Link to our Facebook
Link to our Instagram
Link to our TikTok

Fred Again..: A Beacon Of Light For Millions In One Of The World's Darkest Storms

14 February 2023 | 4:50 pm | Parry Tritsiniotis

Moments before he took the stage at the Enmore Theatre, we chat to one of the most hyped artists in the world, Fred Again..

(Image via Jordan Munns)

Fred Again.. has taken the world by storm.

The producer and DJ rose to the highest of heights, not just in dance music, but in global live music for the past two years.

Fred gained mainstream notoriety for his now viral Boiler Room for its sweaty packed rave experience. It featured one of the now most famous drum machine moments in history, euphoric rave moments, unreleased collaborations with Swedish House Mafia, Four Tet, Skrillex, unexpected interruptions and unadulterated energy. With it, Fred Again.. put underground dance music on a mainstream level, so much so it became the talking point of the music community for the month it was released. 

The set emerged in a post-lockdown, mid pandemic era. As young people began to search for live music for the first time and veteran heads looked for brand new experiences one common thread tied them together, escapism. Nothing is more escapist than dancing. As the world's economy crashed, as cost of living continues to rise as a result of inflation, as global anxiety skyrockets and job security wanes, dance music has become the beacon of hope and escapism for millions across the world.

From the Great Depression which ended in 1939 to the Global Financial Crisis of 2009, people have danced through times of trouble. Following 2009, some of the most lively dance pop records were released. Whether The Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling, Lady Gaga’s Just Dance, Kesha’s TikTok or Rihanna’s Please Don’t Stop The Music topping the charts, the public desire for euphoria is well on show here.

Plug into the latest music with our FREE weekly newsletter

Yes, while there is a clear difference between Fred Again..’s downtempo dance records to the golden era of EDM, the undertones of the eras are the same. And while their fandoms may be completely different, when Fred Again.. landed on Australian shores, nothing could have compared to the hype that prevailed. 

Alongside his appearances at Laneway Festival he played two official headline shows at the Forum in Melbourne and The Enmore Theatre in Sydney. However, with a reputation for performing secret shows, fans took to the streets of the cities to find any clues of where and if they would take place. In Melbourne he sold out over 2000 tickets in 3.6 seconds the morning of the show following a text message campaign. Sydney would have the same fate, with him selling out The Hordern Pavilion in a matter of minutes after he sent an email out to his fans.

A viral club focused Boiler Room is not enough to cause this level of attention and fan love. While many can understand the power of club music the level of focus and attention Fred received was above and beyond that of a fire DJ. The reason being, he was creating a world of escapist music on all fronts, both on the live sphere but critically with his Actual Life records.

The Actual Life trilogy reflect musical diary entries, reflecting time periods in Fred’s life from the middle of the pandemic to the moving out of it. With the albums Fred expertly composes tracks that span real life samples between the times April 2020 and September 2022, contextualising what was undoubtedly been one of the most enlightening and difficult periods that young people will ever have to face. Whether reflecting on losing the ability to dance with the Blessed Madonna to a wholesome experience with a construction worker Fred met in Atlanta, Fred Again..’s journals turned from his own personal diary to a vignette of the universal experience which many people were living through throughout those years.

What manifested was one of the most in demand tours Australia has ever seen. 

A mere moment before he stepped on stage to perform to a sold out Enmore Theatre, we chatted to Fred Again.. about the end of the Actual Life series, the balance between rave and emotion, his iconic Boiler Room and much more. 

You’re about to go on stage. You’re on the other side of the world. This is like, the hottest ticket in town. How does this feel? This moment right now?

The feeling right now is that it never feels quite real. As you can see the vibes are quite chill. It doesn't quite feel real until I put my ears in and I can hear the crowd, or I go up and can hear the support artist playing. It’s only when I look out there and see people’s faces that I get the feeling, Oh Shit, this is about to happen. Right now I’m almost not aware. 

Your music evokes an escapism, while also being about real world things. It’s an escape, a comfort, a warm hug for so many of your fans. Now playing so many shows, you’ve played a show every second night in Australia, how has your relationship with Actual Life changed since first starting the album series?

The things that have changed don't impact the core feelings of life for me. There’s new stuff going on but fundamentally it’s the same big things that are shaping my life. I think it is the same.

How important is it to you, that alongside the big concert structured shows you’re also giving fans the opportunity to engage with your music in a rave format? How do you see the difference between the two in relation to your music?

I feel like I’m right at the beginning of that journey in both worlds, the live and the DJ. I’m getting more and more comfortable playing on my own for longer periods of time. I’m definitely obsessed with getting better at DJing and showcasing that. Fundamentally, the music I make is half that, but half something totally different. A lot of the first two albums are technically dance but it’s not club music in my mind.

Only the last record had those major dance records. It’s still really important to me that the main live show we play is a concert experience that is fundamentally different to a rave while using those textures. That’s why it is so fun to do both. 

That alludes to the balance of your music. The balance of the percussion, the balance of the heaviness to it, and most importantly the balance of ambience. How much credit do you give the power of space and ambience in your music to its ability to be emotionally connected to?

The ambience in the record is the thing that I am most obsessed with. Capturing as pure a possible version of a feeling comes out in the ambience in the records. That’s what I hope has allowed it to become so emotionally encapsulating, because those are the parts of the songs that I most obsess over.

Sort of on that note, the Boiler Room set up is deliberately chaotic. Yours was exceptionally chaotic in a great way. How did that context inspire you? How did the chaos add to your performance/experience?

It was intense, it was so hot. It was dangerously hot, I didn’t drink water because I was so distracted by the evening. By the end I was about to pass out. It made me almost hyper-unaware. Playing raves like that levels everyone out in a venue. We were all in the same shit, feeling the same factors. It’s what makes it and makes it so special.

Actual Life presents as yes, a journal but also an archive. An archive of emotions, tracks, and a vignette into your life but also the general psyche of the world and your fans at the time. Does making music as an archive can make it more difficult, or does it make it easier?

For me it helps because it helps frame things as a start and finish point. I think about it as a frame, almost a limit for the creativity to explore but also a place for the idea to exist. That’s the idea that made me most attracted to it in the beginning, to create a diary in it for me. I think that definitely helps me, meaning I’m not starting from 0, or working from a white blank page. 

Hanging out with and working with Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia & Four Tet. One common thread between them both in my opinion is legacy and longevity. What has hanging out and working with those two taught you about what you want to make your legacy or achieving longevity?

Kieran (Four Tet) is the person we can all see in that idea the most. The way that he lets so few things in that can contaminate his taste. There are so few things that can dilute or pollute his music or taste. 

He is always bringing people back to What would I want? What Would I want my experience to be? in every facet of creating or performing. When we do a rave, Kieran rightly cares enormously about how everyone is feeling. Whether it is the live agent, the promoter, the fan. He is excellent at de-escalating stress, both on the team and industry side but also just generally as a vibe. His perspective on the whole process of being an artist is unique.

He tries to create a feeling unanimously across the board that is just good vibes. The butterfly effect from that, whether in a studio or in a rave is quite intangible, but very real. Things like that are extremely inspiring. 

You have such a strong community of fans. How do you reflect on the community that has been built, and generally just how bloody wholesome it is? Is there a pressure that comes with it or is it a comfort?

I feel very grateful and indebted to the way of the feeling that the people create at the shows. I feel very grateful for the space that music has allowed the music to have in their lives and the role they let it play. I feel very indebted to that. Everything becomes a big shared thing that I don’t take for granted. 

Now looking back at Actual Life. How has it affected you? How has it given you clarity or peace of mind, with them being such emotionally tied records?

I don’t think I’ll understand the impact of Actual Life on me until 5 years time or 10 years time. I’m still too in it right now. Even though it is an end of trilogy of some sorts. I’m going to pause Actual Life for a bit now. I can’t put it into words. I don’t have the words ready yet, I need hindsight.

It’s so process built that it’s hard to look at what it is until that process is complete, it’s hard to look at.