Matthew Reisinger, also known as Fr33dback, performs at the Crowbar in Ybor in October. He performed with Chrome Sparks and Roland Tings (Photo by Amber Shemesh).

Seminole Heights DJ Fr33dback makes music

“Music is ... a language that everyone can speak, which is probably the most fascinating thing about it.” If you agree with this, then you’re probably one of our many music lovers on campus. Matthew Reisinger, an electronic artist born and raised in Tampa, is one community member who’s made a career out of his love for music

April 11, 2017

Just like most current students at Hillsborough, Matthew Reisinger grew up in Tampa. He spent his college years at the University of South Florida and now lives in Seminole Heights. However, what sets Reisinger apart from the average Tampa citizen is that he has another name: Fr33dback.

Reisinger is a local electronic artist who goes by the stage name Fr33dback. For the past 16 years, Reisinger has been making music, but what differs in each of his music projects is its sound. “I’ve tried every genre; I’ve been involved with all sorts of instruments, all sorts of musicians that have always kind of changed my sound a little bit … It’s more interesting to just keep making instead of rehashing the same thing,” he said.

Unlike some artists, Reisinger revels in the evolutionary process of his work. “I feel like there’s a lot of times when an artist will become famous for something, and then they get into a mindset of ‘Well, we gotta do that same thing again because that’s what people like,’ and I feel like that attitude, although lucrative, certainly, I feel like sometimes it’s the death of creativity. So I like the idea that artists … can make a piece of art and then make something completely different and still call it their art … I really don’t want to be the same artist. I want to always evolve,” he said.

Finding a voice

Initially, there is a degree of hesitance that comes with developing one’s own sound, Reisinger said.

Due to the overwhelming amount of music already produced, artists may feel intimidated and begin to wonder what voice they can add to the seemingly endless pool of monumental music. However, Reisinger said that “you find your own voice just from the process of learning your craft, and once you’ve done it long enough… even if you try hard and try to do music that doesn’t sound like you, your self will just come out of it: regardless of if you want it to or not.”

“I really don’t same artist. I evolve.”

Reisinger said that if you maintain acquiring inspiration and staying true to what you do, you’ll make distinguishable music “that sounds like you … that doesn’t really exist somewhere else.” You’ll develop your voice.

Without uttering a word, Reisinger channels his voice through his instruments. During live performances, he’s like a conductor. His musical devices: a band. “I’m directing these devices to do what I hope they’ll do and because they’re all analog, and they’re all kinda playing at the moment, it’s very much like a bunch of invisible people all around me, so I never feel as alone as it seems when it’s just me onstage,” he said.

Performing onstage

To Reisinger, one of the most memorable features of his live performances is the atmosphere. Whether its actually him onstage or one of his favorite artists performing, Reisinger said that what remains constant is the overarching, amalgam of sentiments: embracing the present and feeling the music. He said that “that feeling is kind of permeating the entire crowd, and [for him] to be a part of that onstage as well, and to sort of be the person creating music while that feeling is happening around you is sort of why you do a live version of your thing.” “So my hope is that I can … continue to sort of commune with people that are like-minded and inspired by sound.”

Living in Tampa

A native to Tampa, Reisinger credits the city as one of his sources of inspiration. He said that growing up, he frequented Ybor, inspired by its eclectic nature and grit; now, he plays many shows in the Ybor area and said that Ybor was one of the first “real downtown city vibe[s]” that he’s ever been a part of. “Once I started touring and getting out of Tampa, I definitely felt that being a part of that Ybor scene back in the day was a good primer for that,” Reisinger said.

One of Reisinger’s favorite things about Tampa right now is that it “feels like it’s exploding a little bit.”The artist finds inspiration from the city’s community, especially now, at what seems to be the forefront of a modernization movement in Tampa. “[Seminole Heights] definitely has that small town feel, but it also has a lot of really cool restaurants and a lot of my artist friends that live in town all kind of live in the area, so it definitely feels like we’re in the beginning of this great artistic movement in the area,” he said.

“Tampa, St. Pete and the surrounding area is really kind of just like, in my opinion, one of the coolest cities to be a part of now because it’s so new in the way that it’s so progressive, and it’s changing so fast, but it’s still not … over-saturated. Like if you go to other markets, there’s just so much happening and so much going on, it’s hard to cut through the noise. But here, you can make something and it can be seen and heard very easily, which is great.”

Passing it forward

Reisinger advices any aspiring musician to not give up. He said that thinking that you can’t make it in the industry or that you’re wasting your time making music is just a “defense mechanism.” While your brain is trying to prevent you from potential pain by pursuing music, “there’s really no pain in the whole thing.”

“The worst that could happen is someone says no to one of your ideas, but to me, that’s not the worst at all. That’s the best because that … shifts your focus into something different, into something more inspired or maybe something introspective. [Making music] is so easy to do now with the internet and with modern technology. Fortunately, there’s no excuse anymore,” he said.

“If you make art, and you’re proud of it, show people. The time is now.”

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