Another installation from my radio show, Soulful Living, with music from Deep Chord, Arnold Tempo, Atjazz, Bearweasel, and more.
Tracklisting and past shows available on www.soulfullivingsessions.com
I got an opportunity to catch up with internationally known, locally bred dj and producer, Freddie Joachim. I’m grateful for him taking the time to agree to this dialogue and I am quite excited to share some things about this talented musician and amazing human being.
Bio: Always an avid listener and collector of hip hop, jazz, and soul music, Freddie finally began djing in the mid 90′s, which slowly progressed into recording and production. Since then, he has continued to produce music featuring such artists as, Aloe Blacc, Blu, Grap Luva, LMNO, Kev Brown, Joey Bada$$, Carlitta Durand, and has had his music mentioned by Erykah Badu,Phonte, Slum Village, and more, and his music has been praised by such publications as Wax Poetics, Okayplayer, and more. His production has been featured on major television networks such as MTV and NBC, as well as licensed songs with many popular brands and companies, including DC Shoes, Nike, Adidas, Monster Energy, K-Swiss, and more. Freddie has also performed around the world, headlining shows in countries such as Japan, South Africa, Europe, and the U.S., sharing the stage with aritsts such as,Ohmega Watts, Joss Stone, Jimmy Cliff, Ali Shaheed Muhammad (ATCQ), Teeko, DJ Babu, Rakaa Iriscience, Bobbito, Scoop Deville, Blu, Choice37, and more.
Freddie released his first full-length, In With Time, in the Spring of 2008, exclusive to Japan label, Subcontact. The album featured such artists as, Aloe Blacc (Stones Throw), Blu, Othello, Profile (Sound Providers), Choice37,Surreal, and more. (In With Time is available on CDBaby, Amazon, Tower Records Japan, HMV Japan, and more)
In 2009, Freddie, along with good friend, Question, released their instrumental album, Study Guide, with Japan’s renowned DJ Tonk on his label Milkdipper. (Study Guide is available on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, and more // 10″ vinyl EP is available at Access Hip Hop, HHV, Fresh Crate, Amoeba SF, and more)
In Summer of 2010, Freddie continued his instrumental album series with the release of Midway. The album was the first featured artist’s album on the San Francisco based label, Mellow Orange. (Midway is available on iTunes, Amazon, Mellow Orange Store, and more stores // 2xCD is available at Mellow Orange Store, Access Hip Hop, HHV, Fresh Crate, Amoeba SF, and more).
In the Fall of 2012, he released his 4th full-length album,Fiberglass Kisses, featuring such artists as, Miles Bonny, Mar, L. Santiago, Carlitta Durand, J. Mitchell, and Eric Lau. (Fiberglass Kisses is available worldwide. digital, CD, & vinyl)
Freddie, along with friends, Yusai, and Question, now run Mellow Orange, which has releases worldwide.
Here’s my conversation with Freddie.
OP: Cheers Freddie and my sincere thanks for giving me this opportunity to talk with you.
Outside of my house music bubble, you’re one of the artists I listen to quite a bit and respect as a producer. Tell me about your musical background and your early influences.
FJ: I’ve been a very avid listener since I was very young. The hip hop culture in the 80′s was very appealing to me, so I grew up listening to 80′s and 90′s west coast and east coast sounds. I started djing in the mid 90′s, and that opened up a lot of records and genres for me, new and old. I always looked up to the hip hop greats, Dilla, Pete Rock, Premier, etc. and also really liked cross genre producers like Spinna, Mark de Clive-Lowe, etc. I wasn’t one of those kids who was forced to play a musical instrument, so I didn’t pick up my first instruments until I was in my late teens. Started with drums, then guitar, then keys, then so on. I’m not a musician by no means, but it’s cool to try and learn something new, but also very difficult. ha.
OP: Has San Diego always been home to you?
FJ: For the most part. I grew up in Paradise Hills in southeast San Diego, and I lived in LA for a good part of my twenties, and also lived in North County SD for a few years.
OP: I’ve found your music to be very melodic and soulful, with certain sounds and elements I would consider moody (in a good way, of course). Where do you draw your inspiration from.
FJ: I try and gather inspiration from all walks of life and art. Most inspiration strikes from listening to other people’s music. My music comes from personal experiences as well.
OP: Your 4th full length album Fiberglass Kisses from 2012, which is my personal favorite, is solid and mature. I loved the music you put together for the vocalists. What is your approach when working with vocals or on collaborations?
FJ: Usually the artists that are featured on my albums are ones that I want to initially work with. I’m a fan of other’s music first, and it’s great when we can communicate and vibe with one another. Of course, every artist has their own way of working, but it’s great when a collaboration goes smoothly.
OP: How did the choice of vocalists come about?
FJ: All of the artists on FK were chosen because I’ve been wanting to work with them in some capacity. I’ve always been a fan of all the artists featured.
OP: Can you speak a little about the label Mellow Orange?
FJ: Mellow Orange is a label started by my partner, Yusai. He’s also a DJ, and on rare occasions, he makes beats. I helped with producing beats with it’s first release, a compilation of various artists. After it’s release, I joined the label as an artist, and we released my album, Midway in 2010. Since then, we’ve worked on releasing other projects with artists, some of which who are good friends. We also have good friends like, Question, and Ohmega Watts, who also help with the label in design, as well as being featured as artists.
OP: Can you share with us the top gear you absolutely can’t live without?
FJ: I’ve had many pieces of gear come and go throughout the years, so I’ve consolidated my studio to the basics, which include mainly my computer, a keyboard, and my most recent piece, a Maschine MK2. So that’s all I really need. But since I’m a DJ as well, I can’t live without my turntables and mixer, and records.
OP: San Diego is a growing city musically and I am happy to see the music scene developing exponentially thanks to more and more producers either coming out of this city or moving in. Do you have any thoughts on what you’d like to see happen here?
FJ: The scene in SD has always been fairly small. For the most part, everyone is fairly good about supporting artists. Unfortunately, SD isn’t the first place people think of when they’re considering breaking into the music scene. People try to move to places like LA, NYC, SF, etc. At least, that’s what I had to do.
If there’s a couple things i’d like to see happen in SD, it’s a continued support of it’s artists, as well as bringing more big name artists to SD to perform or showcase their talents. It seems like I always have to bounce to another city, to try and catch some of my favorite artists perform.
Also a lot of bars, and clubs need to understand that some events need time to gain momentum. I’ve known a lot of events getting their plugs pulled because they don’t bring in a lot of people initially, or they need the DJs to play more top 40 music for the crowd. Rome wasn’t built in a day. For these ‘good music’ events to last, it needs the help of everyone. DJs, club owners, and the community. We create these events to not only to educate people on new and genuine music, but to show people can have a great going out while learning so.
OP:I see that you’ve played in South Africa, Europe.. How has playing internationally affected the way you view your hometown musically?
FJ: I feel other cities overseas are very much in tune with everything musically, past and present. Hip hop is very much alive in a lot of places in Europe, where they very much embrace that early to mid 90′s hip hop sound.
San Diego will always be a chill and laid back city. That goes with the music mentality as well. The majority of residents don’t really listen to indie music, or what’s not played on the radio. But that can be said about a lot of cities. But you learn to appreciate what your city does offer.
OP: I’m still yet to catch you on the decks pretty soon and I want to touch up on that. With dj-ing technology always changing nowadays and I myself feel like I have to be ready for whatever set up is in a venue. Has technology affected your playing and music selection?
FJ: Of course technology will forever change the way we listen and play music. But I feel it hasn’t greatly affected me, because I’m in the middle of it. When you’re constantly keeping yourself updated and educating yourself on new stuff, you kind of go with the flow of things, so you’re really not out of the loop.
But, overall yes, it has changed the way I play out. I’m now able to play a bunch of songs that I couldn’t before the digital boom, without the need of waiting for it to be pressed on vinyl or sometimes even it’s official release. Also, I’m able to play my own songs out. So I can make a new track in the morning, and play that song when I DJ somewhere that very night. Which is pretty incredible, and unheard of 20 years ago.
OP: What does Freddie Joachim like to do when not doing music?
FJ: Ha. I think of myself as a pretty normal person. Movies, food, friends, etc. I spend a lot of time with my girlfriend, and we travel, check out museums, and sites, and other points of interest. Other than that, I enjoy running, and being active on a weekly basis.
OP: What type of projects are you working on at the present moment? What should we expect from you in the near future?
FJ: Right now, i’m just working on some various music for other artists, but also working on my next album, which hopefully will be finished in 2015. And i’m very focused on other Mellow Orange projects, like a few mixtape series, a couple video series, and other artists’ projects we have lined up for the remainder of the year.
OP: Thank you and I wish you the best in the years to come.
FJ: Big thanks again for sitting down with, and to all our listeners and followers.
DIVE 10 year anniversary featuring Chicago’s own DIZ along with residents DJ ALA, Mikeytown, and OMAR PARAISO
Saturday, July 26th
At our new home, The Bamboo Lounge.
CRIS HERRERA + OMAR PARAISO Live at SOULEIL 8-18-13
I’LL House You & Republic Music Pres.
The Night Your Mama Warned You About!
Oscar P (Open Bar Music)
SEPH (Republic Music)
DJ Nimbus (Exposure)
Omar Paraiso (Dive, Soulful Living)
Ade Alafia (Yoruba, Open Bar, MAW)
Shaman Vybez (5 Deadly Venoms)
DUENDE (Melibea Basement)
2 Bank Street @ Greenwich Ave.
FREE ENTRY W RSVP http://ihu5-3.eventbrite.com/