Flow State, A Review of Freddy Todd's 'Southfield'
by Timothy Renato Pizza
Photo Credit: Mikey Revalds of Treevalds Productions, @treevalds on instagram
March, 2011: Austin, Texas via Sacramento, California
I moved to Sacramento, California because I had derailed my social life in a nebulous cloud of questionable decisions. Back then, I was working on a psychedelic rock record via FTP with my drummer in Brooklyn. The record label I was on hooked me up with a gig at a party during SXSW in Austin, Texas. The set was for 20 minutes in a night club. I don't remember a lot about that trip but I do remember meeting Freddy Todd.
The house we stayed in was a hub where random kids came and went from gig to gig. Freddy had the crazy eyes and a baseball cap. Him and his buddy were in from Detroit. His buddy played a horn, so him and Patch, my horn player, seemed to hit it off. We drank and played music until really late. Then we all went separate ways.
I left Austin with new faith in people and began making new friends. Freddy Todd was a part of that and I was stoked to have hung out with him.
January, 2018: Oakland, California, Guadalajara Taco Truck, Fruitvale Ave
I overhear a young tipsy female say "The new Freddy Todd record is so cool." I realized she had been talking about my friend from Austin seven years ago.
Sure enough he had a new record, Southfield. I downloaded it immediately.
This record is figuratively a breath of fresh air. It became my go-to album on morning commutes and when people were riding in my car.
The record is layered and intelligent. Somehow, it seems to be aware of itself. It will comes across as tough for a few bars with confident bass melodies and subtly yet immediately turns into a funk song, almost as if to say "Ha Ha!, thought I was gettin' serious there for a second? Fooled ya!" To me, Southfield is the musical equivalent of joy experienced while teasing a younger sibling. Though the songs have abrupt attitude changes, the mechanics never leave Freddy's predetermined parameters, meaning the flow of the songs are never interrupted. His music is highly detailed and playfully irreverent.
Another interesting trait to Southfield, for me, is that when I'm doing mindless bullshit at work or home, listening to the record seems to make time evaporate. It's different from mulling around with earbuds in.
I shot Freddy a quick email asking if he remembered me from Austin, asking if he'd be down to meet before a show sometime soon. We eventually made plans for me to pick him up at the airport in Sacramento and take him to his gig in Chico a few hours away.
January, 2018: Sacramento, California
I pulled into the Airport in the pouring rain and hopped out of the Jeep to welcome Freddy when my Jeep started rolling backwards into the pick up area at the airport. I ran and jumped into the Jeep, pulled the parking brake just before it wandered into oncoming traffic causing a disaster, a dangerous disaster that could've easily escalated into court dates or even a conflagration on evening news.
The drive was mellow, we ate snacks and caught up. Within seconds we'd connected like seven years prior. We caught up. Freddy told me his whole story of growing up in Detroit and all the bands he'd been in.
[I later broke the recorder that had that conversation]
January, 2018: Chico, California
I mentioned how time evaporates when I listen to Southfield and told him how I liked being able to tune out and motivate whenever I listen. "Oh that's Flow State." he tells me. Freddy noticed it when he started producing his music a long time ago and said that it started out as a byproduct and has turned into something that can be strived for. I was relieved that he had recognized that and I didn't seem like I had been connecting dots.
Unique occurrences of "Flow State" are sometimes rare and often hard to put into words. It's refreshing when those indescribable moments are recognized by others. For me, that happens almost as often as connecting with a friend I'd made at a party, briefly, seven years ago in Austin.
Freddy Todd is smart with a future in his music.
Listen to "Southfield." No matter your preferred genre, Southfield has something for you.
[During sound check we got weird with the camera]
[and here are the space kittens on their own]