It’s been a while since the last FatKidOnFire Presents feature. But we’ve been waiting for something special. The latest addition to the series sees us sit down with Canadian DJ and producer Fill Spectre.
Fred first appeared on our radar with a number of eye-catching tunes, before landing the (well-deserved) support of the one and only Joebama on the legendary SUB FM. That support snowballed into releases with our friends at Banana Stand Sound and Encrypted Audio – not forgetting the recently announced appearance on Joe Nice’s GorumetBeats. If you wanted to know why everyone’s excited about the Fill Spectre phenomenom, check the track list for his FKOF Presents mix. 33/33 of his own tunes. Fred’s got an impressive lineage for an artist so early in his career; so we’re delighted at the opportunity to discuss who, what and why…
Fred. What’s good? Hey Wil, loads of stuff. School. Working on tunes and my LP at the same time. Gigs.
For those who don’t know, who is Fill Spectre? Fill Spectre is a bass music producer, musician, DJ & Sound engineer from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
How did it all start for you? I’ve always been making music. I started 2003-2004, I was doing experimental metal music, programming each drum and bass note and recording guitar parts over it. I made a few ”albums” like that and then started messing with synths in FL Studio. That opened up a whole new world to me and I was hooked. Got into everything I could feed on: drum & bass, breakcore – electronica stuff. Just getting inspiration all over the place while maintaining the metal essences of things.
Skip to about 6 years later, I got into school for sound design/post-production and all that to learn the basics for Pro Tools, Cubase and Reason. I fell in love with it back when it was Reason 4 and that was it.
I got into the loop of dubstep and brostep, mostly bro to be honest, and experimented with the sounds until I got experience in sound design and songwriting – until I developed enough knowledge for this Fill Spectre thing (where I really wanted to do something).
What was the first dubstep track you ever heard? Hmm. Probably some Skream or something off Caspa & Rusko’s Fabriclive. Can’t quite remember, I do remember loving and rinsing the early Benga releases though, tunes like Live Drumz, Middle Man, loved this whole EP ”Invasion”. When I discovered the deeper genre I quit that brostep thing and focused on the depth instead.
What is dubstep to you? Dubstep to me is about experimentation and bass. Crazy sounds or otherwordly things put on records. Different vibes and a very, very large spectrum of music touching almost any genre. Sort of like hip-hop back in the 90s or early 00s.
What were you first – DJ or producer? Producer.
You’ve got on amazing roster of labels for an artist of relatively young stature – how did that all come about? Joe Nice.
When I first started talking with him he’d asked me what I wanted to do with Fill Spectre and I just told him that I wanted my music out. Anytime he’d tell me that he had just received his fresh batch of dubs, I’d send him 5-7 new tunes. Once he gave me exposure back in March 2015, I sort of went into that crazy non-stop music creative process mode and pumped out tunes after tunes – a process that’s never really quite stopped. I use to be able to write music for a month and then stop for about a month to play games and do something different (because the creativity was all gone). It’s been a month since March 2015 – I got loads of games to play now!
I guess to answer your question my music got out there because Joe is backing it a whole lot and I have this aggressive online approach of pushing my shit out there. Mouth to ears and support helped from creating contacts and friendships – so it was just about giving the best tunes t0 the labels suiting the tunes and pressing them.
Of the record labels in dubstep, which would you most like to release music on? I am quite happy with how things are right now. I feel the newer labels bring a lot to the community in terms of sound – there is a breath of freshness going on that is influencing everyone in the scene. I am happy where I am now with GourmetBeats and Encrypted Audio.
Getting a Medi head would be decent though!
From your back catalogue, what tune are you most proud of? Which do you feel best epitomises the ‘Fill Spectre’ sound? That’s kind of like choosing between which of your parents you like best! Honestly I don’t think I have a ‘sound’ yet and that never was something I wanted to go for. I go for making the best that I can do every time.
Some may say the lack of a vision is immature but I’m all about lacking visions, who wants to pay $300 for an optometrist appointment?
What’s Montreal like for dubstep – and how’s the wider Canadian scene? There’s a few events here and there: mostly the Conscious Wave guys, the Bassix sound system and Musik me Luv getting big names out here – they’re kind of the only one I really follow. The rest of it is all about the riddim kids (which I don’t follow very much).
As far as the rest of Canada goes, it’s kind of too big of a country to say. Getting to Vancouver by car is about a whole week of driving non-stop. My eyes are more on what is going on in the USA/Europe/Japan than here in Canada.
In terms of playing out, where’s good in your local community for our sound? People like Kobil, SBK, LivingStone, Disco-Nekt, Kadet-P – there aren’t a lot of us. It’s mostly 1% producer for 99% DJs around here.
Further afield, what’s been your best gig? The one I haven’t played yet. It’s always new and unexpected, I don’t really play a standard set nowadays. I try to incorporate much of the newer sound that’s going on, so it can be very hit and miss with the crowd. Last one was super sick and everyone were open minded and we had lots of fun so maybe it’s evolving into something slowly, we will see!
Who would you say is the best DJ in our sound? Joe Nice. No doubt.
In your opinion, what makes a good DJ? A good DJ is someone who can make you appreciate a tune that you can’t stand or comprehend when listening to on its own.
A good producer has ideas and knows how to twist them into something solid. I honestly don’t know what makes a good producer though; it’s all about catching a vibe.
What’s your DAW of choice? What’s your process for creating tunes? I use Reason 5 rewired into Reaper nowadays. It usually starts with a sample that I load into a sampler and from there I just fuck shit up and manipulate it in any way I can. I love doing audio-based synthesis. Things I’ve like lately are robotic or machine-esque sounds – I make a synth and some percussion with it and it goes from there. I am big time on riffs since I come from the metal scene so to me having a hook is important.
You’ve been known for a few bootlegs in your time. How do you go about creating these reworks? Yeah, these are mostly DJ tools in the club haha! The Ruffhouse one was an idea from Iriemitch that we did together on Skype. Abbatoir was for a soundclash I did against The Illuminated and finally the Ancient Memories one, I just wanted to do it because I have always liked the tune and I had nothing to do for an afternoon!
I just chop the tune or sample the vinyl straight off and load it in a sampler and do some synth stuff. Trying to take the tune either elsewhere or to a nonsense level!
Your FKOF mix. Where do we start with that?! Thanks man, well, I wanted to do a sort of Essential Mix – like the BBC Radio1 one – with only my stuff. Some forthcoming material and dubs and whatever, I hope it can draw a picture of what my ‘sound’ is to answer your previous question haha!
What were the highlights for you last year? What about lows? Definitely my first vinyl release, Banana Stand Sound 002. Can’t still believe how fast that happened and I am so blessed with how things are doing now. There wasn’t a low!
What are your plans for 2016? First off, plenty of EPs are coming (on different labels), you might have heard of my Encrypted Audio one and the GourmetBeats release. They are more. So definitely a busy year ahead, I’m also finishing it with a bang around November/December. Can’t say much about that!
Any final thoughts or shoutouts? Yeah, shoutout to everyone who is supporting me. Joe Nice, Tony, Rich, N-Type, Underslung, Tyler Tanner, Burchfield, Sepia, Malleus, Saule, Oxossi, Pronovost, Trojan Audio, Infernal Sounds, Olaf, you and my girlfriend.
Thanks for the opportunity man!
Click to DOWNLOAD (186MB)
- Fill Spectre – ????
- Fill Spectre – General Masta [forthcoming GourmetBeats004]
- Fill Spectre – Wages
- Fill Spectre – Rampage
- Fill Spectre – Warning
- Fill Spectre – Lost
- Fill Spectre – Gotcha
- Fill Spectre & LivingStone – Cuts & Bruises
- Fill Spectre – Robot Trot
- Fill Spectre – Tension
- Sovereign – Dying of the Light (Fill Spectre remix)
- Fill Spectre – Mimosa on Ice
- Fill Spectre – ????
- Fill Spectre – Oversea’s
- Fill Spectre – Flowering Mehndi [forthcoming ???]
- Fill Spectre – Wastoid Whip
- Fill Spectre – Defect Cabinet
- Digital Mystikz – Ancient Memories (Fill Spectre’s Skreamix bootleg)
- Fill Spectre – CleptoSwing
- Fill Spectre – Radical
- Fill Spectre – WaterStinge [forthcoming EncryptedAudio004]
- Fill Spectre – Mama Look-A Boo
- Fill Spectre – Skream 20-15
- Fill Spectre – Tony’s Dream
- Fill Spectre – Teetered on the Edge
- Fill Spectre – Gate 15 [forthcoming GourmetBeats004]
- Fill Spectre – Selecta (remix) [forthcoming ???]
- Fill Spectre – DooM
- Fill Spectre – Charm City VIP
- Fill Spectre – Africana
- Fill Spectre with SBK – AfterSex [forthcoming ???]
- Fill Spectre – Gone
- Justin Timberlake – Blue Ocean Floor (Fill Spectre bootleg)