By: Christopher Conte
Slimefunk master Freddy Todd has just been signed to All Good Records, and his Khrysos EP is just as twisted as we hoped it would be. He observes transdemensional beings and deciphers their messages into musical tones.
Freddy is attentive to the evolving bass scene, yet keeps the music true to his creative concepts. We had the chance to sit down and go over his inspiration, the music scene, and what really makes him tick.
First of all, congratulations on signed with All Good Records. How did your signing come about?
Thank you! Well, I've been friends with Grant [Kwiecinski, All Good label head GRiZ] since we were in middle school together so after releasing with indie labels forever and then testing the waters of releasing with an artist-run indie label like with Gramatik and Lowtemp, releasing with Grant seemed like a no brainer and a natural thing...like it'd be super weird to be friends and to NOT work together and put out an album. I've also known Muzzy not as long but we jammed in a live band called Tone Poets for a few years in Detroit.
What has been your recent muse? Where have you gotten your most recent inspiration from?
Dream-state realms, communicating with animals, nature, visual art, art in general, past-lives, other dimensions, death, the lack of making music for a few months via life changes, and allowing for space to become inspired by life in general.
It’s hard to capture exactly what genre you are but you can definitely identify with the rise of Weird Bass music. Where do you see this type of music evolving too?
I see me going back into Motown and hitting the "pocket" in a deeper more esoteric soulful funk. But with a really subtle psychedelic sub-bass background, furthering the depths of whatever the hell weird bass is, shattering sound systems but forcing exploration of the mind, while not forcefully or abrasively penetrating, but coaxing a more complex and possibly dissonant yet resolving form of thought. Melding what shouldn't be and what should, if that even makes sense, because nothing and everything is. Or isn't? I'm scared, I'm not scared.
What are some of your influences outside electronic music?
Other art, visual visionary art. We just got back from performing and hanging out at Alex Grey's property "Chapel of Sacred Mirrors", CoSM, about an hour north of New York City and it was just so inspiring to see and talk with like minded people in a similar realm but working in a different medium. I've always been able to connect with visual artists, back in Detroit I had painter friends come to my studio and paint while I worked on beats. As physics says, light waves are just sped up sound waves.
When did you realize that this was what you wanted to do for a living? What was the catalyst to making the decision?
When I was pretty much forced to drop out of college. I was on a scholarship studying engineering, caught this nasty bug and got really sick, got a horrible sinus infection that made my head split if I sat up so I missed 2 - 3 weeks of the beginning of one of the semesters. I figured since I was taking such hard engineering math classes, since I missed so much, I would just drop the class (which was a co-requisite with a physics class, which made me have to drop that as well) and take it next semester. I didn't find out not being full time, via dropping the classes, made me illegible for my scholarship until after that semester was over, and the school basically told me I owed them $4,000+ before I could even sign up for the next semester's classes. We simply did not have the money. So I said "wellp, fuck it," got a job with my friend at a small local movie theater and ramped up my beat making (which I had been doing for fun since 2004). I quit that job when I was getting too many bookings flying out of state for it to even make sense to come in to work, schedule-wise. That was my last day job about 6 years ago and I've been making rent via music "internet" money ever since. Thanks sinus infections and the American education system!
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
George Duke and Sun Ra.
What was the festival you enjoyed most this summer? What are you looking forward to most about the fall/winter season?
Although the sound system was almost turned off volume-wise, Electric Forest had the most vibes and was the most epic. Infrasound had the best sound, anyone who puts the "music" first when calling an event a "music festival" gets a proper shoutout, with a Funktion-One sound system at the main stage.
Freddy, you’ve been in the game for a while now. What is some of the biggest changes you’ve witnessed in the underground bass scene?
Just the amount of people not making music any more. I don't know, I started out without "fans" and I'll probably end without any as well, but I really try hard to not let any politics or stats or anything get in the way of my meditation aka music making. I will always make music and put out albums even if I end up broke and working a minimum wage day job, like how I started out. At the same time, the amount of newcomers popping up is insane and beautiful to watch the genres blossom and fractal into different directions although making it harder to sift through to the gold, especially with the influx of trap and its easy accessibility for anyone to make (not knocking trap though, fucking love well produced music of any genre, ESPECIALLY trap, which, because it is so simple, in my opinion its the hardest to make something "simple" sound good because there are less sounds. Props to the bad bois crushing good sound design and tunes in that field, OR to the folks expanding that field, as every genre does [WEIRDBASS]).
When did you realize that the keytar was a necessity for your live performance?
(Laughs) When I got bored just mixing my original tunes. I've grown up playing live instruments, starting off on drums then keys then guitar and bass then back to more keys, and have been in a ton of live acts so at a point I really just missed doing something fun live although sometimes it is fun to just rock a DJ set and focus on the mix. Its nice to have the option. And its especially nice when playing with the live band/duo to really lock in and jam with the live drummer with the keytar. When i first realized I wanted something more than a MIDI controller to mix, I started bringing this digital microKorg with me everywhere and tilting it up to jam on it because you can't see anything if its just laying down, might as well be checking my email. I began bringing my dad's vintage '80's white Korg midi keytar with me so people could actually see what I was doing, hooking it up to the microKorg. That little plastic thing (the microKorg synth) eventually broke and I felt I needed something more as I was getting more professional and learning more about how awesome analog gear is. When the microKorg broke, I still needed to hook up the keytar via midi to a synthesizer, so I switched it out with the far superior Moog Slim Phatty analog synthesizer, which has been a blast on stage and in the studio since, which I've been using as the source sample of many bass lines on the new EP.
Artists like you are keeping the scene fresh and exciting. Who are some of your contemporaries that you think are also doing the scene justice?
Oh gosh, the homies are strong, can't believe the ever-exponential talent right now. Space Jesus, Mr. Bill, Supersillyus, Tipper, EPROM, GRiZ, Yheti, Bleep Bloop, The Digital Connection, CloZee, Of The Trees, G Jones, Zebbler Encanti Experience, kLL sMTH, ill-esha, Russ Liquid, Thriftworks, Opiuo, Ott, Lindsay Lowend, Mr. Carmack, Pericles, Circuit Bent, Haywyre, Branx, Drewmin, Jaws That Bite, ill.so.naj, Ludlow (formerly Elfkowitz, on the hip-hop tip now). Well that'd make for a fun little festival. I did throw Fredfest '04 in my parents back yard for my 15th birthday, shoutout "Eggslave" who performed live on my deck.
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