Tag Archives: Freq Nasty

Freq Nasty – Video Nasty

Darin McFadyen was sick of the way the world was treating its population. “We know you’re sick of these companies trying to sell you sex, respect and a six pack of cool in a can. Like working 6 1/2 days a week to buy a £200 pair of trainers is gonna turn you into Busta Rhymes. I’m not buying this bullshit and I know you’re not either”, his webpage screams. Littered with anti-corporate, anti-war sentiment, dripping with irony and unique style, this isn’t some indie left wing kid ranting on his Blog. This is Freq Nasty’s Video Nasty web portal, offering a glimpse of what the Video Nasty show is all about. It’s a two year long project of extensive Audio-Visual appeal combining the music of Freq Nasty with custom made graphics, 3D character animation and bold political undertones, described by McFadyen as “the visual equivalent of Michael Moore and Public Enemy getting pissed on the set of Monsters Inc. during an anti-globalisation riot.”

“The idea behind the Video Nasty Experience is to encourage a little bit of critical thought about what is going on in the world around us at the moment,” McFaydyen begins in his softly spoken manner. “I think it’s very important that in spaces like clubs, and the arts in general, that people react to what is going on in the world at times like this. When the idea of any kind of dissent is being discourage by the government I think it’s a good idea to get out there and inspire each other to question what’s going on out there. The idea isn’t necessarily to hammer any particular viewpoint into people’s heads, just to help people realise it is ok to express a viewpoint,” he adds. “The goal isn’t to preach to anyone, it’s more ‘hey, here’s my viewpoint, what’s yours, and what are you going to do about it?’”

Combining visuals, text and sound, the Video Nasty experience has toured all over Europe, including Russia. “I kind of wondered how well the show would work over there, because I wasn’t sure how many people would speak English,” he muses. “A lot of the show is typographically based,” meaning viewers would be exposed to large amounts of text in English. “However, it seems that generally everyone of a clubbing age speaks a little English there, and with the graphics as well, it illustrates the points we are trying to make. And if they didn’t understand they all got into the music, which is good as well I guess”, he adds, chuckling.

The show will soon hit Australia, although sadly not Adelaide. “It’s quite expensive to drag about the place. We have to bring a down sized version to Australia, but in Glastonbury we had 60 screens and projectors, so when you cost the price of hiring them and the attendants it can be quite a lot!” he exclaims. “But all the visuals we’ve had in the Europe shows we’re bringing to Australia,” he adds.

As he’s been on the road, McFayden hasn’t had time to write new music, but he is just starting to ease back into it. The sounds and influences on his last album, Bring Me The Head Of Freq Nasty have now gained momentum in the breaks scene, being copied and replicated by many producers, whereas when it first appeared it was very much on the cutting edge. “I dunno, I might go retro with this next album, make some disco breakbeat record or something!” He laughs “I’m just mucking about with stuff, doing whatever I’m feeling at the time I think will come out,” he explains on the process of writing music. “The whole record develops and gains shape the further you get into it. It’s difficult to see what it’s going to come out when you start an album, but once you get the majority of it, it clicks.”

McFayden is looking forward to playing in Adelaide, as he’s never played the same gig as Japan’s DJ Krush. “That will be wicked!” he exclaims as I tell him. I mention that he and Krush are two DJs who I’ve seen numerous times, but are never the same twice. “Yeah I do try and shake things up in some way when I come over,” he agrees, adding, “This time it’s a bit more difficult because more and more people have the same tunes. But I try to add a different flavour, find a different angle.”

Freq Nasty

Freq Nasty is one of those people who are just ‘different’. He looks different, with his mass of dreadlocks; he sounds different, with his accent sounding British and Kiwi all at once, and he makes music that is just different, and unashamedly so. The thing is, it works. It works very well. Even the casual listener can hear some amazing stuff off his latest album and know that not only is it different, it is damn enjoyable too. Unlike other producers who go out of their way to make things different, and end up simply losing their audience, Freq Nasty doesn’t lose sight of his listeners or the dance floor.

Darin McFadyen came up with the name Freq Nasty through thinking about sci-fi B-movies. “From all those superheroes from the late 50’s early 60’s that had really stupid names and crazy super powers”, he says, “and Freq Nasty has one of those kind of retro-futuristic sounding names, like it would be one of those retro-futuristic cartoon characters. That was the kind of vibe I was on – a lot of the samples I used at first, and the tune Booming Back Atcha, all the artwork on the first album was themed around that type of sci-fi.”

Growing up in New Zealand, he faced the same difficulties as we do here in Australia – isolation and a very small music scene. There was no internet, so he had to rely on radio, and as here, radio was all about rock music. “I love the intensity of rock music, and always have,” he enthuses. “I’ve listened to everything from AC/DC, which I still love to this day, through to your Carcass and Entombed and bands like that. But there’s also this idea that you end up getting the English stuff before the American stuff and the American before the English, so you’re in this weird mid-ground, and you end up taking on a lot of influences. If you live in England, you get an impact of the American stuff, but there’s a lot of stuff you miss out on, and I think if you live in the States it’s the same thing. But if you live in New Zealand or Australia you get a very wide spread of stuff from Europe and America, and I think in that respect I have an even-handed approach to listening to music, and the way I hear music”, he says of the influences on his music. “When I first left New Zealand I was going to move to either New York or London, and I think the way I make music is very much from that perspective – the American thing of hiphop and funk style, with the progressive of the UK dance scene sums up my sound.”

McFadyen is unashamedly honest about trying to make his music different. “The way it comes about is I just try to make something different. The way Plumps do their thing is amazing in their right, what Aquasky does is amazing in their own right, what Rennie (Pilgrem) and BLIM does is all amazing, so when it comes to me making an album I say ‘right, all this has gone on, I’m going to do something that isn’t really happening at the moment’, and present people with something they didn’t realise breakbeat could be. It’s that simple,” he states. “Someone asked me what inspires me a while ago, and I was saying that a lot of the stuff that I hear out there, but it probably wouldn’t be breakbeat records that inspire me. I appreciate a well done dance record for sure, but I hear an amazing dance hall record or old dub tune, or some mad breakbeat garage tune, some 8-bar tune on a pirate radio station that some 17 year old kid has made, and I think ‘fucking hell, that’s incredible, I could do something with that’, and I twist it up and do my own version, and the way I make it coherent is that I’m always nicking influences from elsewhere, but the other half of what fits in will be that thing I do.”

“And I hope that in a year or two’s time people start listening to it, and people start making their own versions of that, and in a way another sub-genre comes about; in England these things happen so quickly and so easily if a sound picks up” he continues. “And the whole Ragga-dancehall kinda dub-reggae thing is starting to pick up momentum over that mixture of breaks and those sounds and it will probably be a lot prevalent in the next year, year and a half. I’m already hearing records out now that are using those kind of beat patterns that didn’t happen a year ago.”

McFadyen is also about to create a different expression of his forthcoming album Bring Me the Head of Freq Nasty, incorporating a character made for the single into a whole audiovisual experience. “Initially it was going to be a ‘dex and fx’ thing”, he says “but that’s now been translated into the Video Nasty Experience. It’s a character designed by Jamie Hewlett, who did Tankgirl and the Gorillaz stuff, he’s created a Freq Nasty character for the video but then there’s a whole lot of other stuff that’s been created around that, with the character being integrated with real photo’s and film using new CG stuff. There’s lots of graphics and text chopped up, and everything is going to be themed to the album. There’s not a lot of old video and that… it’s not about recontextualising the old; for me, what I’m doing is creating everything from scratch, there’s probably not going to be anything nicked in there.”

Unfortunately, the Video Nasty Experience won’t be coming to Australia this time around, but we can expect it sometime next year. Fortunately, the Freq Nasty website www.freqnasty.com features the kind of thing to expect from this exciting producer, and he’s set to play in Adelaide in December.