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by Silke Hartung

Freddy Reynold: A Different Sort Of SSRI

by Silke Hartung

Freddy Reynold: A Different Sort Of SSRI

‘Southside Run It’ is the third EP offering in as many years from Tāmaki Makaurau hip hop artist Freddy Reynold. This release moves into new sound territory by melding healthy doses of EDM, house and hip hop into a collection of songs that are tightly produced and sound huge, with the intent and potential to see summer festival audiences lose their minds over. Silke Hartung was keen to find out more.

Congratulations on your new EP. The production is so great, who did you work with this time?

Thank you. I appreciate the love! Definitely felt like a long time coming so I’m satisfied that it’s finally out and people are messing with it. Yeah, the beats on ‘Southside Run It’ are full-on sour face slappers, haha. It was only right to link with my guy Abraham Kunin who made 4/6 beats on this project.

He is what I consider the 40 to my Drake, the Dre Dre to my Snoop, the Eno to my Dirty – you know, pretty much my right-hand man when it comes to this.

Track number 2, Flirt, which probably is one of the hardest beats on this EP, was produced by Stuss out of Hamilton. So shout out to the bro for lending me some heat because it sure did help!

The third track, When I’m On, which is a hip hop/house track, is actually produced by a producer in the UK by the name of Patrick West. I made the classic type beat move by purchasing the beat of Youtube a year ago as well as recording the track back then too. The beat has a sample from local RnB boss Aria.

If you look back at ‘Press Play’ and ‘Pre Party’, how would you describe your sound has changed for ‘Southside Run It’, and what influenced the changes?

Yerah, ‘Southside Run It’ is the third instalment to my discography, and the one that I’m most proud of, to be honest. SSRI’s sound is definitely harder, louder, darker and stronger than my other two EPs. This time around Abe and I really wanted to sonically create something darker that packs a heavy punch, as opposed to bright vibrant feel tracks like Blessed and Appropriate that we had on ‘Pre Party’ in 2020.

I guess the influence and motive for making these songs was the idea that this EP was made to perform on a festival stage setting, or arena level. Once we knew what direction we wanted it became a lot easier to get things moving. Abe and I studied Travis Scott’s ‘Astroworld’ album, which really influenced the dark textures to ‘Southside Run It’.

Because this EP is tailor-made for live performances it was only right we studied the hardest rager in the world. The UK 2-step house sound really influenced us to give that sound a crack, thanks to rappers like AJ Tracy who blessed us with ‘Ladbroke Grove’,  where I pretty much got the inspiration and bones to make my own version off but speaking about my life, circle and activities instead.

I will always love my 2018 ‘Press Play’ EP! That EP definitely was my freshman vibe but ‘Southside Run It’ definitely holds itself to be the year 13 in school, ready to risk it all.

Jujulipps is phenomenal, and you two sound great together on Flirt! How did that collaboration come about, and what did she bring to the table for the song?

Yeah, Jujulipps is a true diamond in the rough that I met through my producer Abraham Kunin, and my manager Junelle Kunin.

I can’t remember too many details of how she and I met, but what I do remember is when Abe first played me her track Hilary Banks way before it was released earlier in the year, it was that moment I looked over at Abe and told him that I really wanted to work with her, because I knew she had some amazing potential.

Stuss played me the beat that would become Flirt, I laid my verse down and everything and then we sent it through to Jujulipps to do her thing, and she sure did do her thing alright! Jujulipps brought that real and raw bad bitch attitude to the table, which I felt was missing in the NZ rap game, or better yet, never had in the first place. Her  performance was so stand out that I had to come back around with another verse after hers. Hahaha! Look out for Jujulipps, she’s got more on the way for sure!

Where are you at right now during this super long lockdown? What have you been getting up to?

Level 4 lockdown was a huge blessing in disguise because it gave me the opportunity to really dedicate some serious hours towards doing music admin, EP rollouts and marketing plans, with my awesome team over at Bigpop.

I really had to capitalise on this free time and I definitely took advantage of it knowing that I wasn’t sure when I would be given so much time to complete so much work again. My day job is in retail at Huffer, so since it’s been Level 3 I’ve had to go back into work and prep the store and pretty much do actual work, which can really suck because I would rather be outdoors chilling or something you know!

Can’t knock the hustle or diss the day jobs though, it’s what funds the streams of dreams.

You did have to postpone a big tour of Australia over the Delta variant lockdowns here and over there. How did you feel about that?

Yeah well, I was meant to open up for the Australian rap group Sydney Youngins earlier in the year, which would have snowballed into an NZ tour which would have been so cool to be a part of. I was bummed but we will reschedule it when we can. So watch this space…

Working with, you’re on the Bigpop label alongside some great local contemporary talent like Chaii, Kings, Isla Noon and many more. In 2021, what can a record label still do for you as an artist? 

I can only answer through my own experiences from being an independent artist shifting into a label space and I can honestly say that Bigpop really, really, really does a lot for me. I wouldn’t have been able to execute a third of the things at an international music industry standard it takes to roll out a full EP on my own if it wasn’t for Bigpop.

Signing with the right record label in 2021 can be very beneficial for any artist. In my experience, a label gives you much more help and service such as resources, financial support, connections, other artists etc. Pretty much things that an independent artist does not have access to, a label can assist you in that reach faster than you could on your own. It takes a lot of trust and research to establish the right deal for the right artist and I am very fortunate to have a manager who is able to view the business landscape with such a strong lens that I don’t have right now.

Funnily, before Bigpop picked me up Junelle (my manager) and I went around to a few majors and pitched this exact song and idea, and none of ’em bought it. So I owe it to Bigpop for giving the boy a chance when everyone else closed their doors on me.

What’s coming up next for Freddy Reynold?

Without giving too much away… we’ve got a whole new body of work almost finished. No time to waste. Will keep you updated NZ Musician, and thank you for your time!