It’s a common trope for the lead singer of a band to go on and enjoy a successful solo career following the demise of a group unit. What’s rare in the case of Friedberg, however, is that singer Anna Friedberg had a successful solo career in her native Austria – including two top-five albums – before leaving it all behind and re-emerging surrounded by friends.
The experience she is currently having with her bandmates, Emily Linden, Laura Williams and Cheryl Pinero, is allowing Anna to revel in her new lease of life thoroughly. Being part of a gang rather than out on her own two feet is something that she’s completely marvelling in, and joyous energy can be felt by Friedberg on their debut EP, Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah. The release sounds like a group not afraid to have fun and play around with different themes.
Friedberg’s brand of music is infectious indie-pop music set in a dystopian universe, grabbing you by your lapels and drops you off in hypnotic locations across the five expansive tracks. The decision to change everything up by starting on the journey with Friedberg has paid dividends on the debut effort and has been a couple of years in the making.
“I came back from Joshua Tree and LA with a bunch of new songs, and I was looking for a new band and bumped into Emily,” Anna explains to Far Out. “She was sharing a flat at the time with Laura – and then I bumped into Cheryl (Bass) in South London, who happens to be German, so we had an instant connection too. It’s still a miracle to me how everything just fell into place like that.
“It wasn’t something I had planned. But I guess that’s how most things have happened to me in my life so far. I’ve always just started to walk without really knowing what direction I was going, but always stayed open and looked to the left and right and let things happen. Just never stopped walking,” Anna profoundly stated.
The stand-out moment on the release is the track, ‘Midi 8’, which Friedberg still has vivid memories of the Berlin night where it was born. “It was a hot summer’s night in Berlin. I went to the studio in Neukölln and heard Daniel Brandt recording that great bass line on the synth,” she explained.
“I immediately had that melody in my head, so I stormed in the room, over to the microphone, which was in a really weird position, bent down with my rucksack still on my back and was shouting that melody into the mic over and over again until the lyrics somehow got stuck in my brain, and I started to believe them myself,” the vocalist recalled.
Having escaped the shackles of being ‘Anna F’, a major label pop star life in Austria, Anna has taken her time to create the debut EP with her bandmates. Now, she is firmly in control of her destiny and enjoying the freedom of working with like-minded individuals. Their first single came out at the beginning of 2019, and since then, they’ve been building their bond tighter. Using time to their advantage shows on the EP, which oozes confidence compared to their earlier singles and is their riskiest work to date.
“I always need to try out lots of things to find out what I want and what I don’t,” Anna noted about recording the EP. “The same thing happened when I was making the music and finding the sound for the new record. We made tons of different versions of some of the songs, threw them in the bin again and in the end, we more or less always came back to the initial demo versions! So I guess my own insecurities and having too many options made me take some extra rounds. But the next one will be quicker because I’ve learnt that I can totally trust my initial gut feelings.”
Playing live is the thing that makes Friedberg such a special experience for Anna, who adds, “When our energies multiply on stage, it gets just super intense and wild. I’ve never experienced something like that before! Such a wonderful feeling.”
The whole process of making the EP has been a learning curve for Friedberg, they’ve taken a couple of years to arrive at the destination as a group. While Anna’s journey has been convoluted, it’s been a long road to get where she is today, but Friedberg is what she’s been building towards for all these years.