Gotta hand it to Hoodie, this interview exists basically because of him.
Throughout the course of this month, I had a hard time finding something that really “clicked”. You know the feeling, right? The feeling you get when you’ve listened to a ton of music but upon further self-revision of your collection (regardless of how big it is), you start to feel uninterested.
Don’t get me wrong, I can never get tired of listening to some specific albums, especially the ones I’ve had the opportunity to review. But there comes a time in everyone’s life in which one must experience something new, fresh, and refined. Thankfully, despite my troubles in unfolding something to write about, Freezedream fills the void with a calm, sophisticated collection of elaborate yet tasteful tracks under his new album release via Perelandra Records, ‘Departure’.
Upon hearing all six tracks, I felt I should contact the artist for further understanding of what made him take on this task. This is what resulted.
DjjD: Well, first off, I just want to take a moment and thank you for taking some time to answer some questions.
I understand you’ve been in the chiptune/tracker scene for some time now. How did you come up with the name, Freezedream?
freezedream: I’ve been releasing music on the internet and giving CDs to my friends since around 1999. When I first started making music on the computer I was creating .mod files on an Amiga and I used the name Wonky Mods (written as \/\/onky /\/\ods) because the first music I made was not very good and a bit “wonky”. To be honest there’s no real story behind the name freezedream. As far as I can remember I just wanted a new name after I started using Fasttracker II on the PC and thought up something that sounded cool and had the same feeling I wanted to impart through my music – ideas of dreaming, escaping reality and using your imagination.
DjjD: I see that you’ve also created music with various trackers throughout the years but this album was made with Renoise, a popular digital audio workstation that has its roots in tracking. What did you find to be the best part of Renoise and why did you choose to use it for this project?
freezedream: Well, for pretty much all my non-chipmusic work I am now solely using Renoise. I was still using Jeskola Buzz up until a couple of years ago, before it was being updated again, but it was buggy and I wanted to get back to a more pure tracker interface. Since I’ve been using trackers for years, I find it the easiest and most creative way to make music right now. It’s true that Renoise is popular and I think it’s because it’s so powerful – you really can do absolutely anything with it. In particular it has great native DSPs for affecting sounds and a nice way to shape the volume, pitch and filter envelopes of samples, so it was perfect for this project.
DjjD: When developing a tune with just single sound sources like recording a 56k dialup modem or using a kick drum sample, did you find manipulating the sounds to be more challenging or easier than just manipulating sounds in a VST?
freezedream: I found it a lot more intuitive to approach a raw sound and sculpt it into something more complex and interesting, and really enjoyed working with only samples for this EP. I do usually use VSTs but I’m not really much of an expert and don’t often fully explore every feature of soft synths. I think I prefer a simpler approach with less parameters to tweak; a more limited set of options but getting as much as possible out of the simple source material.
DjjD: Man, I gotta say, “Graffiti in Chernobyl” is such a calm track and sine waves have always been my favorites in terms of how calm of a mood they can create. Was there any outside inspiration for that track?
freezedream: Thanks! Yeah I love using sinewaves – the purest tone. For that track I was inspired by an interview with the Mexican photographer Jan Smith where he was talking about his experiences capturing images of the city of Chernobyl in Ukraine. The city has been abandoned since the nuclear disaster in 1986 but artists have recently begun painting graffiti of people and children, characters and silhouettes within the city. It’s like a melancholy shadow of the people, families and children who used to live there.
DjjD: We all have our bumps in the road when it comes to sticking with an idea, let alone developing a 6 track EP. What (if any) hardships or misfortune did you encounter when writing during this 7 month….departure?
freezedream: Well for me and I know it’s the same for a lot of digital composers, it’s fairly easy to create the first minute or so of a track. The first ideas just flow and I’d be left with a loop of maybe 20 to 30 seconds. After that I would create a bit of a sequence out of the loop and have the beginnings of a track. Then creative block usually sets in and I don’t know where to take it from there. At that point I usually start on something new and after a few weeks of listening to the one minute track I might have some fresh inspiration and be able to add something new or finish it off. Often by the end I have to struggle to finish everything off, though and make myself put the finishing touches on everything to make it complete.
DjjD: A bit of a side question, not pertaining to the album…what has been your favorite piece of audio you’ve ever created?
freezedream: That’s a tough one since I’m happy with most of my released work. I usually have drums in my music but I was very happy with the result of the two ambient pieces from my album Linker, where I purposely excluded drums: Volans Part II – In Dreams and Electronic Butterflies. I’d like to try to create more ambient music like this in the future.
DjjD: Are there any new projects that you’re currently working on?
freezedream: There always is, but who knows if and when they’ll be completed and released. I’ll keep you posted! ;)
Who knew such recordings could be so peaceful? From the first track alone the serene atmosphere will move you into a heightened state of nirvana and leave you questioning your humanity halfway through the progression. As stated in the interview, my favorite track is “Graffiti In Chernobyl”. Now let me tell you why: those simple sine waves can really change a person’s emotional condition and it makes you really wonder how even the slightest change in any sound ever created can ultimately make something as ethereal as what Freezedream has created.
It’s been tough the past few weeks packing for a trip to Alaska, however, no matter what I was doing, I could always turn on this album and feel relieved; content to proceed with my task at hand. General frustration and anxiety mixed with stressful deadlines and multiple tasks? None of that mattered with this album playing. I could not have imagined a better time for me to listen to this and certainly couldn’t have predicted how perfect the album name/artist name combination works.
If you haven’t figured this out already, this album is phenomenal and if you’re anything like me – being the person who missed out on this artist, until someone came to me recommending it – then you should most definitely give this a shot. It’s relaxing, deep, sometimes unpredictable, but above all a major accomplishment by an artist who took a ‘Departure‘ from his normal style and made something incredible outside his comfort zone.
Oh right! I forgot: last question I asked:
DjjD: If you could describe yourself as a food, what food would it be and why?
freezedream: A food?! Are you serious?
Thanks for reading!