Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Fred Lee

Photo courtesy of Earshot Media.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

He’s more than just hardcore.

It has been a great year for one Fredrik Lindkvist (Knugen Faller, Royal Downfall), as it started with Lövely Records signing his band – Fred Lee & The Restless – and then backed the release of his solo debut album ‘Sleepwalking In Daylight’ in June, notable for its singles “You Were Anyone, But Not Anywhere…,” “Who Do You Want Me To Be?” and “Devil’s Chokehold” – a showcase of just what he can do when motivated.

Better known internationally as the former vocalist/frontman of Swedish hardcore group Totalt Jävla Mörker (1997-2017), ‘Sleepwalking In Daylight’ can be seen as a sonic and lyrical departure from his past, but he begs to differ, as he worked tirelessly to present what he calls “a different take” on the typical folk-rock genre.

However, not to worry – the hardcore/punk roots haven’t left him completely, as he’s a current member of classic punk group Sista Brytet and singer of hardcore band RIWEN with Johannes Persson (Cult Of Luna), Christoffer Röstlund Jonsson (DS-13), Christian Augustin (Totalt Jävla Mörker) and Marita Mätlik.

The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with him about ‘Sleepwalking In Daylight’ and more.

Music Bugle – What does the word “Restless” mean to you? 

Fred Lee – For me, it was my desire to be creative all the time and get things done. I get restless from not being able to express myself or not have a project to work on. That’s why I named the band “The Restless,” before I had any musicians.

Music Bugle – What was your goal for your newest music?

Fred Lee – Hmmm… well, from the start, I didn’t have any goals, but as soon as the songs started to get ready, I began to think that it might be something of this, an EP or something physical, in any case. For me as a punk rocker, I was quite nervous about going out and exploring new genres. My goal nowadays is just to play some shows and see wherever this leads me.

Music Bugle – How would you describe Sweden to someone who has never been there before?

Fred Lee – A country that used to have big dreams, but has now woken up in reality, but i’m glad that we have free healthcare and strong unions. The reformist social democracy has succumbed to market forces and right-wing politics. I hope that we can keep the brownshirts to the past. A lot of forest and up here in the north, it’s damn cold and we still have snow in May, but otherwise than that, it’s cool, wish it was more rock, though…

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your solo style of music?

Fred Lee – For me, it’s that I haven’t played this music before and that excites me!

Music Bugle – What made you want to release “Devil’s Chokehold” as a single?

Fred Lee – I think it’s the biggest song on the album. It has interesting lyrics and I love the guitar solo.

Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your album ‘Sleepwalking In Daylight’?

Fred Lee – It was fun! I made the songs during the summer of 2019 and before I made them, I had a plan. I asked the musicians that I wanted to play with, but had never gotten the time or opportunity to play with, so I did and most of them said yes. The prerequisites were that you should rehearse at least two times and record the songs. After that, you are welcome to be involved, but it is not a must. Then, my friend Henrik and I made the mixing and Magnus Lindberg made the mastering. I think it turned out better than I hoped!

Music Bugle – How would you compare your solo music to that of your other respective projects?

Fred Lee – It is more relaxed and not so tied to certain rules. When we were making songs with Totalt Jävla Mörker, the goal was to make harder and more uncompromising songs and with my punk band, Sista Brytet, I’m just one of four members, so therefore, everyone must be able to participate and like the songs. On this project, I can decide on my own. The live feeling is the same with every music that i make. I want it to be some kind of show – something for the audience to carry with them after watching us.

Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?

Fred Lee – Oh, a difficult question. If one uses it right, it can be good. There is an abundance of artists fighting for attention. It is important to find the right one, quite simply. I think it’s important not to bother too much, just do what you want and if it’s good, people will know.

Music Bugle – What has been your biggest memory involving music?

Fred Lee – Not sure, but one of them was when we were going to play at the Hultsfred Festival back in 2004 with Totalt Jävla Mörker and there were 17 security guards in front of the stage. I asked one from the crew why they had so many security guards. She said, “They think you’re gonna start a riot!”

Music Bugle – What was the hardest thing that you’ve had to do on your own?

Fred Lee – Musically, it was to dare to write songs about myself, but otherwise, it was to be part of three births and see my children born!

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