Unveiling All Is Well: Fred Everything discusses ‘A Break In Time’ and the ambient journey

Unveiling All Is Well: Fred Everything discusses ‘A Break In Time’ and the ambient journey

Frédéric Blais, known to the Electronic Music world as Fred Everything for the past 25 years, introduces his latest musical endeavor, ‘All Is Well.’ Originating incognito, this project has produced acclaimed releases on esteemed labels like Drumpoet Community, Compost, Permanent Vacation, Mule Music, and Prins Thomas’s Internasjonal. Collaborating with notable artists like Lauer and Martin Iveson (Atjazz), All Is Well allows Fred Everything to traverse a more electronic universe, free from the constraints of expectations.

Performing under the All Is Well moniker, Fred Everything has shared the stage with Trentemøller in Paris and graced the Mutek Festival in Montreal, debuting tracks from his upcoming album, ‘A Break In Time,’ slated for release via Compost/Drumpoet. His work has received strong support from influential figures in the industry, including Dixon and Âme.

‘A Break In Time’ marks the spectacular debut ambient album from All Is Well. Conceived during the lockdown as a therapeutic and meditative exercise, the album embodies a unique sonic identity and a message inspired by the isolation felt during that time. Here’s our chat with him about this exciting album.

EG: Hi, Fred! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? Where are you right now?

All Is Well:  Hi, great thanks! I’m at home in Montreal.

EG: Congratulations on the release of your new All Is Well ambient album, ‘A Break In Time’! You must be very excited to share this one. Can you tell us about the inspiration and emotions that fueled this project?

All Is Well: Thank you. I started the ‘All Is Well’ project anonymously to release music outside of what I was known for. It was almost a sociological project to see how people would react to the music without knowing who was behind it. I started incorporating ambient pieces into my EPs, and at the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to dive into making a full album. It was initially a way for me to calm my anxieties toward the future and channel this sort of quiet space we had been forced into.

EG: ‘A Break In Time’ is out now via Compost. What role did the label play in the development of this particular project?

All Is Well: It’s a joint venture between Compost and Drumpoet Community. Compost is the home label and distributor of Drumpoet, and this is the first time they’re collaborating on a release. Drumpoet has released 2 of my All Is Well EP’s and last year, Compost licensed one of my ambient pieces from the album for their Future Sound Of Jazz series. This initially pushed me to dive into a full album format for this project. I’m a long-time fan of both labels, so releasing another project with them is an honor.

EG: As someone known for your diverse music background, why did you decide to delve into the ambient genre for this album?

All Is Well:  I’ve been a fan of ambient music for as long as I can remember. My mum used to listen to music to calm down after work. I was introduced to the likes of Jean-Michel Jarre through her. She also used classical music to calm me down as a child. So, music has always had this calming effect on me. I also used to play live ambient sets in Chill Out rooms in early 90s Raves. When I make music, I mostly start with a melodic or motif idea and add the beats after, so we can say that much of my music is already quite ambient-influenced.

“It was almost a sociological project to see how people would react to the music without knowing who was behind it”

EG: ‘A Break In Time’ is inspired by feelings of isolation. How did you translate these emotions into your music, and what message are you hoping to convey to listeners? What would you like for them to take away from the album?

All Is Well: There’s a balance between darkness and light. I’m not a dark person, but the isolation definitely put me in an introspective mood which was key to writing this album. The light is the hope, which is something that fuels my existence. When faced with adversity, all is we have is hope. All Is Well is also about accepting “what is” at the present moment and how to navigate through it.

EG: You did the artwork for the album yourself, right? Is this the first one you do? Do you have any prior experience in this field? What’s the meaning behind the design and how does it tie in with the album name?

All Is Well: I did maybe 2 or 3 releases on Lazy Days and some DIY art for my socials. I have always liked to get involved in the artwork process but lack knowledge and experience. When I wrote the album, I used an abstract photo that I distorted differently and made a different image for each track for my private SoundCloud preview. When it was time to submit some inspiration to Compost about the cover, I sent those, and they instantly loved it. The image evokes that moment of uncertainty we were all faced with and a sense of undefinable beauty with this forced pause.

EG: The LP also sees you collaborating with a guitarist and a string player. How did you come to choose the right people for this project? What do they bring that you couldn’t convey on your own?

All Is Well: Very simple; I don’t play strings or guitar and wanted a human touch to add to the album’s aesthetic. Emil Jonathan played the guitar. We’ve been in touch since the early 2000s when he was doing his Emo project on Stereo Deluxe. He had recently sent me his current jazz project, Jiyu, and I thought It would be an excellent opportunity to collaborate. I love the gentle touch that his guitar brought to the album. I’m a big fan of strings, so I made a basic string arrangement and sent it to Pete Whitfield in London. He’s also featured on my next Fred Everything album.

EG: The album combines influences from your early days in Québec City with modern sounds. How do you find a balance between past and present in your music?

All Is Well:  That’s a good question. I like the idea of being deeply rooted in something from the past but constantly evolving from it, like a plant or a tree, changing and growing with the years and seasons. No evolution equals death. I can’t deny my past; it’s my history, and I embrace it, but I’m constantly looking for new ways to express my message.

“No evolution equals death. I can’t deny my past; it’s my history, and I embrace it”

EG: Could you highlight a track from the album that you find particularly special or with a unique story behind it?

All Is Well: The track ‘Philippe’  has to be the most personal one for me. I named it after one of my dearest and closest friends who was struggling but was somehow coming out of it with resilience. When I finished the first draft of the album, I organized a Zoom session with 3 of my best friends, including Philippe. I was able to share this track and inspiration with him. Sadly, his life took a wrong turn shortly after, and he’s no longer with us physically. This album is dedicated to him.

EG: I’m very sorry to hear about that… You’ve had an extensive journey as a house music producer. What was the process of recording an entire album of ambient music like? Did you have to rethink your compositional approach?

All Is Well:  Absolutely. I had a ton of ambient studies/sketches on my hard drive before making this album and had to learn how to write in a way that told a story. Other than ‘Language’, which is more inspired by early Eno ambient works, most of it is quite rhythmic for an ambient album. Without using many conventional rhythm sounds, I used some field recording-found sounds that I organized in a looping rhythm by highlighting some hidden transients in them. Still, I also relied on many arpeggiator motifs to dictate the rhythm. I also tried to build the tracks in a “song” manner, without lyrics. I knew it would be a challenge, and I’m glad I took it on. I think it will be easier for the next album.

EG: What are your plans beyond this debut ambient album? Can you give us a glimpse into what the future holds for All Is Well and Fred Everything?

All Is Well:  I’m doing a live immersive show at Centre Phi in Montreal for the release party on November 30th, 2023. We mixed a version of the album in Dolby Atmos at their studio, and it will also be presented later in their Habitat Sonore listening room. There should be more live shows next year, and hopefully more All Is Well productions. A new album at some point and most likely a few more dancefloor EPs in between. My next Fred Everything LP – Love, Care, Kindness & Hope, is ready and will come out in the Spring of 2024 on Lazy Days. Plus, there are a lot more projects that I can’t talk about just now.

EG: Thank you for your time! We’re excited to see what’s in store for you. Take care!

All Is Well: Thanks a lot for having me. I enjoyed the opportunity to share more about my process!

 All Is Well’s new album, ‘A Break In Time’ via Compost x Drumpoet, is now available.

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