Three friends – an architect, a photographer, and a programmer - reunited after several years abroad to launch a story that responds to the current situation in the Rock ’n’ Roll scene. Driven by strength, emotion, and desire, FREEDOM brings head-banging riffs and a strong groove – not to mention insane energy and sweat – to its live shows. The band is based in Montenegro, represents a spark for the rock ‘n’ roll scene in the Balkans, a contrast to overly computer-generated music machinery and the increased clinging onto mainstream trends and the lack of the new, heavy sounds that would provoke raw energy and excitement. Rade “Duda” Vukčević – the band’s frontman – made some time for a beer and an interview .
First and foremost, what was the main reason for you to start a band?
The fact that, to my own taste, there are no proper rock bands anymore. Either they are a copy of the ‘70s era sound through a retro-wave lens or they’re pushing themselves into subgenre extremes, whether that be whipped-cream intensity indie rock or a pointless grinding of cliché metal riffs in endless and predictable loops.
In general, however, rock has softened as I see it, and the likes of Mumford and Sons, Arctic Monkeys, and The National, no matter how great or popular, are not a true representation of the rock spirit if you ask me, which is all about pushing the boundaries of comfort, introspection and to a certain degree, power and energy.
As a frontman, what is your perspective about Montenegro, and the regional music scene?
Dull, uninspired, and dead. For a region that used to function very efficiently in cultural terms, comparing what we have now to Yugoslavian times is at best funny, and at worst, depressingly tragic.
The mainstream industry of really low-quality pop is the only successful cultural cluster with a functional distribution network and an ever-expanding fanbase – everything else is too divided, limited from city to city, leaving very few bands that have any relevance beyond their own borders. A general lack of resources, attitude, and state support don’t help, and when one takes into account objectively all the obstacles present here, among alternative circles, and the general laziness of the younger generation so that you find ten aspiring DJs for every half-decent instrumentalist, it only makes sense that mediocrity is currently king of the alternative scene. Exceptions to such rules are always possible, and we aspire to be precisely that – but in general, it’s a desert down here, and not the decadent kind.
Do you intend to provoke or make a statement with your music and shows?
Definitely, the aim is to bring intensity and emotional power to a larger audience, while staging concerts that are both aesthetically rich and thought through, with deep and honest lyrics driven by hard grooves – yet all to the purpose of turning shows into what they used to be – two hours of collective enjoyment, fun, love, euphoria, and a sharing of emotions rather than what has become customary in many European clubs nowadays – a selfish, private, and socially anxious indulgence in the same beat, hour after hour, without the slightest push to engage with the crowd on a direct level. The point of our music, however, is just like the point of the band… Pursuing freedom in life at a time when freedom itself is fairly limited – especially in a practical sense. The freedom to live as one is not expected to, the freedom to love in a way one is not allowed to, and the freedom to fight for what is important in a way we are never encouraged to. These themes are in line with what we are about, as well as the freedom to, at the end of the day, go fuck yourself. It’s an intense and challengingly deep concept at a time when everything is being streamlined for consumption in your fifteen-minute work-break.
What types of people come to listen to you?
So far, the curious and different types! In a place this small, that means not too many people, but the number has been in the hundreds the past few gigs, which is great. Curiosity is a powerful factor in self-development, and I think the one thing our audience truly shares is a quest for high energy – constantly on the lookout for an inspiring experience, something that will drive you into new thoughts, ideas, observations, and of course, decadence. They don’t come from particular genres though, and to be honest, I feel proud that we actually get fans from all sorts of music backgrounds – but I think that we do best with those who prefer late hours to early ones, dancing to sitting, drinking to eating, and chasing life to letting life just happen to them.
What can your fans and your audience expect from you?
Love is always guaranteed, it’s a genuine emotion we share with our fans. Loyalty. On top of this, though, they can also expect ambition and, God willing, a great and prospective future. On the technical side of things, an album for sure, if not two over the coming season. It’s time, we’ve been together for two years now, and with an EP released, albeit guerilla style and from hand to hand, our chemistry, focus and potential are at a place where it’s time to converge everything we are capable of into our first formalized set of 40-50 minutes of music, in its full capacity. This will be the ending of the prologue so far, and the first real chapter of something meaningful.
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