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Music producer, director, songwriter, composer, and outdoor explorer, Sebastian Fritze is involved in it all. Born to a Japanese mother and a Swedish father, he grew up between Stockholm and Los Angeles and describes his current homebase in LA as "the melting pot of cultures and history."
Holden sat down with Sebastian to discuss his new project Gozé and how his creative process is constantly evolving in the city and by those around him.
LA is known for offering a rich diversity of art, culture, and access to the outdoors. How do these realities inform your life and work?
There is no place where you can find the vastness in all of these forms. Often through Hollywood stereotypes people see LA as a place of vanity but I don't think they've really experienced the city. I moved here for the diversity. The melting pot of cultures and the history of different neighborhoods has always interested me. Also I can surf one day, snowboard the other and camp in the desert, all in 3 days! It's unthinkable back home in Sweden. Plus the food is amazing.
What brought you to LA in the first place?
I actually grew up in LA until I was 11 then moved to Sweden for the next 18 years. I knew in my heart I'd return to LA. I feel like I have two homes now, which I like.
What keeps you here?
The quality of life and the endless possibilities. Anything can happen here and that excites me. When you first arrive it's overwhelming but after a while you find your pace. At that point you’ve got to check yourself and not take it for granted. I sometimes catch myself complaining about some stupid little thing, and then I remember those long, cold and dark Swedish winters and then shit doesn’t seem that bad haha.
-Photo by Terry Rayment
Having too much time to second guess the music can destroy the magic that was there from the beginning.
You make your music in LA, we made our loungewear collection in LA, what does “Made in LA” mean to you?
Music is non-materialistic so "Made in LA" is more a feeling and a vibe. It means it's raw, loyal and has no limits. There’s a sense of pride that you put into a place that you call home and I’ve always liked that.
Tell us more about your new project Gozé?
Gozé is a producer/artist project I started last year. It's a collaborative process where a new artist is featured with every track released. Its focus is mainly Hip Hop, but because each track introduces a new artist it brings a new vibe and energy, making the genre very versatile.
So far we've released four songs, all produced here in Venice, CA by myself and producer/drummer Allen Blickle. We grew up on artists like The Neptunes, Dr. Dre, Timbaland and Rick Rubin. Watching them create such huge brands through their sound was something that inspired Gozé. It felt organic and real to have the mixture of digital sounds with real live drums. Even a simple drum fill or a hi-hat pattern allows you to hear the human aspect behind it. This really elevates the music. It's been an amazing and creative way of working.
What are your goals with Gozé?
To continue to find talented new artists and build a huge family of features. I want to look back and see the music evolve, shift and take new forms. I want to shine the spotlight on the artists that I work with so we can help each other grow and find new audiences for the music. I'm constantly building my all star team!
As a composer, what does LA provide that you can't find anywhere else?
Opportunities. The industry here is on a much bigger scale than anywhere else. There's so much talent and I feel you can dream bigger here. In Sweden, you have the mentality of “naw that’s never going to happen” where as here you say “hey, crazier things have happened”…
Our collections have always been inspired by thoughtful Japanese design and unique proportions as well as Scandinavian minimalism. How do your Swedish and Japanese roots inform your music?
My music and heritage influence each other through experiences. Listening to and working with Swedish musicians taught me to appreciate the work flow and keep a strong discipline in my art. You find that in Japanese culture as well. They don't allow outside distractions to come in between you and your creative process.
Music is non-materialistic so 'Made in LA' is more a feeling and vibe. It means it's raw, loyal and has no limits.
As an outdoorsman, what's your most memorable California excursion?
I'd say my hike up San Gorgonio Mountain. My buddy and I did a spontaneous trip and thought it would be a walk in the park. We quickly realized we weren't prepared. We drove from Venice and ascended to 10,000 ft and felt like our heads were going to explode. We started hiking and didn’t take into consideration the rapid elevation change. We hit heavy snow on the accent and didn't have shoe spikes so we turned back before reaching the summit. Later we spoke to a park ranger who said two people trying to reach the summit without spikes slid off the mountain and died. We were lucky.
What's on your California outdoor bucket list?
Next is the Trans Catalina Trail.
Favorite song of all time?
Impossible to say. It all depends on my mood and what I'm doing. I listen to more older and classic music than what’s new and hip.
What's your motto?
Live a life of happiness so you can pass that happiness onto others.
What other projects are you involved in?
I am 1/4 of the indie rock band Grizfolk. We've been together over 8 years and It's been a wild ride. From touring all of North America and Europe to playing The Late Night Show with David Letterman. So blessed to be a part of it and the memories it's given me. We're currently recording our 3rd studio album that will release later this summer.
I also started a creative house/music house called PURPLEGANG. I have such a talented crew of people around me so I formed a community. One where we support each other and push the limits of creation. I found a passion for composing music for commercials and film and having a client with a hard deadline makes that process easier. Having too much time to second guess the music can destroy the magic that was there from the beginning.