Feature: Fredrick Fuller Of Night Movies Gives Us A Track by Track One New Album ‘Dreamish’

Richard J. Butler

Fredrick Fuller the man behind Night Movies has given Backseat Mafia a glimpse into the forthcoming album Dreamish which is out now digitally worldwide on Fuller’s own Soundmaker Records label. Artwork to accompany the album was specially painted by artist Richard J. Butler and titled ‘Sunset (The Winding Path)’.

Read our interview with Fuller here

The songs on Dreamish were created from 2017 – 2020 in 4 different studio locations. Some of these we named ourselves; ‘Bad Room’ 1 & 2 in Manor House, ‘Black Lung’ at the Black Heart pub and Dissident Sound in Tottenham. I’d regularly take gear with me on tour in other bands and on location on film jobs; a castle estate in Ayreshire, a field in the Suffolk countryside, you name it, all over the UK, often while working in art department on anything from a Ryan Reynolds movie to a kitchen appliance ad.

This may seem like it was a meticulously crafted album, but not at all. The album formed only when the unfinished songs started to make sense as a group. It was all glued together by a new skill learned in recording guitars direct by using cab simulators, I’d lost my live studio during the pandemic and
was unable to play loud at home.

Throughout the whole time that I’d started making music as Night Movies and releasing on my own label, I was in 3 other bands; This be the Verse, Night Flowers and Art Lever. All very different stylistically from
each other, from alt metal, dreampop indie, to industrial and post punk. My role in these bands as live performer and studio artist all differed from one another, and these experiences would of directly informed my choices in Night Movies, for better or for worse.

Tonally, the album is neither my heaviest release (Begin Again/No Temple), or my most ambient (Transportation One), it’s somewhere in between. This release has only one single artist feature, from Dean Valentine Smith on drums in ‘Freeze Framing’. Stylistically it’s a varied record, as it was created
over a long time. I often think of myself as an explorer, artistically speaking that is, so I rarely stay in the same spaces for long. I liken it to Brian Eno’s ‘Another Green World’ but beamed through a dreampop lens (This Mortal Coil) then stopping somewhere after the musical landscape of the 2000’s.

The album title was sent to me by my friend and frequent collaborator Liam Lever (LTNT), after reading Charlie Kaufman describing not dreams but ‘Night Movies’ as some sort of ‘Dreamish experience’ in his book Antkind. A serendipitous encounter I felt.

Right then, lets get stuck in…

Once around the Sun
I felt like this was a solid opener, the title lent itself to the music, a big bold revolution around a central performance of two monosynth parts. Both of these were played live with no editing, delayed and kind of phased next to each other in a Steve Reich style. I didn’t have a polyphonic synth, so had to adapt and built everything on top of that.

This song and ‘Factory Drive’ both bookend the album and hold a similar style or image of industrial music meets space music. Some of the same samples were used on both and a really cool wall of guitar feedback was recorded.

What I liked about this song was that it mixed the human element vs the computer element. I like having a performed hardware instrument in there and I rarely use soft synths. There’s also samples from the ableton library throughout my music, and a handful that I bought online made by other artists including Prefuse 73 and SOPHIE.

Reaction Video
This was one of the last songs I worked on for the album. At first it was made for my other band Art Lever and formed of only beats and nothing else. I tried out a new JHS colourbox pre amp pedal with the guitar and it completely took over. This thing is like a single channel strip from a neve desk, based on the same big multi channel desks at Abby road. You can distort it similar to how they did back in the old days.

Using stuff like that, as opposed to creating everything in the box, (the computer) makes the music fun for me, and the title is poking fun at all those ridiculous videos all over youtube nowadays.

It’s quite a jarring song and not easy to listen to, but it still holds a playfulness I like. I didn’t have a decent kick sound throughout making it, but then I heard Blue Monday by New Order and decided to throw on the DMX. I like using the old classic drum machine samples because they seem to project the music into a familiar territory, then you can form a base from which you canexplore out of.

Beach ‘95
I wanted to create a chill song, something pretty laid back that was minimal with little melody, thinking that perhaps one day, a rapper would turn up and feature on it. I remember I made this around the week of Christmas in the kitchen whilst a lot of other stuff was going on, watching old Jamaican legends on youtube teaching vids on how to play bass.

This song was influenced by dub music as well as reggae, in the studio we used a Roland RE- 201 space echo on the snare, a classic technique. I thought the title was fitting, lots of what I do often sounds like mid 90’s trip-hop. Also there’s a nod to vapourwave in the title, (windows ‘95). You’ll hear and see echo’s of that style in my songs and videos, though I’ve heard that that genre is supposedly dead?

Freeze Framing
I made this one early on, mostly with a MicroKorg and samples of my brother on drums. I have a session he recorded just before I started Night Movies proper, with my late friend Pete Morrow producing and him playing a couple of great sounding drum takes for another song (which eventually became ‘Begin Again’). I sample from that session all the time, often mixing them with the Linn drum.

I was heavily influenced by Cocteau Twins and DJ Shadow while making this and the second half didn’t have drums on it for over a year or two until I got Dean in the studio. Dean plays in the band This be the Verse where I’m the bass player, he’s guests regularly in Night Movies and I love his looser jazz
style, a style he doesn’t always get to showcase in that band. I remember we were talking a lot about Team Sleep and The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex while recording those drums.

There’s a break in the first part of the song that sounds a bit like the music from ‘Ready or Not’ by Fugees, (or Enya, if you know the sample), and incidentally that was one of the first cassettes I ever bought. Lastly, there’s some guitar work on this track, recorded by placing a mic in between two amps faced directly at one another, I had no idea what I was doing but it sounded really cool.

Sub Warming
This is one of my favourites. It’s me attempting Brian Eno style volume swells and pairing them off against a somewhat melancholic country style. The outro was originally optimistic sounding, then finished years later, probably after being influenced by lots of ominous NIN soundtrack pieces that I heard.

There’s quite a few layered guitars on this and a juno style synth along with the family piano. I love the subtle groovy bass that comes in just before the outro, that part really gave the song it’s name.
The guitars were recorded at our studio above the black heart pub.

Everyone liked the song at first but then ended up hating it after hearing it for the 100th time as it echoed throughout the building. The song is mainly all baritone guitar, so there’s a link there with country music, I rarely listen to any actual country music, but I’m forever influenced by the sound of the band Earth, who took the slowness of country to a whole new level in the early 00’s with the album ‘Hex’.

Unboxing Video
Again, I’m poking fun at youtube videos with the title. What an absolute joke our lives as consumers on the internet has become eh? Anyway whatever, maybe listen to this and bath in the nothingness.

Plenty of my music is somewhat meditative, repetitive and fairly linear. I’ve heard that some of my music needs patience, which I often feel like some reviewers and taste makers online have little of. I get it, given that they consume a mass amount of music daily. I don’t create this music to be performed live, or
for a certain type of space to be played in, so I understand that it might be a problematic listen to some.

This song is certainly the most minimal, melancholic and ambient of the whole album, it was the last one I finished. I used a battered Gibson SG handed to me by my friend Rufus Miller (solo artist/Sting touring guitarist). The reason why the guitar on here is made up of very minimal single notes ringing out is because I couldn’t attack the instrument with any force, everytime I played any chords and put pressure on the neck it would fall out of tune.

Factory Drive
I had no idea what I was doing at first and just throwing everything out there, creating a super dense track that would regularly overload my hard disk. The process of getting to the finishing line on this one was that of constructing a large and brutal building, and then chipping away at it until it formed a more
desirable structure.

I really shunned playing guitar on this until the very end, and I’m really happy that I did, once the guitar was on it sounded epic, and it was mega to drive to, hence the title. It’s a nod to the driving industrial feel of the track and the PO-16 factory pocket operator that started it.

This track is very much influenced by 00’s electronic music, stuff I use to hear while VJ’ing at the glade festival and Bloc festivals. Also the dub-step nights coming out of london in the early days, all that mixed with my love of heavy guitar music and feedback. The feedback heard throughout isn’t even guitar, it’s a manipulated drum sample pushed through the Jimmy Hendrix amp in ableton.

My bro said the song sounded like hitching a ride on the side of a space shuttle, blasting off into space and surfing into a black hole. Pretty accurate.

Find out more via the Night Movies Bandcamp

Check out Night Movies track Once Around The Sun, below:

The three singles, Reaction Video, Unboxing Video and Once around the Sun have been mixed in Dolby Atmos by Al Lawson and available on Tidal and Apple music. Al Lawson watched over the making of the album and tweaked all my attempts at mixing. Finally, the whole thing was mastered by Pete Maher.

Thanks everyone,
See you down the winding path.

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