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Ones to Watch in 2011: Freedom or Death

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ones to Watch in 2011: Freedom or Death

Freedom or Death is a Toronto-based folktronica duo and "This Crowded Room" is their latest single, taken from their full length release, EGO, due this Fall.   Make sure you check out the video for "This Crowded Room" below the cut.  The band was actually named after a war cry heard during the 1820 Greek War of Independence.  Freedom or Death bring a fresh perspective to the electronic music scene, which is something I'm always on the lookout for.  According to Fernandez, 1/2 of the duo:
"We want to have the freedom to make the music and the artistic choices that we want. If we can’t have that freedom, we’d rather not put anything out, which is the death of our art."
Freedom or Death blends a variety of musical genres together to create a very interesting and unique sound.  Reminiscent in many ways to James Blake, the popular electronic composer and singer/songwriter earning massive heaps of praise for his debut, Freedom or Death  is absolutely worth a listen.  Unlike a lot of electronica music out there right now, there are no driving dance beats.  "This Crowded Room" is a dreamy bit of electro-folk magic that leaves me wanting to hear more.  Mix up some acoustic folk music and traditional rock and throw in a splash of electronica and a dash of hip-hop and you've got Freedom or Death.  While a specific genre is tough to pin down, the one constant?  Substantive lyrics, of course.  According to Sway, the second half of this eccentric partnership,
"We didn’t want to get caged into any kind of pigeonhole, that’s our freedom, to make the music however it comes out. We have two different sensibilities to making music that clash, but it’s how we actually reconcile them that’s interesting."
Fernandez and Sway actually met working at a major record label, so they know the ins and outs of the music biz.  It's probably this very industry knowledge that gives them the edge that they need as independent artists. In working on their debut EP and forthcoming album, Freedom or Death know exactly what they want and they're doing it their way. Fernandez and Sway are involved every step of the way,  from the songwriting, production and performing, right down to the artwork and video direction. Fernandez elaborates a bit on the whole creative process:
"We are more interested in working with a collective of artists, rather than being a silo unto ourselves. Our artwork is being done by artists that inspire us, our videos are being shot by directors that we want to work with."
This is a very unique approach for an unknown artist. It's also very brave. With the possibility of failure lurking around every corner, Freedom or Death seem to be going balls to the wall and hoping for the best. It's a calculated risk that very well might not pay off.  Let's be honest though, these guys aren't in it for the big bucks.  They're in it for the art itself. They'd rather have complete creative control than be mass-marketed and I have nothing but respect for that.  I definitely wish them he best.  Here's a little bit about Fernandez and Sway, courtesy of the official Facebook page.

"Fernandez was classically trained as a pianist and has been a DJ for over a decade, while Sway has been a driving force as a vocalist and songwriter behind various bands, musically Freedom Or Death’s sound is eclectic, yet their approach to lyrics is clear. “We posed the question, are we going to write lyrics that resonate with a mass amount of people or are we going to write music from our heart?” Sway asks. “We decided to write things that had a truth to it. The lyrics are a really huge part, they’re not always the last part, but for me if there’s no lyrics for a song, the song stops.” {SOURCE}
Download the self-titled EP by Freedom or Death on iTunes HERE and look for the full length album, EGO, this Fall.  Check out the video for "This Crowded Room" below, which is featured on the EP.
Check out Freedom or Death on the web:

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