Ahead of Metropolis on Saturday 29th October, we spoke to FONO, ahead of his set alongside Big Narstie, Redlight, DJ Zinc, Monki and Chris Lorenzo.
We first discovered you after you released ‘Real Joy’ back in 2015, leading you to go on to play festivals like Hideout in Croatia. I guess we should start by talking about what you’ve been up to since then. You’ve just moved from Brighton to Manchester, right? How’s the North treating you?
Yeah it’s pretty great, moved up with my mate Felix (salute) about 4 months ago now, and we already had a decent group of mates up here who all do the same thing, so it’s been quite easy to settle in. Crazily, about a month after I moved up I got asked to curate my own room at The Warehouse Project as well, which made it all even better.
And what about Leeds? how does it feel to be on such a diverse line-up alongside the likes of Big Narstie, Wiley and DJ Zinc?
Should be a lot of fun, I always look forward to playing Leeds, crowds are wicked!
We love your new ‘KINETIC’ EP and we’re glad to see that it’s had a great reception! You’ve got some cool feature artists on there, like Durante and E^ST. How did you link up with these artists and how did this project come about?
So I’d put two singles out which were both pretty different stylistically, and the idea behind the Kinetic project was to show everyone that my music isn’t about sticking to one style. It focuses more on the sound and musicality as a whole, not being restrained by pace and genre. I think that’s a really important factor in making music less ’throw-away’, if you look back at all the great electronic artists who will always be remembered i.e. Basement Jaxx, The Chemical Brothers, Groove Armada etc., none of them stuck to one set style, but you’d generally always know it was their music, that’s the ultimate goal for me.
The great thing about the EP was linking up with all the features, which was pretty natural; either meeting through friends on nights out, Twitter or just being in the right place at the right time. Kevin (Durante) and I wrote most of NRG whilst I was in LA, as he lives out there. I was doing a few shows in the US at the time and we ended up getting in the studio for a couple of days, that one all came together pretty quickly.
Annie Mac is a big fan of yours – you just did a sick MINI-MIX for her BBC Radio 1 Friday night show, that spans over 3 decades of music as well as incorporating a few of your own tracks in there. What was your reaction when you were asked to do one?
Bit of a life goals moment that one, I was pretty shocked but just super excited to have a place amongst all those amazing artists who are chosen to do one!
How would you describe your musical influences?
Broad, but a huge amount of influence from the early 90s, there was always a lot of Massive Attack, Portishead, Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Orbital etc. playing round the house as a kid as well as a lot of 80s Funk and Soul and it’s all ingrained in me now! I was also a huge D’n’B head as a teenager, which is what got me into DJing in the first place.
Describe your music in 3 words.
Synths (&) Sausage Rolls.
Where do you like to go out THESE DAYS?
In Manchester – Hidden (and obviously Warehouse Project).
What’s in the pipeline for you for the next few months? Can we expect more bangers, or an album?
Quite a lot actually, the next thing music-wise is a collab EP with a good friend of mine Karma Kid, on possibly one of the biggest artist affiliated labels there is, I can’t give much more away just yet, but it’s coming very soon and I’m hugely excited for everyone to year it!
Aside from that I run a night called ForTheFuture (FTF) which really follows my own musical ethos about musicality and diversity of genre. As I mentioned before I’ve curated a room at The Warehouse Project on the 9th Dec which falls under that, the line-up includes Karma Kid, Kiwi, Joe Hertz, Pan:Inc and it’s sold out so it’s gonna be huge! I also do a bi-monthly residency for FTF in Brighton at a new music focussed club – MONO, which has one of the best sound systems I’ve ever heard, next one is on the 26th November with DJ Haus – again, looking to be a big one.
Thanks for chatting to us Fono. You can grab tickets to see him at Metropolis here.
Words by Jaguar Bingham