Freddy Todd is unlike most producers. He’s not bothered about fitting into a genre or creating a sound that sticks to norms. Instead, Freddy Todd creates tumultuous yet flavorful, exploratory music that defies any sort of preconceived notions you may have about the bass brand. After releasing his latest masterpiece, Fredcrumbs EP, we were lucky enough to be able to chat with the producer about his new project, the legendary Pipus, psychedelic influences, B2Bs & a whole lot more. Enjoy!
Ryan Newman, Electric Hawk: Thank you so much again for doing this man. I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to chat with you!
Freddy Todd: Heck yeah! Love you guys.
RN: Can you first just tell us a little bit about the new EP? Where does the whole Breadcrumbs name come from and infatuation with bread stem from?
FT: The original title, Breadcrumbs, derived from a place of depression but hope. It’s been a tough past year for me for a number of personal reasons and the idea of bread crumbs here and there keep you going, really kept me going – a positive reminder here or there, or a good omen. What really inspired the EP was having a transformational time at Wakaan Fest on Mulberry Mountain this past summer. I came home and wrote the EP within one week. I originally titled it Breadcrumbs but my agent Tynan actually came up with the idea Fredcrumbs, and being a fan of puns, I immediately fell in love with it, not to mention making it a completely unique name.
After I settled on the breadcrumb/ Fredcrumbs idea for the EP name, I started to connect a few more dots. A main theme for the album is psychedelia, being inherent in the visual art, the audio itself, and inspiration roots derived from an underground psychedelic camping music festival. So that being said, I started to connect more bread-dots and remembered learning about how it was extremely plausible to correlate the Salem Witch Trials aka an entire town having hallucinations, with an ergot infestation in the towns bread supply. Aka LSD. This whole town was quite possibly tripping balls and woke up the next day (or week?) with… you’re gonna have to google it. What the fuck. Anyway. Psychedelic bread. And infatuation with bread. I just love bread!! Who doesn’t?
RN: So I gotta ask as a bread enthusiast myself, what’s your favorite type of bread?
FT: Pretty much addicted to the sourdough.
RN: I would love to pay my respects and honor Pipus’ life with you. He is such an important influence and aspect to the crew’s music and further than that a truly inspiring person. Do you have any funny stories to share with us? And, how do you guys continue to honor his legacy?
FT: Pipus taught us to be fearless with our art and to strive for beauty. We’re continuing to honor his legacy by doing just that, I’ve been doing some personal vocal work lately inspired by him, I’m working with his brother Nat Nat The Sage solo and in a new band BLAAP with me and Of The Trees and him. Nat Nat is also a rapper. We want to release a Pipus album eventually. And we’re continuing to work with his creative partner Kendra Uncut on a number of projects.
RN: What drew you into producing and made you realize ‘Hey I could actually make a career out of this’?
FT: I suppose just going to concerts and getting inspired as a teenager – and then realizing I was a decent enough musician to do the thing – and then getting more gigs I had to fly to than actual day job shifts, so I quit. Haven’t had a day job in nearly 10 years!
RN: You incorporate some of the craziest sounds I’ve ever heard into your music, in a genre that many argue can sound repetitive, where do you draw your inspiration from? What would you say is the weirdest sound you drew inspiration from to think outside of the box?
FT: Really just listening to new music, but it’s also a balance because I don’t stay on top of the contemporary edm or even my underground peers as much as I should but I think that’s a good thing helping me stay slightly more distinct or different. I have Tidal which I love, I can download offline Master HQ quality versions of stuff and have been trying to dig into stuff I haven’t heard for inspiration. Big on this Netherlands drum and bass stuff that is in the Noisia realm these days: Posij, Mefjus, etc.
Some other stuff downloaded in my Tidal library right now are way more chill and less EDM, revisiting Board of Canada (huge inspiration for me a decade+ ago), Tame Impala, Channel Tres, Venetian Snares, Stereolab, Chon, Sun Ra, maxime., Kiefer – a ton of rap – Lil Uzi, Good Gas & Fki 1st, Gunna, Young Thug, Kash Doll, Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby – some of the contemporary more EDM stuff I have saved include Tynan, Space Laces, G Jones, Of The Trees, J-E-T-S. Weirdest sound for inspiration probably birds lately or the sound of something in the house rattling because bass.
RN: I read in an interview about how classic rock played such a big role in your love for music. Personally I live for the 60-70s psych rock sound. Artists such as Hendrix, The Byrds, Clapton, The Doors, The Stones, The Beatles have played such a crucial role in my love for music. I wanted to hear some of your favorite classics who had a profound effect on you? Favorite album from that time period?
FT: Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced? is def a fav. My dad just got a fresh copy of that on vinyl for Christmas. You named a handful of them but I’ll go from there, Jimi, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Doors, The Who, Aerosmith, Queen, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, YES, Rush, Grateful Dead I got into a little later more in my festy years.
RN: Part of your experimental brilliance seems to stem from your use of equipment outside of the software most producers use on their laptops. Can you talk about some of the tools you use to create such forward thinking sounds?
FT: Pretty sure I used only software for Fredcrumbs EP BUT I’ve used hardware before that and for even newer stuff past this EP – namely my Moog Slim Phatty that I’ve been recording and resampling for things like bass design. Come to think of it I may have used my Korg Minilogue possibly for some melodic stuff on Fredcrumbs. Other than that I don’t have as much outboard gear as I’d like.. would love to get my hands on an analog mastering compressor/ limiter like a Neve and I’d love to get my own analog modular synth system going.
RN: Managing your mental health is so crucial in a world that is always plugged in. As a society, we continue to grow more accepting of mental healthcare and I love for artists to share their experiences to normalize what others may be going through. People need to understand that artists are humans too. What are some of the ways you practice self care and stepping away from the limelight?
FT: Haha I’m addicted to Epsom salt baths this winter. Dim lights, lavender oil, and primordial hot wet is the only way for me right now, not to mention I have lower back issues with scoliosis so that really helps ease. But yeah. I don’t know. The only other thing helpful with mental health in my opinion right now for me at least is exercise, or sweating through yoga or a bath or schvitzing in a steam room. I’ve been getting back into yoga and it’s really game changing how you feel afterwards.
RN: What are some techniques or advice you have for upcoming producers who are struggling to get over the hump?
FT: Dang it’s such a weird world I have no idea. I put my music online without expectations and people started liking it and eventually booking me. There’s no advice in there other than maybe actually a huge piece of advice which is to not have any expectations. That way if something cool does happen, DOPE!! However, if you don’t headline Coachella, then great because you weren’t expecting to. Not saying to not reach for the stars, but to just go with the flow and have fun. If you’re doing that, you will attract just that. And if your musics dope, and you’re dope, people will recognize. If you want to network, which you’ll need to, and run a business, definitely don’t be a dick head.
RN: Who are some producers that may not be on our radar but you expect to make a major splash in 2020?
FT: They probably are on your radar but Black Carl! & VCTRE aka Integrate out of Birmingham, AL I could see splashing more than they have been! Some other names are my boy Dynja (Detroit), Flintwick, my boy DREWMIN (Oakland), our guy Nat Nat, and my dude Cut Rugs. There’s definitely a lot more my brain is not working.
RN: Just recently announced that you and Space Jesus will be blessing Backwoods with a Guccimen set, can we expect some new Guccimen music?
FT: We’re currently trying to swirl together a plan to get together on the physical plane to write our 3rd new track, rounding out a new 3 track EP (we already have two new songs written). So as soon as that 3rd track gets written we will be planning a release and probable shows. Definitely expect to hear those two new tracks at Backwoods!
RN: To follow up that last question, can you tell us a little more about BLAAP, the collab project with Of The Trees & Nat Nat?
FT: Awww yeahhhh. We just kind of naturally formed in the crust of an enlarged underground jellyfish. . It was quick, but painless. You could tell all the fellas were smiling when the primordial ooze washed off of us during the birth of our trio, forming the greatest band to ever breathe weed, both old and new. Kendra Uncut was there and is technically our fourth member, our executive producer, and camera man.
RN: Going off of all that, B2Bs are continuing to become overwhelmingly popular over the past few years, I would love to hear your thoughts around this. Do you enjoy playing B2Bs? If so, favorite producer to go B2B with? And do you miss the exclusivity that they once held?
FT: I love b2bs! They’re super fun and on the fly and always different unless you’re in like a group with someone and kind of develop a routine of what mixes best. But usually they’re pretty random and thus extremely on the fly. B2Bs with Space J and Liquid Stranger are always super fun, Martin (Liquid Stranger) taught me how to use the CDJs when he brought me on tour a few years ago, I’m eternally grateful to him for that.
But yeah no real favorites, if you know how to use them/DJ and I like your music, we’re gonna have fun! Some top fun fellas I’ve b2b’d with off the top of my head beyond the ones I’ve already mentioned are Griz, Mr. Bill, Ganja White Night, Boogie T, Sub Docta, kLL sMTH, Mystic Grizzly. I don’t miss the exclusivity they once held because they’re still pretty exclusive and also I didn’t know how to CDJ and thus practically b2b back then, so I’m just joining the fun, even though there is definitely a saturation of them. Many many moons ago I used to b2b ableton style with people like Griz in our past group Splatterbox, or my homie Elfkowitz who goes by Ludlow now, but these days CDJ b2b is the only way for me.
RN: If you were to check your recently played on Spotify right now, what would the last 5 albums you listened to be?
FT: I use Tidal not Spotify but lemme see if I can check! Dang looks like they don’t have that feature yet but off the top of my head I’m gonna say I’m too ADD to even replay stuff. If I revisit it’s because it’s good background music to zone out to in an airport or sleep to on a plane. Like I said I’ve been revisiting Boards of Canada, and one of my all time recent favorites right now has gotta be Aphex Twin’s Cheetah EP.
I suppose if I really go big brain hours I can recall what albums we listened to on the drive to one of my recent past shows from Detroit to Indianapolis, some classics in here:
1. Boards of Canada – Music Has The Right To Children
2. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
3. Ravi Shankar – Improvisations & theme from Pather Panchali
4. Stereo Lab – Emperor Tomato Ketchup
5. Of The Trees – Tanglewood
RN: Where do you realistically see yourself in 5 years and where do you see the future of the bass scene heading towards?
FT: Hopefully in a cryogenic chamber deep within the earths crust at this rate, yeah that would be nice for me.
RN: Lastly, what’s next for Freddy Todd this year? I know you mentioned you may have an album in the works…
FT: Yes more music!! Already working on the next piece of work which is turning into more of an album… envisioning 6-10 tracks on this next one. It will be effectively titled “UPWARD SPIRAL” – other than that we’re planning on releasing a BLAAP EP, Nat Nat singles/EP produced by my self, new Guccimen EP (me and Space Jesus), and a hip hop EP I produced for my rapper friend NOTE called Uneaux Momenteaux which will also be available on my second vinyl release ever, this spring. One of those songs can be found on my older Moonflavours album on bandcamp and another one “The InspEYErator” was teased on the Wakaan compilation “Meanwhile…” Hyped for the future!! So much new music and about to write so much more the next few months before I pick up touring again after a busy season the past few months. 🙂
Thanks again to Freddy Todd for taking the time to chat with us! Stream the new EP from Freddy Todd below and make sure to be on the lookout for new music coming soon. 2020 is going to be a GIGANTIC year for Freddy Todd.
Keep up with Freddy Todd
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