Today is all about Freddy J of Calgary Alberta. The funkin bassline of his Forest set wobbled it's way into into my eardrums via a PK soundsystem deep within the Forest. And just let me say that there is no better way to be introduced to an artist's music than this. He unfailingly brings you some of the best bassline driven electro funk every time he plays, which can be described as a mixture of electro, funky, dirty, whompy, groovy, bassy, crunky, and flat out good time having house and breaks. His mixes are guaranteed to bring anyone to their feet and you can count on it that he'll set the tone for a good time, every time.""
Q: What was your earliest musical memory? First instrument, song, influences?
A: My earliest musical memory stems back to grade 4 when we were learning the flute. I forget the song title, but its one everyone in Calgary had learned back in the day. I think I remember the first 3 notes...It was B A G. Other that that I don't have any formal music training after elementary. All my training comes from the heart and the ears. Years of listening and loving the beat. Some major influence came from my parents as they always had classic rock on. The beatles, Doors, Henreix, CCR, etc etc.One of my favourites to this day is Signs by The Five Man Electrical Band.
A: I grew up for most of my teens listening to alternative and hip hop and my later years of high school came the transition to electronic. Slowly, song by song this new music started creeping its bassy influences into my life. My cd's that I would burn to jam to would have all hip hop and one electronic song, then a few months later 5 electronic songs on the cd and so on until it was all electronic on my mix cd's. Around this time I had also heard about these all night raves and my interest became to grow until I finally went when I had just turned 18. I ended up going to my first party at Maxbell hockey arena in 2001 (Connected V3 or V5 the party was called) and from then on I fell in love. The music, the energy, and the people.
Q: What are your favourite aspects of playing live?
A: Playing live is an addiction. The energy between my self and the crowd to create a whole vibe of the party together is quite the feeling. It's quite euphoric actually. We feed off each other in a synchronistic fashion. I never know exactly what I will be playing before a show. On the fly trusting my intuition. Its a rush like none other and I love to see the crowd dance and groove together to the baselines that I drop.
Q: And what got you playing live?
A: At this point I had been partying for about 1.5 years and was in the "honeymoon" phase as some call if of partying. New, young, and excited. I was at this new years party just outside calgary and by that point I had started to really understand what the DJ was all about. Crowd interaction, djing itself, and the energy they can bring to the party. I remember the particular moment when I was in front of this speaker stack looking up at the dj saying to my self "i want to be that guy". Within a few months I had invested in a pair of numark decks from a friend of mine and started to practice. The rest is history.
Q: What's your set up like these days? home or live.
Q: Jockey's of the disc's are always being asked, "can you teach me?", "any advice to a beginner?" What do you generally say in reponse to questions like these?
A:Practice, practice, practice!!! Simple as that. I will gladly show someone the basics of Ding, but after that its it all comes down to spending time on the decks getting a feel for them and how they work. Your skills and style will develop over time and will always continue to grow and evolve throughout your DJ career. Another valuable piece of advice to give to any new or even existing DJ is learn how to read the crowd. This is probably one of the most important things a DJ can learn. Stay engaged with them and keep the flow of the rhythm the energy going. Learn how to react if all of a sudden your dance floor is gone after it was packed 1 song ago. What happened? what will bring them back and keep them back? Pay attention to the times that the crowd loses their minds, the hands go up, and the bass faces are in full effect. Keep your flow of your music moving and evolving in a progressive manner. What ever your style is, stay confident and rock it. DO WHAT YOU LOVE and always spread the POSITIVE VIBES.
Q: I'm not to familiar with the Albertan seen, be it Edmonton or Calgary. Which are some good venues to check out and who's repping the scene out there? PK Sound?
A: Over the past few years the Calgary scene has really made its mark. There has been a really solid number of promoters doing a lot of big shows and bringing in tonnes of huge acts from all over the globe. Its really hard to pin point one club or promoter since there is so many doing a really good job. Pk sound has been key in adding a lot energy to the scene. Their sound systems are seen at most big parties as well as they are the ones who do bring in a lot of the big acts we have been seeing. Some really solid venues to check out here in calgary that are my personal favourites would be the HiFi and Habitat.
Q: Whilst lurking the Sham forums I couldn't help but notice you calling Shambhala "home." How many have you been to and or played at, and what keeps you going back?
A: It is most definitely home. Its a place where I feel very grounded and content. 2010 will have marked my 7th year in attendance of the festival and I have had the fortunate ability to place twice in the Fractal Forest, once in 2008 and again this year in 2010. Hopefully I can continue rocking out there. I am now a part of the Fractal Forest production crew as I have volunteered with Rich (creator of the Fractal) for the past 2 years helping set up the show. Volunteering is quite the amazing experience at Shambhala and I highly recommend it to everyone. I would have to say it is the connection with the people there and the energy is what keeps bringing me back. Feeling that connection and oneness with everyone is something that we need more of and it brings it out in the best possible way.
Q: If you had to describe Shambhala to someone who's never been what would you say?
A: I probably wouldn't be able to truly describe Shambhala to anyone who's never been. I can try to tell them about my experiences and all the cool things one gets to see and do, but it you will never know unless you go. So if you haven't gone, you should just go. It will change your life in the best way possible.