Earlier this year on July 1st Crejuvent, which is a one-man project created by the multi-skilled Federico ‘Freddy’ Spera unleashed his anticipated debut 'Time EP' which was all performed and produced by himself. Find out all about the new EP, what inspires him, what lies ahead in the future and more below...
What made you decide to start your own solo project and how long have you been creating music?
At first, it was the fact that I wanted to release my own music but couldn’t find a drummer here in Liverpool that was capable and willing to devote the time needed for the project. Eventually, I realised that I really want the creative and artistic freedom to do whatever the fuck I wanted with a project and getting a band together had the potential to compromise that. If people want to play for Crejuvent and are totally committed to my selfish vision then that’s great, but I’m not gonna force someone to do it. I might get some session players here or there in the future, but so far I enjoy having my own little thang.As far as creating music, I’ve been doing it in some form since I was about 15? Since then it’s been basically like a drug if I don’t write something every now and then I get shakes and the cold sweats and have horrible shits as my body tries to purge itself in any way it can.
How did you arrive at the name of Crejuvent?
I accidentally came up with it when playing Scrabble once when I was about 15-16. When I needed a name for this project, I realised that Crejuvent came up with nothing on Google, and it sounds so fucking dumb and cringy that I had to use it. It’s both a means for me to subconsciously self-sabotage any future endeavours I do with this project due to a deeply rooted feeling of self-loathing and a way to present my dumb-ass sense of humour.
For those at aren’t familiar, how would you describe your sound?
I don’t know, the best way obviously is for you to check it out yourself (I mean seriously, it would take you about 30 seconds). I’d like to think of it as a mix of all my favourite metal bands, it containing the aggression and intensity of Strapping Young Lad, the harmonic content of Fleshgod Apocalypse, the flourishes of Gojira, and the production style of Static X. But obviously I’ll have a different perspective of the music, so who knows.
How did you first get into playing music?
My first experience was when I was about 7 and my parents bought me a keyboard for Christmas and piano lessons. After about a year of it, I began to hate it. Eventually, I picked up the double bass in my school orchestra, but then when we moved back to Italy I stopped playing since we couldn’t afford lessons. However, it wasn’t until we moved to the Netherlands that I began to take music much more seriously, after having picked up the bass guitar on the advice of my music teacher.
What would you say your main musical and creative influences are?
It mostly depends on what I’m working on; they can range greatly, to be honest. I listen to an awful lot of music and I always try to find something I like in everything I listen to. That being said, I’m primarily a metal kinda guy, with my favourite bands being Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory, Cynic, Beyond Creation, amongst many others. My main musical influences are heavily predicated on whatever I’m listening to at the time. Creatively, Devin Townsend and Steven Wilson are amongst my biggest influences: I really appreciate their approach to music and life and their continuous and relentless working habits are a bit inspiration to me.
What was the recording and process like for your new ‘Time EP’?
I think technically I started writing the songs that would end up on Time around mid 2015, but because I had just graduated and was still playing in about a million other bands it was a very on/off process. Eventually, I ended up having to couch surf for a few months after moving out of my old place, so that set everything back quite a bit. However, as soon as I had my own place again I started immediately working on the recordings. Once I had finished demos of each song, I began the recording process which in total must have taken me about two weeks (every day after work and when I wasn’t busy with my other projects I’d be home recording). Editing, mixing, mastering was about another month or two on top of that. Then came all the artwork and PR, all of which I had to do entirely on my own and in my spare time. It was exhausting but ultimately worth it.
Are there are main lyrical themes explored on the EP?
There isn’t a main theme really. Every song deals with a different topic, all of which are somewhat bleak and depressing to a certain degree. Since this is my own project, I wanted to use it to help sort of develop my own character through exploration and shit, so I focused lyrically on things that bothered or upset me. Sometimes the lyrics are much more direct, sometimes they’re hidden in a sea of allegory and metaphors. I enjoy leaving the lyrics open to interpretation, so that’s all I’ll say on the subject for now!
How challenging is it to perform, record and engineer your songs?
It’s interesting because I’m not a conventional guitar player. I only really began learning guitar as a songwriting tool, I can’t actually play that many songs that aren’t my own on guitar. So most of the time, if I’m writing a riff or whatever, it’s gonna be something that feels comfortable. I’m a very competent bassist on the other hand, so overall performing the songs is pretty easy. Vocally I’m still trying to find my limits, but I’ve been practicing more and more so I’m getting more comfortable with it. Recording the tracks is pretty easy, I’ve been recording since I was about 16, be it my own songs or other bands songs. I’ve pretty much recorded almost every release I’ve performed on (with the exception of a few sessions I only played bass on), so doing it for this was a piece of piss. Doing the mix is always a challenge, but it’s a lot of fun and I love doing it! I wanted to get as proper a mix as I could and not take any shortcuts with this release (as I usually end up getting a bit lazy here or there), and the fact that I recorded and performed everything meant I knew the songs well enough to do a good job on them. Plus the flexibility of being able to re-record stuff at will if needed really helps.
How does your latest EP compared to your 2015 ‘Pretty Demos’?
Fuck, I barely even consider ‘Pretty Demos’ a release haha. I just put it up to have some sort of content. ‘Time’ is a lot more cohesive, as it was intended to be an EP and not just a collection of demos I had lying around. You can listen to it as a whole and it makes a lot of sense, each song sort of flows to the next with a degree of fluidity, yet even on their own they’re great songs! ‘Pretty Demos’ lacks that sort of flow as it literally was just thrown together. That said, I do have a soft spot for the track ‘Dualism’ on that release…
As a one-man band, do you get the opportunity to tour much and is that something you would like to do more if you had touring members?
Hell yeah, I’d love to tour! I’m a performing monkey, I absolutely love being on stage. I do the odd gig here and there whenever I find a promoter that’s dumb enough to put up with my shit, but that doesn’t happen too often. Last show I did was for the Sophie Lancaster foundation, and I don’t know when my next one will be. If I get the opportunity to do a big show then yeah I’ll be getting session players involved.
Are you currently working on any new material and if so what can we expect from this?
I’m playing around with some stuff at the moment, I might have a cheeky release ready for mid 2018 but nothing is set in stone. I got another full-time band going on, plus a full-time job, plus occasional session and producing work, it’s hard to find time to write nowadays, and when I do I’m usually too mentally exhausted to come up with anything decent. But I do have some stuff I’m working on, I just don’t know when you can expect to hear it haha!
What else have you got planned?
I got plenty of stuff in the works. My other band, Novacrow, is in the middle of working on an EP (which I’m recording and engineering) and a music video (which I’m co-directing and editing) on top of a bunch of shows we have lined up (one of which is Winter Days of Metal in Slovenia!!). I’m in the process of joining a blackened death/thrash metal band on bass but that’s a more ongoing process at the moment. I just finished producing my first dance track which was a lot of fun, although I don’t know what’s gonna come out of that at the moment. Besides that, I’m just doing the usual stuff; working on some more online covers, doing the odd function gig here or there, doing small-time sessions, etc.
Have you got any advice for any aspiring musicians who also want to start their own solo project?
Do it. Seriously, the feeling of being able to do whatever the fuck you want to do musically without anyone telling you no is fucking orgasmic. Plus its great practice: you get to learn to write songs, play different instruments, produce, and all of the administrative side of things as well. Do it. Now. Go.
Check out this awesome lyric video for the title track 'Time' from the new EP:
For more on Crejuvent: