Return Of The Synthpop Vigilante.
After being totally impressed by the two Fr/Action albums "Crimes Of The Future" & "Last Man Standing" CARL JENKINSON was keen to find out more about the Project, its origins & the man behind the music, one David Friede & so jumped at the chance to conduct this interview with the first vigilante of electropop (for further information please visit the following websites:
|Q. David, most people will know you as one half of the synthpop duo Ganymede, what originally prompted you to start Fr/Action?
I had been developing a lot of ideas in a harder and darker vein that were incompatible with the sound Patrick and I had established as Ganymede. So, instead of trying to bend Ganymede to incorporate the new ideas, I decided to instead create Fr/action as an outlet for them.
Q. The debut Fr/action album "Crimes Of The Future" had an obvious sci-fi concept running through it which extended even to the artwork. Was this a major factor in you following this new sideproject?
Definitely. I had been wanting to do a concept album project where I could create the soundtrack for an imaginary sci-fi action film. Adhering to that concept also helped me to better focus my ideas for the project, as well as to further differentiate it from Ganymede and other current artists.
Q. The whole 'vigilante' story is, it seems, an integral part of both Fr/Action albums to date. Was this aspect of the project inspired by other interests of yours outside music?
It was mainly inspired by my love of vigilante films such as the "Death Wish" series. I had always wanted to make a movie with a vigilante as the hero, so it was only natural to make the hero of my Fr/action project a vigilante. In "Crimes Of The Future" The Vigilante is fighting street crime in a dystopian city of the future, a nuclear apocalypse destroys the city between the two albums, and "Last Man Standing" finds The Vigilante fighting lawlessness in this "new wild west".
Q. Presumably this made it easier for you when working on the video for "Vigilante" that appeared on the "Living On Video" DVD that you put together. Is video an area you intend to explore further in the future? I guess the whole thing could work well as a kind of mini-film?
I hope to get back into filmmaking at some point in the future. The "Vigilante" and "Partners in Crime" videos on the "Last Man Standing" CD actually originated as projects back in my film school days. I view the fact that the visuals matched the Fr/action songs I later wrote so well as proof that my filmmaking and songwriting inspirations were coming from the same place.
Q. Were there any particular lessons you'd learnt or new tricks you wanted to try when it came to recording the follow-up "Last Man Standing"?
I feel that I'm always learning and getting better when it comes to music production. So, a motivation behind every new project I take on is always to utilize and demonstrate what I've improved upon since the previous one. The recording process was actually quite different for this album compared to the last one. When I did "Crimes Of The Future" I didn't have a proper studio of my own yet, so I recorded the music with Dan Burke at the Nukleon studio and the vocals with Patrick at the Ganymede studio. For "Last Man Standing", however, I recorded the entire album myself. I plan on doing the next Fr/action album totally with software synths, so my method will change again. One benefit of changing things around is that it helps give each album its own sound and identity.
Q. It seemed that with such an evocative title as "Ground Zero" you were attempting to break away from the fictional part of Fr/action & deal directly with reality. Was this the case?
Well, I think everything in the Fr/action world is related to the real world in some way. The surface details may be fictional but the themes and commentary on society are very genuine. With the title "Ground Zero" I was actually referring to Ground Zero of the nuclear apocalypse and not 9/11 per se. But, however, I'm sure a metaphoric parallel between the two could validly be drawn.
Q.Along with this came your own label Cohaagen. Setting up a label in the current downloading climate seems to be a risky undertaking, especially when you had a seemingly good relationship with Ninthwave. Has it's inception been an important stepping stone for you both personally & musically?
Patrick and I are lovers of CDs as complete products in their own right. The artwork and physical format of albums are integral to the whole package and that can't be duplicated in a download-only format. I know the market is shrinking for CDs, but we hope we're doing our part to preserve them. Having our own label is great because we have complete artistic and monetary control over our product. We get to release exactly what we want, when we want, and promoted how we want. I know we're both very proud of what we've achieved as a label and as artists. Something else I enjoy is being able to use the label to support other artists whose work deserves the exposure, such as Nukleon,Simulator, and Gary Flanagan.
Q. Distribution is always a problem for any small labels, have any organisations provided the neccessary assistance in this respect?
We're able to do a lot of distribution ourselves and in addition we've gotten a lot of terrific help from outlets such as Amazon, Metropolis and A Different Drum. Decadance Records in Italy have licensed "Last Man Standing" from us for international distribution so hopefully the album will reach a larger worldwide market thanks to their efforts.
Q. So going Back to Fr/action, will you be expanding on this story still further on future albums? If so, can you give us any clues as to where Fr/Action might go next?
I've always thought of the Vigilante saga as a trilogy, so there will definitely be another chapter. I've yet to develop the complete concept, but it will deal with the rebuilding of The Vigilante's society. The album will naturally evolve as I work on it, and I plan to use the mirroring of my thoughts on our own world as my guide.
Q. Any other plans, either for Cohaagen or Ganymede?
We're currently working on a new Ganymede project, to hopefully be released later this year. As for Cohaagen, our next release will be "Utopia", our Giorgio Moroder tribute album. We might also have a new band signing or two to announce as well, so join our mailing list and stay tuned...