Within the UK music scene, popularity is usually reserved for the artists themselves, rather than the people putting in work behind the scenes to make the tracks pop. Ghost writers, producers, and sound engineers get a credit in the small print but they don’t often get the clout.
Fumez the Engineer has both, with his influence on the scene not limited to his mix-downs and famous audio tag on releases, but extending across his video content – including freestyles and interviews – and his curation of two well-received mixtapes featuring the likes of Ambush Buzzworl, Rv, Headie One and M Huncho.
‘Plugged In’ and ‘Studio with Fumez’ are stalwart series’ for drill fans, with the former being his most recent contribution: a freestyle series based out of his West (properly WEST) London studio.
Essentially, he’s not just a button-pusher but a certified businessman, and the number of times he answered my questions with ‘pass’ and a smile makes me confident that he isn’t going anywhere fast… he’s got far more to offer. In his own words, ‘music or not, I’ll see you at the top. If you get there, I’ll be there’.
I don’t have a plan. I don’t really have dreams either, I set goals. Right now, I can’t set any goals… it’s complicated. So many things could happen, I could be doing modelling I could be doing acting, I could be doing anything. My life’s a movie. That phrase is my phrase.
You’re more involved in the business side of things than most… having your own studio, own branding, own series. Is that a conscious decision?
It’s a tactical decision. I’d say about 70% of the game is business. 30% is music. The business side is where you actually meet the right people who will get you heard by the right people. So, for me, it makes sense to get acquainted.
Talk to me about your team… you’ve got things set up properly.
I built the team around the time that Drake said ‘No New Friends’. I decided ‘fuck what he’s talking about’, I need bare new friends. That was the popular thing and everyone was screaming it, and I was like ‘you’re all dumb’, because even since then Drake’s made bare new friends… deep the situation. I knew I needed numerous people around me, other than just a right-hand to do everything.
Coronavirus has upset the music and events industry. Has it changed anything for you?
It got in the way of a lot of important meetings I had scheduled.
It’s like you’re chatting to someone new, everything sounds good, let’s link. But we can’t link for 6 weeks so it just drags on. The convo becomes fruitless and boring. ‘How are you?’, ‘Great’, How are you?’. Dead. Conversation’s over. Swipe, delete chat. So it did mess up a couple things.
Who was the first ‘significant’ person you worked with?
Giggs. I didn’t know who he was. I think it was my first proper session where I pressed record, shadowing my mentor. He said press record and I was like nah I don’t really want to… and he said press record. Afterwards he was like take a picture. I brought it to school, showed everyone and they said nooo way, swear down you was with Giggs? I was like yeah, I was patterning while you was here doing bullshit. I felt something there and that kickstarted something for me… the reaction I got from my peers. Everyone in school had that photo.
What does success mean to you? What gets you excited?
How are you feeling right now? If I could open your mind what would I see?
I’m disappointed. I’m not easy to please and I’m not pleased. I’d say Fumez is a person that’s too hard on himself but that’s not gonna change. I am my own worst enemy.
Did you have a dream job when you were a little kid?
To be who I am right now. Obviously playing ball in the park everyone thinks they’re Ronaldo. I got there. I done a little Ronaldhino skill. Leg went one way… ball went the other. Career done. Back to music.
So, are you living the dream?
It depends who you are. I got a DM right before you got here saying ‘I wish I was you’, and I’m sitting here like ‘you don’t know the half of it’. You might think I’m living the dream but I’m thinking ‘brother I’m nothing near where I want to be’. But what happens after that... I don’t know yet.
If someone took your studio away, your ability to engineer away, everything. What would you be doing?
I’m a different kettle of fish. It doesn’t need to be music. I could persevere in any job. As long as I believe in what I’m doing and can see the vision and can alter the vision and make it my vision, I can do it.
Beside yourself, who do you do this for?
It’s always me. When people say they do this for their family it’s a lie. Why’s that watch on your wrist? Does that help your mum? So you can tell the time on a 20 grand watch?
You did it for you. Even for me to be able to give to someone else… that’s for me… to know that I can give. Helping hands don’t come out for me. I see other people get them, but that’s the game. If I can help someone, I do that, but I don’t feel like that’s a duty, that’s just how I was raised…to give.
What’s a better invention - the mobile phone or the aeroplane? Aeroplane.
Favourite takeaway? Jamaican. Macaroni cheese, Curry chicken and rice.
Dream car? Pass. The Range was my dream car.
Beer, wine or water or weed? Water.
Music, TV, films or theatre? Films.
What’s the last thing you watched? Skyscraper. And favourite series is The Wire.
Comedy or Drama? Comedy.
Favourite country? The US.
Piercings or tattoos? Tattoos.
If you could choose what you’re remembered for when you die, what would it be? Pass.
Biggest spend? Studio.
Go-to news source? I don’t do news. It’s negative.
Favourite clothing brand? Versace.
Favourite shoe? Nike VMs.
Favourite person you’ve worked with so far? Skepta.
Words: Jack Siggs
Shot by: Frank Gorski