Frederick, the First: Turning instagram buzz into alt-pop gold with ‘So Good’

"Life got so reamakably serious for a while and it’s exhausting to live that way"
6th September 2023

Frederick, the First is an artist/multi-instrumentalist/producer based in Los Angeles. Displaying his follies, wisdoms, life tragedies and comedies, his music contains a handful of delightful vocal harmonies with unique approaches to arrangement/composition.

Once labeled as a soupy goulash of D’Angelo meets the Talking Heads, this enigmatic artist/producer sent shockwaves through the digital world with the release of his alt-pop single, So Good, marking a shift from a mere Instagram post to a full-fledged musical sensation.

The Genesis of So Good:

It all started with a simple Instagram post – just another day in the life of Frederick, The First. Little did he know that this post would be the spark that ignited a musical firestorm. The clip garnered an unexpected avalanche of reactions online, and fans clamored for more. Frederick, The First took notice, and instead of settling for a viral moment, he decided to transform it into something greater.

So Good encapsulates the essence of Frederick, the First‘s artistic journey. The track is a sonic rollercoaster that combines elements of disco-alt-pop, electronica, and a hint of indie-rock, So Good is a sonic cocktail that’s as refreshing as it is addictive.

The song’s production is flawless, with intricate soundscapes weaving in and out with Frederick, the First‘s vocals effortlessly glide over the music, delivering introspective lyrics that invite listeners into his world.

He explains:  “Sometimes I just sit down and write with reckless abandon. There is no such thing as “no” and the thing you think of first is the thing you go with. I do it as an exercise. And that’s exactly what I did with “So Good”. It started off with drums from a friend and then the bassline is exactly as I first played. Then without thinking, I sang the opening line. In retrospect, the lyrics are probably just a subconscious hope for the “good things”, whatever they may be, and a wish for the deliverance from the not so great things that have infested our lives as of late. It did so well on Instagram I took that little lightning bug in a bottle and brought it to life in full. It’s really just about moving forward towards the good, very simple yet very difficult in practice, mixed with a super funky bassline. What more could you want?

To gain a deeper understanding of his creative mind and learn more about his journey as an artist, read on for our exclusive Q&A chat with this enthralling artist.

Hey there! How’s it going, Frederick, the First? How’s your day shaping up?

It’s going pretty well. Just got done running through the hills of Silverlake which is always good for the glutes.

So how and why have you coined the name “Frederick, the First”?

I mostly just thought it sounded cool… regal in a sense. It’s my last name and I am the first of my name, so that’s pretty much it. I’ve been in so many groups where it took forever to discover a name and it still lacked something. This came kinda quick and I liked it so I just ran with it. It was almost just Frederick but there’s a japanese prog rock band by the name of Frederic and I thought, “Damn there’s no way I can compete with that.” So yeah.

Please tell us everything we should know about your new song, ‘So Good’.

Man, It’s really just me having fun again. Life got so reamakably serious for a while and it’s exhausting to live that way. One of my favorite thinkers once said, “Life is too damn serious to take so seriously.” And that clicked for me. So I decided to just keep it super simple, fun, dancy, exciting and playful and more or less not care so much about it.

Your Instagram post became super popular out of the blue and inspired you to turn it into a full-blown pop song. That’s pretty awesome! Would you mind sharing more about how it all happened?

Well part of the reason ‘So Good’ is simple and easy was because I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was just gonna be a little IG blip and that’s that. Nothing more to it and then it just exploded in a way. So I was like, “Okay let’s blow this thing up into a song.” And I did. And it’s turning out to be a thing. It is quite funny how you can hold things so precious while making things and it’s when you decide, “Eh, this doesn’t matter that much.” That’s when people go “Yeah, I want that one.” And you’re like, “Wait, this one? Really?? What about this one over here?” And everyone’s like, “Nah, that sucks. That one is weird and crazy. I like this other one.” And the back and forth is fun. It’s an enjoyable discovery as a creator. You’re always talking with people and they’re talking back, they just don’t know it. It’s very very fun.

Do you think social media can be a great tool for starting someone’s career? It’s pretty amazing how powerful it is in helping people get their foot in the door. Or maybe not?

It IS a powerful tool but it’s just a tool. And it’s a tool that magnifies where you’re at. It does not however get you further down the road, so to speak, if where you’re at isn’t a place where people are willing to go. You still have to be competent, you still have to know how to strategize, market and promote. You still need money. You still are going to have to play live and be able to do very well. Cause whether you believe it or not people are actually pretty good at spotting phonies when it comes to certain things. And art, broadly speaking, seems to be one of them.

What was the toughest part of writing the single ‘So Good’? What did you learn from it?

There was no tough part about this one. It just came and went. I took a couple of runs at the guitar solo at the end I guess. Haha!

Someone once compared your sound to a tasty blend of D’Angelo and the Talking Heads. How do you feel about that description? Is it true to your musical style, or would you like to add more information about what makes your sound unique?

Eh. This question is so hard. It’s like trying to explain in detail what your literal voice sounds like. It’s like, “I don’t know, listen to it. That’s what it sounds like.” So yeah I guess that description is good enough for me. It doesn’t capture it in its entirety. I think you can probably throw a dash of Vampire Weekend in there. But I’ve extensively listened to and played almost anything you can think of or something peripheral to that group/artist. And that’s not an exaggeration. I went to school for Jazz, spent 10 years playing in original groups, 15 years gigging whether it was cruise ships, weddings, tributes, sidemaning, pit orchestras, big bands etc. In my life I’ve been a huge fan of everything from Christian Metal to Jurassic 5 to Frank Sintra to you name it. I’ve eventually enjoyed becoming a listener and appreciator of all that music. It’s just all in there now and I’m not afraid to use it. Well, maybe some of it. Hahaha.

What would you describe as your ideal day in LA?

Mmmmm, this is a very fun question. First is probably waking up which is just something ya gotta do, you know. Then, head out to Silverlake Coffee for some good iced coffee and a breakfast sammy, shoutout to the owner, Larry. Good man. Great recommendations for Korean BBQ. Then work. I like work. Work is good. Whether it’s for music promo, writing, software (which I also do), booking shows, practicing, content creation, etc. Then I’ll go for an awesome hill run. Live running in these hills. Then usually more work. I’m very very interested in building. My ideal day is always mostly building this life. And it’s a beautiful thing. Staying healthy and building this life, and the way LA fits into that is that it’s an amazing jungle gym so to speak. There’s an endless cornucopia of people, places, things and landscape to tango with. Not to mention I love just driving here (which I’m sure will make people’s heads explode). But all you have to do is look a bit, literally that is. Because no matter where you are there is a site to behold consisting of mountains, hills, houses, trees, flowers and plants of all sorts, and of course the sun. It’s just always a breath of fresh air to look at for me. The skyscape is always painted. It’s beautiful. I love this place. I love SoCal. It may not always be that way and I’m sure many readers will thank just that, but I hope and pray it does. I have a friend who’s been here for 30 years and he assures me that it still hasn’t gotten old for him. And that gives me hope.

What is the sound you love the most in the world?

Man, I could’ve answered this in a million different ways at different times in my life but right now at this point with enough life behind me, it’s just the sound of my mother’s voice. Yeah, I think that’s about right. 

What’s in store for you?

Taking over the world one song at a time.