Ajay Friese

by the partae

Where are you currently based?

I kinda’ float between Vancouver, BC, Canada, and Victoria, BC, Canada. I have acting agents in Vancouver & LA. Happy to go wherever!

How did you first start playing music?

Honestly as a little kid I was always very musical. You know how some kids are constantly doodling in the corners of their homework? That was me, except I would be humming and drumming my hands (I would do this even before I could talk… or at least that’s what my parents tell me). I insisted on learning the violin when I was 4, and then I announced “I’m retiring” when I was 5…..ya, insistent!

But I did pick it up later, and the drums, and piano for a bit too, but I was never one to practice. It was only when I started writing music that I finally picked up the guitar – and mostly taught myself.

What’s been happening recently?

DAMN. MUCH. I recorded my debut EP in New York City with Grammy nominee Everett Bradley producing (Springsteen, Bon Jovi). Actually, I filmed a music video for one of the songs this week, and another one in the summer down in L.A. with my Lost In Space co-star Mina Sundwall directing. Speaking of Lost In Space, we have our 3rd season dropping on Netflix in the next few months – it’s honestly SO dope, I can’t wait for fans to see it.

Your new EP ‘Light a Match…Then Run’ is out on October 8th, what influenced the sound and songwriting?

I grew up dabbling in different instruments and going to rock and indie-folk music festivals, so I think live instrumentation just really does it for me. Songwriting has always been my outlet – my way of making lemonade out of any turbulences in my life.

How did you go about writing the EP?

This debut EP has always been a dream of mine. It’s a collection of 6 of my favourite songs of those I’ve written over the past decade. The oldest song is ‘Blackberry’. I wrote it in grade 7 after accidentally setting the hill behind my house on fire (luckily no one got hurt). I wrote the most recent song during the pandemic, when I was fighting self-loathing and working to love myself more. So it’s really a road trip through my teenage and young adult life, complete with some romance of course!

Where and when did you record/produce/master the EP and who with?

I wrote and arranged all the tracks myself, and composed the instrumentation with the help of my producer Grammy nominee Everett Bradley (Springsteen, Bon Jovi). We recorded in New York City at Mission Sound (Arctic Monkeys, Shawn Mendes, The Black Keys). JUNO winner Jason Dufour handled the mixes, and Grammy winners Joao Carvalho and Brian Lucey mastered the EP. I was lucky to be able to feature world-class musicians like Alex Nolan (guitarist for Cindi Lauper), Chelton Grey (bassist for The Black Eyed Peas), Lorenza Ponce (violinist for Sheryl Crow, and she even helped arrange The Chicks’ ‘Landslide’), and more!

How did you approach the recording process?

First, I spent a week at my producers NYC apartment pouring over 20 of my most favourite songs I had ever written. Together we picked our favs and made demos on his laptop, recording different live and computerized instruments, and mapping out how we wanted it all to sound. Ev helped me find the right musicians and book the studio/rehearsal spaces, and when we finally met up with all the musicians we spent two days rehearsing, then a week recording all the layers, and another week recording the vocals. That, of course, just got us part way – all mixing and mastering and getting it to release stage took another….well longer than I care to admit. It certainly taught me to appreciate how complex the whole process is.

Who are you listening to at the moment?

I’ve been super into the two most recent Taylor Swift albums, Folklore and Evermore. If you haven’t checked these out, you should, you’ll probably be presently surprised. All the songs are delicately crafted and never really get super big, but instead just drop you into an emotion, a story, and you just sort of live in it. I found it very emotionally affecting, especially when I paid attention to the lyrics.

What do you like to do away from music?

I get stoked on so many things, like the way a certain tree is growing, or a rock I found on the beach. I’ll get super inspired by different actors or musicians and watch and read hours of content online about them. I’ve also had phases where I’m super into hermit crabs, or bonsai trees, or making Harry Potter wands, or making self-sustaining terrariums inside jars. But honestly, like many people, hanging out with my friends is one of my favourite things to do.

What’s planned for the remainder of 2021 going into 2022?

Well I’m releasing my debut EP ‘Light A Match… Then Run’ on October 8th, and I just finished up a class at Quest University. After my EP comes out, I’m planning on heading to Portugal to work with a music producer named Vinay Vyas (Nicki Minaj, Jason Derulo) on what may very well turn into my debut album. Stay tuned! And somewhere in there Lost In Space the final season comes out – and who knows, maybe you’ll also see me on the screen in something else soon.

Favourite food and place to hangout?

My favourite food is my grandma’s spicy/savoury breakfast oatmeal. It’s seasoned with turmeric, chilli, cumin, mustard seeds, lemon, salt and cilantro, and it is divine (just like my grandmother). My fav place to hangout is probably the middle of the forest!

Facebook: /friendlybrownkid

Instagram: @friendlybrownkid

Twitter: @friese_ajay

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