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Name: Adam Bernard
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Stacking The Deck with L’FREAQ
Friday, November 09, 2018

Stacking The Deck is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where I bring packs of 1991 Pro Set Superstars MusiCards to artists, and we discuss who they find in each pack.

NYC, by way of Arizona, alt-pop artist L’FREAQ has a provocative name, and equally provocative sound.

Raised on a combination of Elliot Smith, and opera, she admits that when it comes to music, “I didn’t really have a traditional upbringing.” That non-traditional upbringing has led to L’FREAQ creating some non-traditional, boundary breaking, music.

Her unique sound can be heard on her recently released EP, Weird Awakenings, which features elements of dark synth pop, trip-hop, and downtempo.


I caught up with L’FREAQ before her EP release show at Coney Island Baby in NYC to open up some packs of MusiCards, and the artists we found sparked conversations about musical inspirations, Doctor Who, and surviving in a hypothetical dystopian future.



Ziggy Marley

I went to Jamaica for a wedding, and I ended up staying on this huge compound. There were probably 30 people – Jamaicans, Americans, British people, people from all over the world – and it was just so full of love, and so cool, and they were playing Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, everything was pretty much the Marleys. It was pretty cool.

When you were coming back home did you write something on the plane that was reggae influenced?

Reggae is so interesting because I’ve never been immediately drawn to it, but I love Amy Winehouse, and Amy Winehouse has some reggae influences. I hear that sometimes in her writing, especially on Frank, her first album. When I heard Frank I was like wow, maybe I actually really like reggae.

I also like the culture behind it, just the way that people act with each other when they listen to reggae.

It sounds like you’re in the stages of discovering what you love in the genre.

Yeah, I’m just starting with that genre, and it’s pretty amazing.

So if I ask you this question a year from now …

I could be a completely versed reggae-head. {laughs}



Huey Lewis

Amazing musician, and also one of Patrick Bateman’s favorite artists in American Psycho. Which artists can you put an album of on and give a Patrick Bateman style speech about them, and their music?

Number one would be Jeff Buckley. I can do that with every song that he’s done. I’m absolutely obsessed with him.

Maybe Edith Piaf.

I have a lot of older influences that I think people that I love were also influenced by.

Probably Amy (Winehouse), actually.

I read the book American Psycho, and it’s funny because for Huey Lewis specifically he has four whole pages on his records. And I saw the musical, which was hilarious.

Didn’t the musical have Matt Smith from Doctor Who?

Yes.

Wasn’t that only in London?

It was on Broadway here, but it was only on for like a month or two, but I loved it. It’s very violent, it’s very disgusting. {laughs}

I thought it was an interesting casting choice.

I kind of love it, though. Matt Smith was my first Doctor.

So you’re a fellow Doctor Who fan!

Yes. Well, I’ve only seen Matt, David (Tennant), and Peter Capaldi.

And now Jodie (Whittaker).

I haven’t seen any of those episodes yet.

Jodie’s awesome.

I’ve heard that she’s really good, and I think people have been waiting for a female Doctor for a long time, so it’s cool to see that.


We’re totally transitioning from Huey Lewis to sci-fi, but are you a fellow sci-fi nerd?

I don’t know about sci-fi. I like more fantasy, probably. I do really like dystopian sci-fi. I was really into BioShock growing up, and Black Mirror I find really interesting.

I do like kind of weird, dystopian, futuristic TV shows and movies.

Has that played any role in your look on stage?

It has, especially the outfit that I’m wearing tonight by Jason Triosi, who was on Project Runway. He is very influenced by Mad Max, which I love, and he designed this custom outfit for me tonight which is part Mad Max, part Star Wars, and a little bit Cabaret.

In a dystopian future, what level of badass do you think you’d be?

I think everybody would like to think they’re super badass, and would just beat everybody to death, but I don’t know how long I’d survive. {laughs}

I’ve thought about this before, too, because when The Hunger Games was so big everyone was like, “Would you survive?”

I feel like I would probably just try to hide out.

That’s a way of surviving.

Exactly, or lure people with my music.

And get them to bring you food.

Or just get them close and then kill them.

And … cook them?

Well, kill them and maybe cook them. I don’t know.

I did not expect this to take a slight cannibalism turn, but OK, sure.

{laughs}



Jimi Hendrix

When I was growing up my guitar teacher was obsessed with Jimi Hendrix. How could you not be if you’re a guitar teacher? He was always giving me homework assignments to go home and listen to Jimi, and The Beatles.

I feel like every guitar teacher is obsessed with Jimi and The Beatles.

So I kinda got versed on those artists early on.

Do you play guitar?

I do. I’m left handed like Jimi, but Jimi turned his guitar upside down. He could take a right handed guitar and play it upside down. I have to restring it. I’m really left handed.

I also assume you don’t light yours on fire … yet.

I do not light my guitar on fire yet, but that might be at a future show.

That’s why we have to keep going to your shows.

Yes. That’s true.



Belinda Carlisle

Belinda was a really strong, kick ass, woman in music at a time when it was pretty difficult to be a strong, kick ass, woman in music. With the music scene today, while there are a lot of female artists, the male dominance has not changed, so … how the heck do you deal with us?

{laughs}

Man, that’s a big question to unpack. I don’t know. I feel like the tides are changing with female artists, and they’re being celebrated. I just feel like there are so many female musicians that are rising above, and proving that gender doesn’t really matter, and that you can be really talented at something and still be a female, and you don’t have to be a “female producer” you can just be a producer, and I love that.

I’ve started producing, and it’s cool to get together with other women and discuss the strange coincidences that we all have in this industry.

Strange coincidences. I like the way you put that.

It happens to everybody.

But it’s cool to be on stage, and I take a lot of inspiration from male rockers. I love David Bowie, for example. David Byrne, I love. I’ve watched their concerts so many times that sometimes you take certain mannerisms from them, and you bring them into your own performance, and I love it when people look at me and they’re like, “I want to be her. I want to take her movements.” That’s really what it’s all about, it’s about inspiring people.

David Bowie was very androgynous as a rocker, and I know you have sexual fluidity, which is evident throughout your performances and videos, so it makes sense that you and him would be kindred spirits.

Yeah, I love Bowie. I mean, who doesn’t? He’s amazing. Prince, also.

I love that they were so unapologetically them, and they just didn’t care what other people thought, which is part of being a rock star. I love that.


For more L’FREAQ check out lfreaq.com, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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