The Freshest are a duo that derive from a quartet.
Let me explain.
DJ Marvel and Kutcorners are two members of Vancouver’s premier DJ collective, also known as The Freshest (including DJ’s Rico Uno & Seko). A side project branched out a couple of years ago that incorporated their burgeoning production prowess by live remixing the rap hits of the day, also under the moniker of The Freshest.
In under two years, they have released a wealth of tunes, uploaded some nifty live performance videos, and have taken their sound on the road, all to great response. Poised for more ambitious projects ahead, Okayfuture stole a few moments to get the latest from The Freshest.
Okayfuture: How did the idea of the Live Sets come about?
Marvel: We were an opening act for the Red Bull Thre3style World Finals in 2011. We were rehearsing and trying to come up with creative ideas. We started jamming around with cue points and synths, and sort of just ran with it.
Kutcorners: We were working out popular rap songs on the keyboards instead of traditional songs, so we decided to start remaking them and playing them live. We also tried to tie them together and play them consecutively.
OKF: How do you define these sets? They play like a mix tape but many of the elements are broken down and reconstructed as an original composition.
KC: Often I think we would start working on a remix, then find songs in the same key, and put them together like that. It seems more now that we are making remixes and then approaching the live set as a separate thing.
Marvel: Working with him, we have a good work flow, and come up with very similar ideas. We could find an a capella, and Matt could find out the chords, and we’d be able to flesh out the remix.
OKF: During the live sets, I usually see Marvel gravitate towards turntables and Kutcorners on synths and drum machines. Are these roles interchangeable?
Marvel: We play to our strengths. Matt can keep time with the drum and play bass at the same time (something my brain can’t fathom). I can definitely do the DJ’ing part, and play bass and leads. If I get comfortable with what he does, then I’ll do that.
OKF: How important is adopting new DJ technology and production software for your repertoire? Additionally, what’s been your favorite gadget to use as of late?
KC: That’s the most exciting thing about music. Every couple months, there’s new technology, and that defines how music is made. I want to be at the forefront of that, for sure. What’s the difference between a Little Richard and a Timbaland? One makes music on guitars, the other on synths and samplers. It’s all the same music, just a different timbre. It all defines a generation’s sound. Our generation’s sound is being made on Ableton and beat machines. I don’t want to make a throwback rock’n’roll sound. That’s cool and all, but that’s not for us.
Marvel: We’ve been using Serato Remote a lot. The ability to use cue points, effects, and stutter rolls are all amazing and very accessible.
OKF: Tell us about Vancouver and how its music scene helps to shape your sound.
Marvel: We’ve been spoiled with the caliber of artist that’s been coming through Vancouver lately. One day it’ll be some obscure indie band, another it’ll be someone like The-Dream. It’s so much variety to pull from and be inspired by.
KC: It seems like in the last year or two there’s been an abundance of artists from Vancouver that have done really well, or out of town artists that have set up shop in Vancouver. Cyril Hahn, Falcons, Sleepy Tom, and more are all getting recognition.
It’s all coming together nicely: this resurgence of music that we came up with – 90’s R’n’B and rap – all becoming popular again with the new generation. We can do it too with a slightly different angle and these guys will love it.
OKF: Do you envision the Live Set paying tribute to other genres and eras?
KC: I listen to a lot of older music. There’s an obvious relation to each other – soul & R’n’B – I want to keep exploring these generations, so we can we continue bridging the relations to people. We recently remixed Midnight Star, and that was like pretty random to a 21 year old.
OKF: What projects are on the horizon for the Freshest?
Marvel: We’re on pace to release a remix every month. Working towards an EP soon.
KC: We want to follow up our North American tour from last year, and expand on our existing live set, and perform more of our remixes and original material.
For more on The Freshest, visit their official website.
Hot off the press! Listen to the latest remix from The Freshest: a flip of Ty Dolla Sign’s “Paranoid.”