Real Joy with Fono

Becca Frankland spoke to the man behind one summer's biggest tracks, Fono, to discuss 'Real Joy', producing with Duke Dumont and Ibiza.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 24th Jul 2015.
Originally published: 29th Jun 2015

Image: Fono

For some artists working in the dance music industry, it only takes one special song to completely change their careers, creating almost overnight success. Fono is one of those artists.

Despite working his way up from a humble residency spot, and committing his life to music and production, it wasn't until 'Real Joy' (listen below) was released that things shifted.

Since then it has been championed by Radio 1 DJs and pretty much the who's who of dance music in their sets, making Fono one of the most relevant artists this summer.

With work ethic and talent capable of taking him all the way, Fono, whose real name is Luke, will not be a one hit wonder - he's only just revving up. We caught up with him ahead of the rest of his busy summer schedule. 

Hi Luke! Where abouts are you at the moment?

I am in the studio today, I'm back in Brighton.

I know you were in Barcelona the other day, were you having it large at Sonar? 

Yeah I went out there for Sonar, I wasn't playing there unfortunately but I just went out to see what it was saying. It was really really good. 

Who did you see?

We saw Flying Lotus, Jamie xx, Jets, Mumdance, quite a few. What we could fit in when we weren't hungover basically. 

Did you do much of OFF Sonar

Yeah we did a couple of OFF Sonar things, Hessle Audio had a night, that was really cool. Mono_cult had something with Leon Vynehall and Move D. 

Sounds amazing. Onto the more pressing stuff, for anyone unfamiliar with musical background could you tell us a little bit about how you got started?

So, it started off about five years ago in Brighton, I managed to get gigs at Audio just through hassling promoters with mixes and then that gradually developed into a regular residency there. I also had a residency at Treatment which is in Cardiff, Bournemouth and Portsmouth as well.

I did that for three years and gradually got interested in production and then went to uni to study music to get more into it and that's where the production thing took off. Then it was around a year ago, I had a tune picked up by a really small Brighton label who just seemed to have the right contacts and put me in touch with the right people and then it got to Relentless.

That's pretty much the journey. 

Obviously it was with 'Real Joy' that things really changed, did you think when you were making it that it had the potential to be one of those tracks?

Yeah I do remember finishing it and it felt special definitely. I had no idea that it was going to do as well as it has, and get day time radio play and stuff like that. That was way beyond what I'd ever expected. But I knew that there was something different about writing that track, it was a turning point. 

Some absolutely huge names have been playing 'Real Joy' in their sets, have you seen any videos of artists playing it that have made you think, 'this is crazy'?

It's a tough one, between Annie Mac and I don't think it's online but there's a video of Axwell playing it.

Wow!

Yeah, I can't remember where it was but my mate was at the festival and he sent it to me and that was pretty outrageous.

Calvin Harris has been supporting it from the beginning and to have someone like that is crazy. and there's people on the UK underground scene who are supporting it as well.

Has your schedule just completely blown up since?

Yeah yeah, I've had a lot of remixes come in and a lot of gigs and festival stuff. I'll got stuff planned in Ibiza, I've got Hideout in Croatia and there's a festival in Essex the week after. Just had the support slot for the Duke Dumont tour confirmed as well.

That's amazing news. Speaking of Duke Dumont, you've just remixed his track 'The Giver' (above), how did that come about?

Well he wanted to remix Real Joy and he just asked if I wanted to swap and me do with 'The Giver' and him do 'Real Joy', so we just did a straight remix swap.

We're going to be getting in the studio together at some point and I'll be supporting some of his shows, like the Hideout show I'll be on before him. He's really supporting it which is wicked. 

On the topic of production, who would you say inspires you?

I always struggle with this one, because it changes all the time but there's obviously the staple people. A big one musically for me is Massive Attack, not sure if that's inspired the style of my music but it definitely inspired me to make music.

People like, Redlight, Luxxury - who I have been lucky enough to work with. We're doing a tune together at the moment. Hudson Mohawke as well, so it's pretty broad really. 

You mentioned before about Ibiza and you've got a couple of W.A.R dates coming up at Ibiza Rocks, what's your fondest memory of your time spent on the island?

Well to be honest, my first time out there was only a month or so ago. I hadn't been there before playing there. The first time was at IMS at Ushuaia which was amazing. The second time was my first W.A.R date. 

Did you go partying after you played or was it strictly business?

The first time we went out there we went to Dalt Vila and saw Pete Tong and Sven Vath and it was wicked. Have you ever been to Dalt Vila?

No unfortunately not!

It's an old fort and it overlooks all of Ibiza Town and they put a big festival stage there. It's pretty special. Aside from that it's just been gigs and meeting different people. 

Sounds ace. You've been gigging loads over the past few months, what would you say your favourite performance has been?

So far, it has to be Love Saves The Day which is in Bristol. That was on Shy FX's stage after Shy FX so that was really good. The crowd were amazing, the sun was setting, it was all pretty cool.

You've told us a bit about your productions but is there anything else in the pipeline you can mention?

I'm sort of working on my own album at the moment, whether it will come out as an album yet or not I'm not sure. It might come out as a couple of EPs.

I'm just looking into other options, I know the Waze & Odyssey boys are interested in getting in the studio, as is Duke Dumont. So they're two possibilities. That and vocalists. Finding vocalists that aren't your standard chart vocalists, I want to find something a little bit different. 

It all sounds really exciting...

It's so full on, but in a really good way. 

Last up, a hypothetical question, if I could give you the power to create your ultimate party, what line up and venue would you pick and why? 

Blimey that's a massive question! Definitely The Warehouse Project because that's my favourite venue.

Store Street?

Yeah Store Street, probably with Lone and Luxxury. That would be spot on. 

You can catch Fono at Ibiza Rocks for W.A.R on Friday 17th July and Friday 14th August. 

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