fred Falke: Okay, let’s try that. I’ll do absinthe, with uh, there is this composer from England called Gustav Holst. Early 20th century. I’m listening to his music and it’s a master piece.
DnM: And you want to know the emotion behind it.
Fred Falke: Yes.
DnM: Let’s just hope he doesn’t take your ear.
DnM: I think that’s it. I had a great time thanks for coming.
Fred Falke: Thanks for having me.