Omnipresent _ Interview with Roebin de Freitas
RdF has an incredible album that snakes it’s way though dub, techno, broken beat, dubstep, breaks and IDM. It’s amazing. subsekt 012 will be a heavy shapeshifter.
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RdF is a busy man.. and very prolific in terms of releases and mixes. We reviewed his recent third album on the blog earlier in the year, which was very impressive and it’s been in the car ever since. It’s been a while coming this mix, but believe me.. its genius!!
I hear you have recently become a Father – Congratulations!! How’s that going?
Thank you. All is well. It’s a life changing event to say the least. To see your partner giving birth is an overwhelming experience. I hope to witness it again one day. Admittedly, not tomorrow. So the emphasis is on the ‘one’.
It’s probably going to be challenging to concentrate on music over the next while. Have you thought about how you are going to get the balance between reality & music? Haha
I have. I’m going to bend time itself so a day will have 31 hrs and 47mins.
7 hrs to concentrate on my music and 47mins for changing diapers.
Was that part of the reason behind releasing such a large body of work with your current album “Nobody climbs these stairs without expecting something disturbing”?
Not really, the idea for the album came before I knew I was going to become a dad. It had more to do with my lack of output during the previous period. My studio sat in boxes for 3 years because I moved house 4 times. So the urge was omnipresent to start making fresh material. And in came the flood… On the album only 2 tracks are survivors of the pre-moving-house age.
Besides that there’s this mystical thing about writing a third album. Even Inigo Kennedy devoted a title to it.
So I guess I overcompensated. Not sure if I would do it again in retrospect. Perhaps it would have been smarter to shop labels as that would benefit the exposure. But then again, I was fed up with working with labels at the time.
It’s definitely an option now with the likes of Bandcamp.. However, promoting the music probably remains the greatest challenge. What was the motivation to do the lot yourself?
A platform like Bandcamp was exactly what I needed as I really wanted more control over the entire process. No more dodgy artwork, picking the wrong tracks, writing crappy articles or press info, … I could take matters in my own hands.
Promotion has been the pit fall indeed. It consumed me at a certain point, much to my partner’s contempt. I was so glad to have sold enough copies to no longer be in the red even before my son was born. I’m really relaxed about it now.
Apart from 1 CD package getting lost in the mail, I haven’t had any issues doing everything myself. Even that one turned up again opened and drenched. The cardboard sleeve was all warped but everything was still inside, including some extra stickers. I guess the dodgy mailman or neighbour wasn’t really convinced by the music.
Did you play any dates to support it?
I have showcased my own live act for the very first time recently at a festival. That was a very interesting experience. It’s certainly something I see myself putting more energy into over this next period. I have the material for it and am tuning my performance. But it’s also a matter of getting in touch with the right people in the right place, let’s not be naïve about that. We’ll see what happens.
And what’s the live show like?
The live show is all original music using gear, laptop and a mic. It’s got nothing to do with my DJ’ing, although I incorporate a lot of my music in my DJ sets. In my dj sets the music is played ‘as is’. During the live show I strip the music into parts, and play improvised parts, …
I heard you saying that you had come into contact with a lot of the artists who provided the remixes that accompanied the album and that’s why you asked them to get involved, but I also liked the idea of the remixes almost built a network of people around the music. I thought this was potentially a great piece of marketing; was that part of the logic?
Not at all, although I see what you mean. It could potentially be a marketing tool. I guess picking key players to remix tracks has been a marketing tool from day one. But in this case, it wasn’t the aim at all. It’s a manifestation of the network I have, I will give you that. But most of all, I wanted to work with people I know personally and that I respect for various reasons and at various degrees. I’m really about the personal approach in that sense.
So this is your third album. How does it differ from your previous ones?
My first album was pretty conceptual. It was my attempt to pull Saint-Saëns ‘Le Carnival des Animaux’ into the electronic world of Autechre. You can still download it for free and judge for yourself if my attempt was a success. I was into glitchy stuff at that time, as my second album proves. It’s still techno though, but my pencil case mostly carries gray scale, to be honest.
All these influences seem to be more embedded then before. Perhaps that’s not clear to someone discovering my music, but it’s certainly the way I feel it. But isn’t that how musicians or artists always see their efforts? Isn’t a finished piece not always a culmination of influences and new techniques that just precedes the next culmination?