CMW preview: Absolutely Free shed DD/MM/YYYY past, talk upcoming album
DD/MM/YYYY were one of the first bands we covered on Resonancity, so when we heard four-fifths of the band were regrouping to form the new group, Absolutely Free, inviting them to play our CMW showcase was a total no-brainer. But since they don’t have any music online beyond a few live videos, and since they’ve only played a handful of shows, we decided to meet up with multi-instrumentalist Moshe Rozenberg in a park in Kensington Market to get a sense of the new direction.
“It just felt at the end of DD/MM/YYY’s run that we were falling into certain formulas, and that was ironic coming from a band trying to be different every single day of the week,” says Rozenberg, making an inadvertent pun. “But I think as Absolutely Free, even though we’ve been playing music together for 8 years, there’s no formula, there’s no roles, and that lets us be a lot more flexible and dynamic as a unit.”
Like DD/MM/YYYY, Absolutely free uses a complicated setup that involves multiple sets of drums, synths and guitars, while the four members trade parts and instruments, often within individual songs. But unlike their predecessor band, they don’t mind settling in and riding a groove for longer periods of time. That creates a less spastic, more mesmerizing aesthetic that skews closer to psych, funk and kraut than the math-punk of their past, though still with more complicated rhythms and time signatures than you’d often hear from a rock band.
“We’re not afraid to let people in the audience nod their heads a bit,” says Rozenberg. “DD/MM/YYYY was the ultimate A.D.D. band. We’d have a part that’s cool, play it for a bit, and then just move on. I think Absolutely Free is playing things for a lot longer and really just trying to hypnotize people. For instance, it’s not like we’re at 10 at all times. We be at a 2 and then move to an 8, but that makes the 8 that much more dramatic.”
One of the things that made DD/MM/YYYY such an impressive live act was the way they were able to play intricate, complicated, stop-start parts without dropping a beat. That largely came from endless gigging (they played more than 200 shows between 2009 and 2010), but at the moment the members of Absolutely Free are hesitating to regain their road warrior title. Instead, they’re focusing on recording. In just a few months of existence, the band has already written more than a full album’s worth of material.
“We’re planning to put out an album, plus another smaller release,” says Rozenberg. Predictably, my next question is: when?
“Right fucking now. Like as soon as we possibly can. DD/MM/YYYY always claimed to be a ‘we’re doing it now’ kind of band. And we were for a while, but I guess near the end we lost our drive. With Absolutely Free, it really is now. We’re not waiting.”
- Richard Trapunski