From Ireland to Saint John

Cork City, Ireland pop band Fred is making their provincial debut on Friday July 17 when they perform at The Blue Olive in Saint John. The group is touring through Atlantic and Central Canada behind their latest record Go God Go which was released nation-wide this past March via Toronto independent label Sparks Music.

Listeners interested in exploring what Fred is about will be delighted to uncover a band intent on having a good time. Pairing tush-shaking rhythms with fun keyboards, Fred are making some of the most infectious pop music available today.

Reached at his band’s rehearsal space in Ireland, Fred guitarist Joseph O’Leary is downright jovial, chatty and emphasizes how much the group is looking forward to their return to Canada.

“Every time we go to Canada, the shows get better and better,” O’Leary says. “One of the first Canadian shows was when we played the North By Northeast Festival in Toronto last summer. We were fortunate that the show was sold out, which was great, but even the people from our label Sparks couldn’t even get in to see us!” he laughs. “Things have really fast-forwarded at a great pace for us.”

The group’s latest record Go God Go (their third album) was released in Europe in May 2008 and saw the band earn accolades from the likes of influential music papers such as NME. O’Leary says that while they have always made music for themselves first and foremost, earning reviews from papers like NME certainly isn’t a bad thing to have on Fred’s resume.

“There’s no question as to its helpfulness but we’ve never gone seeking the press or making music specifically for the purposes of getting good press. Maybe that’s why it has taken us the length of time it has taken us to reach a level of success!” O’Leary laughs.

“We’ve never worried too much about whom we are getting kudos from but it certainly is great to get it. It definitely helps bring more people out our gigs and helps with radio play as well. We just keep digging away and going about our business.”

Indeed, things are picking up for the Irish quintet on both sides of the ocean:

iTunes recently featured Fred track “Skyscrapers” as their complimentary download of the week which scored the group 25,000 downloads.

On the opposite side of the world, the group managed to simultaneously chart two singles (“Skyscrapers” and “Running”) and have secured a slot on the Oxegen Festival; one of Europe’s biggest music festivals which will expose them to over 100,000 spectators.

Music festivals in Europe tend to bring diverse genres and bands together in a way that seems to be slowly catching on in North America. As a general rule, Europeans seem willing to embrace non-mainstream bands and make them superstars.

“Generally speaking, that’s true. And I am sure Canada is the same as this, but when you get into different territories and areas, audiences can be very different.

“Ireland is very embracing of all different kinds of music,” O’Leary continues. “We’ve done gigs throughout Europe and I can safely say that the Irish love their music.

“We did a show in Norway, a country where people really love their heavy metal and soft rock, interestingly enough. And during the show, the crowd was really subdued and just kind of stared at us but once the show was done, we found out they really dug us. So really, it’s different everywhere you travel.”

With Go God Go finding new life in Canada after already having been on store shelves for a year in Europe, O’Leary says the band is preparing to start writing songs for a new record and then clarifies:

“If our manager is reading this, the new record is written!” he laughs.

“We definitely have some great ideas being thrown around but nothing concrete yet. But we will start the writing process soon. Our manager wants to maintain this momentum we’ve got working in our favour so he’ll be anxious to keep us working.”

I’d highly recommend you not miss your chance to see this rising Irish pop band while you have the chance to do so!

For more information on the group, head over to the official Fred website at www.fredtheband.com.

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