UK based producer fwdslxsh has just dropped his debut EP The Fall and it's smooth as silk.
A member of London-based art collective Last Night In Paris, fwdslxsh's style is fresh and enriching. It's surprising to learn that he's only been producing for two years, as his music is finely polished. With a steadily growing fan-base, we can expect to see more and more of fwdslxsh's impressive work.
I managed to catch him in between studying for his degree and releasing his debut EP, for a quick chat about The Fall and what else he's got lined up for us in the near future.
EARMILK: Standard question, how did you come up with fwdslxsh? I'm sure everybody asks you that!
fwdslxsh: It was a random thing if I'm honest. When I started producing me and my friend were just brain storming. He's into branding a lot and was like "what about 'fwdslxsh'? You can't spell it like 'forward slash' otherwise people won't be able to find you on Google." I didn't really go with it at first but you see it and you don't think of anything else other than the music, so that was the idea.
EM: Cool, that's a good enough reason! So how did you get into music, what triggered you to start producing?
f: I've always been a music-head. Sorting out my iTunes and stuff, I'm that person who finds a track with no artwork and goes and downloads it. In my first year of uni I used to go to these little jam sessions, which was just a bunch of musicians who met up to play stuff. I'd just bought a piano too; I used to have a guitar but my friend broke it, so he paid me the money for it and I bought a piano with it. They played me some music from some producers, which blew me away. It made me realise I wanted to start making that kind of stuff.
EM: How did you get involved with Last Night in Paris?
f: So last summer (2013) the boys hit me up and were like "Yo, we wanna put you in the team". I already knew about them so I instantly said yes; it's been a perfect relationship since then, they're like family.
EM: So you're loving it?
f: I'm loving it. Big things are about to happen man, I'm so excited.
EM: You've been compared to the likes of N*E*R*D, you must be pretty proud to be part of something like that?
f: I can't even put in to words how proud I am. That's unreal man, to even think that people can put you in the same bracket as the music you listened to growing up… it's unreal.
EM: Did you always see yourself getting in to music when you were a kid? Or were you like, right this is something I love so much, I've got to do it?
f: I've done loads of different stuff, like at one point I was really into football but I gave that up, then I was really into graphic design and I stopped that; I didn't want music to be one of those things that I didn't follow through. The love I have for music is unlike anything I ever done before.
EM: That's cool. You're studying at university at the moment, where do you see that going? Is that just a back up?
f: Yea that's the best way to call it, it's a back up. Obviously I didn't start producing till I was already at Uni. I just thought "I'll try this subject which I like and see what happens" and I just happened to fall in love with production.
EM: So you're in your last year of studying now? What's the plan afterwards? Focus on music?
f: Yea I've got some singers who I want to work with, I want to completely change the sound direction of what's on my SoundCloud. The Fall is just the beginning man.
EM: Listening to your music you can kinda tell that your influences come from loads of different areas.
f: Yea I like to try new things, I obviously have a sound but I want to change people's perception of that sound, I guess so people would go "ooo, I didn't realise you could do stuff like that too".
EM: Like what?
f: Well I've made some jazzy hiphop beats for KC who's from Last Night in Paris too. I remixed a track with a producer called Kource and sent it to Ta-Ku and he put it in his Hypetrak mix, it's not actually out though. I don't know how people will take new stuff. I'm always a bit sceptical; are all the people that listen to my music fans of that sound specifically? Either way, I'm really excited to put some more stuff out there.
EM: Good! Your new EP The Fall just came out on SoundCloud? Free download?
f: Yea it's my first EP, I wanted it to be organic. Free music's the best thing - to be able to download it straight to your iTunes. I just wanted to put it out for free and then see where I'm at.
EM: I think my favourite track is "High Tide", I've listened to it so many times; you released a shorter version of that last year?
f: Yea, I decided to put a teaser out and save the longer version for this EP.
EM: What's your favourite song on it?
f: My favourite song is "I Need", definitely "I Need". Just because I think I sat on that for the longest. Sometimes I like to go back to my old beats that I haven't finished and work on them. That one was an old beat.
EM: You must have tons of those?!
f: I've got two laptops worth of unfinished beats. I'm gunna go back to my old laptop when I get a chance and just work on some stuff. I know there's some gems on there!
EM: What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
f: I grew up listening to a lot of R&B. Then the years coming up to uni it was straight-up hiphop, old school stuff – Little Brother, The Fugees, Slum Village etc. I used to listen to a lot of N*E*R*D; I just like that their music is so unorthodox. Sometimes it doesn't even fall in to the category of hiphop, but the hiphop fans embraced it, that's what I like about it. I always say, the type of music a person listens to tell me a lot about them. An open-minded person is open-minded in their music tastes too.
EM: What kind of music do you listen to now then? Everything?!
f: Everything haha. I've been listening to a lot of Daniel Caesar lately and I've been listening to a lot of Tom Misch. I honestly think he's gunna blow up, like seriously blow up. He's young as well!
EM: I saw him at Oval Space a few weeks ago. The crowd were so crazy about him and he looked so humble, as if he hadn't realised people even liked him.
f: That's when it hits you. You're like wow, people actually like what I do. I played a show in Vienna, it was my first show abroad so I had no idea what to expect. People were just saying "play this, play that" and I was like "What!? They know my tracks!" It's really good to be appreciated. For me to do something in my free time and to put it on the Internet, then for people to love it and share it with their friends… it's cool man.
EM: How much time do you actually get to make music? You're doing a degree, so you have to spend a lot of time on that?
f: You know, in the previous years it wasn't that bad. I'm in 3rd year now, so I've had to pick it up; I don't wanna leave uni with a shit grade. Right now I haven't got a lot of time, but whenever I get chance I'm making music.
EM: Yea you've done two years, home straight now! OK, if you could work with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
f: Anyone? I feel like I've answered this in my head a million times, but right now I'm just like… hmmm. Ok, ok, ah it's such a cliché answer! To say Pharrell is a cliché answer. It's between Pharrell or I'd love to make a beat for Frank Ocean or Justin Timberlake.
EM: Ooo good choice!
f: I don't know if that's got anything to do with "Beautiful" cus obviously we sampled him. But I'd love to make a vibey beat for him. I love that he disappeared for so long and has come back and is still as relevant. His last two albums are like scores: orchestras with strings, very cinematic. I like cinematic stuff, to be able to picture something, that's what I try to do with my music, create an image in your head.
EM: I read somewhere that you're not very fond of UK music. That makes me really sad.
f: OK that's changed since I said that. People who listen to UK music don't like when people branch out and make 'American-style' stuff. It's like you're from the UK so you should be focusing on the UK, so everyone tries to stick to that sound and I don't feel like it does a lot.
EM: Your record label is in the US isn't it? How does that work? (HW&W)
f: The Internet is a beautiful thing. I can just Facetime them on the random and have a chat. I'm not very good with emails and stuff so it's good to have the Last Night in Paris boys here and HW&W in the US sorting stuff out for me!
EM: You and the rest of Last Night in Paris are all quite inconspicuous online. What's the thinking behind that?
f: I suppose I'm not really a picture person. I can appreciate a good picture but I don't really like being in them. That's me as well, not just how I want fwdslxsh to be perceived. I guess people stay intrigued when they don't 100% know about you. Keep it to a minimum and let them find out about it on the way.
EM: So mysterious! This is a weird question: let's say you'd been born totally tone deaf, what would you be doing right now?
f: Errrm I probably be doing graphic designing or I'd be a film critic. I love films.
EM: What's your favourite film?
f: City of God
EM: What a film.
f: Never get bored of it!
EM: What's your plan for the next few months?
f: I wanna work on another EP or project. I want to maybe work with some big names, put myself out there. I just want to be heard, let people know what I'm about.
EM: OK last question for EARMILK readers: give us one new artist that you think everyone should be listening to?
f: Can I say Last Night in Paris?
EM: Haha you're a collective but OK!
f: I think everyone should look out for Last Night in Paris though, there's so much that's about to happen. Don't sleep! But I really, really like Jordan Rakei.
EM: Agh he's so good! Well thanks for chatting to us; we hope we hear a lot more of you!
Expecting big things from this talented producer, keep your eyes and ears peeled. Download fwdslxsh's brand new debut EP The Fall here.
- 25th November 2014