Fred Lee & The Restless

Hardcore goes folk punk: on rediscovering yourself within acoustic solo act, with singer-songwriter Fred Lee & The Restless

3 mins read

Fredrik Lindkvist s mostly known as the lead singer and frontman of Swedish punk/hardcore band Totalt Jävla Mörker. Between the years 1997 to 2017, the band released 4 full length albums as well as 4 EPs and became well-known for their dark, bitter, dystopian sound and most often political lyrics. Parallel to the years in Totalt Jävla Mörker, Fredrik played drums in punk outfit Knugen Faller and guitar in indie-rock constellation Royal Downfall. Fredrik is the current singer of hardcore band RIWEN together with Johannes Persson (Cult of Luna), Christoffer Röstlund Jonsson (DS-13), Christian Augustin (Totalt Jävla Mörker) and Marita Mätlik. He’s also active in classic punk rock band Sista Brytet.

Parallell to the years of screaming and playing in punk bands, Fredrik became more interested in singer-songwriter and storytelling traditions. With a love for Billy Bragg, Frank Turner, Brian Fallon, Bruce Springsteen and early soul music, a new set of songs started taking shape.

We sat down with Fredrik to discuss this transition and give you his fresh new single “You Were Anyone, But Not Anywhere…”!

Fredrik Lindkvist will release his solo debut album “Sleepwalking in Daylight” under the name Fred Lee & The Restless. The record is slated for a June 11th release via Lövely Records.

How would you describe your identity as a punk rocker

Most of my identity as a punk rocker is based on the do-it-yourself mentality, the “don’t wait for it…just do it”. This really applies to everything.
I started listening to punk when I was about 13-14 years old, and realized quite quickly that the music does not have to be so smoothed and arranged. It gave me confidence to dare to do my own thing. Now, when I’m older I’m glad that I grew up in that scene, it gave me a political and solidarity view on life. Think about it, three chords can take you through a lifetime

How has this new solo release been rediscovering yourself within that genre?

It’s more that I’m trying to find new ways to create music, and I think it’s incredibly exciting to get into the whole folk rock genre. It also feels exciting that I can not lean on anyone else, I am completely responsible for my songs, whether it is good or bad I do not know yet.
I start to get a little too old to just stand and scream and jump on stage, but not so that I will never do it again. It’s coming in cycles, in a year I might release a Hardcore record haha.

Do you write songs differently now than you did back in your early musical days?

Yes, in fact, in the past it was more riffing now it is more chord based. Now it may be that I find a melody and try to build something from it.\

Are you enjoying this cycle of your musical identity?

Yes really, I can dig into older records and try to find inspiration there, I do not have to feel that it should be in a certain way, but I kind of just follow the flow.

It used to be that the records that i was involved in would be harder and tougher, but I do not have to think like that now. This is not tough music!

What other punk related personas that transitioned from heavy hardcore or punk rock to folk punk or acoustic rock would you name as your inspirations?

I guess Frank Turner is the first one I come up with, but even Dennis Lyxzen is such a person who is not stuck in a musical genre.

What drives you to make new music?

In 2020 nothing really, I got so tired of the pandemic, lost all creativity. Now, on the other hand, I find small things that I can build on, news, memories, conversations and things that can be a start on a text or a melody.

To be honest, as society looks today, there is much to write about. It seems in shadow of the pandemic that we have forgotten that we are facing an urgent climate situation, this is something that we need to highlight a lot.

Ok, so lastly, please give us a quick update on your local punk rock scene, how it’s coping with the pandemic and what local acts, labels and other projects would you recommend for us to check out?

I hope that all the good bands have the strength to get through this time. We’ve tried a few occasions with limited audience for local bands, but it’s not the same thing, at all.

I would recommend you to check out local bands like Sekunderna, Dreamwarriors, Warchild among others. Then the DIY stage Verket got new premises and hopefully we will see a Refused gig in Umeå within a year.

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