Lippy Interviews - The Freestylers
By Niamh Ingram
In amongst the madness that is life right now, we can still fall back onto the cathartic knowledge that music isn’t going anywhere. In fact, new releases are appearing left, right and centre. One of these releases came from industry heavyweights Freestylers, a bass duo boasting 24 years of experience, who have toured and performed at the likes of Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury, Ministry of Sound and even on the quintessentially British ‘Top of the Pops’, to name a few.
Their most recent single, ‘Happiness’ - released on December 4th - is the lead from their sixth studio album, ‘Other Worlds’ set for release in March 2021. It provides all big room, festival-worthy summer vibes - and during these uncertain times, this early rave inspired anthemic track will still have you dancing round your living room. The album’s release will bring a multi-genre spectacle, a thematic feature renowned with Freestylers.
Prior to the release of Happiness, we got to chat to Aston from the duo, about the new releases before chatting about Freestylers as a whole:
First of all – how are you amongst all this covid madness and how has it changed things for you with less real-life shows?
All good thanks, hanging in there. Apart from finishing and mixing the album I’ve been able to keep myself mentally and physically busy by working on other music projects, playing golf, and my Playstation 4 has been a bit of a saviour! I’ve always wanted to learn to fly so I’ve taken that up fairly recently too which is amazing and as there’s so much to study - it certainly keeps your mind active. I’ve also done a few DJ streams and we did a full Freestylers Live performance for Glastonbury (the Lost Horizons Arena). That was some crazy virtual festival.
The new single, ‘Happiness’, has provided uplifting vibes to those who’ve heard it in your (and others’) streams – I'm sure you’re hoping that this has the same effect now it’s been officially put out there on various platforms. How good does it feel to finally have it out there now?
Ratpack and Krafty Kuts have been regularly playing it on their streams and radio shows for months on end, and every week they’d send me screenshots of messages from people that had been asking what the track was. It became a lockdown anthem, plus our Facebook and Instagram started to get loads of comments and messages about it too. When we made the song we had no idea how big it would be, but it seems to have touched a nerve in this dark and testing time with its uplifting spirit and general happy vibes. It was meant to be released a while ago but was repeatedly put back. That said, the good thing is that it hasn’t stopped people wanting to hear it - so yes, we’re pleased that it’s out now for the whole world to hear.
For someone who’s never listened to your work before – which they’re seriously missing out on by the way – how would you sum up your sound?
A schizophrenic eclectic soundscape of the last 40 years of popular music.
How important is it for you to delve into and explore a range of subgenres, and combine them into one album? Is this something that you naturally gravitate towards doing, or is it a conscious effort?
All of our albums have been multi-genre and it’s just down to the fact that both myself and Matt are influenced by so many types of music. Even our DJ sets are cross genre, especially in the early days. You can hear it on our Essential Mix and FSUK 2 mix albums so I guess it’s something we naturally gravitate towards. Although it’s pretty eclectic, we manage to blend it all together as one, so it all makes sense.
As we’re leading up to your sixth studio album release, we’ve been told that you were ‘feeling nostalgic’ throughout the creation process. What was it that inspired you to go back to your ‘roots’?
It was what made us excited about starting Freestylers at the beginning - going back to our roots and delving into a musical history inspired us to want to make music in the first place, really. I was talking to my good friend Lady Waks who happened to stay at my house a couple of years ago whilst she was DJing in London. She said how much she loved our old sound and that we should try and bring it back - purely because nobody was making it anymore. The great thing about making this album is that we weren’t under any pressure, and the fact that it didn’t have to have the most current sound I think gave it an edge.
A lot of your tracks have collaborations on, and the upcoming album is no different. What do you feel that collaboration brings to your work as a whole?
Well - I can’t sing and Matt can’t rap, so it’s always best we get some professionals in that can, haha! I thought it would be a good idea to collaborate with the Plump DJS to get the Breakbeat heads excited, as normally you don’t get the big names working together. I’m really happy that we could honour Tenor Fly as well with a track we made before he passed away. Generally we work with artists who we feel that can bring the best out of our music: their tone and style is another piece in the puzzle.
You can find The Freestylers’ Facebook here to keep up to date with them, and stream their music on all regular platforms.