In the Summertime with Fredfades

This week saw Fredfades put out a recorded mix that captured the feeling of summer perfectly as the sun made its first considerable appearance in Oslo. Fredfades’ down-tempo beats and evocative melodic silhouettes drip with the sultry feeling of a summer’s day and you can’t help but get caught up in a feeling when you listen to it. It came to us on the very same week Mutual Intentions take over our stage for three special sets during Musikkfest this Saturday, so we thought we’d get in touch with Fredfades from Mutual Intentions and Touchdown to ask him about these upcoming sets, that mix and more.

You just put out a mix to celebrate the beginning of summer. Tell us a bit about what inspired the mix, besides the change of weather?

Don’t know really, I do mixes all the time. I like to stick to a subject when doing mixes, which is the opposite when I DJ, cause then I’ll usually just bring a mixed bag and go bananas. I like to make mixes that sound specific so if I wanna listen to jazz I put on one of my jazz mixes, and if I’m going out to DJ soul/disco/boogie , I’ll listen to the Touchdown Sound mix first. This time I wanted to put out some soul sounds. Nothing too dancy, more like headphone music.

It‘s made up of music from your seven-inch collection. What is it about that format that appeals to you?

All my favourite shit is private press releases made by artists who did like one or two 7” records. Amateur modern soul & boogie sounds. Lo-fi bedroom recordings. I never cared too much about the sound of professional soul records really, as most times it doesn’t hit me at all. Back in the day you had no label, no money, no Soundcloud, no iTunes, no nothing. You had to make incredible 7” singles and ship them out to the American radio stations if you wanted to make it out of your little state or town. People would literally do free warm ups for bigger soul act and throw their 7” singles into the crowd as giveaway’s, crossing their fingers, hoping to be discovered by people and radio DJ’s. 7” had fewer expenses for the producers/artists: less production costs, no cover, lower shipping costs. Unfortunately the authentic spirit of these soul/disco/boogie gems was overlooked by the record industry when they were released as they didn’t sound as professional and huge as the big soul sounds from Detroit or Philly or whatever.

It’s the type of music that would not be unfamiliar in a Mutual Intentions showcase. Can you tell us more about the ideas behind Mutual Intentions and how it came together?

It’s just a bunch of friends, we’ve been hanging out forever and we’re into the same type of stuff so we put our heads together and tried to make our little Norwegian special force unit so we could reach out internationally and get in touch with new listeners and musicians. We felt like we were already in touch and had control of our Norwegian market and did what we had to do to reach out internationally and it worked out perfectly. We do music, and all the stuff that should come with it, such as artwork, videos, clothing and photography. Our first project was bought by people over at the Boiler Room & Stones Throw family and it made sure we got some nice international connections which we’re really thankful for. We’ve had more international gigs, Ivan did a European tour recently, Charlotte is doing shows in NYC, I’m doing a beat set & DJ set in Moscow next week, we’re doing music online with some of our favourite musicians and we do get to release our music through bigger international labels. Charlotte Dos Santos has gained a lot of international attention as a singer lately and will be releasing a video + song I produced for her through Stones Throw Records pretty soon, and she is currently working on her debut project which I’m sure will be very popular when it drops.

There’s something of social implication with the name Mutual Intentions that you also mention there. Where for you, does the balance lie in playing / making music, and bringing people together? 

Yes, it’s very humble and including, just like us. That was the original idea. We just want to team up with like-minded people and have great fun.

You were recently on Boiler Room. How did you find the experience and do you find anything particularly different with the feel of the night when it’s being documented like that?

Boiler Room was fun for all of us, and we did a 21:00 – 03:00 long set, with Sofie from Boiler Room doing the warm-up sets at the beginning. A lot of stuff could have gone wrong, but we made it through the night with some minor fuck ups that we believe most people didn’t even notice. It’s fun to watch later on, but there’s something with the camera angles of our set that I don’t like. When captured from above it looks really slow and laid-back, which it actually was not.

So is there any ambition to do it again?

We’ll see :  )

I’d also like to ask you about Jazz Cats. It’s you and Kristoffer Eikrem on that record. How did you meet and start making music together?

We met at a party through mutual friends in 2012 I think. I just told him that I had a lot of grooves (drums, chords, bass lines) laying around that sounded jazzy (fender rhodes type of stuff) that needed leads, hooks, and proper arrangement. He was ready to go and we just made a bunch of stuff. We actually did a whole lot more, but I decided to scrap a lot of the songs as they sounded a little too experimental/progressive and did not fit the majority of the sound too much. I started out making an instrumental project, but ended up making a “jazzy” instrumental project.

What were your individual rolls in the making of this album?

I laid down all the groove work/foundations for the tracks, and Kristoffer Eikrem did overdubs, and I edited, re-arranged some of his playing, plus mixed it and added additional musicians. A couple of the songs on the record is without trumpet, but features additional pianists, sax players, vocalists etc. It’s not a straight beat + trumpet album. It’s a jazzy instrumental project, featuring a bunch of instrumentalists such as Dr. Kay, Mette Henriette, Trevor DeAndre Grover, Bendik Hovik Kjeldsberg, Tarjei Kierland Lienig, Vincent Velur, Deckdaddy + vocalists.

The Hip-Hop connection can be felt through out your work. What other musical influences play a role in your music?

I don’t listen to a lot of hiphop records anymore. I like some of it though, and I am very thankful for getting to work with a lot of my favourite artists. There’s a lot of great young rappers coming up that I’ve discovered through the Internet which are so much better than all these “old legendary dudes”. This goes for beat makers as well. Suddenly hiphop stopped inspiring me as I felt that the small parts of the genre I still liked does not evolve as fast as it used to. I get a lot of inspiration from jazz records, as well as electronic records such as house/techno, lo-fi modern soul and boogie records. I look for grooves and sounds that can inspire me to work towards a conceptual direction. It can be everything from a weird drum pattern I want to steal to an obscure combination of electronics and acoustic instrument that will make me feel weird when I hear it.

It sounds like you like you use samples from similar tracks to that mix you just released. What do you look for in the samples in the music?

I’m not really sure what I look for, I just listen to records and a certain piece of the music can inspire me to steal/re-play a certain part, or I can try to completely tear something apart. A lot of my beats I will define as groove music. It’s heavily based around the groove tracks (bass, drums, chords). I enjoy creating a groove that feels natural out of, for example a set of chords from a two-minute keyboard solo. I will chop out a set of 16-32 chords, pitch them around and play with it, filter it, and sometimes I select certain chords that will change the key of my work to another key than the original work. I don’t study or write notes, and when magic stuff like this happens I feel really complete with my sample works. I like to show people the samples I’ve used for my songs, and see how people never recognise it. “Breathe”, “Fruitful”, “Focus Point”, “All The Way Down” and “Hands” are all songs like this. I won’t even recognise the original sounds myself when I listen to the original records as the pieces of music I stole has been manipulated so heavily.

For the album Fruitful, you worked mostly with Ivan Ave, and on Jazz Cats you worked with Eikrem. What is it about recording with other artists that you enjoy?

I don’t know. People have different approaches to music and we push each other out of each others’ comfort zones into new directions, which makes us do stuff we wouldn’t have done on our own. It can be everything from what songs to scrap, what songs to keep, how to mix stuff, what beats to work with, etc. Some people are easier to work with than others, all depending on musical habits and political views. Right now I’m working on a Norwegian rap record called Tøyen Holding and a dance record (house + boogie cross-over) with Tom Noble, a instrumental project with S.Raw from Mutual Intentions as well as my own solo record. which features a bunch of vocalists I haven’t worked with before.

You’ll be playing with some of these artists and more when you come to Jæger for three performances. The DJ and Live set are pretty obvious, but can you tell us what you plan to do for your beats set?

The beat set will be the greatest part, as we will bring new guests from our circle in Oslo. We’ll bring John Rice (electronic beat maker which we want to release some music from soon) and Ol’ Burger Beats (sample based beat maker who has released a few records internationally lately).

Yogisoul’s debut has just been released by Mutual Intentions, but what’s next from the label and the events after Musikkfest?

No, it’s released by KingUnderground (UK), which also released “Breathe” & “Jazz Cats”. Next stuff from us will be Mutual Intentions Vol. II on vinyl + tape, and we’re also hoping to put out some 7” records and an EP by John Rice in the near future. We need to not over estimate ourselves as a publisher as we do not have enough contacts yet to sell as much records as Jakarta (hey Jannis & Malte) and KingUnderground (hey Dan) which are releasing bigger projects by me, Ivan Ave & Yogisoul. They will sell like 750-1500 copies of a project without distribution, which we could not have done ourselves. In the beginning Mutual Intentions will only focus on limited releases. Events: a bunch of shows during festivals this summer, plus more. Ivan Ave + Mutual Intentions at Øya Festivalen; Ivan Ave daytime concert and Mutual Intentions night time club concert at Moldejazz; Jazz Cats at Oslo Jazz Festival; Ivan Ave at Roskilde, Splash & Kongsberg Jazz as well this summer. Touchdown, featuring a late night Leroy Burgess concert at Ingensteds (PUT THIS SHIT IN YOUR CALENDAR,) during the Øya Festival week. Charlotte will be doing a bunch of fun stuff also, such as the Norwegian festivals with Mutual Intentions and being a part of a Opera in NYC. And the whole crew will be DJ’ing everywhere as usual.