Aucklanders will be familiar with Alex through Tiny Ruins, now working under the musical guise of A.C. Freazy, he has moved from behind the drum kit to the front of the stage. His EP is a fresh cut of 80’s synth pop. I managed to catch up wit him to talk more about his debut EP.
Overblown: After being in a wide range of local Auckland bands, when did you decide it was time to put music out under your own name?
A.C. Freazy: I was surrounded by a lot of peers who were making their own music, or performing comedy shows, or writing books, around my age, and I felt a bit of pressure and envy to make something that I could claim more ownership of. I’ve worked with lots of great musicians who have allowed me to contribute to their project and that I have a strong connection to, but I found the self-confidence I needed to try to do something of my own, and I had developed a strong enough idea of a direction to go in.
Overblown: Can you talk our UK readers through your musical journey so far?
A.C. Freazy: I played in a band called Artisan Guns a few years ago, and afterwards played drums in a lot of bands around Auckland, and currently play for my favourite songwriter Hollie Fullbrook in Tiny Ruins.
Overblown: From Artisan Guns to Tiny Ruins, what do your ex-bandmates think of your new sound?
A.C. Freazy: They seem to like it! They’re very supportive. Cass from Tiny Ruins plays in my live band, and the others have been to most of my shows. I would often make pre-show playlist for Tiny Ruins, or commandeer the iPod on car rides, so they had an idea of the direction I was heading in.
Overblown: How was working alone on your self-titled EP when comparing it to being part of a full band situation? Did the shackles come off slightly?
A.C. Freazy: The shackles went on, if anything! It took a lot of self-discipline and hard work. It could often drive me a bit crazy working by myself at times so it was good to have people like Shannon Fowler (who mixed the EP) to be able to share ideas with.
Overblown: Your new solo project is an 80’s inspired pop jam, that’s pretty damn infectious. Is that how you would describe it? We are even treated to a bit of Saxophone on Where Are U Now which finishes the EP delightfully in my opinion. I’m interested to find out who were you listening to when making the record and was this an EP you always wanted to make?
A.C. Freazy: I don’t think that’s too far off the mark, it’s always hard to describe your own music. I was listening to a lot of electronic, synth pop, disco, soul, and funk music from that era. I was really drawn to the synthesisers used in that music, and as a drummer I’ve always been interested in music with strong rhythmic foundations, so I think it was natural that I gravitated in that direction.
Overblown: Tell us about Creeping In and why was it the first single you released from the EP?
A.C. Freazy: When I wrote it I was thinking about the song “Dancing on my Own” by Robyn; it’s a danceable, sad, yet redemptive song. I like that a lot, I try to aim for that a lot in my music. I am a terrible judge of a good single so I usually just canvass my friends as to what their pick would be!
Overblown: In live shows, how have you found the transition from being behind the drum set to now being a frontman? I caught the video your mother put up on Facebook – it sounded tight. What was that first live gig like being front and centre?
A.C. Freazy: The drums are very easy to hide behind really, they’re a big instrument that sit at the back of the stage in a supporting role. So although I’ve played on some big stages, it was really nothing compared to having to stand up the front and sing the words I had written. I’m starting to enjoy it more now, I try to think about it like an actor playing a character.
Overblown: Your press shots are of you behind a Yamaha DX7, it’s a beautiful piece of equipment. Is this your pride and joy on the EP and in which tracks does the DX7 feature?
A.C. Freazy: There’s a smattering of DX7 on the EP, particularly the lead lines on “Love in Other Places”, and the electric piano sound on “Where Are U”. I have a love/hate relationship with the DX7, it’s all programmed via a single slider, and can be very frustrating to get it to talk to a computer, but it always has such a cool tonal character.
Overblown: What are your plans for the rest of 2017 Alex?
A.C. Freazy: I’m playing lots of shows with my band, and I’m working on some new tunes by myself and with friends to be out before the end of the year hopefully!
Overblown: Lastly, as part of our Introducing New Zealand Series, you’ll have to give us a few local bands to stick onto our playlists?
A.C. Freazy: I’ve really been enjoying music by Glass Vaults, Tei., and Queen Neptune.
Find A.C. Freazy on Facebook.