Fekky has always been an independently-minded artist.
Doing his own thing from the off, the hype around the London rapper released his debut album through Island Records last year.
Watching, observing, and waiting, he's now ready to take the biggest step of his career to date - going it alone, and launching new self-owned label F MUSIC.
In a launch statement he commented: "I wanted to be independent and take control of my future. When I was signed my future was in other people’s hands. I’ve always been a boss from young. F MUSIC will be the new Bad Boy, the new YMCMB, the new Roc-A-Fella. I want to bring art and lifestyle together because I feel like I am lifestyle and I am art. It’s time to create a movement of like-minded people."
New single 'One More Time' is a summer scorcher, the perfect blast of energy to inaugurate F MUSIC and its lifestyle mission.
Clash caught up with Fekky to find out more...
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Has it always been your ambition to form your own label?
Definitely. When I was signed to Island Records I felt it was always about me as an artist, and I’m that person – I like to lead, I like to bring people together. I felt like I had to take a step in that direction, and that’s what has led me here.
Did the process of becoming fully DIY lead to any surprises?
100%. But that’s the shock I wanted when I made the step. I feel like when you’re not really hands on – or more delegating – you feel a bit left in the dark. It’s never going to teach you, or make you feel like more of a boss in what you want to do. Taking that step for me was natural, it was time for me to more actively do it, to be more hands on and see what’s going on.
It seems like it’s the right time in the industry to do that – just look at the power Stormzy or Skepta have.
The industry adapts, it changes. When I first came into this industry I feel like they were in the building process of where we are now. I started realising that a lot of stuff was controlled by social media – and a lot of the people in the industry I’d see around. The world became a lot smaller. A lot more smaller.
F Music launches with your new single ‘One More Time’ - did you always want to lead from the front like that, and lay a marker down?
100%. Before that single I dropped ‘Look At Me Now’. As an artist, when you make something you just want to put it out because it’s a banger, but when you’re involved with a label I feel like there’s a lot more conversation goes into your music. I feel like it takes away from the creative side of it, and you should always go off of how you feel. It’s not a bad thing – obviously, those people want to work with you and get the best out of you.
I feel some things are just about your instinct as an artist. When you’re making these tracks it’s more about the energy, and what comes to mind in the studio. And I feel with a label it takes a bit of that process out of you. You can’t plan some of these things. You can put your whole effort into one song, and have a six month plan, but you’ll have another 10 songs sitting there. These songs go under the carpet.
And the way music is going – with streaming for example – means that it doesn’t work like that any more. People need to be constantly fed, and constantly hearing new music.
It’s completely changed in the past five years, hasn’t it?
Completely. So I feel it’s best to go off ‘the now’. If I’m making music, and it’s a banger, then release it now. If you compare ‘Look At Me Now’ and ‘One More Time’ it’s a real contrast – there aren’t any limits any more, so as long as the music is good and people are feeling it then it’s going to go.
It’s easy to describe but it’s hard to get right, isn’t it?
100%. And some artists disheartened because they have this one song that they feel like is their song, and they’re not planning for Plan B and Plan C despite knowing that Plan B and C are right there on their computer. So they get distressed, work out another roll out for another track, and time fades away. You’re six months in, next thing you know another year’s gone… so this process is limiting what you can do with your talent.
So will you be signing other artists?
Definitely. Basically we’re going to use my stuff as the first feelers. Anything you do is a building process at first, you’re just learning, so I’d rather put myself as the test, to get my stuff out, learn, get the label built up more. I want to take artists into my hands and let them know I am fully ready to give them the best service possible. And that’s what F Music is about. We’re bosses but we don’t realise it.
When you get into the music industry it’s a whirlwind, it just sucks you in, but I feel like if artists just empower themselves them they can become bosses. They can work alongside someone that’s like them. Sometimes the boss walks into the office but doesn’t know what’s going on at the ground. But with me you get both – you get someone who knows what’s going on at the ground, but also knows the industry.
And I’ve made mistakes – you can learn from the opportunities I’ve missed out on. It’s something I can pass on to my artists. You will end up becoming your own boss, do you know what I mean?
Completely. And those artists will view you as a peer, someone they can relate to.
Exactly. I’ve had people hit me up previously, and in a way that gave me the idea for the label – knowing that these people didn’t quite know how to get there, and realise their true potential. F Music is a place to bring the lifestyle together, instead of feeling like it’s homework or a chore or pressurised. You’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing.
It’s about the love of music.
And a lot of people lost that, y’know.
Is that a heavy responsibility, though. Was that another reason for starting the project?
I mean, I didn’t feel like this was going to be easy. I know it was going to be a building process, even down to the music that I’m making now. Dropping different styles of music now is another test for me, getting it out to the market. A lot of people know me for my energetic stuff, the crazy shows, but at the same time if I can do this for myself it’s another way of learning how to deal with artists. I feel like if I can show them everything that’s happening in a raw form it’ll only make them better as artists.
What sounds or styles will you focus on?
I’m not going to limit it to certain sounds. If I see the spark in it, then that’s it. I analyse a lot, and I see what’s going on, so I don’t just sit in a hole and miss what’s going on around me. I watch everything. I’ll watch someone’s interview, and think: you can do that differently. With me being that way inclined, I can’t limit myself to one genre – I want to bring on artists, and then bring it all together.
So what’s next for you? Do you have music ready to release?
I’m actively creating. I’m fully, fully on it. I’m in there everyday making music. There’s a lot of music in the chamber, and right now it’s about putting a lot of it out. Having fun, working towards another project. I’m not rushing- it’s like market research. There’s a lot more elements to think about now. Even when I say ‘lifestyle’ now, I feel like with artists now it’s not all about the music – when I look at some artists the music will be right, but there’s something missing.
I have artists in the States coming here and saying they can’t believe we have such vibrant areas. They don’t get it, they feel we’re hidden down here. And lifestyle is just as important as the music. We’re not just music makers, we’re people – we turn up, we live what we’re doing. That’s part of what I want to show with this.
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'One More Time' is out now.
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