MAO Assembly – Martin Andrews aka Octavia Freud on Staying Creative in Lockdown
Across the Isolation Music Diaries series, Oxford-based musician and promoter of Modern Art Oxford’s live Yard sessions, Martin Andrews aka Octavia Freud has been talking to local musicians about their experiences of lockdown and the ways in which they are staying creative. In this blog post, Martin reflects on his own experience as a musician and performer.
I have been performing live as Octavia Freud over the last 18 months at venues in Oxford and London. I use live electronic sounds, analogue synths, looped beats and voice FX to create a strange non gender specific alter ego. I like to think of it as lo-fi space pop with a personal and political edge. My latest album, ‘Smoke & mirrors’ was ready to be released in the same week of the lockdown. The album had just got some radio airplay on BBC Introducing Oxford and a nice review in Oxford’s Nightshift music magazine.
As it became clear it would not be safe to perform live, all the gigs to promote the album had to be postponed. This meant newly pressed copies of the CD and band T-shirt merchandise remained boxed up at home and a year’s worth of recording and creative energy came to a sudden halt. I fully appreciate there are much more important things at the moment and I do feel incredibly lucky to be able to carry on making music at home while others are putting themselves at risk whilst saving lives.
I have tried to use the time at home productively by starting a new online collaboration with a musician friend in London. I have been recording my natural voice without using FX so that has been strange! We have been sharing music ideas by email so don’t get to meet but we have already completed 3 new tracks and a new video.
Listen to new track Video Call by Octavia Freud here.
The project doesn’t have a name yet but it would be nice to record a whole album and perform some of the tracks live together when we eventually come out of isolation. There were plans to gig in Berlin this October so if this goes ahead we could try out the new material there.
In the meantime I am hoping that people will still get to hear the new Octavia Freud album online even if I have had to postpone the live shows for now.
Read more about Oxford’s local music scene and local artists’ responses to lockdown here.