independent music magazine

Fred Roberts im Interview: »It’s mostly just realizing that you don’t have to run away from yourself either«

Musikalisch habe ich mich vor einiger Zeit in Großbritannien verirrt und mich sehr in die britische Popmusik verliebt. Heißt, ich bin also auch immer auf der Suche nach neuen Acts und Songs, die ich in meine Bibliothek hinzufügen und rauf und runter hören kann.

Und da kam ich um einen Sänger nicht herum: und zwar Fred Roberts, der mit seiner Debüt Single “Runaway” nicht nur bei mir in Spotify, sondern auch im deutschen Radio rauf und runter lief.

Als Fred vor kurzem in Berlin war, um ein Live Set für The Circle° Sessions zu spielen, habe ich mit ihm unter anderem über seine Single “Runaway“, Storytelling und Kuchen gesprochen.

Johanna (untoldency): Hello, nice to meet you. How are you feeling?

Fred: Yeah, you too. I’m good. Excited to be in Berlin. Had a good few days here. “Runaway” has just come out. Well, just a few weeks ago. A month. And the support here has been amazing. So it’s been nice to come and be in the place where it started.

Johanna (untoldency): It was your first single, a few weeks ago you just said. Releasing for the first time can be pretty exciting. What was it like for you? How did you feel?

Fred: Yeah, really exciting because I wrote the song nearly two years ago now, so it’s been a long time. Getting it all ready and getting the sounds and stuff. It’s nice to finally get it out in the world after working on it for so long. And now I’m just excited to release more.

Johanna (untoldency): Yeah. I’m also excited. I’ve had a sneak peek sent to me. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Fred: Thank you.

Johanna (untoldency): You said that the song is about overcoming resentment towards someone who used to be a big part of your life. Do you feel like the song helped you get closure or was it just like looking back and telling the story?

Fred: Yeah, I mean my songwriting is quite retrospective and like, definitely I started writing in lockdown and it really helped like unpack the four years beforehand. When it’s written down and you’re singing it, you have to believe what you’re saying. So it’s definitely been good at. That and just starting the next chapter I think, so it’s a positive song, but yeah, it’s been good.

Johanna (untoldency): You also made a video. What is your best or dearest memory regarding the making of the single or the video?

Fred: Well, the video was good, but it was in January in England and it was freezing cold. So I think the best memories I had running away from the car because I could get warm again after. Lots of the shots were like stand still or performance to camera. But when I got to run through like these country lanes in England, that was a good bit.


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Johanna (untoldency): And what was the concept behind the video? You said that the song is a celebration of freedom, but the video is kind of dark, at least visually, like the color scheme. You are alone. It’s at night. How does this video relate to the message of the song?

Fred: So I think the video kind of offers an alternative view on how you view the song. We didn’t want it to be as following the lyrics as much, but it’s… again, so I’m the one that’s driving the car but also running away from it. The colors and everything – you’re right, it’s a bit of horror aspects. When the shots weren’t treated and it was the raw images I look like a vampire, like running through the lanes. But when they went back and did it was all good. It’s mostly just realizing that you don’t have to run away from yourself either. I wrote this song about running. Them not needing to run away because I don’t have any resentment towards it, but it’s also about dealing with your own problems and maybe you’ve been running away from them. That was kind of what the video was meant to be showcasing. So, yeah, you don’t need to run away from yourself.

Johanna (untoldency):  I see. That sounds pretty interesting. Um, is there something you’d like to say to people who are really relating to to this single. Like, they really feel it. Like they maybe experienced something similar?

Fred: Well, yeah. I mean, for me it was… like the songs I listened to when I was going through those experiences like the choice of songs, that kind of music that helped me get through it. I hope that it’s doing the same for people. And yeah, if they’ve had a similar experience, then the sound of the song is like a very uplifting, anthemic kind of thing. And you’re able to dance all the stress and the worries away.

Johanna (untoldency): Yeah. “Runaway” is just a start. Like we said, there are many more singles to come. Like, what can we expect? What are you most looking forward to?

Fred: I think Runaway is definitely an upbeat, it’s a in-your-face song. But I’ve definitely got a bit of like a few guitar ballads and a mixture of stuff really. Just like exploring all the genres that I kind of grew up listening to. And it’s like a blend of that. So yeah, just lots of different stuff to come.

Johanna (untoldency): What is your favorite part of the process? Like recording the song or putting it out, maybe playing it live afterwards? What do you enjoy the most?

Fred: So The Circle° session was actually the first live performance I’ve done with the band, so… But that was really fun and I’m looking forward to doing more of that, hopefully. But the writing process for me is like the best bit. You’re with people you’re working with, but they are your friends, you know, you can have a good time and you’re able to just like unpick a story. I enjoy that process a lot. And just like exploring different avenues in that and the melodies and just the storytelling aspect of it is, yeah, I enjoy it a lot.


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Johanna (untoldency): Nice. And what do you want people to feel while listening to your song? And also, what do you want to inspire them to do?

Fred: Yeah, I think especially with “Runaway“, I want people to feel inspired and feel like a sense of freedom. Because the sound of the song is like very uplifting, I hope and maybe the lyrics are a bit more reflective or melancholic, but the overall like when you finish listening to the song, I hope you like have some sort of release. It’s kind of, yeah, a release of freedom.

Johanna (untoldency): Yeah, sounds good. I hope all of them do experience that. So you’ve released one single runaway. Another one is coming soon. I don’t know if you can say that yet, but do you have something like a release ritual or something you like to do in the future? Like hanging out with your friends every time you release something or baking a cake with the title on it.

Fred: When “Runaway” came out, I had, like, some of my closest friends around, and we went for dinner before and stayed up till midnight because that’s when it comes out. I think just that again, but maybe more people. But yeah, definitely like marking the occasions of different songs. But a cake is a good idea. The next song it’s called “Say“. Maybe if I wrote “Say” on it. Like, yeah, little cake.

Johanna (untoldency): Like, what would be the best cake? Do you have a favorite cake?

Fred: Uh, do you guys have Costco here? 

Johanna (untoldency): No, no, we don’t have it here.

Fred: In the UK, I think it’s for businesses. The cake itself like it’s not that good but because it’s bad it’s good and it’s like very manufactured but you can get like photos printed on top and writing. So yeah, like Victoria Sponge from Costco. That will be maybe that one.

Johanna (untoldency): Maybe. Maybe that will work out.

Fred:  If you’re ever in the UK you should have a Costco cake. There you go.

Johanna (untoldency): Sounds like a plan. And next question. Being young is hard enough I would say. And also, as a queer person, you don’t always have it easy, especially on the Internet and in public. How do you feel about sharing such personal stories with so many different people out there?

Fred: I mean, yeah, it’s not always easy. And I think for me it was important to share that part of myself because not to reference Troy Sivan all the time, but when, you know, I was listening to his music and he was an openly gay man and just to, have that information out there that I’m not holding anything back. And people are in difficult spaces where they’re not able to to say who they are. There’s like, yeah, maybe like a sense of hope, but it’s not always easy. Especially if you’re in school or like certain environments which aren’t the best for it.

Johanna (untoldency): Have you had any negative experience putting out such a personal part of your life?

Fred: I mean, not in a career aspect, I think. I haven’t faced it like personally in the songwriting stuff, but in school it wasn’t… I think it’s more accepted now, but it still was a long way to go. But not everyone takes the news well. But like everyone’s supporting “Runaway” and it’s all been very positive so far, but I’m sure there are a few haters out there, right? Yeah.

Johanna (untoldency): Yeah. Haters gonna hate.

Fred: Haters gonna hate. But yeah, just follow the love.

Johanna (untoldency): Okay, I have three questions left. First one is, as you said before, The Circle° Session was your first live experience. Do you have, like, a certain goal where to play live, like a stage where you want to play. What is it?

Fred: Do you know Reading and Leeds in the UK? The festival. Yeah. So that was the first festival I ever went to. I think playing on any stage there, there are so many. But any stage there’s like a massive goal. And then I mean the obvious ones, Wembley or O2 in London. I mean we’re staying quite close to the Mercedes-Benz Arena, so that’d be, that’d be a cool one. That’s like for the bucket list.

Johanna (untoldency): For sure. As someone who doesn’t know you or your music, what would you answer to the question? Who is Fred Roberts and what is “Runaway“?

Fred: Oh, that’s a good question. Uh, who is Fred Roberts?

I’m a 20 year old from England. Making like pop slightly alternative music that hopefully empowers. But I’ve got other songs that, like, I want to break hearts with and stuff, so. Hope you hope you feel something. That’s the main message.

I just want people to feel something with the music. And “Runaway” is a big anthemic track that you can put in your car and just drive. Or if you don’t have a car run.

Johanna (untoldency): Um, another quick question I just thought of. Do you have a song you put in the car where you like, got your rooftops open, blast the song, have your windows open?

Fred:Mr. Brightside” by The Killers. Because that song was played all the time when I was younger. And yeah, now it’s just like summery and nostalgic. And also it’s influenced my music a lot. So yeah, “Mr. Brightside“.

Johanna (untoldency): Okay, then the last question for real this time. Do you have an untold story for us? Like our magazine is called Untoldency and we end every interview with a question of an untold story, like a little secret or a story you haven’t told to anyone or in public until now.

Fred: You’re putting me on the spot. Uh oh. Okay. A secret story. I don’t know if I should say this if it’s printed. But, um, when I was in secondary school, the only thing I’ve ever stolen is a freddo from a corner shop. That’s. Yeah, I’ve never said that to anyone before.

Johanna (untoldency): Did you do that on purpose?

Fred: Yes. But I went back and felt bad, so I gave them more money. So I didn’t actually steal it in the end. I never told anyone that.

Johanna (untoldency): Yeah, that’s a good story. I’ve also stolen one time in my life, but only because I put it in my bag and I forgot to put it out. And then I left the store and was like, damn. And then I was at home at the point when I recognized and I was like now I have to go back and explain it. Like I didn’t do it on purpose.

Fred: Yeah, I don’t think they believe you. Yeah, they’d be like „Oh, sure, Yeah. The guilt’s got to you now.“

Don’t condone stealing. So that’s. Yeah. Don’t steal.

Johanna (untoldency): Don’t steal approved by Fred Roberts. Yeah.

Fred: Yes. There we go.

Johanna (untoldency): So that’s it. Any last words you’d like to say? 

Fred: I don’t think so. We covered quite a lot. Thank you.

Johanna (untoldency): Thank you for your time. Byeee

Wer jetzt auch hooked ist, kann sich schon auf die nächste Single “Say” freuen, die diese Woche erscheint und Fred Roberts am 23.09. auf dem Reeperbahnfestival live hören

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