Andre Paolo Juan and Joan Sullivan combine powers and create something bigger than themselves with their artistic outlet Freak Fingers. They combine R&B and soul with organic instrumentation to create something completely unique and breathtaking. Freak Fingers’ full-length album “LA Paz” is a project that immediately grabs attention. This unique fusion of passionate, soulful vocals, poetic imagery, and a decidedly retro, yet classically-inspired soundscape is the perfect way to kick off a playlist with intrigue. “Escape Room” goes on to lean towards the distorted jazz-inspired piece, enveloping the listener in an artistic moment of engagement, ultimately introducing the album in a powerful and completely unexpected manner. Joan’s sweet and raspy vocals make for the perfect vessel through which these ideas can emerge. Simultaneously, this trip-hop style, jazz-cafe soundscape and subsequent moments of funk and R&B hold you close. The smooth grooves and likable vibes make it a total pleasure to escape within.
“Carry This Fur Elise” brings the mood back to mellow with the bare essentials – piano, a light beat, a scattering of vocal fragments. Joans’s voice meanders impressively as this regretful and heartfelt song pours through. “Here” afterward exemplifies many of the album’s underlying sentiments and emerges with confidence and a chaotic gathering of elements. It quickly kicks up a sense of brightness and an eighties beat hits hard and the melodic riff in the distance adds musical personality. “Vere” leads with a creative beat that takes its time to build. Further realizations emerge, regret and possibility meet to see Freak Fingers consider the past followed by the future. It kicks up with a superb soundscape and an engaging verse melody – short lines and a simple, memorable tune, with heightened peaks at the end of each section, all help make this an absolute personal favorite from the album.
There’s a whole lot of emotion here, and this is what “Puzzle Peace” is, every aspect works hard to portray the weight of relationship struggles and false impressions. Freak Fingers’ honesty juxtaposes the colorful, contrastingly optimistic soundscape here in a wonderful way. This is an engaging and catchy tune, but with an undertone of melancholy and misunderstanding. Beginning with a simple and fairly optimistic soundscape, a jazz-style, quick-paced chord presentation, “What I Do” moves into its quietly vocal-driven groove with a certain shyness at first. As things progress, the beat shows itself to be a little more creatively inclined than the average offering, leaning back and forth between genres. More than this though – the lyrics begin to pour endless personal truths and even vulnerabilities into the mix, effectively taking the experience somewhere else entirely, and introducing an artist with an undeniably open and genuine way with writing.
“Singularity” is poetic and balances metaphorical imagery with personal dashes of experience and emotion. The softness of the presentation works well as the final song – rather than going out with a bang, Freak Fingers utilize these closing moments to remind listeners of the heart and soul that ultimately drives every track in the collection. Creatively balancing those soulful, delicate R&B vocals and a backbone of organic instrumentation, “LA Paz” is in a league of its own. Fusing impeccable production skills, with silky smooth vocals, ever-impressive musicianship, and an undeniably heartfelt and personal way with writing, their sound is something that breaks down the walls between genres and all the while paints Freak Fingers as an act truly worth knowing about. Check out “LA Paz” here and keep scrolling for our exclusive interview with Freak Fingers!
Can you tell us more about your intentions when you first began to curate your recent album?
This album was actually completely unintentional. After our relocation to Los Angeles, we had this power surge of creativity. It began with one song called "Here," which we felt like we were going to release as a single, but we just kept writing as we coped with the transition. Pretty soon, we looked at each other, and we were like, "Wait, is this an album?" We just transformed our stresses and worries into music that allowed us to rise above and find peace.
How long have you been making music, and what are your main aspirations right now as a duo?
We have been creating together for almost two years now, and we have always felt things as they come. We just like to stretch our fingers out as far as possible and see what we have managed to reach. So probably a tour is on the horizon. Ideally London, New York, and Amsterdam, maybe Idaho. Our main goal is to share our music with any person who may be touched by our story, sound, or lyrics.
You seem to be artists that put more thought into your lyrics than most. What can you tell us about the lyrical depth within “Singularity”?
It all started with a Netflix documentary called "NOVA: Black Hole Apocalypse." Our third eyes were really opened, and we ended up having a late-night discussion about the world, our universe, karma, fate, chaos, relativity, singularity, and Big Bang: the sequel, maybe. We normally thrive on feeling so in-sync with one another, and that night, we accepted that there is a certain ebb and flow to this life. There is this unspoken, intricate balance of riding out the waves, and at times, swimming against the currents to become whole again. A black hole can be a destructive, planet-eating, galaxy-sucking beast, but ultimately, beyond the event horizon, there is a singularity. Being out of sync can feel as chaotic as stars imploding, but singularity can bring back balance and peace.
How many releases have you done as a duo? How did this collaboration come to fruition?
Together, we have released a handful of singles, an EP called, "Hands," a cover of "Moon River," our debut album, "LA Paz," and we have already begun our most evolved sounding album called, "Los Feliz," set to release in 2020. Andre and I met at a coffee roastery by day, bar by night called, Spokesman, in Austin, TX. I was working behind the bar when Andre first came by on his birthday to have a couple of drinks. A couple of months later, Andre had applied and gotten a job at Spokesman himself. We hit it off immediately doing something we both enjoyed very much: making coffee. We talked tasting notes, discussed pouring methods, went to latte art competitions on edibles, talked about our dreams, started jamming together, wrote a song called, "Lonely Pop," and froze. We had to take a moment because things were beginning to align with the full moon and such. We realized that there was way more to us than co-working. We became best friends who both had disjointed digits driven to create, so we decided to start a project called, "Freak Fingers."
Thanks for chatting with us! How have you honed your songwriting style over time, and what do you think are the main qualities that make a song truly connect and last in the long-run?
Over time, we have learned that music may not be forced. If one opens themselves to vulnerability and listens, the music will find them. We often get lost focusing too much on details and structure, which are both important, but ultimately, we find what works best is feeling something through and giving it space to free form. Letting go of expectation has been a lesson learned as well. If we have a preconceived worry about a song sounding too cliché or complex, then it will be. Once again, you have to find this unique balance of reaching and flowing; that is what makes a song timeless. The lyrics have to match the melody, and vice versa, as if one could not exist without the other, very much like puzzle pieces. Music has always been existing magic in nature. Lyrics are our way of interpreting and connecting with that force in order to understand the world around us. The more honest you can be in a song, the longer-lasting it will be. The Beatles, mic drop.