A key figure in the Norwegian capital’s underground, Oslo-based DJ and producer Fredfades is part of the Mutual Intentions collective, a crew and label dabbling in music and visual arts that is made up of a wealth of artists and creatives including Ivan Ave, Yogisoul and Mest Seff.
Predominantly providing a platform for the collective to share their own creations, Fred’s hip hop and jazz-influenced outings have been a regular feature on the label, as well as on reputed platforms like KingUnderground and Jakarta, imprints that he’s returned to time and time again.
Alongside an interview about his passion for collecting, his Diggers Directory mix sees him take a different direction to his normal jazz, disco and soul-orientated output, instead focusing on leftfield and DIY deep house and techno cuts; the kind of super raw and super freaky productions he plays when the dance floor is going strong.
DJs and producers often mention their musical education came through their family’s record collection. Was this the case for you?
Not really, my parents always listened to a lot of regular shit and still do. Classic rock bands and such; my father used to play Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple a lot. I never got deep into those bands but there was a few jams here and there I liked a lot as a kid. I wasn’t really blown away by music until I discovered Michael Jackson and also saw him play live. Later on I got into production and DJ’ing via hiphop, which I got introduced to via skateboard VHS cassettes and good friends.
Can you pick out any pivotal records from your upbringing that informed your musical journey?
I first started out buying and collecting hiphop music before I got into all these other genres I collect nowadays. I’ve been travelling through my musical journey, and exploring new kinds of music in this order, so I guess each sound/record leads to another.
Hip-hop>>>jazz funk/fusion>>>psych rock>>>progressive rock>>>soundtracks and libraries>>>60s soul>>>70s soul>>>80s soul>>>boogie>>>disco>>>reggae/dub/African/island/Latin music>>>traditional jazz>>>house>>>techno>>>ambient/new wave/alternative/DIY electronic.
I guess I learned a lot just reading covers. I have a really good memory, I remember everything I read. This made it easy for me to always learn what I need to check out and what I need to avoid when looking for records, in a store or online. I would look at pictures of my heroes when I was younger and see what records they were flexin with etc, and remember those covers when heading to record stores.
People buy records for a multiple of reasons. What first drew you to collecting records and what motivates you to continue digging after all these years?
I first started buying records to mix hiphop songs when I was around fifteen years old. I’m 32 years old now. I got into production when I was around 18, that’s when I started buying loads of records to sample. After a few years with soaking up knowledge and hitting thrift shops all the time, I got completely obsessed with music, indie labels, private releases etc. The money started to blow away kinda fast (especially when I discovered eBay) so I never purchased a record for sampling reasons after I got deep with music. I usually tell people – if you’re not buying more than 365 records a year – you ain’t really buying records! If you buy loads of records, you’ll always have samples to use anyhow. Nowadays I compose my own music instead of sampling, so sampling is even less important to me now. But I still buy more records than ever. These days I purchase mostly jazz, island stuff and electronic music, and still 80s DIY/lofi boogie and soul productions on 45’s.
Where do you store your records and how do you file them?
Recent purchases stay in my living room. I’ve got two full walls in the bedroom too, and a room full of records at my pop’s crib on top of that. I file all my stuff by genres, sub-genres and countries!
What are your favourite spots to go digging and why?
For me personally, I would have to say Paris, Tokyo and New York. It’s just so easy to find good records there, both for cheap, and also decent market-priced stuff. I especially like to explore jazz records when in Paris and New York – as both cities had two of the best jazz scenes in the world. People were into groove music there in the 70s and 80s, which people weren’t really in Norway.
I live in Oslo, the capital of Norway, and it’s a fun place to shop for progressive rock and Scandinavian jazz, other than that it’s not really worth running around here digging wasting all your spare time every weekend. I would rather work extra hard and blow cash online these days. Every time I go downtown and dig for five hours I come home empty handed. I’m super picky about music, and I’m not picking up a record just because it’s semi-rare and has a good price – if I can’t resell it for loads, that is. I work a 9-5 as a UX designer, and these days I also do bookings for three venues and DJ and produce music on top of my 9-5, so I use the money I earn off music related work to purchase loads of records online and when I travel.
Digging isn’t just about the records you find, but the people who help you find them. Who are some of the colourful characters you’ve met on your travels in record stores round the world? Any unsung heroes you’d like to shout out?
There’s a lot of freaks out there that deal with records, especially in Norway. My favourite people to purchase records off are a few private dealers I’ll keep on the low for now, and I have to say that I really, really like Superfly Records in Paris. Such good people, and tons of good records for good prices.
Is there a record (or records), that has continued to be illusive over the years?
Loads! As I got older I learned to loose interest for the ultra rare “classic rarities” that every collector and their mom are after. Why would I spend 2500 EUR on a Arthur Verocai LP? It’s about as unknown as a James Brown record. It still holds some of the best music I’ve heard, but I’m good with the reissue for now.
Nowadays I prefer to buy stuff that are under people’s radar, even if it’s cheap or expensive stuff. You know, the ones that are on max 50 people’s want list on Discogs, and maybe in zero to 10 people’s collection! 😉I get a kick off un-Googleable records as well. I have a good stack of un-Googleable stuff.
Do you prefer record shopping as a solitary process or with friends to nerd out with and search or strange sounds together? If the latter, who do you like to go digging with?
I prefer being alone, just to relax and think about stuff, and keep all the boxes/rows for yourself. Of course I also enjoy helping friends if we go digging together. I have a lot of friends that buy a few records here and there, nothing too crazy, you know. It feels good to see them purchase a record they’ve just listened to after you showed it to them! You get to confirm for yourself if you really know their musical taste or not.
Walking into a record shop can be quite a daunting experience. Do you have a digging process that helps you hone in on what you’re after?
I always start with the recent arrivals, then head for the jazz section!
How big a role does album artwork play in your digging?
Not much really. Some of the best records in my collection are some of the ones with the absolutely least tempting covers. But I work as a designer myself, and I do understand the aesthetics of the different cultures and periods easily, so that helps me to navigate and understand stuff faster I guess?
Could you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve done for us?
I first started on a super big mix of different genres, then went back to our emails to check how long the mix was supposed to be. Then I saw that you wrote that you wanted me to focus on a specific genre rather than covering loads of different ones (which was what I first did), so I ended up recording a brand new mix instead last night!
Recently with the Rona going on and stuff I haven’t really had any good output for my newest club music purchases. The whole summer and all bookings this summer got cancelled, but I’m still buying records like there is no tomorrow. People usually know me for making mixes that holds private and indie jazz, disco, boogie and soul rarities, but today I wanted to do something else. Soooo this is a mix with my current sensual/fragile, leftfield and DIY deep house and techno favourites. Some stuff is late 80s, but most stuff is from the early 90s. Super raw and super freaky house productions with some edge to it. This is the kind of selection I play when a venue is full and the floor is already going strong. Turn up the sound!
Any standouts in the mix you’d like to mention?
The last song is kind of funny. Ruins every dance floor as you put it on. But it’s a killer if you’re deep into private/DIY club stuff. Bought it for 8 EUR on Discogs in 2011 when it was unknown after I heard it on a blog. Funny how things change. I’ve always been into these fucked records, but to be honest I would never imagine someone putting 150 EUR on this one (the actual price of the last copy sold on Discogs!)
Casting the net wider now, who are some of the record collectors you most admire and why?
Everyone who’s exploring the unknown shit and not only playing and collecting predictable and classic stuff. The people I buy records from, the people I play records with, and all of my Internet friends and the people who make the mixes I enjoy! Here’s the first ones who come to mind: Hans, Ille Brød, Brods, Morgan, James, Sanctuary, J.Lindroos, Masa, Jimi Dawg, Jamie Tiller, Alex Nut, Clementine, JNett, Mike Who, Leo, Hampus K, Asger, Bruno, Hampus G, Cam H, Amichay, Kouki, Rev Shines, Erik, Krogedal, Karl, George, Ullar, Shacke, Juan Lienso, Martin Can, Jeremy, Danilo, Haffner, Andy and Tom Noble, Næss, Terje, Jared, Hugo, Matthieu, Edouard, Leo, Pierre, Red Greg, +++ all other friends who should have been mentioned – you know who you are!
Anything on the horizon you’re excited about?
Really excited about this mix right now to be honest, looking forward to listening to it tomorrow. Also really excited about the day we get to travel the globe, spin parties and share the love around again. Until then I’ll just focus on finishing up of my own music and buying more records! There’s also loads of interesting stuff coming out on Mutual Intentions in the near future. Stay tuned…