Real Talk With Fresh Daily @ SXSW
Star Club: First and foremost, explain your SXSW experience. Ups, downs, everything in between.
Fresh Daily: This was my 3rd (non-consecutive) year at SXSW and it was awesome. It just seems to have gotten way more hip-hop oriented than I recall in the past. I had a great time rocking shows and meeting fans and fellow artists that I knew online but never had the chance to make personal acquaintance with. That was dope. The main trick about SXSW to me is to meet artists you have mutual respect for, meet booking agents/promoters and make new fans. That and maintaining your cell phone life and sanity while carefully alternating between copius amounts of alcohol and water while navigating the pressing throngs of people crowding under the Texas sun.
SC: Explain your musical approach to hip-hop given that you are staying fresh, all day? How is your rap different from the other up and coming MC’s out there?
FD: I don’t think the goal was to put the fresh wardrobe aesthetic out as a “persona” to market my music. The goal for me was always to remain consistently innovative with my craft and show progression while expressing myself artistically. I think that approach was the defining factor to making my music signature and creating the distinction from the rest of other artists.
The freshness in my physical aesthetic came secondary and I suppose there’s also a difference in the technical sense that I’m a wordplay/thought process emcee and not a punch line/metaphor rapper.
SC: What are some major differences you’ve seen in your music from your mixtape “Tomorrow is Today” to your debut album “Fresh Daily is the Gorgeous Killer in Crimes of Passion” to your current album you’re working on?
FD: Honestly, just life’s progression. As a Brooklyn, NYC kid, I had the fortune to grow up in a melting pot of cultures and experiences that change as often as the neighborhoods do. Being artistically expressive played a huge role as well. When working on “Tomorrow is Today”, I worked with a synth-y, space-y sound that worked well for how I felt. I wanted to take people into the future with the sound of that project. My debut album however was way more traditional boom-bap rap. Soul and Jazz samples being flipped by some of indie hip-hops most elite producers like Skibeatz, Dj Spinna, Exile, Oh No, 88-Keys and !llmind helped curate a very NYC centric sound.
I’ve always Made sure to be cohesively thematic and give each project their own flavor, so with my last 3 projects “Mothership/L A N D”, “The Quiet Life” and my current project, “The Brooklyn Good Guy”, each of them are unique and distinct in sound direction, subject matter and feel.
SC: There are not many people that are skilled in graphic design and can rap, but which passion came first? When and how did you start both graphic designing and rap?
FD: I’ve been drawing since a toddler so I suppose visual art came before wanting to make music. The processes are both really different. Both of them are visceral, cathartic experiences for me but with rap I can see the end result quicker. The same effect I can have on people with my music I can with my design work, hip-hop just has an expedited process in the sense I can take an idea which doesn’t exist and speak on it and have a song and a large quantity of people can hear/enjoy/critique it, whereas the process to making an non-existing idea into visual art is more laborious with less room for error. It’s a more painstaking way to create and convey your expression. Rapping came natural for me as a writer and Bonafide hip-hop head. It’s a fair assessment that no other music genre has meant more to me and effected my life as much as hip-hop has. So it’s only right that it be the medium used to tell my story. However, they DO say a picture is worth a thousand words and I’m a fan of classic minimalism so there’s that.
SC: Given the graphic design experience you have, how has that worked as an advantage towards your music?
FD: Being a stickler for quality control, it’s made my brand management and visibility really easy to navigate and keep things relatively in-house for the majority of the work I do. To be able to control and convey how I think things should sound AND look is definitely advantageous to the craft. Not having to depend on a graphics person to correctly convey my words is priceless. Being able to collaborate with other artists outside of rapping is also pretty awesome too. To re-interpret what I feel they said in a completely different medium is mad ill.
SC: How have you been able to balance out graphic design projects, putting out fan apparel, maintaining the webstore, and making music?
FD: I have a fantastic team of individuals working with me that handle a fair share of my merchandise as well as update my site and keep things running smoothly. For that, I’m grateful because it allows me some buffer space to actually just CREATE. To be completely honest though, it did get overwhelming. For the project “The Quiet Life” I had to go away and go back to nature and kind of revisit some of the things that made me appreciate this beautiful human existence. You have to pause and smell the flowers at time, yo. Straight up. For this current project though, I quit my wack-ass, dead end day job and put myself 100% into my career as both an emcee and visual artist/designer for the first time. It was scary because there’s no parachute for me, but you don’t bungee-jump off a milk crate do you? Sure, it’s safer, but that ain’t bungee jumping, fam. The thrill of that experience is the rush, the risk and the thrill of making an indelible action memory. You can really hear the urgency in the new record because of that.
SC: Who are some of your inspirations in music and art?
FD: Inspirations in music for me are artists like Hawthorne Headhunters, Sade, P.U.D.G.E, MF DOOM, Drake (yep, Drizzy), Iman Omari, Earl Sweatshirt, etc. Yo, I mean, just heads making good music to me that put me in a zone. The taste in music is constantly evolving in this digital age but the constant that remains is dope beats and dope lyrics executed artfully with quality will always rule my audio waves. As far as art goes, I’m a big graphic novel dude and I like alot of European graphic artists like Frezzata, Christophe Blaine, and Johann Sfar. I feel like it’s cliche for rappers to like NYC street artists like Haring and Basquiat so having said that, I’m reluctant to include them as influences for that reason solely, but truth be told I was born in 1980 and that’s what I saw and I’d be remiss to not mention those artists impact on me. Locally, there are some amazing artists in NYC like Nelson Caban, Lichiban & Stephanie Matthews that really have made visual impacts on how I view artwork recently.
SC: Describe your taste in fashion and how it reflects you as “Fresh Daily.” What are some of your favorite brands and sneakers?
FD: Well, ultimately I’m more of a subscriber to style than fashion, as style is forever and fashion is fickle and fleeting. I’m a fan of clean, solid color blocking juxtaposed against patterned accessories and outerwear. My boy Suede (of The Brooklyn Good Guys) coined the term “Afro-Americana” for this look. I mean basically there’s all these influences mixed up from growing up in NYC. There’s alot of obligatory Polo Ralph Lauren because of the timeless factor, I mean, you can count on ‘Lo from 10 years ago to work 10 years from now. Within that there are alot of preppy nods being mixed in with strong ethnic aesthetics from my own closet collection to create a really signature look. I’d like to go as far as saying that 70% of my wardrobe is also sourced from Thrift/secondhand/vintage stores around the US and Canada so almost everything has a history and story to it. I’m almost utilitarian with my style to the point it borders on uniform if the weather is appropriate. 9 out of 10 ten times I have on an oxford or chambray buttoned all the way to the top with dark indigo raw/selvedge denim and a cap on. As a firm believer in quality, consistency and heritage, most brands I rock with have been around for 15-30 years. Levis, Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike, Converse, Vans and Supreme. In a more contemporary sense, I also love Uniqlo and I almost exclusively wear RetroSuperFuture eyewear because I love the way they frame my face. My take on it is, your look should tell your story at a glance before you get a chance to speak.
SC: What can we expect from you in 2012?
FD: More music. More art. More collaborations. More live shows. More media content online. The launch of my collective “The Brooklyn Good Guys”. Only the freshness & only the real. Brooklyn, whattup!
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