Free School
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Free School

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
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"School's Out"

As Serious As Your Life
Hello there everybody. To promote our debut EP, Ranting & Raving, out now on Tirk Records, the lovely people at Brum Notes interviewed us. Below is the full transcript. You can ask us the same questions at more at our EP launch at Digbeth’s finest hostelry, The Rainbow on August 19th 2011. Facebook event details here. We can’t wait to meet you………..

So, first things first, what are Free School all about?

We’re about making beautiful, timeless electronic dance music. We work on something until it turns into a piece we can listen to forever, it’s really important to us and we are our fiercest critics. We get so enthusiastic about our music because we love listening to it, rather than because we think it deserves praise. We’re not concerned with fashion or trends; you can stifle and sacrifice the things that you do best just to be on the cutting edge.

For those who haven’t heard you, how would you describe yourselves? And who would you name as your influences?

We’ve been variously described as ‘Cosmic Disco’, ‘Synth-wave’, ‘Balearic’ and our current favourite ‘Synth Molesters’! Our music is lush, melodic and bewitching, epic in scale with a strong nod to the dancefloor. Among our influences are Lindstrom, Orbital, Fuck Buttons, Kelley Polar, The Orb, LCD Soundsystem and early Autechre, when they made tunes. There, I’ve said it.

You’ve had some nice support slots so far – what’s been the highlight?

We’ve been really lucky, our debut was with Fujiya & Miyagi, of whom we’re big fans, really really lovely guys too, a real privilege. Mark E as well, such a talent, there may well be something further to report on that soon, watch this space! We DJ’ed at the launch of the Out Of Bounds House label run by The Discomendments guys, they’re pedigree Birmingham House producers. The real highlight has been meeting the people who run the shows in Birmingham, there’s a lot of heart and integrity in what they’re doing, a real credit to the city.

And what have you got planned over the coming months?

Our debut EP ‘Ranting & Raving’ came out on Tirk Records in July so we’re pushing that at the moment and we have an EP launch show at The Rainbow on Aug 19th with the excellent Arc Vel and Greg Bird. We’ve done a remix for Discomendments which will be the first release on the ‘Out Of Bounds’ label, it’s called ‘Tales From The Bunka’ and we’re very very pleased with it. A few of the guys have been playing it out in Croatia over the summer and it’s gone down really well, we just wish we could have been on the beach with them!

We’re just finishing the tracks for the album so we might have another EP out then the album later in the year. Beyond that we’ll be taking our live show to as many places as possible, with the occasional DJ slot in-between.

What are the main ambitions for Free School?

To keep going in the direction we are and not forget why we started doing this, which was to make music that we adore.

Why should we come and see you this month?

We’ve handpicked the acts for the show so it’ll be a fantastic night, Arc Vel creates beautiful, soulful electronica, like Flying Lotus being covered by Boards Of Canada. Greg Bird is Prince meets Ultravox and the wonderful Archmix DJ’s will be in support to glue it all together in their inimitable style. Free School genuinely are a sight to behold, live, and you don’t get a reputation as ‘synth-molestors’ for nothing! Our set up is augmented with a powerhouse of a drummer and we indulge in a fair bit of percussion too.

Anyone else we should look out for in Birmingham at the moment?

Seams is making some amazing music at the moment, Sigmund Frued is well worth checking out, he’s only 16 which beggars belief considering the quality and quantity of his music, you can catch him DJ at the awesome Fantastic Damage nights every month. Sam Redmore is keeping up his eclectic DJ side of things, he’s bringing out more and more production and edit work, which is very exciting. Mark E, goes without saying. Band-wise there’s Victories At Sea and Malpas, they’re both making waves beyond the city at the moment - Brum Notes


"Fujiya & Miyagi / Mirrors / Free School @ The Hare and Hounds,"

March already. Jeez. Soon be Christmas. It’s cold enough dammit. Where’s spring when you need it eh? 1st March that’s supposed to be spring, right? Pah! Happily my deep frozen extremities were nicely warmed up by tonight’s openers Free School, a Birmingham based outfit specialising in what those ‘in the know’ might possibly call shoetronica (the bastard love child of Mr Shoegaze and Miss E. Lectronica).


Sounds that wash over you like warm milk mix casually with the beatier stuff and random spoken word samples, creating a craftily layered sonic cake. Yep...a freakin’ sonic cake. With a cherry on top. After perfecting their sound for a year or so this was Free School’s debut live show. Why the delay? Given all of the sonic knob twiddling it seems they were a little unsure of how to make it work live, something they’ve well and truly addressed by donning scary sheep masks and whacking the bejesus out of electronic drum kits. Ones to watch and a...here comes the obligatory pun...class act. Music to chill out, tune in or turn on to. - The Hearing Aid


"EP review: Free School- Ranting and Raving"

With a title like Ranting And Raving, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the new EP by Northern duo Free School would be something erratic and a bit too hard-core for early-morning listening. Delightfully, it wasn’t. And it makes you think of all sorts of lovely things. (In a non-nauseating kind of way.)

Ranting And Raving gradually develops over its 5 minute period, with a gently rising synth that’s both uplifting and euphoric; Lemon is the second 9-minute track and can simply be defined as a “sound movie”. Which, if you think about it, is quite an achievement – to have a song emote something within you in such a way as a movie would with the absence of any visual stimulus is remarkable.

The faint echo of excerpts from speeches (for example, “music is the focal point of life itself”) inadvertently underlines the importance of music that I can’t help but feel we’ve forgotten over the years. Draped over the top of a droning beat, the build-up of synths and electro-based melodies add depth and dimension to the song as it progresses. And quite possibly, there’s a xylophone solo or two mid-way through, although I’m not too sure. I hope it is. They’re one of the first things we ever come across in life (x for xylophone) and are actually really under-appreciated instruments.

There’s nothing about this EP that’s out of place – each track doesn’t finish too abruptly, there’s no haphazard instrumental changes, everything flows together neatly and delicately. It’s ‘maximalist’ and ‘minimalist’ at the same time. With its elusive gloriousness, it’s set to be a perfect summer soundtrack; it’s equally perfect for the colder months, as it leaves you with a delightful, heart-warming feeling. An all-rounder.

The digital copy includes the “Time And Space Machine Third Mix” and instrumental versions of Ranting And Raving; vinyl copy does not have the instrumental version.

Both are released through Tirk records.

-Charlie Clarkson - Planet Notion


Discography

Various - From The Stars Volume 2 (NANG057) - 'Hardware' - May 2011
'Ranting & Raving' EP (TIRK069) - July 2011
'Tales From Tha Bunka' - Discomendments (Free School's B13 mix) (OOB:001) - Oct 2011
'Unravelling After The Lottery' EP (TIRK073) - Jan 2012

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Bio

Andy and Steve met in a cut'n'shut industrial park somewhere in the urban sprawl of Birmingham, UK. Lost and alone, they decided to indulge their teenage passions for Orbital and Autechre with their new found love of all things Disco.

From the paint fumes and welding sparks emerged a beautiful collection of timeless electronic dance music, for heads and hearts everywhere.

The duo will release their next EP ‘Unravelling After the Lottery’ in January 2012 backed up with a remix from the UK's premier slo-mo house star, Mark E, with their debut album following soon after. The pair have so far remixed Phil Oakey and House legends Discomendments, with many more in the pipeline.

They’ve already won support from DJ’s Andrew Weatherall, Justin Robertson, Red Rack’em, Pete Gooding, The Big Chill and Ministry Of Sound’s Future DiscoLive. They've played live with Fujiya & Miyagi, Architeq and Richard Norris with upcoming shows alongside Neon Indian and Andrew Weatherall.