Fredwave is living life on his own terms 

Fredwave is living life on his own terms 

by Ollie Cox
8 min

On the release day of his latest EP, Fredwave looked relieved as he sat candidly at a desk in his East London home. His newest project, GOODNIGHT June, is a genre-blending five-track production that exemplifies his wide-ranging musical talent, which stems from his earlier memories of watching his dad play in pubs. Speaking energetically and with passion, he discusses his new project and the trials and tribulations of his North London upbringing. Now, the artist is on a winning streak, following collaborations with some of the biggest names in UK music, the release of numerous solo projects and creative endeavours for labels such as Louis Vuitton and A-COLD-WALL*

GOODNIGHT June takes the listener on an aural journey through the ups and downs of life.  “LALA” relays a reflective moment over a high-bpm electronic beat, which aligns with its creator’s love of “untz untz” music. Later, we see features from Jeshi and Elijah Waters on “Temple,” as we hear of mental battles with internalised thoughts, lust and intoxication. The EP contains the spaced-out “Mind,” where he talks plainly about the experience of “growing up in London, on an estate near enough everyday,” where it would have “been easy to fall into other paths.”  

Barney Arthur ©

The process of creating any piece of music is no small feat, with pressure from management, battles with self-doubt, and tight deadlines cropping up along the way. Having survived all of these, Fred remains in good spirits, summing the album up with a deceptively simple and ironic: “Live, Laugh, Love.”

It’s not been plain sailing for the musician, who has had to navigate the industry from the outside in, learning as he has gone along and applying natural talent with an unflinching drive to be the best. He introduces himself on camera, before quickly darting to the door behind him, signalling the start of the formal questioning process. The move is reflective of the musician’s focused approach to everything he does. 

For Fredwave, music has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember, with the playground being his first stage. “When T2 “Heartbroken” had just dropped, I wrote my first lyric. I was on the playground, and I spat my first bar. That was the first time I was like, ‘Oh yeah, this is fun.’” Music is something which runs in his family, with a second fond memory being of time spent with his dad, who “used to play in pubs all over London,” with one venue having “a slushie machine, and I remember thinking ‘oh yeah, this is a bit cool,’ I can’t believe my dad is shutting down this pub.”  

Being born in North London and now residing in Bow, East London, the capital, has profoundly impacted the artist’s outlook on life, helping shape his worldview and contributing to a sense of drive. “The capital as a whole is just so busy. It’s dog-eat-dog, so if you’re just sitting back, it can swallow you up, and you can lose yourself definitely,” he shared before reflecting on the sense of comparison in all of us: “I find myself just wasting days sometimes. In the same sense, it pushes me to actually want to be something as well. It’s hard to see all of these things in front of your face and not be like, ‘I want that.’ You’ve got to try and make it happen.” East London is “friendlier,” he announces before joking about his future home. “When I live in Kensington, you’ll have to ask me that question again.” 

For Fredwave, getting back into music was a struggle after a lengthy hiatus following his 2017 EP Failure. Further problems were created by Covid-19, a time when he found himself facing financial hardship. “Because the gap was so big, I made a project to follow it up, but because of the way the world was going with Covid, I scrapped it. I was like like, ‘fuck it, I’m not making a project until there’s a demand,’ and then I started making singles and realised there was something there,” he shared. This sudden increase in output was a challenge, especially at the start of the project when he was an independent artist. “My manager helped out so much in getting it done. I was having conversations with myself, and I was just like, ‘We need to get something done!’” 

Now, in a more advantaged position, he has the “easiest root to make music,” adding, “My output is way quicker than it was back in the day when I didn’t know who was going to master it. Now I have a team of people I trust, so my output is getting quicker, it’s getting better, I’m getting better. The Process is getting better! I can’t complain, It’s been an eye-opening experience.” 

The regimented routine-style of production the musician describes did not come easy. It took a series of trial and error attempts to find out what works. When quizzed on what it takes to achieve a multiple project-a-year consistency, he responded to-the-point: “Just [by] being nicer to myself really. [Examining] how you see yourself, and just not beating yourself up,” he explained. Despite this positivity, Fredwave acknowledges his own imperfections. “I’m not perfect, I’ve have nights where I go crazy, and then I’m not feeling right for four days, but I still [try and be] slightly productive. I think what helps with that is deadlines, working with other people, you’ve got to show up.” 

As a producer, Fredwave has teamed up with some of the most promising artists in the UK, including rapper Jeshi, known for his hard-hitting social commentary, and DJ, producer and NTS regular, P-arrallel, admitting that he has “like 40 songs” with the former, and doesn’t know if half of them will ever release. The trial and error process of collaboration is something he feels can help him learn, explaining his internalised approach: “Being like ‘Okay, we didn’t use that song, but these lyrics are fucking sick.” 

Barney Arthur ©

Collaboration isn’t second nature for Fredwave and is instead something that has been nurtured. When asked how important it is to work with different artists, he gave an insight into his shift in mindset. “Now it is, before it wasn’t. I thought I could work by myself for years. It was in 2021, in lockdown, where I was like ‘Fuck it,’ I’m going to work with everyone I want to work with.” He then went on to joke about the importance of working with others to better himself, erupting into laughter as he spoke. “There are only so many YouTube tutorials you can watch on how to make music.” 

Now, Fredwave is being recognised in other creative fields, writing scores for brands including Louis Vuitton and A-COLD-WALL*. When the topic of fashion’s intersection with music comes into question, he avoids any fluffiness. “You’re not going to sit in silence and not blink and watch people walk down the runway. There has got to be some sort of engagement there. They’ve got to go together when you think about it.” 

He also relates the symbiotic relationship of fashion and music to our obsession with perception. “You’re buying into the image of someone, so if they’re looking all fucking dusty, you’re not going to want to look at them.” 

Fresh off the back of his EP release, there is a refreshing kineticism that reverberates through Fredwave North London tones. His to-the-point humour is extended into the advice the musician gives to others. It’s not revolutionary, but the passion and belief in his words is clear to see. “Be yourself, even if that’s good or bad,” he states, “If you live life on your own terms, it will work out – And Work Hard.” 

With big plans and an enviable self-driven approach, it is clear the musician and producer has found his rhythm, taking life on his own terms. This, combined with his solid work ethic, has allowed him to achieve a great deal. Despite his successes, he’s not resting on his laurels, with his eyes already set on scoring further fashion films and television performances. With one last parting shot, Fredwave shared his plans for the future. “As long as I’ve got one good album, I’ll tour it, and that’ll be that, I’ll vanish.” 

Cover Image: Barney Arthur

More on Culted 

See: Ashley Okoli is the Lagos poster girl shaking up the fashion narrative

See: Is Black Friday in its downfall era?

in other news