Freddie Cruger aka Red Astaire
Martyn Pepperell talks to Freddie Cruger....
4 Feb 2008
Freddie Cruger aka Red Astaire
Freddie Cruger aka Red Astaire is reserved and succinctly spoken in conversation. I wouldn't have expected any less from a red-haired ice hockey enthusiast hailing from Sweden, especially when they happen to be one of the most musically poetic beat smiths to emerge from Europe over the last few years. My justification for this statement is Freddie's album 'Soul Search' a release that almost overnight redefined a whole generation of music enthusiasts vision of eclectic sample based Hip Hop Soul and introduced the wider world to the considerable talents of MC ADL and Soul'stress Linn amongst the other gorgeous voices draped across Freddie's music.
More then just a producer, Freddie is also a world renowned dj capable of creating Soul, Hip-Hop, Funk, Reggae and Disco fueled roadblocks anywhere and everywhere he touches down on the ones and twos. Essentially a b-boy infected with an all consuming love of dusty records and analogy sound during the 1980's, Freddie Cruger is old school personified, but why the name?
"People started calling me Freddie Cruger in 1993. I don't know why, maybe it was the movie? I didn't choose it myself, but because it became something I kept it and released records. Red Astaire was different. I felt I needed an alias to release bootleg records, I never expected the bootlegs would get as big as they did," he says.
The bootleg record that broke Freddie internationally was 'Follow Me', the result of blending a classic D'Angelo acapella with one of Freddie's own productions, a Bossa styled vibraphone loop. "The moment of truth was right there for me," he chuckles. The impact of this bootleg can best be summed up through a comment DJ Jazzy Jeff left on Freddie's myspace page. 'YO...DID U DO THAT DEANGELO JOINT...OH MY GOD...DUDE IF IT'S U...U R THE SHIT...I PLAY THAT EVERYTIME I PLAY...GOOD LOOKING MAN 4SHO'.
At present Freddie is getting his 'lab rat' on finishing a collaborative album with Swedish soul singer Linn and is releasing an instrumental album entitled 'Just chilling in the spot' in April.
"I use the ASR-10 sampler, its old school like me. I started off on it ten years ago and I know it by heart so I can't let it go. I like my music to be atmospheric, a nice soundscape, not too dry but still with a nice bassline. I'm influenced by so many different styles of music, so I just try to put them all together," he says.
In February Freddie will be touring through New Zealand djing at a series of intimate club events in Wellington and Auckland as well as making a high profile appearance at the Splore Festival. In regards to his thoughts on visiting our country, Freddie had the following to say. "I'm excited, I'm good friends with DJ Vee in London who is originally from New Zealand and he has told me a lot of things about New Zealand. The people seem to like a soul reggae sound. I've listened to some artists on myspace when they request me, the sound is good.
"I am a little bit scared about the partying though. I will be keeping myself in check; I am not so young any more."
Good luck Freddie, you're going to need it when you meet Kava.
By Martyn Pepperell