Ready, Fredde!!

Posted: June 17, 2011 in Entertainment, Music, Performance

YouTube and the Internet have a bonafide new star, and his name is FreddeGredde. Well, that’s what he calls himself, but his real name is Fredrik Larsson, a twenty-five-year-old hailing from Sweden, and who may well be one of the greatest new vocal and instrumental geniuses of our time, aside from being a stupendous giant of filmmaking and graphic design. In an extremely short amount of time, he’s managed to become the most awe-inspiring and visible artist to emerge from Scandinavia since ABBA or Sissel, and his YouTube hits are numbering into the millions. His debut album, Thirteen Eight, will be emerging in August, and therefore it gives The Andrew Martin Report the most singular pleasure to have caught him for an interview before he heads for the superstardom that will most certainly be his.

ANDREW MARTIN: Where did this all begin for you? Did you study music as a child?

FREDDEGREDDE: It really began with my own increasing interest in music around the age of fourteen, and friends trying to play guitar. So I started trying to do that as well, along with an old keyboard I got as a Christmas present sometime around there. I’ve never studied music, though. Except on the Internet, by myself.

AM: How did you become adept at so many different instruments?

FG: Practice, patience, and an interest in understanding things. It’s not exclusively musical instruments. I’ve been interested in understanding; I try to learn most things that spark my curiosity. Like math, languages, video games and sports!

AM: Were you always such a talented vocalist, or did that take time?

FG: People around me have always been singing, badly, and that scared me from even trying to sing at all. It wasn’t until I was nineteen or twenty years old that I started. And it was difficult! It takes a lot of practice to learn how to control the pitch and timbre of your voice. It took years until I dared to post the first video of me singing.

AM: Do you prefer playing music as opposed to singing, or does it make a difference?

FG: It doesn’t really matter. Honestly, I don’t like either! I’m all about composing and creating, coming up with ideas. The actual playing and singing isn’t much fun. It’s a necessity in order to “save” the ideas.

AM: When did you begin implementing your filmmaking/graphic design skills into your work?

FG: I’d say it’s the other way around. I’ve always been making short movies with friends, and I’ve been animating and drawing a lot. More so than I’ve been playing instruments. Although, now that I’m making music videos, I’m completely focusing on the music instead, and the graphic design is just a small bonus, to do something extra now and then. But I try to keep my videos simple and laid-back. Just me on the couch, and an occasional animation or “clone” popping up now and then.

AM: Were you surprised at all when your YouTube videos started getting so much attention?

FG: Not really. The attention increased so gradually that it never really jumped out on me. I was always just thinking, “Okay, this is better than before, but it’s still not better than [someone else’s video that is slightly more popular].” My first video (Für Elise on guitar) only got a couple of views per day, and I remember being really happy when it managed to do a hundred views in one day! And after that, I made “Mega-Man 9 Rock Medley,” which got some recognition on video game forums, so it did slightly better. I think it reached thirty thousand in a week or so, and that was great! I figured that a hundred thousand was when a video was good for real. But when my third video, “Wind Waker Unplugged,” reached a hundred thousand in three days or so, I had already changed my mind, that a million views is what makes it decent. And it has continued like that. I know that my videos are good, but it’s impossible to know which ones will turn out to just “click” with people, and since there are much WORSE videos on YouTube that have ten times as many views as mine, I don’t get surprised. I don’t think too much about it these days.

AM: Who are your inspirations, both in music and in filmmaking?

FG: There aren’t really any people that I’m inspired by. It’s all about the works in themselves. If I hear something interesting in a song, I get inspired to understand it, and use its “essence” to do something original. I wouldn’t say that I work with filmmaking these days, but probably Disney and Pixar in general. I love animation!

AM: Tell us everything you can about the Thirteen Eight album.

FG: I don’t want to tell you too much at this point, because it’s not finished yet, and I want to keep some details secret! But it’s the first album I’ve made, and there are only original songs on it, composed and recorded all by myself. Except for drums, performed by David Schlein, another young YouTube musician. The songs are all very different from each other, but I like variation, creative chord progressions, odd-time signatures and unusual song structure, so most songs will be quite experimental! I’m still trying to maintain accessible and catchy melodies though, so I guess it will be sort of similar to the more popular “prog rock” songs in history, like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “The March of the Black Queen” (both by Queen), “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, some Genesis and Yes songs, and also like more modern Dream Theater. But everything in my own way of seeing things. The plan is to release on the 13th of August, but the album is titled Thirteen Eight for other reasons than that. I guess mostly because I noticed that most of the songs include the time signature 13/8 at one point or another, that they’re thirteen songs and I’m playing eight different instruments on it. It’s also mentioned in the lyrics at one point or two. So it’s sort of a concept album, even though the lyrics are separate for each song.

AM: What would you suggest to other young people who would like to begin doing the kind of work you do?

FG: Basically, that they have to understand that you need a lot of patience and practice to become good at things. You can’t just pick up a guitar and expect to play advanced stuff in less than a year. Also, to become famous or popular, you can’t just imitate what other people have already done. You need to be creative, and come up with new exciting things, because otherwise you will never stand out from the other millions of people that people have access to on the Internet these days.

AM: What are your ultimate goals?

FG: To find “true love”, and to get rich enough to be able to spend my time on my future kids. And to be creative without feeling the pressure of making money.

It’s a pretty safe bet that FreddeGredde has a secure future regardless of anything. No matter what your musical genre of choice may be, make it your business to pick up a copy of Thirteen Eight when it emerges later this summer. You certainly won’t be disappointed in the slightest. In the meantime, enjoy his YouTube videos, because they are simply brilliant.

  1. LisaG says:

    He’s awesome and I think having a comeback this year.

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