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INTERVIEW: Mister Freedom

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Things are good. I’m currently working on a project with Deca under the name the Donner Party. We’re developing an instrumental album, half of which is Deca’s production and half is mine.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Kevin Ware”?

FL and I started using Kevin Ware’s name as an eponym. Meaning, whenever something bad happens in someone’s life, they got Kevin Ware’d, hence the title of the song. It basically defines the bullshit that takes place in an individual’s life on a daily basis. Anything that stagnates your progress refers to being Kevin Ware’d.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I can’t speak for FL but for me this was the starting point for the album. I created the all of the instrumentals before FL and I collaborated, which made it even more intriguing since FL wrote to the entirety of the album exactly how it is. He never asked for any of the beats to be altered. The dude is amazing. I honestly do not believe any other MC would do such a thing. It really shows how talented and skilled he is as a writer.

Anyways, I created Kevin Ware first. Once I had that instrumental, I decided I was going to create an entire album with that type of sound and texture.

Who came up with the idea for the stop-motion video?

I did (Neon brown).  My dude Deca, who has created a couple stop motion videos, influenced me. I’ve always enjoyed stop motion and felt it would be a good approach for this album, to add to its craziness.

How was the film experience?

The stop motion was excruciating. It took forever, but it was worth it. I believe I worked on it for a month straight, sometimes doing ten-hour days.

The single comes off your new album Mister Freedom – how did you guys come up with the idea for the “montage album” concept?

As I stated previously, I created the instrumentals first. The album went through many transitions. I initially thought I would create an instrumental album and that would be that. FL and I were acquaintances online. He had posted on Facebook that he needed a DJ for a gig. At this time I was living in Oakland CA, though I am originally from Denver CO.  I was visiting Denver around the time of his gig and I usually tried to pick up a show or two when I visited. So I messaged him about it. The gig didn’t work out but it sparked our friendship. He sent me his solo album Limbo, which I was very impressed with. FL is a rappers’ rapper. He can do it all and very well. I sent him my album Teenagers and he dug it. I then sent him the Mister Freedom album and broke down what I was looking for and he was with it.

What’s the story behind the name ‘Mister Freedom’?

Mister Freedom is based loosely off of photographer and director William Klein’s film Mr. Freedom.  The film is a sort of anti- imperialist satirical farce. The costumes, plot, and visualization are brilliant, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from William Klein.

I wanted to take this idea and break it down into layers. Meaning, I wanted to make a point about music, America, the psyche of America, and the individual in America. For me, music has become two-dimensional in many ways. People are following trends rather than being themselves. Mister Freedom defies this concept. We created what ever we wanted to create and never apologized for it.

In addition, the concept of freedom in America has been diluted and swallowed by the masses. We lay down on a lot of issues when we should be standing up. A good majority of the masses in America view our world in black and white. It’s not that simple. All of these underlying issues in America connect with one another and the more we realize this, I believe the more positive change we can create.

I wanted to capture the feeling of America, its psychosis, and the anxiety we all experience on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you live here you deal with it. The important thing to realize is that we all deal with it and should be together on these issues rather than against one another.

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording process was interesting to say the least. For a year I edited and changed the instrumentals from Oakland, while FL wrote to them. We sent back and forth ideas and versions of songs. After that year my girlfriend and I moved back to Denver. FL and I recorded the vocals at his home and I mixed and mastered it at mine. We never went into a fancy studio or had any outside help. We are self sustaining like a motherfucker.

What have you learned from your previous musical endeavors?

It is important to listen to the person you’re collaborating with and really try and understand where they are coming from. Whether its music or life in general, I strive to learn and educate myself in any situation I am in.  As well, I have learned little processes within my music that help me create better quality of music, whether I’m in the mixing process, mastering, or creating.

How have those experiences influenced this project in particular?

I believe FL and I learned a lot from one another. We meshed really well in the creating process. Don’t get me wrong, we had our ups and downs but in the end we created a beautiful piece of work. I have a fond respect for FL and the art he creates. 

Any plans to hit the road?

No plans as of now to hit the road. I will be doing some production shows over the next year, FL will be doing shows as well but we’re both busy creating new ventures and projects.

What else is happening next in Mister Freedom’s world?

I have the Donner Party album coming up. I’m looking to release other artist’s projects on tape and vinyl. I’m keeping steady on my podcast NPR (Neon Brown Radio) that you can find in iTunes. I have another project in the works that I’m very excited about but I’m going to keep it hushed for now. There will be more Mister Freedom albums in the near future. I’m not sure what that will entail but it will be me collaborating with other musicians. That’s the point of Mister freedom, to be free with the concept. The next album may be a boogie album, or possibly a psych rock album. Who knows?

One more thing, rest in peace to Phife Dawg. A Tribe Called Quest is one of my earliest inspirations in music. With out them Mister Freedom and Neon brown would not exist. I am very happy and thankful to have experience ATCQ and Phife’s music. Thank you Phife! RIP.

Listen here and watch here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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