A staple of the L.A. scene, Freddy Be and Savi Leon are keeping it strictly underground.
Freddy Be and Savi Leon are true purveyors of the underground. The longtime friends and recent collaborators have been supplying the West Coast with fresh beats separately for the last twenty years as DJs, promoters and producers. Releasing tracks on some of the world’s most respected labels and playing equally credible sets at Coachella, BPM Festival, Avalon Hollywood, Exchange (LA), Audio (SF), Sound Nightclub and the Busan mega club Hive, in South Korea.
Since combining forces, the two talented producers have brought their deep, dark, late night style to a string of prominent UK based imprints, most recently the home-grown Liverpudlian label ‘New Violence Records‘. We chat to Freddy and Savi about their music and carving out a career in L.A. in this exclusive interview.
Read to the bottom of the page for the brand new guest mix from the guys, featuring a lot of their new music.
How and when did you guys meet and start working together?
Savi: I met Freddy back in 2009 when I started going to his weekly party Monday Social. Throughout the years, we kept in touch as he booked me to play for him at MNS. We started working together about a year and a half ago.
Freddy Be: We’ve known each other for many years through the LA club scene, and always had similar tastes when it came to producers we both admired. With that said, it just came down to chatting one day on the phone when I suggested the idea of maybe collaborating on some music which ended up as our debut release on Under No Illusion titled Benevolence EP which featured remixes from Ki Creighton, Joeski and Doc Martin.
You guys are both based in LA, a town known for it’s rock and roll heritage. What’s it like trying to build a career in electronic music there?
Savi: Building a career in electronic music in LA has definitely been quite a challenge. There is so much going on here when it comes to music culture. But thanks to guys like Freddy the underground electronic scene has been alive and well for over two decades.
Freddy Be: I actually moved to LA after living in the UK for 12 years in the early 90’s, right when the Rock Scene took a nose dive so that’s kind of an interesting question. By chance, I met a famous English actor (Hint: used to be on Coronation Street) that gave me my first pill and introduced me to Acid House, which belw my mind.. This was when the underground scene was just starting to take shape here in Los Angeles. Most of these parties were organized by UK ex-Pats, who came to Los Angeles for the great weather, among other things and, during those early years really did lay down the brick work in LA for a movement that’s still thriving to this day.
Honestly from that point on there was no turning back, and eventually catapulted me into a vinyl addiction followed by the start of my DJ career in 1994.. This all eventually lead to throwing one of the most legendary weekly club nights that I’m best know for in the mid 90’s called the Monday Social which hosted many LA debuts with some of the biggest names in today’s underground dance world. It also broke the record for the longest running weekly house music event in America which I put my heart and soul into every Monday for over 20 years (1996-2018).
How has the rise of EDM affected the LA club scene, has it made it easier or harder for underground house music?
Savi: The rise of EDM (lol).. Well that fad lasted a few years. But ya you would only see these type of acts in the big commercial clubs. So I’d say in ways it made it easier for the underground events to succeed as no body who was into underground music would be caught dead in commercial nightclubs. But in ways it definitely made it harder for underground music to have success in bigger clubs.
Freddy Be: I’ve always looked at EDM as more of a gateway drug for newbs who eventually figured out that the music that opened their minds to dance music was actually complete rubbish (lol), forcing them to explore and realize that there are many more interesting sounds and sub genres yet to be discovered.
These days you have all the big casino money being throw around again and entertainment companies in places like Las Vegas who have been lining up residencies with the likes of Soloman, Jamie Jones and The Martinez Brothers so, for good or for worse, it’s obviously made underground dance music stronger (or more commercial) when you look at it from that perspective. It’s the same thing that went down in Ibiza with Ushuaia etc, the landscape on the island has changed so much over the years but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.. There’s always going to be different types of people attracted to what becomes “trendy” music, so hopefully people actually “get it” and are into it for the right reasons!
You are both regular faces on the US DJ circuit, do you have any plans to play in the UK soon?
Savi: Would love to play in UK as I have heard amazing things. But no plans as of yet as we are still working on building our profiles so that we can have more of a draw out there.
Freddy Be: I’ve played in the UK a few times back in the day, first at The End’s 8 Year Anniversary Party with Mr C and Layo & Bushwacka, at The Mint Club in Leeds and also at an underground party in Shorditch called Deeper Substance.
Right now like Savi said, we’re just trying to build our profile with all the various releases we have under our belts, so hopefully the opportunity to play in the UK will present itself at some point in the future, once the doors start opening up for us a little more.
Your ‘Sands Of Time EP’ is released on 5th March on UK based imprint ‘New Violence Records’. How did you start working with the team there?
Savi: Been following New Violence for quite some time now as they are one of those labels that’s always releasing interesting music. I sent them over Sands Of Time as I felt it was something that they would be into. Lucky enough they were 🙂 and I’m happy they were as they were one of the labels on our bucket list.
Freddy Be: I was first introduced to New Violence indirectly through Ki Creighton who also released an EP on the label around the time we first started working with UNI last year. My good friend Pirupa also worked with the them and highly recommended the idea when I told him they were interested in possibly releasing our second EP. The tunes on this release have a more unique sound so we were super stoked to find a forward thinking label like New Violence that got the vibe and were equally as excited to release our follow up EP!
Do you have any more collaborations in the pipeline that you can share with us?
Savi: We are currently working on a handful of projects. And also looking forward to our follow up EP on Under No Illusion that’s coming out later this year.
Freddy Be: Yeah, loads of new music on the horizon, and each one we finish is always, in our opinion, the best thing we’ve ever done lol.. We’re both super excited about the new material that we’re sitting on, and eager to get them on the conveyor belt for people to hear.. each release is a progression and musical accomplishment for us so very excited to find the right homes for them per say. Besides that, there’s one other collaboration that I worked on last year with long time friend Freaky Chakra that Sasha signed to Last Night On Earth, we still have no confirmed release date for this though so fingers crossed that it will come into fruition this year, you can hear this one on our mix (2nd from last track), and the others mentioned above on the first part of the mix!
Between you, you’ve had past releases on highly respected labels like Toolroom, Greatstuff, Natura Viva, Zulu, Under No Illusion, Perspectives Digital, S.O.U.L Vibration and now New Violence Records. What would be ‘the dream next release’ if you could choose any label?
Savi: Ah man so many to choose from. But I’d have to say 8bit or Repopulate Mars.
Freddy Be: It’s tough getting labels to pay attention to music these days but if I had to narrow it down, would probably be either Knee Deep In Sound or Crosstown Rebels maybe but like Savi said, too many to mention so any of these labels run by producers we both highly respect would be an honor really.
Now for the big question…. Who is your favourite superhero?
Savi: Lol another tough one, I’m gonna go with Batman :)”
Freddy Be: For me, it would definitely have to be either Hong Kong Fuey or The Incredible Hulk (the TV Series from the early 80’s). That Incredible Hulk theme song was so melancholic and always made me feel sad for David Banner at the end of every episode 🙂
We Share House Podcast 010 Mixed By Freddy Be & Savi Leon
You can read more exclusive WSH Interviews here.