Fred P on Ending Black Jazz Consortium: "This May Be the Last BJC Project"

With his blue-tinted, beatifically moody sound, it's taken Fred P a mere decade to become synonymous with quality deep house among discerning international listeners.

It helps that the NYC DJ/producer takes himself more seriously than most as an artist, having established the esteemed Soul People imprint as a launching pad for his singular original productions early on in his career. And with three long players to date, Fred P's Black Jazz Consortium project has found a particularly devoted following.

So while it's with sheer excitement that we welcome Fred P for his first Miami headlining performance at the Electric Pickle with Safe on Saturday, it's also with distinct sadness, having recently found out that Black Jazz Consortium's new album in progress might mark the project's end.

Ahead of Saturday's highly anticipated show, we caught up with Fred P to chat about Soul People, the new BJC album, and the current state of the musical landscape.

New Times: What did you grow up listening to? Was jazz as formative to your musical sensibilities as one would expect from listening to your work as Black Jazz Consortium?
Fred P: I grew up listening to my parent's music, from soul music to classical — my parents listened to lots of different things. However, I didn't get into jazz until my mid-20s. College radio was the gateway for everything.

So how did you first get drawn to electronic dance music? Were you active in the NYC club scene while growing up there?
I really got into dance music in high school. 89.9 WNYU college radio DJ Disciple did a show every Thursday. I would record the show and that would be my music for the week of school. As far as the scene, to me it was about my friends and myself — we would go to nightclubs and house parties to dance battle. It was all very natural — just friends hanging out, enjoying life.

Is there a particular concept behind Black Jazz Consortium for you? What sort of creative avenue does this project provide for you as a producer, as opposed to the work you do as Fred P and other aliases?
The concept is really simple: being my first project, I do what I feel, and that can be almost anything. I am drawn to uptempo danceable music because it raises the heart rate and vibration, thus changing the mood to a more positive state. Producing as Fred P is more for remixes and projects outside of my Soul People Music label. 

You once told Resident Advisor that "all information can be transferred without using a word if you capture the right frequency and relay it the right way; you can literally give someone an experience through sound." What can you tell us about your creative process and approach to writing music with the objective of giving someone an experience through sound? How do you manage to "capture the right frequency and relay it the right way"?
I do my best to relate and translate what I am feeling via whatever instruments. What comes from that is the byproduct of time spent understanding my voice. My process comes from years of learning that I have a voice musically speaking and that it's my own, like the voice I speak verbally with. When I talk, I sound like no one else, so the goal is similar — learning how to physically speak is to do the same musically. That alone creates a process — that's what I do. It's really simple. It connects because I'm being myself and staying true to that.

We were sorry to hear you recently announce on Facebook that you've become disillusioned with the Black Jazz Consortium project and the new album might be the last. Why have you become disillusioned? Are you really planning to close the BJC chapter?
I have done three BJC albums, all of which are very personal. The next one would be number four, and by far the most different. When I go into the creative process, it's a bit of a challenge and draining. My disillusionment comes from the current state of the musical landscape. In a perfect world, I can deliver what I am feeling, but in today's climate musically, not so much. So this may be the last BJC project. Mainly because it takes a certain part of me to do this particular project. We will have to see what the future holds; as for the moment, I'm putting everything into this one like I did the first one. 

So how are you approaching this album, knowing it might be your last BJC effort?
This time around, the idea is to live up to the name and touch the jazz element. To fuse it with the house and tech elements in my own way that's true to me. "N.Y.", one of the tracks I made a video for some time ago, that one got the ball rolling. I did a reshape for it and released it on the Selected compilation. That tune opened my mind to mixing it up on an album project.

Soul People Music turned ten last year. Did you have a special vision for the label when you first set out to launch it? How has Soul People evolved during its first decade? And where would you like to take it in the future?
There was no plan in the beginning; it was supposed to just be one project, the first album Reactions of Light. However, something happened along the way. I just wanted to make records that expressed my feeling and vibration in a groovy way. Also, give something special to the people that might feel or be in the same situation. In the early days, I could not afford to buy records, therefore to maximize on a spending opportunity, I would buy compilations. This was the inspiration behind Selected. My first ten records were all for the heads — under-the-radar music or other music, in my opinion.

I would like to see the label grow more and branch into other genres. Of course, keeping its roots intact but growing into a natural progression of things. I am starting to release more music from my library, such as Sound Destination, which is a bit of a departure. People seem to like my ambient work as well. So these are things that will surface when the time is right. I'm also working with some amazing artists that do their own thing aside from dance music, so the ground is fertile.

Your Miami debut has been a long-awaited one for local fans. What can we expect? 
To be honest, this is special for me and like a fantasy come to life. I am going to step into it and let my heart flow free and share the love, celebrate life, and music will be the guide. That's the truth. Just stay in the moment and appreciate every second, every smile, every nod. We have that night — let's embrace it and make a memory. Let it be legendary and enrich our souls, enhance our minds, and feed our love.

Fred P. 10 p.m. Saturday, February 26, at the Electric Pickle, 2826 N Miami Ave., Miami; 305-456-5613; electricpicklemiami.com. Tickets cost $10 to $20 via residentadvisor.net.

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