Dedicating most of his life to music and computers Lowfreak has plenty of experience in the electronic realm of modern music production. His music is characterized by a blend of many of his early influences with current tastes for electronic music but also brings in flavors from all over the world into the mix. It’s no surprise to hear Arab, Asian or even Andes folklore splashes into his melody lines or chord progressions. On the heavier side, there is no doubt hip-hop, heavy metal and underground electronic music has had a noticeable impact on his tastes and are usually based on these elements.
Toni comes from a very diverse musical background. Born in Italy, mother being Spanish native with a passion for world music and his father being a north American violin and guitar player, you can imagine the mixture of cultures he was already being exposed at an early age. At just 3 years of age he was already fiddling around with an electronic wind organ his father had bought the family. Later on in life he would learn to play piano, Spanish guitar, orchestral percussion instruments and trap set.
In the early 80s, being 8 years old, home computers were the next big thing to hit everyone’s home after the Atari era. Toni’s father bought the family their first home computer, a Commodore 64. It’s no surprise that this computer ended up being used for games and music composition programs. Breakdancing was also blowing up at the time, hip-hop and old school electro music was a great influence in his lifestyle. Toni even gave rapping a shot his junior year of high school, but quickly realized lyrics weren’t his forte. Run DMC, LL Cool J, Fat Boys, Beastie Boys were all of his heroes.
That same year, Lowfreak meets up with who would be his first electronic musical mentor. Mauricio, another young boy who’s passion was also in Jarre, Oldfield, Vangelis and synthesizer music in general. Mau was always trying to play back Jarre’s melodies on his keyboards, and Lowfreak inevitably tried mimicking him. Synthesizer music was played 24/7 at Mau’s house and evidently this played out to be a mayor influence in the kind of music Lowfreak would later have interest in.
In the early to mid 80s Toni moved temporarily to Alameda, California, for family work reasons. This was the peak of breakdance and pop music with infamous tunes such as “Killers” from Michael Jackson, Grand Master Flash, Herbie Hancock, Fat Boys, the movie Breakin, etc. Toni recalls this trip as one of the most influential ones music wise living those years breakdancing in abandoned home garages, street parks and school yards like any other American kid.
At the age of 14, Lowfreak had moved to Alcalá de Guadaira, Seville, where he met up with another life changing friend, Ricardo, a genius computer programmer, out of this world graphic artist and painter, excellent story writer and of course music freak. Ricardo’s father ran a paintings and frame business at home, and art was their everyday bread and butter. Ricardo and Toni’s friendship and idea sharing activities led up to both of them forming what would become Toni’s first live music performance. They called themselves the “Dubi Cadubis” had performed their first live act ever at their local school in front of nearly 500 attendees. The live setup included a Yamaha keyboard where Toni would play the main melody lines, a Kawai keyboard controlled by Ricardo following with chords and groove. But the most interesting instrument was an MSX computer with a simple synthesizer software program that produced a monophonic square wave sound that would be present in every piece played and certainly is what gave their live music an unconfusable Japanese Konami touch to it which is what characterized their sound. This was all happening in the late 80’s when clubs were starting to play music such as Technotronic, C&C Music Factory, 247, Chimo Bayo, Enigma and similar.
Toni started learning the art of computer trackers early on with his new tool, the Amiga 500. Although most of his early music was made on trackers, he quickly started experimenting syncing up machines to the Amiga. At 16 he starts pairing up keyboards, computers, drum machines and sound modules to make even more intricate music. One thing lead to another and he figured trackers were too limiting since they mainly depended on computer CPU and memory, which back then was not very powerful on computers. But this is when the very first DAWs starting coming out. Bars and Pipes was the first one he would compose with on the Amiga. Some of his tracks were played at local clubs and he had also started producing beats for various local hip-hop acts.
During his junior, sophomore and senior years in school, back in Spain, you could easily find Toni playing an upright piano that was rarely used in the school’s auditorium/lunch room, all alone, exploring chords, melodies, and just enjoying himself with the keys. In band class, although he was mainly responsible for percussion, his school had bought a Mac with Cakewalk, one of the pioneering DAWs at the time. Luckily the school had also purchased a Proteus sound module. Toni had produced several tracks on this system during lunch breaks (and probably during a few classes he skipped), surprising his teacher so much that in the middle of a concert the band class was performing for parent’s night, and one in which Toni was playing the trapset for, his computer teacher, Mr. Bignell, pulled up Cakewalk and played Toni’s creations to the entire auditorium by surprise to everyone there, including Toni. Toni gave a little speech about how those programs worked and how he made those tracks. Toni recalls this being quite an experience and rush. Another motivating push for his musical career.
A year later Toni moves to Keflavik, Iceland again for family work reasons. Continuing with his band classes, he meets another major influence un his music, his band teacher. This one lets Toni take the school’s workstation home and immediately he starts experimenting with additive and subtractive synthesis and this was also the first place where Lowfreak would perform his second live electronic music show at a high-school yearly teen dance event. His live set consisted of turntables and a workstation where he would follow along playing the keyboard.
At the age of 18, Lowfreak had moved back to El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cádiz, bought a few records and stared DJing dance tracks and a few of his own creations at local clubs and pubs. This also led Lowfreak to start working at the first vinyl records store in town. Trance, breakbeats, goa, jungle and house music was being sold like hotcakes. It was the golden 90s of dance music. Lowfreak’s DJ career had begun under alias “Synesthesia” and “Toni Dj” at bigger electronic music events.
In late 1995 Lowfreak moves from southern Spain to north Chicago and makes himself a name in the mid-west USA electronic music scene after DJing at many small, mid-sized and large national raves in Madison, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Waukegan, Chicago city, even as far south as Bloomington, Illinois and as far west as St. Paul, Minnesota. He was better known, and headlined most of the events he was booked for, under alias “Dj Toni from Spain”. He continuously gets booked at larger national sound festivals such as the United Djs of America Tour, Keoki’s record release Rave, Rave ‘em & Bail-e. Hard tecno-trance, goa, oldschool breaks and jungle is what you could expect from his DJing sets and from what he was primarily known for.
Around this time he was not too involved with production although he had started working on a live set that unfortunately was not performed do to accidental deletion of the entire program the same morning of his performance. His gear at this point as AKAI MPC-2000 connected to a Roland XP-80 and Jupiter 8000. This was the hardware used to produce “Montezuma’s Revenge and Dark Japan” which did not have very good results. Montezuma’s revenge was included in an EDM CD compilation called “Reaction” with a few heavy hitters such as BT, Eros, but that was the extent of what his productions could accomplish at the time. Toni even tried to set up his own record label “Electronica Records” with these tracks being its first release. This release was pressed on white vinyl record but only a few copies were sold out of a 1000 press release. “I took these to a studio I was working at as an assistant engineer, but I really had no idea what I was doing. I was just being exposed to sound engineering and I didn’t have the experience to make anything sound even close to market standards. Nevertheless, this was a great personal experience and the beginning of my sound engineering career as well.”
In 2001 Lowfreak moves to Virginia Beach after touring the mid-west for over 5 years for personal reasons. During his stay in Virginia, he dedicated most of his time producing a new avalanche of new tracks with new approaches and gear. This new time period also marks the end of his DJing career. Lowfreak gathers quite a bit of hardware including a Roland TR-307, Juno 106, Alpha Juno 2, Ensoniq ESQ-1, Roland SP-6 drum pads, Roland AX-1 keytar, Virus C, 2 Proteus sound modules, a few compressors, fx units and a 16 channel Beringer mixer. No PC again in this case. All of the tracks created this setup were sequenced and sync via the 307. Lowfreak recalls these times being really exciting as he was retaking the production end of things which is his real passion. But he also recons that the music made in this time period was very experimental and practice material.
In early 2003 he releases a few of his tracks and a few other producers which included tracks from producers Eros (southern Florida) and Evilsound (Cordoba, Spain). These vinyl records were shipped directly to southern Spain. Lowfreak knew he was moving back to El Puerto to join his family and friends. So we can easily say that “Electronica Records” had moved to Spain with this second and third label release.
Lowfreak moves to Morón de la Frontera, Spain in early 2004 where he writes an entire album on Logic, after having sold all of his hardware gear before moving to Spain. Lowfreak had performed his first live set in Spain in Morón. After this show, Lowfreak realizes nothing done up to this point in his music career had not given its fruits so he started searching for an alternative economic income source exploiting his computer programming skills.
Thanks to Lowfreak’s coding background he was fortunate enough succeed starting up a local online forum for Morón City, which later expands into a web design company, later to a web-hosting company and currently he is the CEO of the top web-hosting company in southern Spain with 14 employees, invoicing over 1 million euros every year, and growing. Lowfreak has dedicated 10 years of his life managing his company and during this time period he recalls never losing connection with music. Psytrance was taking off, different genres were emerging, DAWs and plugins were getting better. Music was starting to sound even more exciting than ever. Artists emerging from every corner of the planet thanks to internet. So he was dying to get back into business once he could delegate most of his responsibilities in this company.
2012 was the year it all happened again for Lowfreak. He now had plenty of time to get back into studio mode. And so he did brushing up on old techniques, studying new ones, and in particular getting himself immersed in sound engineering. He always felt like that his sound was seriously lacking in quality and effectiveness compared to current standards. One of the shows he got instantly hooked (and still is today) was “Pensado’s Place” online TV show.
We can affirm that this was also the beginning of a new career path for Lowfreak. Sound engineering became a -just as important- passion as music composition was itself. During the following years and up until today, Lowfreak has been polishing both production and engineering skills and is currently writing his next live show.
Lowfreak is currently releasing tracks on several independent record labels, most of which have been signed to Base Industry Records, USA such as “Libertad”, Gosta Be Funkey” and “Trafalgar” with their corresponding remixes from other renowned artist in the industry and all released in 2014. Lowfreak is also involved with a few sound engineering projects and remix competitions. At the same time he’s finishing up the final touches of his live show for 2015.