Respect | Freddy Locks

Irie Magazine | Respect - Freddy Locks

Freddy Locks

Seek Your Truth

Freddy Locks recorded his first album in 2004, an album that introduced him to the world with the single “Wake up”. That album, entitled ‘RootsRockStruggeling’, was never officially released to the public until now.

During his childhood, Freddy spent many hours in the streets of his neighborhood, Alvalade in Lisbon, where he absorbed the influences of the local Punk scene. He developed an attitude full of criticism while observing the urban environment surrounding him. This same attitude was associated with his refined artistic sense that helped shaped the musical projects he was involved in: from the initial Punk experiences, to the Reggae-themed projects, in which he has mastered. His musical biography is evident that Freddy faces music as he faces his life, always being the nonconformist and always positive and open to new approaches and perspectives.

In his 11 year music career, Freddy Locks has recorded four original albums and performed and participated in a multitude of concerts and events, always revealing a consistency that places him as one of the major names ever in reggae music in Portugal; a diamond in the Portuguese music scene that has yet to receive worldwide attention.

2014 marked his 10 year anniversary in his artistic life, a milestone that was celebrated on stage with a concert at the Musicbox in Lisbon on March 8. That achievement was followed up by the release of a new book, ‘Freddy Locks : Human-Together-Arise’, by magical photographer André Paxiuta.


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The Interview

IRIE. You were born and raised in Lisbon, the capital and largest city in Portugal. Was your childhood rooted in music?

Freddy Locks: I start listening to music and attending concerts when I was 11 years old. At the time, heavy metal music was my passion. It was the music I listened to until I was 16/17 years old. That’s when I started listening to punk music and hip-hop. Rage against the Machine was my favorite band.

IRIE. You’re not only a songwriter and singer, you’re also a guitarist. At what age did you discover the guitar? And what prompted you to want to excel at it?

Freddy Locks: My attraction to make music was because of my political attitude. It was the need for me to do something to change the world. That’s why I wanted to do music. I started playing guitar at the age of seventeen because of a visit to a studio with some friends who had a band. I was attracted to the guitar so I bought the cheapest guitar I could find and started playing. I had my first band where I just played guitar in a ‘grind-core band’. We had 3 vocalist and during that time I never even dreamed of being a singer. I just wanted to play guitar, making loud noises and playing as fast as I could. Of course the lyrics and atittude of the band was totally punk and anarchist.

IRIE. In the beginning of your music career, you were part of the punk-rock music scene in Portugal. Is it true that you were committed to the Anarchist movement?

Freddy Locks: Yes, from 1995 until 1998, I was playing in the streets, attending demonstrations and living everyday with anarchist people. I would go to ‘Squats’ and help create new Squats in Lisbon. I would go to meetings, etc… living my days as if they were the last. My neighborhood is famous in Lisbon and Portugal because the most important punk bands came from there. I was basically living close to many punk-rock bands.

IRIE. In 1995, you had a series of experience that changed your life. Can you share those experience with us?

Freddy Locks: It’s hard to relive all that I experience in that year, but I found myself as a person. It was the start of my music playing; the start of my experience in the Anarchist movement; my first trip to London where I attended a special event in Toulouse-France, a 10 days trip with revolutionary people. It was a camping trip organised by ‘4th international youth of Europe’ (Trotskys left wing movement) and this experience along with many others this year changed my life forever.

IRIE. You began playing reggae music in 1997. After high school, you spent two years traveling and hitchhiking, playing your music everywhere you went. What was that time like for you?

Freddy Locks: It was my own graduation in life, my university, many outstanding experiences. It was my golden years…living each day as the last, developing my consciousness and finding that reggae is my music and my way to find spirituality and share it with other people. During that time in my life, I found my path and learned how to survive in babylon and be an honest freedom fighter. Of course, this was done by suffering much and having much love around.

IRIE. In 2003, you began a solo career, dedicated to roots reggae. Take us back to that time.

Freddy Locks: When I realized reggae was my music, I heard it and played it everyday… all day. But during this time, it was very hard to find people who could play reggae in Portugal. You couldn’t find a variety of reggae music, just Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, UB40 and the commercial songs. So I formed my first reggae band as a songwriter and singer in 1999 called ‘Nature’. All the band members were not real reggae musicians, just my friends who liked reggae and wanted to help me achieve my dream of a reggae band. I had another band called ‘20 pás 8’. Then, in 2004, I formed a band called ‘Poormanstyle’ and while I was with that band, reggae producer Asher Guardian invited me to make a record at his house with very small equipment, all digital. That was when my solo thing started. I was always a band person, never wanting to become a solo artist but with life moving forward and myself needing to work to survive, I realized I had to go solo as the rest of the band members didn’t have the same commitment with music as I had. In time, I felt I had a clear vision of how all the instruments should sound to make the music I wanted to do. ‘Poormanstyle’ was still my last try to have a band instead of being a solo artist.

IRIE. You recorded your first album, Roots Rock Struggling” in 2004 with Reggae producer, Asher Guardian a.k.a. Asher G. How did you guys meet? What was the vibe like to work with Asher G?

Freddy Locks: I met Asher G. in a concert with my band ‘20 pás 8’ in the country side of Portugal. He was the sound engineer at that concert and at the end of the show, he made a DJ Selection and I went crazy! He had a music collection of reggae that I never heard before. He was the first real reggae expert I met. He also felt my vibe and sometime afterwards, we met up again. He invited me to record in his house where we made the ‘RootsRockStruggeling’ album.

To record the album, I had to meet with him on the weekends, taking a 4 hour train each time as he lived in country side. The vibes…man…it was magical…the talks, the learning, the weed, the Ital food. The vibes were real magic and he taught me many, many basics of reggae including how to groove. The message was always mine but the music groove I learned mostly through him; how to put the bass, the organ, etc… it was a magical time for me and since then, he has been one of my best friends.

IRIE. That same year, you founded the band Poormanstyle’ and had the opportunity to alongside Sly and Robbie at the MUSA Festival. What was the feeling like for you?

Freddy Locks: The concert in MUSA Festival in 2005 is still one of my greatest memories in my music career. It was the highest point for ‘Poormanstyle’ and a dream come true, to play just before ‘Sly and Robbie’ in front of a massive audience on a big stage. It was magical and a memory for life.

IRIE. In 2006 you recorded your second album, ‘Bring up the Feeling’, which was published by ‘Gumalaka’, the first independent reggae label in Portugal. During this period, did you feel that you were maturing into a true reggae artist?

Freddy Locks: Yes, you can say that, ‘Bring up the Feeling’ was my first album with a band. It was a band where Asher G. was the organ player and the rest were professional musicians. It was my first official release with full promotion, a video, and many concerts. It was also the first step into the music industry and the confirmation that I was respected as a reggae artist.

IRIE. I first learn about your music through your third album, ‘Seek your truth’ (2010). The title track was part of the Dread & Alive – Lost Tapes series which came out in 2011. That track is still part of my creative playlist. What does Seek your truth mean to Freddy Locks?

Freddy Locks: I feel ‘Seek Your Truth’ is the most important album I’ve made so far. Everything about it was perfect. The vibe with everybody and the result makes me very proud. To seek his own Truth…is the most important thing in life for me. To live, you must be truthful. Without truth, you are dead without knowing.

IRIE. In 2012, you release ‘Rootstation’ which shows off your acoustic style. How would you describe your music from the fourth album?

Freddy Locks: ‘Rootstation’ is like the end of a circle in my life. It shows my acoustic style and also deejay style in riddms. Some songs are really old. I made this album during a turning point in my personal life and music career.

It’s a Roots Reggae album, with a fresh flavor and a revolutionary message. That’s how I like to see it. But of course when we create a song and give it to the people, each one will feel his/her own vibe and have different feelings with the music.

IRIE. What’s next on the horizon for Freddy Locks?

Freddy Locks: I’m doing different works with several producers and preparing new material to be released. I will surely release new music by the end of this year and I’ll do my best to finally go international as I have yet to perform a concert outside Portugal.

IRIE. Anything you would like to share with the IRIE audience?

Freddy Locks: Let us do to others what we want them to do to us! Let us stop talking and start giving examples with true actions! Seek Your Truth… Now and Forever!

IRIE. Word! Give thanks, breddah! Irie Magazine Logo