The duo, now three years married, have been creating indie pop-folk tracks together under the moniker Freedom Fry since they first met in 2011. Nearly five years after those early days spent bonding while recording in Driscoll’s cramped New York studio apartment, the band has transformed this love into a full-fledged career. Their upbeat melodies, danceable rhythms, and reassuring lyrics have earned them licensed spots on TV shows including Judd Apatow’s ‘Love’, and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, as well as landed them in high profile ads from brands such as Madewell and Lanvin.
From the way they speak about music, It’s clear that Freedom Fry works hard to achieve the laid-back ambience of which they seem to generate so breezily. The music making process, although a shared passion, is a job that requires every bit of their attention and energy. It’s seen most visibly in their live performances, the band dances and jumps to the beat of their own sound in the hopes of reciprocating a similar positive energy from the crowd. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it when they’re unparalleled enthusiasm is able to establish the desired secluded environment of love, music, and optimism.
From tours across the west coast to shows in Paris, London, and even sold out sets at SXSW, Freedom Fry have been able to showcase their vitality all over the world, and very soon, the couple will be able to continue to spread their spirit throughout the US during their exclusive tour sponsored by Madewell. I was able to meet up with Freedom Fry before they set off. Over our iced coffees and tea, we discussed music, marriage, and the swimming pool of their dreams.
How did Freedom Fry come together? What’s your origin story?
Marie Seyrat: I was a stylist previously, I wasn’t in music at all five years ago. The last job I did was actually a music video of a another band he did called blondfire with his sister. And I met him and I played him a couple of songs I’d been singing that I had recorded on my phone.
Bruce Driscoll: Yeah, we were on set and she had these cover songs that she’d done in french on her iphone and I just thought she had a really cool voice, and I always loved french music, and french bands, and I thought it would be kind of cool to do something in french.
Seyrat: Which didn’t happen [laughs].
Driscoll: So we started dating pretty soon after that. She fled to New York where I was living at the time, and we wrote our first EP in a week. It was that thing where I was like ‘ok I don’t really know this person that well yet, here’s an activity we can do. We’re both making music, let’s just do like three hours a day writing songs’. And then at a certain point it got really serious, it’s funny how it flips. At first you’re like ‘oh we’ll just do it for fun’, and then after that you live and breathe it, you’re checking your email at 3am. It’s our baby now. Also, because of the fact that we’re in a relationship together, we care so much about it because we created it together, and it kind of takes on it’s own life.
What do you hope your music conveys? After someone has listened to a song you’ve created, what do you hope they take away from it?
Seyrat: I feel like we live in a world where things are not easy everyday. Honestly it’s kind of a fucked up world, and I feel like we kind of want to do music to make people happy. I love when I listen to a song in the car and I’m like ‘I want to dance’ and I want to just have fun and I feel like that’s what we like to do. Even though there’s a message definitely underneath, but it’s basically like don’t waste your time. It’s positive messages.
Driscoll: Yeah, we want people to feel good. Also we write a lot tailoring it to our live show to make it fun for us too, so people are having a good experience.
What does success mean to you? What’s your version of success?
Seyrat: To us, honestly we don’t really see too far. I think for us we already feel pretty lucky to be able to do what we’re doing.
Driscoll: To be able to survive off what we’re doing is the main goal.
Seyrat: Just to be able to live comfortably, and not have to struggle from month to month to pay the bills, or whatever. I don’t think we really talk about having big goals, I don’t really think that’s what we do this for, it’s just to be together. To be able to live together.
Driscoll: I think I’ll be able to say we’ve really made it when we have a swimming pool.
Seyrat: That’s true [laughs]. That might be the one thing. One day.
Does the fact that you're married affect your music making process in anyway?
Seyrat: It’s like being in two relationships.
Driscoll: Yeah, you got to manage your band relationship with your romantic relationship and make sure that one doesn't overpower the other.
Seyrat: Sometimes it’s difficult because it’s like we have our own company, and when you have your own company you want it to do well so you work on it non stop, and our home is our studio, so basically there’s no like ‘ok I’m working during the day, and then I’m leaving this behind tonight’, it’s not that at all. We basically think about music all the time.
Driscoll: Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to set down the laptops, the instruments, the phones, and just exist as a couple.
Tell me about your song ‘Shaky Ground’. What’s the story behind it?
Driscoll: Some friends of ours lent us their Simon and Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water CD, and it had a dvd that was about the making of the album, like a little documentary, and Paul Simon was talking about The Boxer and how when he got to the chorus he just felt like he didn't need lyrics. We thought ‘wow that’s really cool we should try to write something without lyrics’, cause we tend to write a lot of lyrics in our songs.
Seyrat: And I do know whenever that chorus comes, whenever that song is getting played somewhere, you see everyone singing, and I thought that that was always fun.
Driscoll: There’s no thought, it’s just human instinct. Once you have that melody in your head, you don’t have any words to memorize, It’s just simple and it feels good. And they were talking about Cecelia and how they were just sitting around their apartment banging on stuff and making a loop of rhythm, and so that also inspired us to do something similar where she was banging on a cupboard in the studio and I mic’d it up, and I was raking a guitar, and we kind of made a rhythm track. We just got super inspired by it. She was like dropping keys.
Seyrat: That was fun actually [laughs]. Sometimes you have to find other kinds of inspiration, because in the end you get comfortable in writing the same kind of songs.
You guys are also going on tour with Madewell pretty soon. Is that going to be different from other tours you’ve been on?
Seyrat: It’s actually going to be very different. It’s going to be every weekend. So usually when you go tour it’s from night to night, but with this tour we’re going to have a week in-between to come back home, or to do radio shows. So it’s going to be much more cool, much more calm.
Driscoll: And I’m just excited to play for these audiences and these cities. We’ve played most of these cities before, but we’ve never played in Chicago. It’s a different vibe. We don’t really know what to expect, we think it’ll be a different audience, but I still think it’s an audience that will get what we do, and hopefully respond well to the music. We’re really excited about it.