Chats with Thomas: The rise of Fdluxx

Chats with Thomas: The rise of Fdluxx

A native of England, Iran-born producer Fdluxx explores a plethora of styles with his illuminating flavour of lo-fi hip hop. He is both driven and inspired by a multifaceted world, showering listeners with a multitude of new voices and textures with every release. On the surface, such tracks are brimming with vibrant sonic colours; however, subcutaneous layers of cinematic intimacy wait patiently for a deeper listen. Each pass resonates variously. What remains is a sense of personal attitude and careful consideration, two attributes which emanate through Fdluxx’s vivid persona.

 

Just from my impression of your music, I feel like you’re a positive person, but you sometimes describe yourself as negative. What makes you feel that way?

I feel like I try to compensate for being negative with my music.  I would say my music is pretty low-energy, emotional, and chilled. There are a couple of tracks I’ve made that give off a positive vibe. And, while it’s open to anyone’s opinion, it comes from an emotional place of me just making music.

 

What sort of things would you say inspire you?

I’ll tell you what, it’s especially when I listen to any new, dope, crazy music which makes me feel a type of way. I wish it were more cliché, like “I’ve gone through a really bad time, so I went there and made a beat,” but I’m not really that type. If I go through a really hard time, it usually doesn’t inspire me to make a track. I usually get inspired by other people’s music. It inspires me to make music because I fell in love with what they did.

 

What was the last thing that blew your mind?

Oh, wow. I’d say I go through this once a week. I can tell you about the person who first got me into making music. Do you know the producer Shlohmo? I heard his track, “The Way U Do,” and that blew my fucking mind! How dare he make high-pitched vocals sound like an electric guitar! It kind of angers me sometimes, like, “How dare you make something better than me? I’ve got to make a song which blows this one out of the water!” So, I’m quite a competitive guy in that sense. But I thought, how can you even make music like this? And that’s what inspired me to go down the rabbit hole. Before all of this, I was kind of a rapper [Laughs], and I thought it was a bit whack, so I stopped, but I knew I still wanted to carry on with music. I started to go down the whole electronic, chilled path, and progressed into making lo-fi. And I wouldn’t even say I’m exclusively that way; I make several different sub-genres of music, too, you know? I don’t like to do just one genre; I’ve always wanted to be a versatile artist.

 

I can feel that in your music. I can hear that there’s a wide variety of influences, like Nina Simone, DJ Shadow, Burial, and others.

There is, bro! I love Nina Simone and Burial, too. His first album was really big when I first started making music, around the same time I found Shlohmo. Usually it takes me a little while to make a track. I could do the main parts of a track in a day, and then I’ll leave it for a week or a month, and when I come back, I could change the whole vibe! It could start off as an RnB track, and then boom, it could change to a vibe-y, lo-fi, ambient track. It can change drastically [Laughs].

 

What elements of a song end up changing the most?

Probably the space of the track, where I put things, and the amount of reverb I give certain instruments. That usually changes the whole vibe of the track if you do that. On top of that, probably drum patterns. You can have a simple hip hop beat, which people associate with lo-fi. You can also completely change up the tempo.

 

The question I’m dying to ask is, will you ever make a UK drill track?

Bro! I don’t know if you know, but I love UK drill so fucking much. I’ve tried to make a drill track so many times, but it always ends up being too chilled. It always pisses me off, because I’m trying to get it right, that type of beat where the 808’s are screaming. I love UK drill with a passion; I’ve been into it for like three years now. It gives me an otherworldly energy. I really want to make a traditional beat like that, but it’s hard, because everything I make just end up being chilled [Laughs].

I think there’s something to learn from every genre. I mean, I release through Aviary, but I listen to metal [Laughs].

100%! I’ll be honest, I’m not too big on metal and extreme EDM. There might be a track or two I can vibe to, but I’ve never liked people shouting down at me [Laughs].

Everyone’s tastes are different. A big misconception about metal is that the vocalist is yelling at you. However, when you get into it they’re screaming for you; they’re saying all the things you wish you could say to other people and to yourself. I think genres like hip hop and UK drill are doing something similar. I think we’re all looking for a sense of validation.

Absolutely, I think that’s big in American trap and rap.

 

Do you find those genres empowering?

Oh, hell yeah! I’m into the American stuff and the stuff in England. I think people would be shocked by the scale of music that I’m into. And I’ll be real with you, I don’t listen to lo-fi hip hop often; maybe a few times a week. It’s just the music that I’m passionate about making. I’m passionate about listening to trap/rap, UK drill, chilled tracks… I’m not the guy you expected to be bumping lo-fi tracks every day.

 

I can hear many different instruments in your tracks. How do you see them taking shape in your style?

Oh man, I’m so huge on instruments! I’m into piano, strings, and brass instruments as well. I find them to be powerful. I’ve got a new track with Garot-Michael (Conklin), and I just love the way he plays. It adds so much character. For every track I have, I try to add an instrument in there. I feel like I have to add that character to my tracks. I try to put one or two in every track, just to give it an extra push.

 

How did you start working with Garot-Michael?

This was early on—I think when he first started out. I think I was one of the first artists to feature his trumpet playing on a track. I reached out to him about two years ago, and we did “Always & Forever II,” and we kept in touch. I love the way he changed the vibe of the beat completely. After that, I got him to do what he’s done now on my next single with Aviary. He just blew my mind. I love melodies and chords, and he’s on my wavelength. He knows what style, chords, and moods I like, and it comes through on the track. I like working with him.

 

You said you enjoy melody and chords. I think these are Western/European ways of analysing and experiencing music. Are there any ways that your Persian heritage affects your musical sensibilities?

If I’m being completely real with you, I don’t like many Persian tracks. Maybe deep down it’s influenced me in some way, but not directly. I was raised around that music, but I never really listened to it out of choice. I was born in Iran, and when I was five, I came to England. I’ve been in England ever since.

I was in Australia last year, and I’ll be going back this year after Thailand. That’s what I’m trying to do with all this music—to make enough money out of it to just travel and make music. As long as you’ve got Wi-Fi, you can post it, network, or whatever. It’s also a great opportunity to see the world. That’s my goal for the end of the year, to be able to not do any other job and to be able to just work in music. I don’t even want to call it work, because it’s my passion. That’s the dream [Laughs].

 

What changes in your life have led to this goal?

A lot of people want to do this. I think generally, people don’t want to do a 9-5 job. People want to be able to work on their own terms, I suppose. Personally, I just love making music, so I want to be able to have that freedom of not being locked down in one location. I want to have that ability to travel and live my life without worry of a job. If you get a big PR move or featured on an advert, I feel like it’s very possible these days. Thank God we have the power of the internet; anyone can do this now, and they don’t need to work a 9-5. It’s opened a lot of doors. I feel like it will keep opening doors as well, because technology can only improve.

 

Do you think travelling has shaped your creative or personal identity in any ways?

I feel like it’s made me more open. Before, I wouldn’t have used certain instruments, but now I’ve been exposed to a lot more styles of music and countries, so it’s definitely made me more open to using different instruments and timbres in my music.

I want the track to take the person to another place.

 

What’s your favourite place that you’ve been to?

I’ve been to a few cool places! Thailand is cool; it’s definitely up there. Of course Iran is my home. That’s where it all started and where people look like me. When people look like you, you feel at ease.

 

What’s your opinion on biryani being Persian or Indian?

[Laughs] I feel like it’s been popularised by India, but I think it stems out of Iran. I apologise if that hurts anyone’s feelings, but quite frankly, I don’t give a fuck. All I know is the facts [Laughs]. Your Farsi is very good, brother. Kheyli khoob harf mizoni! (You speak very well!)

Oh, no, my Farsi is terrible.

You speak well, brother [Laughs].

Nukaram. (Nice one.)

Azizam [Laughs]. Actually, that’s the name of a track on my new album that I’m producing with Garot. It’s like two tracks in one.

 

What about that track made you give it that title?

Well, during the last part of the track, I’ve got a conversation with an Iranian girl. So, the last time I went, about 3 years ago, I met this girl. We started to like each other. I was there with my mom for only like two weeks, but I thought I should record a conversation with her and work it into something. I say that word, azizam, and it gives a certain vibe. It’s an endearing term, like “sweetheart.” I try to add lots of emotion into all of my tracks. I want the track to take the person to another place.

 

Which of your new tracks means the most to you?

I’ve started a new beat, and it’s got a different drum pattern to it. It’s a bit different, and I love the chords and sounds I’m using. I think it’s some of my best work. I’m really into that type of beat. I think I need a vocalist on top of it, because I think it’s missing a layer. I’m sure you guys will be into it. The drum pattern is kind of like a Caribbean feel. It changes the whole energy of the track.

I’ve got a few templates of tracks that are done. Maybe 4 or 5 are done but need some extra touches to wrap it up. I need a couple of people on there to rap or sing. I feel like the next project is starting to take shape.

 

What’s harder, starting a new project or finishing what you have going?

Finishing something I’ve already got going [Laughs]. I want to say I’m a perfectionist; I feel like I have to get it right. It’s only right if I get it right. I don’t have any issues starting a track. When it’s out, it’s out. I don’t want to be one of those guys who takes down a track after it’s released. But, if you get it right to a level you want, there aren’t any issues. It depends on the type of person you are as well.

 

Tell us about your next release.

It’s not necessarily a mix of genres, but there are a lot of influences. Some are like RnB or radio tracks, but they still have that lo-fi kind of vibe. Have you heard of Lordapex? I’ve got a track with him on the album. It’s just a load of chill stuff. It’s all pretty laid back. I’ve got one called “Stay Close” towards the end, and it’s got more of a skipping drum pattern to it. The very end track is a remix of an RnB track from one of my close friends back home. He masters all of my tracks, and he’s super talented. He’s done a trappy remix of that track, and it kind of changes everything. It’s a mixture of stuff. The opening track is all piano with some really nice ambience in there. I think you guys will like. It’s different. I think it’s my best body of work so far.