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Fraser T. Smith hails ‘incredible’ Serge Pizzorno for work on second Future Utopia album

As Fraser T.Smith shares the video for 'Looking For A Way Out (Of Del Rio), the producer and Future Utopia leader tells Rolling Stone UK about his second record.

By Nick Reilly

Fraser T Smith (Picture: Press)

Fraser T. Smith has hailed Serge Pizzorno as “one of the most incredible visionaries” he’s worked with, after teaming up with the Kasabian man on his second Future Utopia album.

Django’s High, which arrives on July 12 via 70Hz Recordings/The Orchard, sees Pizzorno on co-production duties after the pair first worked together on Kasabian’s 2022 album The Alchemist’s Euphoria.

Today (January 31), sees Smith share the video for ‘Looking For A Way Out (Of Del Rio)’, which offers a taste of the Morricone-esque Western sounds that have influenced the record.

While Smith’s first album as Future Utopia featured collabs with the likes of Kojey Radical and Dave, the latest is a more singular effort that leans heavily into the cinematic soundscapes that influenced classic Western movies.

But, with Pizzorno at hand, it takes on a psychedelic and unpredictable edge too.

“Serge and I met when we were making Kasabian’s last album and that was an interesting time because Serge was starting again after the departure of Tom,” Smith explained to Rolling Stone UK.

“Losing your singer is probably the biggest transformation that a band could ever go through, but especially in the circumstances he faced. It felt like a period of rebirth and there was definitely periods where the band wondered if it could ever work. But Serge is one of the most incredible visionaries I’ve met. He has this drive and passion and self-belief that was also tempered by huge vulnerability too.

“There was so many things we worked on to create that record and we developed this friendship that led to a full circle moment where I said to him, ‘Look, I’ve got this record. As mates, can you tell me if I’m crazy singing on this record?’ So he came on board and repaid the favour over five times and told me things about where my vocals could be and what we could try. He really executive produced Django’s High and I’m so grateful for that.”

Smith added: “To have Serge as a guiding hand across this record was just a massive gift. I respect him not only stylistically, but as a human who could be brutally honest when needed. It was the best thing ever.”

As for the wider sound of the record, Smith recalled how he was struck down with Covid while writing the album and spent time watching classic spaghetti westerns, as well as more contemporary work including the Coen Brothers’ Oscar-winning epic No Country For Old Men.

He added: “The first Future Utopia album, 12 Questions, was very dense, so I wanted to make sure that this had more of a band-feel where we could go out and replicate the record. It came together and now it’s got this psychedelic Spaghetti Western feel to it all, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

And as for his other work, Smith confirmed he’s now working with Dave again on the anticipated follow-up to his second album We’re All Alone In This Together.

“I’ve been speaking to Dave about his new album and he works in a way where nothing can push him time wise, no amount of deadlines and that really works for him, to have blocks of time that allow him to work, you know, on this genius level of coming up with great stuff.”

He added: “It’s too early to say what the third record might look like, but hopefully I will always be a part of Dave’s creative life. We did so much together up to his second album. We remain close and we’re always talking.”

Django’s High arrives on July 12 via 70Hz Recordings/The Orchard.