In February of 2015, Freedom Fry started the year at #1 on The Hype Machine with their first in a series of new singles, “Shaky Ground (Hey Na Na Na).” Spotify included them in their rankings of “100 Emerging Artists From SXSW,” and in the Spring they toured the west coast with Belgian sensation Stromae, all followed up with a Los Angeles residency during the month of May.
The French/American duo, whose stage name is a satire on US & French relations during the Iraq war, have been self-producing and releasing music since 2011 when they first met on the set of a music video. Their home base, Los Angeles, and all the warmth and sunshine of California tends to heavily bleed into their sound, which skirts the lines between pop, folk and indie-rock, always blended with danceable rhythms and a sing-a-long chorus.
Since their 2011 debut EP, Let The Games Begin, they’ve appeared on The Hype Machine over 40 times and amassed over 2 million plays on SoundCloud. In the Summer of 2014 they released their latest EP, The Wilder Mile, which included the title track – an indie folk duet with an infectious stomp beat, sing-a-long chorus, handclaps, and a whistle refrain. Perez Hilton posted about the song twice and said, “Say hello to Franco-American duo Freedom Fry. Their song ‘The Wilder Mile’ is such a happy and clap-along song! Check out the infectious good times!”
At the end of 2014 Freedom Fry released Fan Club: The Singles, a 12” limited edition vinyl of all of their singles from past till present, and recently celebrated it with a Record Store Day in-store performance at Fingerprints in Long Beach, CA.
The band’s most recent releases, singles “21,” “Yeah You” and “Break Into A Musical,” are now listenable on SoundCloud, with more new music to come. Freedom Fry are out to make music that makes you feel young and alive.
Lucky 13 with Freedom Fry’s Marie Seyrat & Bruce Driscoll
NMG: What are your musical influences?
Bruce: I always gravitated towards melodic guitar bands from every era that managed to walk the line between blissful and melancholy. Songs with memorable guitar and bass melodies that live around the vocal and don’t step on it. The Smiths did that really well. So did The Beatles and Michael Jackson. I always really liked classical music and film scores as well. It’s rare that I get to work with orchestral instruments, so even now it’s really nice to get lost in those sounds and moods. Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Debussy. You can’t top those melodies. Songs that are produced a little rough around the edges always seemed to appeal more to me than the ones with the slick sheen.
Marie: While growing up my dad was listening to a lot of American classic rock like The Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, Dire Straits, Queen, and Phil Collins. Even though at the time it didn’t seem to touch me that much as it was my dad’s music, I definitely ended up loving all of those when I got more mature and developed a taste for 70’s music. I really love the instrumentation of the era and the gritty sound, the drums etc. I think that’s also why I love bands like Air or Tame Impala today. It definitely reminds me of that time period. More recently I’ve also rediscovered Serge Gainsbourg and bought a few vinyls that I can’t get enough of. Other than that I’ve been a huge fan of Zero 7 and Sia for the past 10 years or so. I have a certain taste for dramatic chords that can be very out there or dark. So Bruce has helped me understand and get into more pop sounds. When we write together we try to respect and incorporate both of our backgrounds.
NMG: What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
Bruce: Make sure you know getting into it that making headway in the Indie or Pop music world usually takes longer than it seems. By the time you’ve heard of a band they’ve probably already been slogging it out for years.
Marie: I would second that! It’s not a career where great songs are becoming hits instantly. Some of the songs on the radio took years before finally making it through and other great ones might never make it there.
NMG: If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose this career? Would you do anything differently?
Bruce: I sometimes wish there were clones of me so I could even have time to try out different careers or directions with my life. This version of me is fully on the music path. I wouldn’t change it for the world though. I love it.
Marie: For me it’s been different as I didn’t start as a musician. I’ve been through the classic route. I went to business school then ended up working PR in fashion. After that I moved to LA and created a company with my sister in which I was a stylist, and that’s how I met Bruce. I was styling a music video. So to me, it definitely feels like destiny brought me where I am. I had a job interview right before I moved to LA and got the job. It was a great opportunity to work PR at an agency. Still I decided to leave anyway and not to take the job. So I never felt like I didn’t have a choice. I always ended up following my instincts and thinking about how I would feel a few years from now if I didn’t try things out. I chose this path to actually avoid further regrets. So me neither, I wouldn’t do anything differently.
NMG: As artists, how would you define SUCCESS?
Bruce: Success in a band is paying your rent and buying groceries with money you made from your music. Anything beyond that is the dream. A lot of times we don’t see our success as it’s happening. We still feel like we’re pushing uphill with all our might. Only when we look back and see where we started out and where we are now do we see the change.
Marie: I would also agree with Bruce on that aspect. If you can sustain yourself with whatever you’re spending your days doing, it already is success to me. It’s also about not regretting the choices you made, as I said previously. It’s a combination of the monetary aspect and your self fulfillment.
NMG: What are 3 things that you have to have with you at all times/never leave home without?
Marie: Number one, my phone. When I forget it I feel naked. You basically need it for everything. To read the time, to check your emails when you’re bored, to go somewhere using it as a GPS. You don’t realize how much you need it until it’s actually not around. And when you’re on the road it’s your one thing that keeps you in touch with reality in a way. It’s also a great source of entertainment in the car.
Number two, I would say my sunglasses. I have light eyes and have to squint all the time when i’m not wearing them. Especially since we live in LA where the sun is out every day. When we take pictures outside for the band, it’s always the hardest thing for me as I have to take them off.
Number three, I will also say our dog. She’s so easy to carry around.
NMG: As a child growing up, music surrounds us; What type of music did you hear the most back then? How does it differ from what you listen to now?
Bruce: Brazilian bossa records from my Mom and American folk music from my Dad. Our go to family radio station was the local oldies station, which is now no longer on the air. I still listen to all that stuff.
NMG: What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Bruce: I’ve loved playing the guitar and was in bands since I was 15 but when it came time to choose a college major I couldn’t seem to find a passion in anything else at the time. So I just listened to my heart on that one. I already played the guitar all day long anyway, so the idea of getting paid to do that was probably the best thing that ever occurred to me.
Marie: I’ve always loved music and singing. I took piano lessons, then harp and opera singing lessons while growing up and used to sing to my roommates at night in boarding school. Still, it was difficult to imagine it as a career as I didn’t know about production etc. But what I love about America is that you really feel like you can do whatever you wanna do. A year before I met Bruce I started writing lyrics again. I’ve always loved poetry and writing French lyrics was easier than writing music for me. I didn’t really know how to put it into music. So I met Bruce at the right time. And I don’t think I took a formal decision one day, it just came to me pretty naturally. It just felt right.
NMG: What do you feel distinguishes “an artist” from just a musician?
Bruce: I think whether you’re an “artist” or not is for others to decide. Although one stipulation I’ll add is that I do think you have to be creating something unique and all your own to be considered an artist in any field.
Marire: Agreed. There can be really good musicians that are not good at creating something of their own. In this case I think it’s difficult in my mind to think of those people as “artists.”
NMG: If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry what would it be?
Bruce: I would try to balance out the image to talent ratio again. Right now getting heard is about 80% image and 20% song. A lot of artists that mean the world to me probably wouldn’t have gotten a shot under those conditions. That being said we do care a lot about our imagery. I just think it should be more 50/50 again.
NMG: How do you like to enjoy your relaxation time away from the music?
Bruce: We live in LA because we’re both not big fans of snow. When we’re vegging out we’re usually on beaches, by pools, or in the desert somewhere.
Marie: We like movies a lot too. We have a little house and love to organize movie screenings in our backyard with friends.
NMG: Who does most of the songwriting?
Bruce: It’s really a complete collaboration from the get go.
Marie: Bruce is the one behind the computer so to me it feels like he does a lot of the work though.
NMG: Someone once said write what you would want to perform over and over. With that in mind, what song do you love to perform the most?
Bruce: “Shaky Ground” is my favorite song to play live right now. Just playing it makes me smile for some reason. I’m not tired of it yet.
Listen to “Shaky Ground”
Marie: Every song we put at the end is usually the one we have the most fun playing and right now it is “Shaky Ground” indeed. People go crazy when we play this one. It’s so danceable and easy to sing along to even when you hear the song for the first time. So it’s pretty contagious and it makes us happy to see the crowd’s reaction.
NMG: What are your up-to-date performance plans? New Releases? Tours ? News?
Bruce: We just released a new song called “21” but we’ve got way more new music on the way. Live, we’re doing the Communion Residency Tour on the East Coast and excited to play in Nashville on September 15th at The High Watt. It’ll be our first time in town. Also our first time playing as a band in New York, Boston, Philly, DC, Atlanta and Louisville. We’re also playing with Stromae in Miami on the 12th.
Check out Freedom Fry’s “21” Official Music Video
Without music, I would be… really sad
Music is … everything
My music makes me feel … like I’m overdosing on good times
I write the songs because … I don’t know how to do anything else as well
Support music because … you can’t dance to silence