SCV Interview With Free The Robots
We are very proud to present an exclusive interview with electronic beat producer Free The Robots. Free The Robots released a full length last year titled “Clt Alt Delete” on Alpha Pup Records that was highly praised and for good reason. Free The Robots makes music and co-runs a restaurant called The Crosby in Santa Ana, CA. Heavily infused with the Brainfeeder, Low End Theory, My Hollow Drum and Alpha Pup world, he has really done some incredible things with the electronic new age presence and innovation over the last 7 years or so. I remember hearing the Free The Robots EP when it came out and I knew right away that I really enjoyed the kind of sound he crafts. Free The Robots is one of my favorite beat producers and it brings us great joy to bring you this interview with him. ~ Erik Otis
What is the inspiration for the name you go by musically, Free The Robots?
The accessibility of building a home studio was very liberating. No longer was I confined to limitations with time, direction, or whatever it took to create. Going solo was the ultimate freedom for me. The name just made sense with my approach on music, the rise of independence, and every aspect of my life.
When did you start collecting music and really dive into the many genres you put into the sets and records you create?
I started DJing when i was 14 and got really into the short lived local battle scene in the 90′s. Before that I had already been collecting records just because. I was deep into Hip Hop, but Jazz, psych, cocktail lounge music, soundtracks, library music all the good stuff you can find in second hand record shops is what really opened me up to different sounds. It inspired me to start learning more traditional instruments and eventually evolved into what I do today. Now i apply all my interests and energy into Free the Robots.
You opened up a night club and restaurant called The Crosby in Santa Ana, California, what made you decide to start such a venture?
I was working at a local art gallery with my friend Phil. We were both fed up with our work situation, and one day we just said… “lets do our own thing.” We kept a document of our ideas daily and some how everything fell into place… the ideas, the chef, the location, and everyone around us who were down to help. It just felt right to make the move, and here we are three years later, still doing it and pushing for the next.
Ikey Owens mentioned you two had talked about recording an album together, when will this occur and if it has already is it planned for a release?
We have been working on it, and have some great starts, but tours started for the both of us. We had to put it on hold for now, but will get back to record mode very soon.
What other artists are you collaborating with right now?
I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with a hard Psychedelic/Blues band called Feeding People on their album. The singer, Jessie, is actually singing on some new FTR material. I also just finished an EP split with Exile which released on All City (Los Angeles 10″ series). Theirs also a split I plan on doing with my friend Phil (guy who plays with me as FTR sometimes). Plans to work on some classic Hip Hop with Rhettmatic. I’ve been doing stuff with MC’s like Nocando, Busdriver, Machina Muerte, and such. I’m just trying to keep my self interested, exploring different sounds.
Having shared the stage with many of the contemporary heavy hitters in todays beat producer generation, what are your most memorable experiences touring and in the studio?
Tour is a really a huge blur. I see some crazy shit, move on, to see some crazy shit the next day, and move on. It’s interesting to get a taste of how other people live around the world. And the food is great; always getting on those signature dishes. As for studio, working with Ikey was pretty amazing and inspiring. How he works is very impulsive, in the moment. He knocked out his part on ‘the Eye’ in two tries after hearing it only once.
Where were you at in your life when you started to really focus on your own music and dj sets and decide to approach it as a career?
It all kind of happened organically. I never expected it would turn into something I could do for a living. After my first release, the Prototype, in 2004, I noticed international recognition. Which was a trip coming from being a bed room producer. When i dropped the EP the following year is when it really went down. I put it up on iTunes with no expectation, no press kit, and no label help. It climbed the Electronic charts and found it self in the top 10, and pretty much stayed in and out of the 10 for months. That’s when I knew what was possible. Kind of a miracle to me..
This beat producer world is expanding rapidly, there are many who are pushing the perceived limitations such as Dorian Concept, Flying Lotus and many more, what artists do you see at the apex of this evolution in sound?
Everyone. The original artists in the game are constantly evolving, and newer artists have joined to do the same. It’s great to see everyone pushing each other. No names to drop, but this world is like a constantly progressing circle of inspiration.
You released a full length last year, Ctrl Alt Delete that I am really enjoying, was that record conceived all in the same sessions or was it scattered through out your time opening up the Crosby and doing various gigs in the States and around the world?
Definitely scattered. Playing spot dates..flying back to work construction, then back on the road… handling back end FTR stuff, all while trying to stay creative. The recording process of Ctrl Alt Delete was the most stressful time in my life. I was in a strange state while making the album, and it tells the story.
Did you have an over all concept for Control Alt Delete or was it a more free flowing connection of different ideas all under one roof?
Under the circumstances of my recording process it had to be free flowing with every different track, which is why the tracks are so long. I tried to get the most out of every feeling on each track.
Do you utilize any analog gear for your recordings and if so what kind?
When it needs it yes. Different synthesizers like the Juno-6, R3 and keys like the Fender Rhodes have been used.
You recently did some touring in Japan, how different was it out there and what kind of fan base do you and the rest of the Low End Theory/Brainfeeder/Alpha Pup collective have out there?
The vibe and energy was quite comparable to LA. Good vibes and hype as fuck. Much love and deepest thoughts to my people in Japan.
When can we expect the next release and what other plans do you have for the future that you would like to share with us?
Aside from some collabs and EP’s, expect another full length in 2011 for sure. After this past tour, I’m hungrier than ever. Very inspired.
Thanks for your time.
Exile / Free The Robots – Los Angeles 10/10 – All City Dublin – Vinyl
1. Exile – Distopian Utopia
2. Exile – PCP Laced Beedies
3. Exile – Love for Sell / Bots have feelings
4. Exile – Dawn of the Nothing
5. Free the Robots – Young And Yet Too Old
6. Free the Robots – Destroy
7. Free the Robots – With The Drum