Culture / Music

Why is everyone obsessed with Fred Again..?

Who is Fred Again.. and why is he suddenly everywhere?

Fred Again.. was never exactly niche. I don't think you can say that of anyone with a Brit Award. But it certainly feels like the buzz around the 29-year-old producer and musician has reached fever pitch over the last 12 months. Suddenly Fred Again.. is everywhere. This time last year, he was playing sold out shows in Melbourne and Sydney – with tickets to the secret ones selling out in a matter of minutes; headlining Coachellas the secret 'TBC' headliner alongside besties Four Tet and Skrilex; he's getting elbowed in the face by HAAi; fans are tattooing his lyrics on all areas of their body or rushing out of tattoo appointments to snag a Fred Again.. sweat towel. It's madness, it's mayhem, it's modern day Beatles-mania.

But now that Fred has unexpectedly touched down in Australia and New Zealand for what seems to be a string of secret shows – yes, he just announced his first tonight at the Sydney Opera House – even those least acquainted with EDM have encountered the South London-born artist on their feeds.

However, if you're like TikTok user @unofficiallyivy  and "feel like I went to sleep one night and I woke up and suddenly everyone's obsessed with this guy called Fred," we're here to help. Below we're bringing you up to speed on the musician, and why you're suddenly seeing him everywhere.

@unofficiallyivy Like am i that out of touch? #fredagain #aussie #australia #sydney #lanewayfestival #music ♬ original sound - Ivy

Who is Fred Again..?

Born in the South London suburb of Balham, the 29-year-old musician's real name is Frederick Gibson and he's a Cancerian (like me, in case you were wondering).

How he got his start in the industry is kind of serendipitous. While he was always deeply immersed in music coming from a classical background, at 16 a neighbour connected Gibson with a musician who was running an a cappella group out of his studio – the musician turned out to be the legendary producer Brian Eno. Since then, Eno has acted as a mentor to Gibson and it was he who encouraged Gibson to focus on his own music again.

Although it may seem like Fred Again.. sprouted out of the earth from nowhere he's been producing behind the scenes for years now, working with names like Charli XCX, Stormzy, Ed Sheeran, FKA Twigs, BTS...the list goes on. In 2020, he was recognised for his output and won Best Producer at the Brit Awards, although he told The Guardian it's not something that means that much to him. "I don’t want to shit on something that matters to people but it’s just so not why I do it.”

It's this down-to-earth attitude that is part of the appeal of Fred Again... Rather than feed into the elusive electronic musician archetype, when Fred Again.. performs he smiles from the decks and he's very interactive with fans on social media. On top of this, he has an ear for sincerity which pairs well with the euphoria of EDM, and his albums, Actual Life the debut and its subsequent two records, have are exemplary of this. He samples clips he's personally recorded from real experiences, which he described to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 as coming from an obsession with "trying to take the very fleeting moments and trying to expose as much beauty as is in them."

"You know how sometimes if you see something in [a] normal thing, and you see it in slow-mo, it’s like, ‘Oh wow,'" he explains. "There’s a whole new emotional framing for it."

So there you have it, a wholesome king on the rise. If you see that whale emoji, it's time to embrace the wave of Fred Again.. and again and again.

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Cover images: one, two.