In The Middle with FREAK

I recently spoke to FREAK, who sometimes goes by Connor Ridd, an up-and-coming alternative rock artist from Clemsford, who is mainly known for last year’s extremely energetic What Happened? EP, which earned him the title of a ‘One-Man Nirvana’ by the Guardian.

After recently dropping out of a music production course in London, Ridd has apparently been keeping himself busier than ever. In fact, he tells me that FREAK’s own origins lay in his disillusionment with his course, telling me that “I was bored of getting a degree in production; wasting thousands of pounds a year doing something I didn’t want to be doing, so I started writing and recording, and I quit uni.” He quickly followed this statement up by telling me that “it all worked out, 10/10.”

I ask him what he’s been doing since the course. “I’ve been writing loads of number ones and gigging all over the UK.” The most recent of those hopeful number ones is the new single ‘Cake,’ released just a day before our interview.

Speaking a bit more about the new single, he tells me a bit about its origins and its inspiration: “‘Cake’ is a song about people who think they can just take the piss all the time.” He continues, “It’s about my mum and it’s about the government. What better way to sing about that then in reference to cakes?” I’m inclined to agree.

Having been called a ‘One-Man Nirvana’ by the Guardian, I was inclined to ask him how he felt about having such a massive label placed on him, and if that was an accurate descriptor for his music.

“No,” he says. “Nirvana, however, are a huge influence and being referred to as a ‘One Man Nirvana’ by The Guardian is incredible; but I have a different sound and vibe.” However, he then concluded by telling me that his favourite album at the moment is actually Nirvana’s 1993 classic, In Utero.

Speaking on the topic of his influences and modern artists he admires, he tells me that “Jack White is pretty rocking for me right now.” There are other artists he appreciates, of course, as he continues by discussing how he’d like to collaborate with Arctic Monkey’s frontman Alex Turner, “because everything he touches turns to gold.”

Giving up some information about his guitar pedals, and he tells me that he, quite unsurprisingly, mainly uses “fuzz and distortion” pedals, but then interestingly goes on to tell me that he has “been testing out phasers recently, and has fallen in love with the funk.”

He also speaks a bit on his own music, revealing to me that “’Floating High’ was the first FREAK track I had properly wrote and the first track that made me want to make an EP,” and for that reason, it was the song he was most proud of writing.

Ridd finishes by telling me about his more recent songwriting endeavours, stating that he “already has enough material to release an album,” but quickly assures me that “I’m still writing other songs and experimenting.” When asked for a potential released date, he told me that “it will most likely be out in 2018.”

Zack Moore

(Image: Jack Jolly)
FREAK will be performing in Leeds as a three-piece on April 29th, as part of the Live At Leeds Festival.

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