Photo: Michelle Shiers
Freedom Fry On 'Classic,' Britney Spears, "Grey's Anatomy" & More
How do you make an instant classic? Well, there's always the literal approach, as was the case with Los Angeles indie-pop duo Freedom Fry. Their debut album, Classic, strives to live up to its title not only in capturing the quality of timelessness, but also in tapping into sentiments and style that exude something fresh yet familiar, something lasting.
With an impressive roster of EPs and singles to their name dating back to 2012, the fun is just beginning for Marie Seyrat and Bruce Driscoll — the team behind Freedom Fry. We caught up with the pair of musicians at our headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to discuss the classic sound of Classic, their brush with pop culture powerhouses Britney Spears and "Grey's Anatomy," how they would executive produce the perfect film, and more.
Congratulations on Classic, just out, still hot off the presses. Considering how many EPs and singles you've released, how does it feel to have a full-length project out in the world?
Seyrat: It's been a long process to make, much longer than an EP first of all, so we actually really put everything we had in this so it feels so good to put it out. It was stressful but really, really good.
Driscoll: Yeah, it feels like we've given birth to a 12-headed musical baby called "Classic" [laughs].
I've read that you named the album Classic because you like to take influences from the past, like '70s music, and filter it through the lens of the future. So how does approaching music in this way enrich the process of creating for you?
Driscoll: For us, it's to listen back on it ourselves in 10 years and maybe not be like, "Oh, why did we use that keyboard?" Or "Why did we do this?" We wanted a record that would hold up even just for us because we're our first audience and [we're] writing songs that we would listen to first and foremost. [That] gave us a nice guideline. Let's stick to traditional instrumentation and string arrangements and things like that, and I mean, who knows what it will sound like in 10 years to us but ... that is what we were going for.
Is there a particular track off the album that you're really attached to at the moment? If so, break it down for us. How did it come about?
Seyrat: There are many, but I would say "Classic" [the album's lead-off title track] because when we play it [live], we actually always put a cherry on the top and bring Mariachi so it makes it extra special to play this song. … Also we've had a lot of people collaborate [with us on] this specific song, so it makes it very special to us, having other people bring their own signature. We trusted them. We didn't tell them what to do, they just freely created and added to our creation. So it has something special.
Driscoll: It's like that children's book, I always think of Stone Soup, when the guy has a stone and he's asking people to bring ingredients to the stone soup, and then it ends up being this really wonderful soup but he had nothing to do with it. It was just a stone. I feel like we wrote this little song and then had people keep building it up and now when we listen to it, it's almost like we're listening to another band because there's so many other people involved.
Also, you worked with actress Emma Kenney on a super cool album trailer. How did that collaboration come about?
Seyrat: We were thinking of a way to present the album. We're an indie band. It's actually difficult to make a difference and ... we wanted people of course to hear all of the songs we've put out there 'cause we don't like to write one song, one single way. We actually really put a lot of time and effort in each of them. So we wanted to present it to the public as well as we could and we were thinking about someone who could represent it and ... I think a manager got in touch with a few people we had enlisted and she was on the top of the list actually. … She has that, even though she's American, she does have also that European style. She could be British.
Driscoll: Yeah, she's kind of a bit rebellious too. Even her character she plays both on "Shameless" and "Roseanne." There's a rebel thing about her that we liked, [that] fit with us, our vibe. She's actually so cool. The nicest person ever.
Going back a little bit, in 2015 you covered Britney Spears' classic, "Oops, I Did It Again," and of course that made its way onto "Grey's Anatomy." What was it like to have your music placed in that kind of arena and what made you chose that song in particular?
Driscoll: So sometimes we'll just get these emails in our inbox like looking for '90s covers or looking for this and we try to never say no to any of it even if we're crunched for time. … Let's just do it 'cause you never know and that was one of those times where we ended up just kicking out four different covers around that time. One of them was that cover. Another one was 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins and there are a few others.
That one ended up getting picked for the show and we're like, "Really, that one? That's amazing." We were super happy about it and I think we both [at] different times in our lives have watched that show. Watching it on TV was a really trippy experience. But then the other cover that we ended up doing ended up doing really well on Spotify. So it's funny. That's part of our mantra. It's just never saying no to those kinds of opportunities and that worked out really well in that situation.
You seem to have a sensibility for films, so if you could put together your dream film what would it look like? What would the storyline be? Who would you choose as actors? Tell us the whole story.
Seyrat: So, John Williams music.
Driscoll: Yeah, we're big film score fans.
Seyrat: To touch the hearts of the fans. Who [else] do we want?
Driscoll: Quentin Tarantino directing, because I just want to see a Quentin Tarantino movie that John Williams with score. That would be really weird. But we like really the '70s kind of aesthetic, grainy film and all kinds of retro throwback things. I guess you could get that in our album, too, that we're fond of that stuff. Who's starring in it?
Seyrat: Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Driscoll: Oh cool, wow, it's gonna be dark.
Seyrat: Who else?
Driscoll: Bradley Cooper? I don't know, we should stick him in there. I feel like he's getting good movies. … Something like that, it'd be a weird movie.
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