Mike: Do you like to write in the mornings, evenings or late at night?
Mr Fogg: It depends. It’s certain things that I can do. For instance, I make quite complete demos of all of my stuff myself. I co-produced the record (Keep Your Teeth Sharp), so there’s certain technical stuff I can do anytime of the day but then, you know it’s true that those bits of inspiration that are a little harder to come to mind, and sometimes later at night it flows and you get into a zone, and then you look over at the clock and its three-AM… (Mr. Fogg makes a face, looks down and smiles as he points to his watch). Plenty long doing it. (Laughs.) But really, my aim—all crazily—is to have, on the one hand, all of the electronic stuff. I try and do as much as I can to create sounds I haven’t heard before. I know that that’s impossible but I used stuff that “Moving Parts” uses—beats made out of my mouth, that kind of thing, because I kind of get tired of sounds that I hear again, and I sort of think if I’ve heard it before, I find it a cliché quite quickly, for some reason, and so I try and find sounds that haven’t been heard before and I try and do an electronic thing. But more important than that is the song and the emotion and the lyrics and the delivery and all of that, so that’s it’s not purely electronic or machine-like. It’s got a human side to it.
Mike: How and where did the song, “Keep Your Teeth Sharp” come about?
Mr Fogg: From a technical point of view, it was one of the more difficult songs to do on the record because the opening is very, very sparse. It’s basically bass, drums, and I’m singing over the top. When I made the demos of the song, it was never that exciting. I knew that the idea was good, and I knew that one day it was going to come out great, but [the process] literally took 2 to 3 years between coming up with that [opening]—that was what I thought of initially. And then when I went to Iceland to make the record and it got mixed (with Valgeir Sigurosson); it was one of the songs that I’m happiest with, sonically. But again, it’s got that hard edge bass and the drums, and the trombone is the other instrument to give it that organic sound to it.
Mike: Do you see yourself working with any artists or remixers?
Mr Fogg: I’m actually doing something with an artist named Ben Frost (from Reykjavik, Iceland) at the moment. He’s a really kind of experimental artist who makes walls of noise but they’re very satisfying walls of noise; like they reach these sort of massive peaks, and I saw him live and he was really amazing. I’m doing a remix for him, where I’m going to try and put some vocals over his experimental compositions. But I’ve got a lot of remixes coming up, actually of my stuff; some Dubstep remixes, too. There’s a guy called Rudi Zygadlo, who I came across doing a show on Radio 1 with Mary Anne Hobbs, and he is totally crazy; kind of Dubstep, kind of half-time feel, but it’s all over the place. From that to Breakz, to the Karoshi Brothers which is a kind of an up-beat Disco version. I’m really into different versions of songs, which is why on the EP there’s a totally the opposite of all of that which is a string [or acoustic] version (of “Keep Your Teeth Sharp” by Olafur Arnalds). Because if the song is good, it’s kind of a test for a song without all of those drums and it works.
Although Mr. Fogg loves his laptop and brings along a microphone wherever or whenever he travels, still, he feels like everyone is making music on a laptop and thus prefers a more traditional studio environment. He likes the emotional element that comes from using real synthesizers and live brass; also that big, live room feel like the Greenhouse mixing studio in Iceland, calling it a “calm; amazing interior; creative place; organic environment.”
Through all of his experimentation with Indie Electronica, Mr. Fogg says that he is the least Rock & Roll musician around. He doesn’t drink alcohol—infrequently drinks coffee or tea, despite being English, but not for any extreme reason. Perhaps he’s a bit of a purist, yet Mr. Fogg isn’t merely a unique entity within the Electronica scene. He sounds reminiscent of a ‘Sledgehammer’ing Peter Gabriel in his youthful years, and I like the fact that some of his music is highly hummable.
His unabashed willingness not only to explore new sounds rather than rehashing them has, from what I’ve heard on his very well crafted Keep Your Teeth Sharp EP, produced a dynamic and well-rounded, multi-dimensional, sonic youth to the Electronica movement.