Interview With Freedom or Death | Artist Momentum = 10.8% | Status = Breakout

By Tommy on June 27th, 2011

1) Tell us a little bit about the concept behind Freedom or Death. How did you meet and start to produce music together?
The concept around FOD is to be as truthful as possible – the project started when Sway and I sat down just as friends to write music for the hell of it  – we both wanted to make careers from art but did not know our bond would work as well as it has in song writing and business under what FOD is becoming.  The name of the band came from our values of doing things the way we believe is truthful.  Music seems to be shaded under clouds of ghost writers, producers, marketing plans where art is not put first- at least in the popular music category from which we came from in our past careers working at labels.  The name FOD was a mantra that we would remind us to stick by our guns of making art first and hopefully finding a career from it second.
We met at a label – we both worked in marketing and knew each other had a passion for just good music.

2) How do you connect with your audience through social media? Do you find that social media is an effective way for you to communicate with other artists and your listeners?

We try to keep up and communicate through social media as much as we can – and honestly its tiring but also rewarding – its nice when we get a note from someone saying they are into what we are doing.  Its fuel to keep pushing forward.  Social media is the only effective way to track and measure what we are doing at the level we are at.  As bands grow bigger you can track sales, concert tickets, publishing royalties, but when you are in your first years, the only effective medium of reaching people and tracking the value and momentum is through social media.

3)  Who and/or what are your inspirations when it comes to creating your music? And how did you develop and adopt these influences with Freedom Or Death?

Our inspirations draw from a span of genres – hence why the name ‘electronic folk’ seems to fit with us so much.  You could say we are open to any influence that comes into our minds as we are making a song.  Right now we are re-working INSIDE for a new album and its a reggae /afrobeat vibe – something we have never done before but completely authentic to who we are and what we grew up listening to.  I think because Sway and I have done our Malcolm Gladwell “10000 hours” of listening, buying and absorbing of music from so many genres that we are not afraid of going anywhere our minds dictate for our sound in music.

4) I noticed that you pay particular attention to the album artwork as seen on the Ego album. Where do you find your inspiration for your artwork and how do you link the connection between your album artwork and your music?

Art around music can be a beautiful thing if its thought out and not contrived.  I grew up staring at vinyl covers and burning the symbolism of album art into my mind while listening to the music.  Our posters, t shirts, album covers, photo shoots all fall in line with our music and the love of art.  The EGO album cover came across Sway’s screen from an Italian artist named Yelena Milanesi – who after we reached out and told her our intentions with her art, she loved the music and we collaborated.  As simple as that – no legal paperwork, no agents, no bullshit.  Just two artists liking each others work and getting it done…I know that will change in the future as we build our story and there is money to be had and same likewise for Yelena…LOL

5)  ”Freedom Or Death,” also the historic Greek motto, Eleftheria i thanatos, during the War of Independence, is symbolic of resistance to tyranny and oppression. Against which tyranny or oppression do you feel the need to resist and why?

Probably ourselves.  We are our own worst critics.  But that is a good thing as long as it doesn’t turn into some Guns and Roses CHINESE DEMOCRACY outcome.  I think for myself its the confidence to believe that I can have a career in the arts when I came from backgrounds in business where I could make a lot more money than I do know.  I cannot blame anyone for oppressing us if we are the first to do it to ourselves….its a work in progress.

6)  You have posed the question of whether you “will write lyrics that resonate with a mass amount of people,” or write music from your hearts. In being an artist that produces music for your own fulfillment, are you comfortable with the significant following that you have gained, especially if leads to bigger shows and more publicity? Why or why not?

IF we stay true to our values and put that into our music and lyrics and we grow a following then we all win together – I will have no problem in others gravitating and understanding what we are projecting.  I think its the truth that we write about that will resonate with a larger audience.  I am not expecting us to resonate with a popular music audience – we are not the easiest lyrical band to take in, but there is an audience that looks to be pushed, inspired and thought provoked by the art they consume.  Those people are our core audience and we just have to keep working to find them.  Its a good question you pose however as I think we have done an injustice to our lyrics and not put them on more of a stage than our music…perhaps we should reprint some of them in this blog….but the lyrics and the emotion in them are what drive this project.  I think its a symptom of technology – lyrics would be reprinted for everyone to take in as they spent time with a record.  Now lyrics are just a byproduct of our ipod shuffles as we move to the next attention vying mp3 of the minute.  Sad when you think about it.  Poor lyrics.

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