By: Tom Nesbihal [NEZ]
I had the honor to sit down with Freddy Todd after his set at Bass Capades Vol. 3 Mardi Gras Masquerade.
NEZ: First, I’d like to know what inspired you to start making music?
Freddy Todd: I’ve always had a drum set in my basement since my dad was a drummer (and multi-instrumentalist). I have always been surrounded by music in my life, always been messing around with different instruments, drums, guitars, or whatever. It wasn’t until 2004, transitioning into high school, listening to Aphex Twin and Squarepusher and all these psychedelic glitchy drum and bass guys from the UK – which was my first inspiration to start making ELECTRONIC music. (Me and Grant (GRiZ) were both in band class and marching band together, playing percussion and sax, respectively). No one else in our grade was really listening to electronic music like that. We were listening and our minds were blown, then a friend showed me FL Studio and from then on I just kept creating.
NEZ: Having such a wide background with many different instruments how has your approach to creating music changed now that you have switched to an electronic platform?
Freddy: I used to play in live bands, playing drums. I have a side project called Tone Poets, which is a live jam band, playing jazz, funk, rock, and jam music. I’m playing keys routed through a computer for effects […] (and we have a drummer, bass player, and guitar player). Making music with a band you all kind of contribute, and it’s definitely more difficult to keep track of song creation. You don’t have a digital audio workstation in front of you with a screen with all of the parts. So, my approach to writing music electronically is more precise, tailored exactly to how I want it to be. There is a lot more control than working with a band, yet it’s a completely different process.
NEZ: Leading up to this point can you tell us about a few of your favorite moments in your musical career and elaborate on one of your favorite shows?
Freddy: Oh man there have been a few, the best moments are when you are halfway across the country on top of a mountain with friends that don’t live in your home town but you know through the whole music web, scene, and internet… friends you’ve met five years ago and keep meeting up with at random festivals, just seeing your homie producers who play the same shows as you, that is the best […] I have played a lot of crazy shows, I played a waterpark rave in Omaha, Nebraska this past summer on tour. It was insane because it was in a fucking water park going nuts until 2 am. There are good shows and there are off shows that are all usually in a club, theater, or venue but this was a thousand or so kids in a fucking water park. [Laughs] It’s the one that really stands out.
NEZ: What sparked SplaTTerboX and how long have you been making music with Grant (GRiZ)?
Freddy: We both started at the same time making music in 2004 in high school, we used to listen to Squarepusher and whatnot together. Both started producing on FL Studio and were getting high off of each other’s productions when we were 14 […] We have 10 or so original tracks which are pretty dope, we play live together whenever we can. There may or may not be a release in the future, but we’ll see. Grant is a homie.
NEZ: Tonight you opened up with a new track that you wrote three days ago. How do you approach your sets before you go on stage, and how does this change as the show goes on?
Freddy: I take into consideration where I’m going, what the crowd is like, and if I have played there before […] I feel out the mood of the whole show beforehand (and during). I have about 100 or so original tracks on my Ableton set list, a lot of it is on the fly mixing (there are NEVER pre-recorded sets). I love the performance aspect, you know; I grew up as a performer in a band. I’ll start off trying to figure out the mood and general vibe of the show. Play out some newer beginner tracks of what I want to play first and try to figure out the tempo progression I want to play […] From the minute I start playing I’ll start to adjust whatever I need to according to the crowd.
NEZ: What kind of equipment are you using?
Freddy: MacBook Pro with Ableton Live 8, I produce on FL Studio 9. I’m using a Presonus audio card and the Livid Ohm-64 midi controller.
NEZ: What is your opinion on the future of electronic music?
Freddy: [ooh boy] A lot of people hate on how much Dubstep has made it into pop culture, and to a point yea, some of its corny, but for the most part it’s awesome this is happening because it is opening the doors for future genres of whatever me, my fellow producer peers, and future producers are doing. We will see… I’m not a sorcerer (?)
Freddy Todd has a string of dates all the way through June so be sure to check him out and check back for more interviews.