Harry Fraud on ‘High Tide,’ Recording In The Kitchen, Acid Trips And More


Life’s a beach for Harry Fraud. The Brooklyn native has been hibernating somewhere in Florida for the past several months, meticulously finishing his new EP ‘High Tide’ (Presented by ScionAV). The five-track offering (Released 5/7) features an assortment of old friends like French Montana, Action Bronson and RiFF RAFF and unexpected new collaborators like Tech N9Ne and Earl Sweatshirt, all trading verses upon a lush, ambient sound bed. One release down, the prolific producer is already on to the next project. Harry spoke to VIBE about ‘High Tide’ and what’s on the horizon after. –Sowmya Krishnamurthy

You’ve been hibernating down in Florida, which I imagine influenced ‘High Tide.’ What’s a typical day recording on the beach?
Get up, do some yoga, go check the waves. Get up real early, like 7 or 8, with the birds and shit, and probably go in the water if there are waves. If there’s not, come back and start working. I have random people come through like the homies, like rappers and shit, and we record in the kitchen. It’s a pretty good, loose environment.

You’re recording in a real kitchen? How are the acoustics?
Vocals in the kitchen! It’s dope. The house is a big A-frame house, so there’s some natural reverb. I’ve never been one to be too particular about that type of stuff or I need a totally dead sound, even though I’ve always had a vocal booth and stuff. I’ll do open room recording. I’m cool with whatever, so I actually like the sound a lot.

Who has come through the kitchen so far?
I don’t want to say everybody that’s come through because it’ll ruin surprises, probably, but you know, different people. Um, Jae Millz was down here, so he came through a couple of times. [Smoke] Dza is going to come through next week to do some work and finish up our stuff for his new album. I had my artists down here, Eddie B and Adrian Lau, they both came down and we worked on kind of like a Surf School project.

So let’s talk ‘High Tide.’ Sonically, it’s much different from the sample-based fare people have come to expect from you (e.g. French Montana’s “Shot Caller”). Was that intentional?
Yeah. Definitely. It’s fun when you can do projects that live on their own and just take them and do a whole different style. I’m the type of person that I write in all different styles and I listen to all different styles. Certain producers probably don’t like that but I’m the type of producer that does like to make all different stuff. With this, I knew it was going to be five songs and it wouldn’t be the jump out the window type thing. I wanted to try and do some different sounds and stuff.

Does it bother you that people put you in that sample-based producer niche?
No. I don’t think it bothers me. I’m not one of those people who’s insecure about using samples because I also know that I can turn around and do stuff like High Tide with no samples. Producers who get insecure about that kind of stuff are you know, they don’t trust themselves to be able to live without it. They use it as a crutch, whereas I just like to manipulate different sounds that I hear.

How did you select the artists for High Tide?
I wanted to do cool combos. Certain ones were ones like, French and Bronson, I just really wanted to do that because obviously, those are my bros and I always thought
that would be a great record. Tech N9ne, that was my manager Reef. He deals with Tech’s people. I was trying to think like, “What would be the craziest intro ever?”
Who is just that dude that destroys shit? I knew he would be the one and he was with it.

Can you explain to me the appeal of RiFF RAFF? I still don’t get it.
[Laughs]. I just think he’s an acquired taste. It’s not for everybody to love but it’s to provoke reaction from everybody and I think he achieves that no matter what. He’s definitely getting a rise out of people. When we put the song out, somebody who didn’t like him called me like, “Man. I can’t even hate on him anymore. Like I just love that song so much.” I think he’s that type of artist who wins people over. He’s himself. You got to give him that.

When we spoke last year, you mentioned working on an ED-inspired project. Is that still happening?
Oh yeah. I’ve put out this song, with DJ Wonder, “Base,” which was the first little like, taste of it. Me and DJ Wonder are going to put out this song with TrapZillas called “Down Down,” that’s probably more towards that direction. It’s weird, with that type of stuff, I sit down to work on it and I make so much progress into another space that it changes so much. It’s hard to explain. Like, I haven’t created that much of that genre. Every time I make such leaps and bounds, I scratch the whole thing like, “Nah you have 10 new songs.” It’ll come out. The good thing about that style of music is that we can release it singularly too. We’re just going to put the song out on SoundCloud and let the need and the demand for it grow itself before we like jump out the window like, “Here are 20 joints.”

You’ve said, “Jump out the window” twice so far. Are you a closet Ron Browz fan?
[Laughs]. Oh my God. That’s so funny. “Jump out the window” is my favorite term the last two days. I don’t know why. Maybe, because I saw that he put out a new mixtape.

Before we started the interview, you said that you were doing drugs and writing music. In light of Chance The Rapper’s ‘Acid Rap,’ do you think acid is going to be the new go-to drug in hip-hop?
I don’t know. I did acid from like 13 and stopped doing it when I was 21. I never had bad trips. Knock on wood. I had one trip where I literally blinked and lost six hours of my life. I was on the edge of my bed. I didn’t pass out or anything. I went downstairs and my friends were awake and now there were asleep. I was like 21 in college. It wasn’t a bad trip but I felt like I was pushing it now and it was my little warning, like don’t fuck around. Acid’s a powerful drug. Acid’s not a drug to fuck around with. Somebody like Chance, he probably has a grip on it. You can have a grip on it, but acid’s not for everybody. I hope it doesn’t become the new drug [Laughs]. If it works for Chance, good for him.