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Music, Premiere

Exclusive Premiere: Stream FRED’s New Single “I’m Not Better”

By: Staff –

FRED. (Photo: Alexa Glossen)

New Seattle-based indie pop solo project FRED, led by keyboardist Gabriel Molinaro (of Motopony, Moon Palace, Tenderfoot, and Timothy Robert Graham), is back with their new single “I’m Not Better”, which you can stream exclusively via Aesthetic Magazine below.

A month after the death of their mother, Molinaro wrote “I’m Not Better”, a song about the liminal space between the grieving period and a return to work and social life. “Everyone was so kind and told me to take my time coming back”, Molinaro recalls, “but it felt like there was a point where they were like ‘ok it’s been long enough.’ Grief doesn’t operate on a linear timeline. It feels more like waves, where 20 years down the road, you experience a wave that feels just as strong as the first one.” Thinking about the song now, Molinaro writes “I guess in many ways this song is about how incompatible the system and values of capitalism are with being a healthy human.” The song mixes warm synths and gentle vocals with a steady beat anchoring the whole track. As vocals repeat at the end “I don’t wanna come back,” the song dissolves into the dissonant chaos of an unhinged synth solo, matching the rising anxiety of Molinaro’s voice. The song is recorded by them, along with long-time producer Timothy Robert Graham, who also mixed the track. Mastered by Matt Colton at Metropolis (Dua Lipa, Christine and the Queens, James Blake). 

After two years of touring with Motopony, Molinaro began writing and recording songs for their new solo project, FRED. The name references their grandmother, Winifred, described by Molinaro as a “sharp-witted and elegant woman who smoked cigarettes and read Sufi poets.”

Connecting to the women in their family became a theme in FRED’s most recent songwriting, as Molinaro’s mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and died three years later. The upcoming EP, Creature, was written during this period and processes the grief of losing a parent. “I thought this collection of songs would be all about grief,” writes Molinaro, “but it surprised me by becoming so much more than that.” The year after their mother’s death, Molinaro also came out as non-binary. “I realized I’m trying to understand the women in my family because I’m trying to understand myself.” 

 

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