The Freestylers Interview: We've survived this long through counselling!

Freestylers Interview ahead of them rocking Subssound in Liverpool Saturday 18th May.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 13th May 2013.
Originally published: 9th May 2013

There’s not many artists who’ve managed to stay relevant for two decades by staying true to their original musical ethos without slavering to trends. In a scene dominated by cyclical fashions and a readiness to adopt whatever is en vogue at the time, the Freestylers make for a refreshing antidote to those desperate to appear cool for the sake of it.

Part of the reason that’s been possible is the musical diet the duo have been fed on has been so disparate and exciting. As totem holders for breakbeat based music they’ve done so by looking at all the tempos and variations the music has had to offer, going for wildly oscillating soundscapes that just as equally bust out reggae and dub. Ahead of the titans destroying Subsound in Liverpool on Saturday 18th May we caught up with original member Aston Harvey to find out the key to their success.

Hi Aston; thanks for speaking to us, for those who might not have heard of the Freestyler’s before, could you describe who you are and what you are about?

Freestylers is myself Aston Harvey, Matt Cantor and we’ve added a new member Chris Bishop. We make good time party Bass Music by drawing on elements from Breakbeat and Drum and Bass and fusing it with our eclectic taste for Old School Hip Hop, Dub Reggae, House, Soul and Funk. I guess it’s a real mixed bag.

We’ve seen you’re playing at SubSound in a few weeks. What is your relationship with the city of Liverpool like and are you looking forward to the show?

We’ve played up in Liverpool quite a few times over the years.  When we first started off we used to play at the now legendary Cream, which used to be amazing.  We’ve not played up there for a few years now though, so very much looking forward to this one.

You’ll also be previewing tracks from your new album.  Can you let us know a little about the recording process for it and what music is on there? Is it steeped in the classic freestylers sound or have you made a musical departure at all?

We always start off with just trying to get a groove going in the studio. It can come from a sample or just by a crazy noise that we’ve found with a Synth. Once we’re happy with the basics of the track we’ll then send it off to various singers or rappers depending what style the backing track is. It’s a bit like baking a cake.  

Then when we get the vocals that we like, we fill in the gaps and add the icing.  The Album is very eclectic and not so Breakbeat driven, but it definitely sounds like us. We’ve worked with a lot of new vocalists on the album and that has lead us down different directions in some cases but as Music Producers we feel it’s important to try and experiment away from your comfort zone. 

New track ‘The Coming Storm’ is out now, which has already seen a lot of support. Have you got any other plans musically?

The plan is to release the Album in June and tour as much as possible whether Djing or with the full Live Band.

The video for the track is a bit on the scary side! How much of an input did you guys have with it?

Not too much. Although Matt said we should make it simple like the Blair Witch Project, so when we got the treatment back from the Video director it kinda fitted that description.  When you make a Video it’s always a bit weird as you have to imagine what it’s going to look like from the description of the storyboard that’s written.

It would be interesting to sell your music that way.  You describe the tune you’re gonna make and it sounds amazing.  You then sell the concept to a record label for shit loads of money and when they hear it, it could be the biggest pile of shit going. Ha! I do feel making a music video is a bit like this process sometimes.  The video for ‘The Coming Storm’ has evoked some great emotions, so the job was done well.

How have you managed to maintain a fruitful working relationship over the years still?

Through counselling!! Haha. We still have the same ambitions and goals that we want to achieve, that we feel we’ve not reached so this is still driving us on.

Festival and Ibiza season is now upon us.  Where can we see you playing for these and are you looking forward to these events more than your club dates?

You can check our Facebook or Website for dates. We love playing and rocking crowds, where ever really.

And finally, what else lies in the future for the Freestylers?

Well with the Album coming out I guess for the next year we’ll be promoting that, so planning tours etc. Got a few Remixes on the go as well. Might even start up a new musical project. Maybe a sixth Album, who knows… just be prepared for ‘The Coming Storm’.


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