How Fred again.., Four Tet and Skirllex took over NYC

So on last week’s Blueprint, I named Skrillex the artist of 2023.

Since then, Skrillex has dropped two albums, joined Fred again.. and Four Tet to play three pop-up shows and capped it off with a historic five-hour b2b2b at the world’s most famous arena Madison Square Garden.

If you haven’t read Part I (click here). You can also read last year’s breakdown of Fred again.. Boiler Room and album strategy launch here.

So let’s breakdown and what they did and how they pulled it off.

It all started on Valentine's Day.

Fred again.. went from touring in Australia to hanging out with Four Tet in New York. Kieran showed Fred around the city, taking him to where Friends was filmed. The tour around the city leads to Fred and Kieran picking out red heart-shaped balloons in a store. They revealed to their fans on Instagram Stories that they were going to surprise Skrillex at JFK Airport when he landed. It was Valentine’s Day.

Watching these stories knowing all three of them were in the same city, you had a feeling something big was coming. When they arrived at the airport, Sonny had already spotted them. This led to a hilarious moment of them filming each other as they tried to surprise each other. That evening a pop-up event happened. A second pop-up followed Thursday night/Friday morning when Skrillex’s album dropped at midnight. They repeated what they did in London and then some.


On Wednesday, Skrillex, Fred again. and Four Tet announced they were headlining the world’s most famous arena Madison Square Garden on Saturday 18th February. The trio posted a photo of them at the top of the Empire State Building. Four Tet wore an ‘OMG MSG’ t-shirt. The event sold out in minutes.

​Wait. What?

This felt like a historic moment for electronic music. Normally you would associate The Garden with New York Knicks games or worldwide events like WrestleMania. You might even remember Kanye hosted an album launch there a few years ago but nothing like this. This all happened on NBA All-star weekend, meaning The Garden was free…

After two pop-up events in New York, Skrillex, Four Tet and Fred again.. shut down Times Square on Friday evening by playing a surprise one-hour b2b2b in a school bus. Yep, in a school bus.

The b2b2b was streamed live on The Lot Radio – New York’s answer to NTS Radio. Thousands of fans turned up at very short notice to New York’s most popular tourist attraction.

As this campaign rolled out, it reminded me a lot of how Charlotte de Witte and her label KNTXT took over Amsterdam during ADE. It also reminded me of watching MTV when I was a kid. Icons like Eminem, Alicia Keys and Jay Z used to attract fans like this to Times Square. Now it was happening on YouTube with an artist primarily recognised for playing dubstep, an artist who three years ago hadn't even released his debut album and Four Tet – an underground legend who everyone respects but has rarely gotten this kind of exposure in his career.

The set is now available on Soundcloud and YouTube for you to listen to and watch back.

Skrillex dropped a second album.

As the event was happening at Madison Square Garden, Skrillex dropped his second album.

Read that again.

​As the event was happening at Madison Square Garden, Skrillex dropped his second album.

Wait. What?

This is how he did it

As the event was happening, the lights and the screens outside Madison Square Garden turned red with Skrillex's label logo.

The album was dropped on Skrillex’s Spotify, YouTube etc with no warning. All that happened on socials was an Instagram Story with a link. How many people would have even noticed it as they quickly swiped through looking for highlights of the MSG event?

There was no confirmed release date. Looking back, there is one sentence in a previous Instagram post on Tuesday about the next single ‘Don’t Get Too Close’ – the title of the second album.

On Sunday, Skrillex mentioned the second album on his socials. Here's the Instagram post.

“Don’t Get Too Close” is different from “Quest For Fire.” The artwork is a blue hedgehog. The Instagram post is the blue animated hedgehog singing the lyrics. The second album shows a softer side of Sonny that we have never seen before.

After all of this, there is still one more thing fans want. ‘Baby’ is an unreleased track rumoured to be from the trio of Skrillex, Fred again.. and Four Tet. Skrillex shared a video of this track on Sunday.


This Skrillex album campaign was not about pre-sales, letting the music breathe or directing fans to “link in bio”. This was about announcements that could happen at any moment. This album campaign allowed the audience to “react” instantly and “search” the internet for themselves.

The question is, where are they going to take over next? A pop-up at Coachella? South America?

Wherever it is, you can be sure they will have something up their sleeve to get the world talking again.

See you next week.

Andrew at Socially Sound