Henry Avery or better know on the seven seas, as Libertalia The Swashbuckler. If you couldn’t tell he is the tyrant of the treacherous ocean. Residing his ship in Colorado, this beach-dwelling, sailor of the sinister seas, is a whole story. So either walk the plank or strap in for a wild ride. ARRRR!
The pirates have arrived in the storm. Please welcome, Libertalia The Swashbuckler, to this pirate infused hurricane.
Question 1: We welcome you to the storm. We are curious though, can you inform us where the inspiration came from with the name?
Answer 1: Thank you! It’s a fun storm to be in! To be completely honest, the first time I was introduced to the name Libertalia was through Uncharted 4: A Thiefs’ End. It’s a story about the fall of pirate captain Henry Avery, his dream of creating a truly free pirate colony, and the failure that can come from becoming greedy in pursuit of dreams. I was struck not only by the idea of a free colony during the golden age of piracy, a place where all would be accepted with open arms regardless of their beliefs or past but also by the real historical connections. Henry Avery was a real pirate, and at the start of this project, I was going to use his name as my own, using Libertalia instead as the name of a collective I was going to lead. As time went on in the beginning of this project I began to feel that using the name Henry Avery wasn’t representative of what I wanted to achieve with music, and decided instead to take on the name Libertalia. Upon uploading to the major platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) I realized the name Libertalia was already in use, and some of my music was being categorized under the wrong artist, so I
made the decision to expand it to Libertalia the Swashbuckler. The name invokes the beautiful fantasy of a pirate’s life; the open sea, being unburdened by governments and corporations, and living by one’s own code of conduct. I want my music to be open to all, an experience that everyone can come together to enjoy with no judgment.
Question 2: What sort of origin story is involved with your fruition to dance music, and ultimately becoming a music producer?
Answer 2: It began about 9 years ago for me, and in a very different place than where I’ve ended up with music. In the beginning, I wanted to learn how to make chiptune style music and video game soundtracks. Video games have always been an art form that I loved deeply, and I knew I didn’t have the patience to learn coding or the visual skills to learn animation. So I thought music could be my way into that world, helping to set the emotional stage of these experiences. The first few tracks were interesting but incredibly basic, and I lost interest after a few months, but during my time in college at CU Boulder I met some music producers and was introduced properly into the world of EDM. I learned from my peers, making house music in my early projects, and fell deeply in love with the process of creating music. Seven years later I’m still making music but on a wholly different level than I was before. I still want to work on the soundtrack for a video game at some point, as I’ve learned the skills to really make something magical.
Question 3: For the unknowing reader and soon-to-be fans, would you walk us through your vision and trajectory as a musician?
Answer 3: My vision for Libertalia is not to take the world by storm, it’s not to change the face of dance music as a whole. For me, it’s always been something smaller, more intimate. I want to bring light and inspiration to peoples’ lives with my music. It’s a bit of an abstract goal, but it’s what feels important to me. I do feel that every day I achieve a little more of that goal, through mentoring and teaching what I know, through giving proper feedback to my peers, and through creating music that means something to me that I think people can connect with. That’s not to say I don’t want to be successful in a traditional sense, I would love the opportunity to make a living off of my art, but to put a fine point on it I want to be a legend of the underground. I want to help those small artists who are making incredible things get the exposure they deserve and I want to be your little secret; the artist you listen to but don’t show anyone but people that you
Question 4: What has been your highlight moment as a producer?
Answer 4: Thus far my number one highlight has actually been incredibly recent. I had to quit smoking marijuana for my mental health; it caused me a great deal of anxiety and made my depression much worse. It was a very difficult process, and through it, I felt as though I had lost the ability to make music. My creativity was at an all-time low, the cynicism seeping into everything I tried to create and tainting it. However, after about a month I finally noticed that the fire was still there. It was a little smaller than before, but it was burning hotter, more intensely. I’ve been carefully nurturing it since then, working on a new EP that explores some of the pain, anxiety, and acceptance that comes from asking for help with mental health. I’ve begun offering small group mentoring sessions where I can give one-on-one feedback to my peers in the underground and
help teach them how to make the most of their music. As the fire of inspiration and creativity grows I feel more and more confident that I can share that fire with the world around me, helping people through hard times and giving them an escape when it’s needed.
Question 5: Who is in your scope as far as collaborations go? Big and small!
Answer 5: I have several collabs planned currently in the underground, which I won’t share just yet as they’re a ways off from being completed, but I will say that I want to collab with TooMaJu again. Our track Jormungandr was an absolute blast to work on and the fine folks over at Badkill Records loved it enough to sign it! In the mainstream, I want to collab with Griz, Protohype, Jauz, Subtronics, and Daft Punk. Griz has been an inspiration to me from the beginning of this journey, sharing his light with the world in a truly beautiful way. Protohype is a deeply nuanced person that I would love to collab with for his incredible creativity and willingness to try new things (we can even collab on a candle instead of a song, get that nice musty pirate scent going). Jauz is
another big inspiration for me, his style of bass house has always connected with me and got me moving and dancing. Subtronics would be a blast to collab with because I’m more than willing to bet we have pretty much the same sense of humor, and I think we could make a pretty killer Always Sunny in Philadelphia track. Do I need to explain why I want to work with Daft Punk? I don’t think so.
Question 6: What new and exciting things can we expect from you in 2020 and beyond?
Answer 6: As I mentioned earlier I have an EP on the way, which I’m expecting to have finished around September and released in October. The emotional themes of the tracks align very nicely with the autumn season; the changes in life, the turn to winter, the apparent death of the greenery in our world. Beyond that I don’t have anything specific planned, I like to keep my focus on individual projects like this until they’re finished and only then move on to the next piece of work. However I am planning on getting a full album together in the next year or two, and I would love to run a remix contest for my upcoming single Pirate Wizard. I think it’s a really great track that just oozes possibilities when it comes to remixes.
Question 7: What genres are you dying to experiment with? Or have you found your sound?
Answer 7: I’m getting to a point where I would really like to dive back into house music, try and whip up some bass house or maybe speed house at 135 bpm. I do think I’ve begun to develop what I would consider my sound, but I want to see how I can apply that to other genres. Drum and Bass is another area that I want to put some more time into, as it’s one of the earliest genres I remember thinking “Wow what the hell is this?” about. I feel that when a musical style is developed it can be translated into multiple genres effectively as long as the producer has an understanding of their sound and the genres they want to try. No one should be limited to a single genre or bpm.
Question 8: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Give us a snapshot of the utopian 2025 paradigm!
Answer 8: 2025 will be a big year for me, I’ll be buying my first house and building a full production and recording studio in it. The prep work for my first North American bus tour will be underway, and my collab candles with Protohype will be picked up by Bed, Bath and Beyond for a full nationwide release. I’ll still be mentoring producers and musicians, helping to give them the tools to express themselves through their craft. The Coronavirus will be a distant memory and venues across the world will be filled with incredible underground talent and joyful fans from all walks of life. To put it simply, I will be living on my terms, bound to no corporation; free to pursue music with all my heart and soul.
Question 9: If you could encapsulate your musical style into a paragraph, how would you do it?
Answer 9: If you could encapsulate your musical style into a paragraph, how would you do it? In a single phrase, it’s Swashbuckling Bass. To really define that idea I’ll break down the pieces that compose many of my tracks, and for shits n’ giggles I’ll make it into a “pirate code.”
1. There shall always be a bass line of incredible thickness and grit.
2. There shall always be a synth deeper than the mighty sea itself.
3. The rhythm will ebb and flow like the tides.
4. The track shall evoke emotion and movement from the listener.
5. Things shall be good and chunky.
6. Thee shall focus on dynamics over pure volume.
7. A high end should be as crisp and biting as the ocean winds.
8. Thou shall use 808’s generously but not generically.
Question 10: Who in your area and sight do you believe deserves more credit in their music career going forward?
Answer 10: This is a bit of a difficult question and requires a bit of background to explain why it’s difficult. In all of my live sets and in my series of live sets (titled The Black Flag Mixes) I use only underground music. My rules for picking tracks are that the track must be a free download and must have fewer than 1000 plays on Soundcloud. Through this philosophy for picking songs, I have discovered more incredible artists than I can count. However, I do want to shine the spotlight specifically on five people that I see a great deal of talent, potential, and kindness in. First off is GRiFF; he has been an incredible friend to me, providing top tier feedback on the music I send him and giving me some of the deepest conversations I have ever had on the internet. His kindness is unparalleled and his 808’s match. Secondly is Scarecrow; his Scarecrow Radio series gives incredible exposure to underground artists and has always been kind and empathetic in our conversations. His background in metal music also comes through in his music as he makes some absolutely phenomenal aggressive dubstep. Thirdly is Oreoku, a Colorado local legend. His music is absolutely incredible and his stage presence is on another level. He brings so much energy to every show he plays, and he has welcomed me with open arms whenever I’ve had the chance to play alongside him. Fourth is Ornata; a student of Squnto and one of my first collaborators, his sound design is unreal. His experimentation with sound and pursuit of new ideas has created some of the craziest synths I’ve ever heard and I firmly believe he can be the next person to change the face of dubstep as we know it. He has always been kind and honest in his feedback with me and has been supportive since the start of this project. Fifth is Spenny, another Colorado local and the first person I’ve mentored in person. Teaching him has given me a huge amount of opportunity to learn about myself and the way I make music, helping me refine my sound and develop new ideas. He may be young and only a short time into his musical journey but he is going to do great things undoubtedly.
Finally, I’d like to thank some people for helping make this journey possible. First and foremost my incredible, beautiful, inspiring fiance Lauren. She’s always kept me from quitting and helped me through the hardest times of this musical journey. Her insight is invaluable and every day she helps me become the best person I can be. I’d like to thank my best friend Ridge 22, his feedback has always been massively helpful and he supports me like no other, always buying tickets to my shows and listening to my music on a daily basis. I would also like to thank the Baalial Collective, a loose and quite frankly anarchic group of people who have given me support and advice countless times. Every member of that group is a dear friend and has truly helped make this journey possible. The people that I have mentioned here are all truly incredible and I feel blessed to have them in my life. Their love and support fuels me and makes me feel like achieving my dreams really is possible. I hope one day I can repay them for the kindness that they have shown me, and I consider every one of them to be family.
With love and piratey goodness,
Libertalia the Swashbuckler