Forget TV commercials (not that there's anything wrong with them); for that matter forget TV shows too (ditto; sometimes). I mean, they're all so 20th century. And you may as well also forget movie soundtracks. Because despite their potential enormity, few truly do go huge, let alone get big enough to really reach deep into the hearts and minds of the masses.
Nah, when you wanna break a band these days, it's best to work the interactive side of the equation, where the music accompanies some kind of action, even if it is armchair action. I'm talkin' about games, dig? -- specifically, video games. And when it comes to heating up that corner of Cool and Cooler, there may be no hotter band in the land than Freezepop.
The list of Freezepop's game day contributions reads like a flipbook of geek hits: FreQuency and Karaoke Revolution ("Science Genius Girl"); Amplitude ("Super-sprøde"), Rock Band ("Sprode" and "Brainpower"), Downhill Domination ("Bike Thief"), Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 3 ("Stakeout"), and, perhaps most infamously, Guitar Hero ("Get Ready 2 Rokk") and Guitar Hero 2 ("Less Talk More Rokk"). Most recently, Freezepop have added melodic thrust to Phase ("Pop Music is Not a Crime"), a mobile music game available for Apple's Nano, Classic and fifth generation iPods.
Of course, it doesn't hurt a bit that much of Freezepop's music sounds as if it were composed on a GameBoy (it's really a Yamaha QY-70). Nor does it hurt that Freezepop member Kasson Crooker, aka The Duke of Pannenkoeken, happens to be Senior Project Lead at video game developer Harmonix.
There's a "huge opening right now for developers," Crooker recently told The Christian Science Monitor. "Bands and musicians have a whole new way of marketing their music, and fans enjoy music a lot more when they can interact with it. It's a different level of appreciation."
Now I might not be the best person to gauge the effectiveness of Freezepop's infiltration into this heady realm. Hell, I think the last video game I played was Pong. But I can surely see how this whole interactive thing would lead to a greater closeness, even as it distances the listener from the band. See, by incorporating their groovy into an onslaught of video games, Freezepop has become nothing less than the soundtrack for a whole generation's inner minds.
Inversely, there's a litany of hotshot remixers who've taken the Freezepop to the dancefloor: Designer Drugs, Future Bible Heroes, Kodomo, Fairlight Children, Inter-Sect, Blazing Lazer, Tubeway, and more. And while the names may not be as ubiquitous as the games to which Freezepop have been attached, their place in the dance-pop pantheon is no less vital to the band's success.
And this, my friends, is a place where I'm fully qualified to gauge things. Yes, as you might suspect, I survived the 1980s once already, in New York as a matter of fact. And Freezepop's music seems to spring from a heyday I've already lived. And though anybody would be hard-pressed to re-invent a time when clubs such as Hurrah, Mudd and Danceteria featured everyone from Suicide to Bronski Beat, there is a whole lotta similar excitement in everything Freezepop does.
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So No, I won't be firing up the Nano and getting with the beatific beat behind "Pop Music is Not a Crime." But I will be among the crowd at Vagabond this Friday when that song shouts back to a more technically innocent time. And who knows? I just may shuffle over to the dancefloor and move my feet, as if it were then all over again.
Freezepop. Friday, February 20. The Vagabond, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m.; admission is $5 from midnight to 4 a.m. Ages 21+ with ID. 305-379-0508; www.thevagabondmiami.com
Saturday, February 21. With Zombies! Organize!! and TV Kills Kids. Respectable Street Cafe, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Show starts at 8 p.m., tickets cost $14 in advance. Ages 18+ with ID. 561-832-9999; www.respectablestreet.com