Freq Nasty: Permanent Frequency

Freq Nasty
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Perhaps it’s no surprise to find Freq Nasty holed up in the Connecticut forest.

This after all is an artist who’s been defined by the unexpected. Rising with London future electro and nu skool breaks in the late ‘90s and early millennium, Freq eventually flipped the DJ equivalent of a conjurer’s trick, refusing to die with his scene. But it was never a case of trend-jumping: Freq was always trying to make records that weren’t already being made, and it’s ultimately served him well in a genre that’s hardly kind to stragglers.

Back to Connecticut, though: it’s a long way from Fiji, where he was born and christened Darin McFadyen, New Zealand, where he was raised, and in particular the Brixton clubs in which he’d make his name.

“I’m staying out here at the moment,” Freq says. “It’s really nice. It’s a big change from living in the city for a long time. [We’ve been here] about a year.”

Before Connecticut it was Venice Beach, California. And here you discover the second reason for Freq Nasty’s longevity: away from the ragtag world of London dance music, he’s managed to find balance in his life.

“After New Year’s 2005 and 2006, I remember thinking: ‘I just can’t do another one of these drab London winters. Because once it gets to January, there’s nothing to look forward to until spring comes, and the sun may not shine until May or June. You’ve already had three or four months of darkness, and I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to find a place to stay in the States and see what happens. I’m going to head over to California.’”

Freq found a room in a house right on Venice Beach, packed his laptop and jumped on a plane. After sitting there for two weeks, watching the sun disappear over the palm trees, his mind was set.

“I remember thinking that I was sitting there making beats in paradise and I would otherwise be sitting in my flat in Brixton in the pissing rain, and why didn’t I just move there. So I went back to London, packed my stuff, and I came straight back and found a place.

“It was quite odd: I remember sitting out on the sand one night, watching the sun go down over the sea and feeling almost like I’d gotten away with something,” he laughs. “It’s difficult to do, because London’s addictive – there’s so much going on and there’s so much cool music and the lifestyle.

“It took me months and months to get used to the idea that once the shops shut, there’s nothing to do. It’s not like being able to go and have a choice of five or six international acts any night of the week. You feel like you should be bored out of your mind, but eventually life feels a little more balanced.”

Balance now seems to define Freq Nasty’s existence, right down to the gentle transatlantic clip in which he talks. He took three years out recently to study Buddhist and yoga philosophy, and beside the Freq Nasty gigs he also plays with the Dub Kirtan All Stars – a live ten-piece band of singers and musicians formed with producer David Starfire – and the Yoga of Bass, a series of workshops he conducts with his partner Claire Thompson that looks to connect yoga philosophy with music. All this combined with a ferocious level of output under the Freq Nasty moniker, and you begin to get a picture of an artist who’s settled and productive.

“I’m just in that mode more now,” he says, “and the studio’s set up here and it’s great, it sounds great, I’m banging to the tunes. So everything’s working out really well for the moment.”

But he’ll have to emerge out of the forest eventually, even if it’s just to jump on a plane for Australia. Freq’s heading south for a series of gigs along the east coast, including the Earth Frequency Launch Party later this month.

“I can’t wait. It’s fucking freezing here – already!” he laughs. “But not just because of that. I used to come to Australia a lot until I moved to California. And I always used to get a really good response there and met a lot of really cool people and played a lot of great gigs and shared a lot of exciting music. I’m really looking forward to getting back in there.

“I’ll play a bunch of my own stuff and a lot of stuff that I’m excited about as well … And I’m really looking forward to hearing what the local Australian guys are playing as well and hearing how the scene’s developed out there.”

Freq Nasty Tour Dates

Sun Nov 11-Thu Nov 15 — Eclipse Festival (Cairns)
Fri Nov 16 — Chinese Laundry (Sydney)
Fri Nov 23 — Brown Alley (Melbourne)
Sat Nov 24 — Plantation Hotel (Coffs Harbour)
Fri Nov 30 — The Hi-Fi (Brisbane)

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