In the 1820′s during the Greek War of Independence “Freedom or Death” became the war cry for the people of Greece. Their passion, belief and desires were so strong, that they accepted no substitute. The Toronto based duo adopted that name, as it’s their mantra when it comes to their music. “We want to have the freedom to make the music and the artistic choices that we want. If we can’t have that freedom, we’d rather not put anything out, which is the death of our art” says Fernandez, one half of the production and song writing unit. Freedom Or Death’s sound is based in everything, acoustic folk, electronica, traditional rock, hip-hop rhythms yet always rooted in lyrics with substance. “We didn’t want to get caged into any kind of pigeonhole,” Sway says. “That’s our freedom, to make the music however it comes out. We have two different sensibilities to making music that clash, but it’s how we actually reconcile them that’s interesting.”
With the release of their self titled EP, they’re creating and making music their way. The two of them met while working at a major record label and have a solid understanding of how the music industry works. “We know what sold, we know how to make it, but we decided not to make it. We created an artist record”, Sway says. “We decided we wanted to make music that we would like to listen to, regardless if it gets played on the radio or not.” Within three months of writing they had come up with an album’s worth of material and in true fashion, Freedom Or Death assumed all creative control; every song was written, produced, recorded and performed by the duo. Yet while they have proven they’re self contained there is a strong desire to work with like-minded artists. “We are more interested in working with a collective of artists, rather than being a silo unto ourselves,” Fernandez says. “Our artwork is being done by artists that inspire us, our videos are being shot by directors that we want to work with.”
Fernandez was classically trained as a pianist and has been a DJ for over a decade, while Sway has been a driving force as a vocalist and songwriter behind various bands, musically Freedom Or Death’s sound is eclectic, yet their approach to lyrics is clear. “We posed the question, are we going to write lyrics that resonate with a mass amount of people or are we going to write music from our heart?” Sway asks. “We decided to write things that had a truth to it. The lyrics are a really huge part, they’re not always the last part, but for me if there’s no lyrics for a song, the song stops.”
With a strong and steady creative process, stopping is the last point on Freedom Or Death’s agenda, they plan on touring, as well as another EP in the near future. As long as the band’s ideals of their art come first and commerce taking a back seat hold true, they will continue to make the music they want to make for as long as they desire.