FM HI LOW is the result of an evolution of sound and personal explorations by multi-instrumental musician and singer Fraser MacDougall. A sound and vision he has achieved by spending a lot of time developing his craft in front of live audiences and in dozen’s of home and professional studios all over Canada, U.S.A, Australia, New Zealand, and Jamaica. For the past twelve years MacDougall has been playing music and enjoying pursuits into different climates and cultures while having adventures and conversations with people from all walks of life. As a result FM HI LOW resonates with a universally appealing frequency of positivity, unity, the pursuit of knowledge and self actualization.
Fraser MacDougall musical process was adapted from an early age. Since the beginning he has been forging his own musical path. While his mother was pregnant with Fraser she enlisted in jazz ballet lessons accompanied by live percussionists. Once a week while in the whom he was picking up on the time and absolute wonder of the dance beat. His father was a DJ in University who mixed for dances on a reel to reel tape player and one record player. Fraser’s love for vinyl records and Hi-Fi stereo equipment were a very early appreciation and interest. Although he heard a lot of music growing up no one in the family really played an instrument until his older sister Lindsay took up piano lessons. Through the will of their great aunt’s passing the MacDougall family room inherited a beautiful old upright Piano which Fraser sat and twiddled at for hours until his mom kindly asked him to stop. His mother has a great taste in music but is very sensitive to noise. Finding pleasing tones was a main motivator for Fraser, by pleasing his mothers ears any piano playing session was prolonged. He started playing zxylaphone at age 8 in school. His teacher decided he needed something a little more challenging after she found him playing the standard recorder flute with his nose causing a ruckus in the class. Focused more on sports, outdoor recreation and theatre in his teenage years Fraser didn’t start getting serious into into music until he started playing the guitar at age 18. He dove into writing head first abandoning all of his Hip Hop and Rap cd’s for the likes of singer/songwriters and the acoustic guitar.
While backpacking with his acoustic guitar in Australia and New Zealand at age 19 MacDougall discovered his calling. Traveling, surfing,snowboarding, meeting new people, playing, writing and performing music. He returned to Quebec after his travels to study Jazz Guitar and Arts Administration at Bishops University in an attempt to somehow make a career out of music. There he gained a strong interest in the pursuit of musical ability on many types of instruments, was exposed to the business side of the art world, and the history of contemporary music. In his first year University MacDougall was stuck in the second string jazz band which had four other guitarists, he opted to play bass, percussion and sing instead. In senior year MacDougall started a band called the Stairway Movement that performed his original compositions. They were awarded a government grant that allowed them to conduct music workshops and performances in local elementary school and also tour the eastern townships. He graduated in 2005 with a bang by directing a music and awareness festival called ¨Rock for the River¨. It was put together by the members of schools environmental organization of which MacDougall was an active member.
Since graduating MacDougall has been writing songs, performing music and traveling. He has lead numerous bands and travelled and worked at many different jobs to support his music career. His main alternate path has always been linked to working with youth and the environment. In 2008 MacDougall was Co-Directer of the Sunship Earth program at Camp Wanakita in Haliburton, Ontario. A program that brings urban youth into natural setting to encourage team building, leadership and an appreciation for the environment and the eco systems on which it depends. He has volunteered for such organizations as Willing Workers on Organic farms, Food Not Bombs, OPiRG, Greenpeace, and Amnesty International. In 2009 MacDougall was asked to perform at the Kootenay Flow Festival in B.C, a music and awareness festival dedicated to the protection and conservation of Canadian waterways. He currently works part timeat J2K Youth Centre in his neighbourhood in Montreal. Teaching teens to make beats, produce tracks and jam.
Going beyond the role as musical entertainment, FM Hi Low has turned more into a movement for social consciousness. MacDougall embraces the pop melody as a form of mass communication and music as a tool for positive change. His lyrics have a deep consciousness for the earth and generosity for the human spirit. Carrying messages that are attuned to the protection and conservation of natural habitats, local organic farming, human rights, the occupy movement, peace, love, unity and an overall ¨joi de vivre¨.
With FM HI Low , MacDougall has combined his knowledge of orchestration and songwriting with a love of world rhythms and electronic sound manipulation. As a result his catalogue is full of compositions with a wide range of sounds and instrumentation. MacDougall’s process is a simple do-it-yourself affair, layering everything from his voice to guitars, drums, bass, percussion, piano, keyboards, synths, ukulele, mandolin, and a variety of samples and field recordings.
It was upon meeting Producer/ Engineer Borza Ghomeshi in 2008 that FM’s plethora of lo-fi recordings were refined into an album. Ghomeshi has worked with award winning artists such as: Emmy Lou Harris, Lauryn Hill, and Andre Dédé Vander. His studio space and sonic expertise have added a whole other dimension to the FM HI LOW sound . MacDougall and Ghomeshi work together to polish and refine the FM HI LOW material. Adding overdubs, re-amping, mixing, and editing the recordings into master tracks that the modern listener and music industry demand. The first release by the production duo was a nine track album called ¨Up On the Hillside¨. It was pressed independently in July, 2009 and is sold at FM HI LOW shows and on Itunes. ¨Up On the Hillside¨ has sold over 2,500 copies and the tracks have been streamed over 50,000 times online.