In April 2016, Freezepop launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the completion of their long-awaited fifth album. Chaos Control previously featured the Boston-based electronic band way back in 2007, so it seemed like a good time to catch up with them. In an email interview, vocalist Liz Enthusiasm discussed topics such as the upcoming new album, line-up changes and surviving the “Dark Times” when things were rough for an electronic band.
You’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for the new album – what is the current status of the music/recording? What can fans expect from it?
Right now we have a bunch of instrumental demos, and bits of lyrics that are coming together. I guess I’d say the sound is a melding of our old-school blippy-ness with some of our newer production? I dunno. I’m not great at describing it.
It has been a while since your last album – does this new one represent things you’ve been working on all along during the intervening years, or did you more recently decide to start work on a new release?
We did take a little time off after the last album, but this batch of songs has been in progress for almost 2 years at this point? Sean [Drinkwater] has stopped and started, and gotten sidetracked with his other musical ventures. And on my side, I’m working full-time now, so it’s been a lot slower on my end.
What made you choose Kickstarter as your crowdfunding platform? (as opposed to perhaps Pledgemusic?)
For us, it came down to the fact that our audience really spans beyond just music fans — we’re solidly in videogame and just general nerd culture too. So it seemed like Kickstarter was a way to reach more people.
Some of the reward levels feature the “Ultra•Spectacular Bonanza USB drive”. It’s also available on its own, and I think it’s a great concept. What motivated you to sell your entire back catalog on a USB drive? What has the response been like?
Honestly, it started because we were starting to run out of CDs of our back catalogue, and re-pressing hundreds of CDs was kind of a daunting investment, when CD sales are constantly declining. Like, we don’t want to end up with a basement full of CD boxes! And we’d reached the point where we had enough albums and EPs and cool unreleased stuff that we could make it a pretty special collection. Plus, we love cuteness, and it was fun to design a custom-made drive.
It really has been a long time since I previously interviewed you; [founding member] The Duke was still in the band then! Was there ever any question as to whether you’d continue on as Freezepop without him?
No, we definitely wanted to continue. His involvement had been declining a lot in general, just because of his job responsibilities. He wasn’t really able to tour or do much of the fun stuff, so for him it was starting to be kind of a drag because he still had to be involved in the boring band-business end of things, without the actual reward. Anyway, we had been touring a lot with Bananas [Robert John Foster] filling in, and we had already planned on making him an “official” member anyway. But with the Duke’s departure, we did decide our live sound would work better if we brought on an additional band member, who turned out to be Christmas [Disco-Marie Sagan].
Are there any particular ways you feel that line-up changes have affected your creative process or sound?
Live it just works better, we needed a bigger sound. Creatively, the new members will be more involved with this album than they were with the previous one, which was almost all just me-and-Sean.
What do the various members of the band do outside of Freezepop? How much of a focus has Freezepop been in recent years?
Sean is the only one who does music full-time. The rest of us are all designers and/or developers. It definitely makes it harder to focus on the band when your attention is divided like that, but I actually do like being involved in both areas. The downside is, it just takes longer to get things done.
What is your primary equipment set-up these days (both in the studio and for live performance)?
In terms of synths, mostly Dave Smith and Moog stuff. And then other hardware/software from API, Universal Audio, Great River, Brent Averill, and Warm Audio. I got this list from Sean. I am not heavily involved in that end of things…
It seems like multiple alleged ‘synth pop resurgences’ have taken place during Freezepop’s career. Are there any particular changes you’ve seen in your audiences and/or general reaction to your style of music?
Nothing really as pronounced as the shift that happened when we first started the band. Those were Dark Times for any sort of synth-related anything. I feel like we’ve always been a little on the outskirts of any big movement, but we’re not like total freaks anymore or anything.
Are there any recent/upcoming soundtrack appearances, or anything else Freezepop-related that you’d like to mention?
Just really focusing on our Kickstarter and new album at the moment! Hopefully, once we have more new songs, we’ll have more opportunities to get them out in the world.
I see that you’ve been doing some live shows recently. Are you hoping to a more extensive tour when the album is ready?
I hope so! The day-job thing makes it tricky to do too much touring, so we can’t get out as much as we really want to, but there are definitely some places we haven’t been to in a long, long time that we want to hit again.