Bands are so last decade.
It’s all about ✨collectives✨ now – creatively ambitious, larger-than-life crews of friends (some musicians, others wildly talented in other areas) churning out god-tier content with the kind of supersonic turnover rate that makes you wonder: do these motherfuckers even sleep!?
We’ve seen a stack of them blow up abroad over the last decade – Odd Future, Brockhampton and the GothBoiClique are amongst some of our favourites – and now it’s Australia’s turn to get in on the action. Cue FREAKCLUB, a six-piece powerhouse comprising singer Zvchvrivh, rappers Wolf Henson and Zac Sunset, DJ Cody, photographer Brianna Da Silva and visual director Charles Buxton-Leslie. All but the latter two double up as producers, with the entire outfit collaborating to make each of their projects uniquely intriguing, and consistently stunning.
After two years of meticulously honing their artistry and formulating a plan of attack, FREAKCLUB made their debut last week with a bubbly, vibe-heavy ode to nostalgia in ‘Perfect’. It’s a dazzling amalgam of dancehall, hip-hop and tropical pop, with a loveably cheesy, John Hughes-styled film clip to match. The group themselves – hailing from all over, but currently based in Naarm/Melbourne – say that ‘Perfect’ was born of their collective desire to ignore the malaise of their general surroundings; “a lot of shit was going on at the time”, they said in a press release, so “writing happy songs was kinda therapeutic”.
Before they wind up taking over the world – and trust us, it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility – BLUNT caught up with all six members of FREAKCLUB for a personal induction into their one-of-a-kind community.
Holy shit, ‘Perfect’ is out there in the world! Congratulations! How does it feel?
Wolf Henson: It feels surreal! You spend so much time working on something, and then you kind of just put it out there, and then it’s out there, and it’s everyone else’s. It’s strange having something that you worked on with your friends make its way out there for everyone else – but it’s cool, it’s really cool.
I guess we’ll kick off with the really cliché one: what is the origin story behind FREAKCLUB?
Zac Sunset: The origin is that we met each other over time. Me and Cody are brothers, and then I met Zvchvrivh at a concert in, like, 2016. Same for Charlie and Brianna – I met them both at a concert as well, and then [Wolf] and I met over the internet. Each time we met with each other, we made different creative projects, like individually, and then over time we formed a bit more of a solid collective and started actually working on stuff together. But it was all just chance encounters, really.
Was there a formative moment where you guys were like, “Okay, this is what FREAKCLUB is, this is what we’re doing,” or did it just kind of happen naturally?
Zvchvrivh: It was probably when we all moved in together. Zac was already in Melbourne, and I moved down from Sydney, and then a little while later [Wolf] moved down too. I’d say it was probably then, when the three of us started living together and started constantly working on music. And then having Charlie and Brianna and Cody all around the corner as well, yeah, it was a really fun time, just constantly just being creative.
I really like that, Brianna, Cody, Charles, you guys are all billed on the same level as Zvchvrivh, Zac and Wolf – you’re all in the promos and listed as members of the band, not just ancillary crew members. As a collective, was it important for you guys to make the distinction that everyone in FREAKCLUB is equal?
Charles: Yeah, that was like a natural progression for us. It started with the music, and then when we were kind of finding the feet of what FREAKCLUB would look like and sound like and feel like, it made sense. We were just making stuff together, this was just out friendship circle, and it kind of evolved into something bigger. I guess the music, what they were making started being so collaborative that it was like a conveyor belt, it was was getting passed between them all. And then when we started throwing ideas around for the visuals, the ideas just bounced around for everything, and it kind of ended up just naturally being the structure we have now. It was also something that felt unique and right for us in terms of the way we were creating content. Yeah, it’s been working really well.
So how much will a project change between the initial idea and the finished project?
Henson: I feel like all of our songs, they always go through like such long periods of, like, changing hands. We always keep that main, central idea, but things can go in so many different directions because there’s just so many different ways that we want to approach it.
Sunset: ‘Perfect’ in particular was one where we had the main structure of the song, but we felt like we could do a bit more with it. We went through so many changes – there was even like a period where it had a house beat and we made the bass all crazy, we tried to make it like a really big club song… We took it too far, we had to bring it back a little bit [laughs].
“After spending so long developing our own idea of what FREAKCLUB is and what FREAKCLUB could be, now that we actually have the opportunity to open it up to the world and give that experience to everyone… It’s up to everyone else to do what they will with it, y’know?”
I was reading last week’s Pilerats interview, and there’s that quote, “Our aim is to not just create music but to create a world for our music to live in” – without trying to belittle the ethos, what does that actually mean? How do you plan to expand the FREAKCLUB Cinematic Universe?
Charles: I feel like something that’s so special about FREAKCLUB is that we all have so much energy for the project and we just want to do as much as humanly possible. Right now that means a visual or an in-depth video that tells a story for each track, and later on down the track we want to expand on that. We want to just keep pushing the boundaries of what we’re creating, and following what we’re feeling and enjoying at the time. But apart from that, there’s stuff that we want to do with the FREAKCLUB brand in terms of events and clothing and things like that. We’re taking over!
Sunset: On the one hand it’s a creative project, but really it’s just a [creative] interpretation of our lives, put on display in the way that we’ve experienced it – and we just want to share that as accurately as possible. That way when you’re engaging with the things that we’ve made, you get so much more of the picture than just a song and a video would give you.
Well there’s also that concept of community; how do you see FREAKCLUB breaking down the barriers of the traditional artist-and-fan relationship? How does that notion of inclusion go from an ambition into a reality?
Sunset: I guess it all just comes from the mindset that we’re just a group of really close friends, and it was easy enough for us to make stuff together that I feel like it makes sense; after spending so long developing our own idea of what FREAKCLUB is and what FREAKCLUB could be, now that we actually have the opportunity to open it up to the world and give that experience to everyone… It’s up to everyone else to do what they will with it, y’know? I think a lot of it will just come down to what people want to see in it, and what people want to take away from it. And we’re kind of just here to mirror that.
Henson: We’re just like everyone else, and if people can find something they can relate to within us, then that’s what we’re here for – just showing that anybody can do this. Like, you got a group of friends and you want to make shit? Go for it!
Would you say ‘Perfect’ is a good indication of what we can expect to hear from FREAKCLUB in the future?
Henson: …No [laughs]. If you liked this song, that’s cool, but yeah, you’re gonna be pleasantly surprised. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to pinpoint what we can do.
Zvchvrivh: Similar vibes maybe, but yeah, there’s a lot going on.
So what does the timeline look like at this point?
Sunset: A lot more music, a lot more content… Just a lot more. We’ve been working on this project for a very long time, so to finally have the ball rolling is just… Yeah, we haven’t got a stop planned for a very long time. You’ll see really soon, I guess – we’ll be following ‘Perfect’ up with something else very shortly.