We recently chatted to multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Def.fo after of the release of his debut single ‘Play It Cool‘, shared on the 1st of September. Inspired by early Tame Impala sounds, it’s a kaleidoscopic slice of psychedelic rock. The Liverpool based artist enlisted an array of studio big guns for this artistic endeavor, as the track was mixed by Roy Merchant (Omar, M.I.A, Basement Jaxx) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Kasabian, The Red Hot Chili Peppers). With its phaser rich guitars, compressed drums and washed out vocals, it’s a retro feeling track with a clear contemporary edge. Make sure to watch the music video, an ode to the iconic Tarantino/Tony Scott film, True Romance.
Walk us through your creative process?
There’s two different ways I work depending on the style and sound I am going for. If it’s a folk song for example, then I write on acoustic guitar and try to nail the melody, chords and structure before recording anything. If it’s more of an effect-driven track, the process is usually more experimental. I will find a drum beat I like and play about with different bass and guitar lines until I have something interesting for a starting point, and will build the track in layers from there.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
I listen to a wide variety of music and so my influences are pretty vast. On my debut album ‘Eternity’ however, the main influences have been Beck, Shack, Tame Impala and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. All of these artists are very different from one another, but that’s what really interests me – having a broad palette of styles that I can take inspiration from.
What instruments do you play?
Bass and guitar are my core instruments. I won’t shy away from trying to dabble with whatever else is around, for example, I blag played a bit of banjo and synth on the album!
What would you like to work with if you weren’t a musician?
Something else creative, probably film. I was quite hands-on working on my music videos and loved getting stuck into that side of things. I found the entire process really interesting, from concept and storyboard, to costumes, props and directing – it was great fun, and I learned a lot just by trial and error!
Whats one piece of gear you can’t live without? What equipment are you using?
Effects wise, I’ve used a fair amount of phase on the record. It deffo wouldn’t sound as psychedelic as it does without it.
In terms of guitars and basses, I’m big into a Japanese brand called Tokai. I’ve got quite a few from the late 70s-early 80s and love them!
Tell us something unrelated to music. What are your hobbies?
I love to travel! I’ve been to Southeast Asia a few times, and spent some time living in East Africa. I’d love to see as much of the world as possible, South America is at the top of my to-see list!
If you could meet one performer/artist who would it be?
Paul McCartney – he’s the king of the four string for me. Those Beatles bass lines are a work of art – busy, yet simple, and add an extra something magical to the songs.
What does the future hold for you as an artist?
I just want to keep recording and releasing music as much as possible. It’s what really excites me, and I want to keep pushing myself to do it.