Where: Yu Yin Tang 1731 Yan’an Xi Lu (entrance on Kaixuan Lu), 延安西路1731号
Starts: Saturday, May 23, 11PM
Cover: 40RMB, free for Cut&Paste tournament ticket holders
Live digital design competition Cut&Paste Shanghai will close with a big bang this Saturday May 23 in a live show co-hosted with Shanghai’s very own FREE the WAX featuring LA music producer Chris Alfaro.
Headlining FREE the WAX‘s first show outside of The Shelter, Alfaro, otherwise known as Free the Robots. looks set to pump up the jam with his MPD drum machine, sampler and turntable. Expect a sonic whirlpool of psychedelic, progressive melodies which promises to push genre boundaries. In the meantime, here’s a snippet of a recent interview by FREE the WAX with Alfaro.
What led you to baptize your project ‘Free the Robots’?
CA: Free the Robots pretty much organically formed during a time when I was between several music projects. While I was actively DJing and battling every weekend, producing hip hop beats for different MCs, while experimenting with different experimental rock/jam bands, on the side. It was a fun yet unsteady time for me. Torn between where to put my focus, I never felt 100% satisfied with any of the projects I was working on. At the demise of the bands and groups, I decided to do something for myself. Out came Free the Robots.
And what kind of robots are we talking about here – the intelligent kind that takes over humanity and use us as pets, the Japanese dancing dog type, some other funky type of robot?
CA: The dinosaur robot that’s from the future. It takes the form of a creature from the past on a mission to destroy the past, present and future.
Can you tell us a little bit more about what The Crosby is and what it means to you?
CA: The Crosby is a restaurant I opened up with some like-minded friends. It’s a collective of visual, musical and culinary artists who came together to do something new for a County that needed it. We all play our own roles. There is a heavy synergy between everything from our food, the music, the staff, the art, and everything thats goes on night after night. OC is a challenge, but there are enough open-minded people who understand our direction to maintain an audience. You’re not gonna find many places like this, where world-renowned artists play in a small intimate settings with Chimay on Tap, gourmet food served all night, and no cover.
It feels like it would be impossible to disassociate you from The Crosby. How does Free the Robots feed off from The Crosby and how does the Crosby feed off from Free the Robots?
CA: Owning a restaurant and being a musician may seem like two opposite sides of the spectrum but I keep both in harmony. My main position is marketing and entertainment management. I work with the artists direct and book the talent, but I do it with a much different approach. Being an artist myself, I have a very personal relationship with all the talent that comes through. It’s not like traditional promoter to artist, business only type stuff. It’s more like friends just hanging out. We have dinner, drinks, shoot the shit, maybe jam on music in the basement, they play, sometimes I play with them, they get paid, I get paid, everyone’s happy and we do it all over again.
The Crosby, Free the Robots, starting your own radio station… Do you have a multidisciplinary attitude to all things you do?
CA: It gets intense but it’s all about just not being lazy. I ended my habits of slothing out watching TV and playing video games. All my energy goes into staying creative, productive, inspired and healthy. There are enough hours in a day to get a good amount of work done; thankfully I’m a morning person.
Can you give us a little idea of these sort of multimedia/multidisciplinary connections you make when composing a song?
CA: It always starts with whatever I’m feeling. The main thing is being able to translate that feeling on to a recording. Sometimes it doesn’t really work out and I turn it into something else. My music is just as driven by mistakes, as it is by ideas. It’s all about taking chances, letting it flow and working with it.
Where do you see the scene in LA going from now?
CA: Independent music taking over. It’s not up to the major labels anymore. It’s up to the nerds, nerding out in their bed room studios. Give nerds the power to connect their music with the world via the internet and all of a sudden they have a huge audience in Germany and Japan that they never knew existed… And the diversity is huge right now. I’ve noticed totally different crowds in totally different areas who are all into the same music. It’s molding at a rapid rate.
You are releasing your first full length album soon. What is it going to be like?
CA: Heavier, dirtier, and more psyched out… special guests, bearded ladies and more.
Can we expect a similar line of sounds to what you have been producing so far?
CA: There are some similarities, although I’ve grown a lot since the last record. It pretty much tells the story of the last two years of my psychotic life.
Do you have any preconceptions of China that you expect to see shattered when you arrive here?
CA: I’ve had some great Chinese food here in the States. I’m excited to have some real Chinese food!