Pioneering isn’t a popularity contest. While other artists experience the ebb and flow of success, Fred Everything has remained, and continues to remain a stalwart pillar. For the French-Canadian artist, producing music and DJing shows have always been the focus.
His career began in the early 90s, where he began to play at nightclubs in Montreal. It was an auspicious start to a career that has spanned over 20 years, and continues to thrive. Known as one of the foremost pioneers of the deep house genre, Fred Everything formed the vanguard of a movement that predated its rise to popularity.
As house music is far more popular in Europe, he enjoys larger crowds and more frequent shows on the other side of the Atlantic. On this occasion, however, Fred Everything briefly stopped by New Orleans in January during his travels and volunteered some of his time to DJ a set for Techno Club.
He also took some time out of his busy schedule to share a few stories about his background, as well his thoughts on the world outside of dance music. Much thanks to Fred for this exclusive interview with River Beats.
Before doing so, enjoy the latest iteration of his Lazy Days podcast.
What kind of music did you grow up with? How did it influence your production when you first started out as a DJ/producer?
“All kinds, really. I was a very curious kid musically from a very young age. At home, my mum would mostly listen to calming music after work. Either some French music (Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel) or some instrumental music (Jean-Michel Jarre, Miles Davis).
The first record she bought me was Musical Youth. A group of young kids doing reggae (‘Pass The Dutchie’ was their big hit). After that was Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.”
“Looking back, I can tell I was already drawn to dance music and especially attracted to synthesizers, vocoders and electronic sounds in general.
As a teenager, I moved to more alternative music. My favorite bands were the ones integrating Synths with a more traditional guitar/bass/drum set up. New Order was one of my biggest influences.
I also started going out to clubs very early–when I was 13–and was friends with DJs, both club and radio, as well as record store owners.”
“I became interested in early house and acid house around the end of the 80s and bought my first synths around that time, after washing dishes during the school summer break.”
Before you took on the moniker “Fred Everything”, you played in several bands throughout the years. What made you want to transition to electronic music?
“To be clear, the bands were all formed by me. I brought in some friends in so we could perform the music I made live.”
“I was already playing mostly electronic music back then. Afterwards I moved on to playing live by myself on the rave circuit in Quebec City and Montreal. Eventually, I decided to keep the equipment at home and concentrate on DJ’ing.”
PRESENT AND FUTURE
You’re known as a prolific tourer with an expansive catalog of sets, singles, and remixes. How have you managed to be so active and productive throughout your 20-plus year career?
“There are definitely some ups and downs, but overall, I managed to keep a fairly busy schedule. I think the idea is to never stop. You will not always be inspired but you need to show up to work.
Some days are magical and music just flows, and some days are frustrating but it’s important to be there to capture the moment.”
“Even if no music is made in a day of work, other ideas might come from you exploring in the studio, playing and making new presets/sounds/samples, exploring with new techniques…I have about 2 albums’ worth of ambient music that I don’t necessarily plan on releasing. But these sketches are a blueprint for new inspiration [for] new music.”
You played a fantastic set at Techno Club. What kind of prep work do you do prior to a show? Do you prefer to “read” the crowd or “lead” the crowd?
“Ah, thank you very much! I appreciate and love New Orleans. I’ve only started coming [to the city] about a year and a half ago and have already been 4 times. I feel at home and already have my favorite spots in town and made friends with Erik [Unicorn Fukr] and Chis [Herb Christopher] from Kompression.”
“Typically, I have a current folder in Rekord Box that I constantly update. New music, current stuff from the past 6-8 months that I still play, some selected classics, etc. I do spend time listening to (some) promos but mostly do a lot of research online to buy my music. It’s important for me to choose my music, and not the other way around. That’s why I don’t rely 100% on promos.”
“I also still visit record stores wherever I travel to find some exclusive bits. I’m definitely someone who believes in reading the crowd. At the end of the day, they’re the boss.
At the same time, I believe strongly in my selection and I don’t play anything that I don’t 100% get behind. I guess it would be a balance of read and lead, reading leading lead.” 😉
MORE THAN THE MUSIC
You’ve mentioned in passing that the current state of music journalism leaves much to be desired. What would you like to see more of, especially in terms of coverage around the underground scene?
“I think the state of journalism at large is in a major crisis.
Technology enables people without any training/dedication/vocation to have a voice. While that can bring a new perspective to the conversation, people often forget to do their research and barely “remix” a press release.
It’s a little ironic considering the amount of information we have access to. I like magazines like Wax Poetics and small fanzines like New York’s Love Injection.
“Writers have to be real music fans first and have a passion for writing.”
House music has a rich history of promoting love and acceptance. Do you think house artists have a responsibility to be active voices in social movements? Or do you think the music should speak for itself?
“Part of me wants to just put in as much love as I can in my work as a protest against all the hate and oppression out there. I choose to not get fully involved online, but I slip once in a while, mostly by exposing politically minded art.”
“I think we can all make a difference in the world. We just have to choose the weapons we use wisely.”