With her constant collaboration efforts with Japanese electronic pop group SNOW, Tokimeki Records and UQiYO, Froya is fast becoming a mainstay collaborator in the Japanese music scene in the past 2 years.
The singer-songwriter recently released her long-awaited EP, Creature. We spoke to the talented artist on her growth from Panic Bird to her new three-track EP.
On the titled track,
“It’s not a being, and it’s not a perfect being either. ‘Creature’ somehow manifested into something on its own during this period. What I loved about the end product was that it spoke with honesty, and that it came from a fragile but sincere place.”
AL365: Hi Froya, Vanessa here from AsiaLive365. Thanks for taking the time to have this interview with us.
Congratulations on the release of Creature. We love the evolution and maturity from your last EP, Panic Bird. It’s such a defining moment. ‘B.L.O.W’ is really cool! What can you tell us about the journey and growth that this EP has brought you – from its conceptualisation to its final release in November? We heard that it was produced during the Covid lockdown in Malaysia.
Froya: Thank you Vanessa! Thanks for taking the time to listen to the EP!
Yes, indeed Creature the EP was produced during Malaysia’s lockdown in my little apartment with a super DIY recording booth made out of two single bed mattresses and a thick quilt as the roof of the booth. This has brought back memories when I was producing in my bedroom as a teenager. That nostalgic feeling was a good humble place to start work on the EP. I feel that it helped strip away all the expectations and insecurities in me to focus on expressing myself musically.
If it wasn’t for the lockdown, this EP wouldn’t be complete. Life before the pandemic for me was quite overwhelming as I have a full time job while juggling my music career on top of travelling, performing, producing etc. The idea of releasing an EP has always been in the back of my head, but work commitments just kept on postponing it.
When the lockdown began, all of the sudden I felt that I had more time to sit down and reflect on my journey. It has been a tough two years for everyone. The pandemic definitely makes you reflect on everything because of the sudden shift; life constraints and the uncertainty, which I think later became the core emotions of the EP. I took this time to revisit a catalogue of unfinished tracks/ideas in my library, and picked out a few that would fit the raw and honest emotions I wanted to convey about what I was going through during the pandemic. “Creature” stood out immediately and I knew that it would be the title of the EP.
Funny how I wrote the skeleton of Creature before the pandemic but the relevance of it never really hit me. When it was completed during the pandemic, it struck me that it really resonates with the current situation we are in now, (partially) living like a creature trying to figure a way to survive and fit into the ever changing world, while shielding ourselves from harm and danger.
AL365: Tell us – what sort of sounds and music inspired you?
Froya: These days I’m drawn more to the vibe of the track regardless of the genre. I love songs that can hit you in the gut with real emotions.
AL365: Fun question. If you could describe the colour, texture, taste, smell of your music, what would you say?
Froya: That was how I started writing some of my older tracks like ‘Dark Chocolate’, ‘Halloumi Honey’, ‘Black Macaroon’ by imagining the taste and smell if I were to eat them!
I think each track has its own unique flavor, color and texture, so I would name them differently. For the Creature EP as a whole, for some reason I have the image of moon pies or chocolate coated marshmallow pies pop up in my head!
AL365: What is your creative process like? Are you more of a melody first person, or lyrics first?
Froya: No real order. Sometimes it starts with lyrics first, and other times melody comes first. These days, I find that the sound and arrangement could drive the song when I don’t want to think about what to say, I like to keep it open.
AL365: You’ve collaborated with a number of Japanese electronic pop groups. Do you hope to see yourself contributing more with these bands and fellow music artists in the future? Or is there any dream band or artist that you would love to work with some day?
Froya: Absolutely! I feel that personally, they have inspired me more than I could contribute to them. It’s always so refreshing to collaborate, work and learn from other talented and aspiring musicians. I hope I can continue to be inspired by the great minds of the people I have had the chance to work with. I feel it helps to bring out the best in me.
AL365: What are you working on at the moment?
Froya: I am currently working on the next few singles for the year… I’m hoping I can be more productive and “on schedule” than I was last year. Work aside, I’m also working on healthy habits and taking care of myself physically and mentally. Self-care and living life are one of my goals in 2022.
AL365: Is there anything you like to say to your fans and listeners out there?
Froya: I just want to thank each and every listener out there who’s spent their precious time listening to my releases in the past 10 years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!