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An Interview With Fresh Squeeze

Did someone say they wanted some fresh-pressed juice? I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Nashville-based rock group, Fresh Squeeze, whose mission is to give rock a “breath of fresh air.” Made up of Leo Faillace (bass), Max Marotta (drums), and Victor Arruda (guitar), the trio and I sat down to talk about musical inspirations, upcoming albums, and record collections!

How did Fresh Squeeze get started?

Victor: It started out in college when we all went to App State. I was in music doing the recording program. Max came in and started doing the marketing program, and then Leo was always hanging around the studio. It’s funny because everybody would be like “Dude, there’s this guy that looks just like you.”

Leo: We were both like, “Who the f*** is this guy?” And then, sure enough, I finally met him. And we’re both Brazilian too.

Victor: So, we met in college and became friends. We started jamming and playing a couple shows here and there. Eventually it just evolved into the band when we started writing music.

Leo: Technically, they had another group. I was just friends with them for a couple of years because they had a group called The Daze.

Max: I’ve known Victor for a while. We were friends with Leo when we were with The Daze because our bands would play shows together. I remember I didn’t like him at first and I thought, “This guy’s an a**hole.” But one time we played a show together at Deep South when it was still open and it was really cool. Then Leo started coming around the house when we first moved to Boone and we just became really good friends, watched anime together, and, you know, played lots of music. It wasn’t until The Daze fell apart and Leo stuck around until we said, “F*** it. Let’s just make a band.” We officially started at the beginning of 2020 and it’s really grown in just a year. We were actually called “Tres Leches” at first and we would play little frat parties. We kept saying to ourselves, “This is hitting hard. Like we could definitely do something.”

How did you guys get into music? Where does that passion come from?

Max: I was in the car coming home from hockey practice in seventh or eighth grade and I heard Cream’s “White Room” and it was like a lightning bolt hit me. And I was like “Yeah, this is what I want to do.” I wasn’t really very specific on what I wanted to do, but I had a guitar at home so I just started playing and taking lessons at this place called the Clayton Music Academy. That’s where I met Victor. From there we just started playing a lot and we would jam, but there was never a drummer, so I said, “I’ll play drums.” Ten years later, we’ve toured and had lots of practice and here we are.

Victor: My story is a little weird. I started young playing piano. I was in band playing clarinet. I was just like, “What is music? What do I like? I don’t even know. 50 Cent? Heck yeah.” It wasn’t until I was in middle school I got into Green Day and I was like, “Wow, there’s this instrument called the guitar and it makes you look really cool.” Much better than clarinet, you know? I got a guitar for my birthday and I started listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers. And then I was just like “Wow, this is real guitar now.” And then, you know, from there it spiraled into Led Zeppelin, and I started going back to all the good s*** and just obsessing over guitar. I’m constantly learning Van Halen, Slash, Led Zeppelin, all that stuff. Then I was like, “I hate everything but guitar now and that’s all I want do with my life.”

Leo: For me, it was playing violin in fourth grade. It was purely out of the fact that my parents told me I had to learn an instrument, and I didn’t like it that much. I would try to learn these folk songs, but I couldn’t get sheet music because I didn’t have money because, I was like, in fourth grade. One day my dad got my mom The Beatles “Love” CD and I took it into my room and just started listening to it constantly. I would just be singing and my sister would be there too. We would try to figure out the harmony. We didn’t even know what harmonies were. We were just like, “I’m just gonna sing this high part and you’re gonna sing the low part.” Then that developed into me saying, “I just need to get a guitar now.” So, I got a classical guitar and I learned all the Beatles songs on that.

Who do you find yourselves listening to the most? What kind of artists inspire you?

All: Jimi Hendrix!

Max: Jimi Hendrix. Huge one. You know, Zeppelin, the major guys from like the late ‘60s early ‘70s. But lately I’ve been really into the hip-hop broken beat stuff like Knowledge, J Dilla, lots of Thundercat too. Really just a lot of the modern, jazz-funk stuff.

Victor: We listen to a lot of Hendrix and we collect a lot of vinyl. Our music tastes are scattered from Miles Davis jazz to Mahavishnu. We just search for new sounds, new albums that we like. We’re not really molded to one style. You know? It’s all over the place and we love everything. Even Mozart.

Favorites from your vinyl collection?

Victor (left) showing his favorite record, “Land of the Midnight Sun” by Al Di Meola.
Max (right) displaying “Reggae Dub,” his favorite vinyl.
Leo (left) showing one of his favorites, Fol Chen’s “Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made.”

What’s your music-making process like?

Max: It’s very equal. Usually, one of us will have an idea and then we all do our thing with it. It’s always different because sometimes we might be jamming all together and play something that’s sick. Other times, Leo and Victor will have an idea together and I’ll come in and tweak some of the arrangements and stuff.

Victor: We like to put songs together right there on the spot. Even if it’s like Leo’s idea or Max’s idea, we want it to be all of us coming together and making something cool. We can all make music on our own, but it’s like, it’s whatever you know. But this really put everyone’s brains together and we come out with something really creative.

Leo: The thing that’s special about how we write is that we never decide we’re gonna write something. It just happens, it’s never planned. It’s spontaneous. It’s comes out of whatever’s in our head at the time. We’re not thinking about it, we’re just doing it.

Victor: Now, sometimes we’ll be straight up jammin’. Those are the best ones when we just start playing and then we’ll hear an idea. One of us will grab an iPhone and turn on voice memos to record it. Voice memos saves our a*****. It really lets us go back and be like, “Oh that sounds cool, let’s go with that.”

Max: There’s a lot of methods, but it’s usually jamming, you know, improvising together. We’ll formulate an idea and grow it like a plant. It’s very harmonious process. It’s really fun. I mean, we just wrote one yesterday and it’s the most complex song we ever written. We’re lucky that it’s really easy. This has been the easiest group to write with that I’ve ever been a part of. We just click.

Victor: As long as we’re having fun, having a good time, that’s all that matters.

Leo: We’ll get into some little arguments, but they’re pretty much irrelevant. It’s always the little things and they never last more than five minutes.

Max: We have a system. Since there’s three, if it’s two against one, we’ll just use the winning idea, which actually works really nicely. Because four people, you got two and two. There’s too much division. There’s something magical about just the trio.

Where would you like to see the band go in the future?

Victor: We definitely want to tour the U.S. and I feel like that’s our nearest goal to achieve short-term. We’re releasing music and putting out our album. We’re doing a couple live bids too and we just did one with a studio here, which is really cool. But short-term goal is just to try to tour the U.S. as soon as possible.

Max: But ultimately, we’re going to be one of the best rock bands in the world. That’s no bull****. We’ve dedicated our lives to it for a long time and that’s definitely what we’re trying to do. Every band wants to be that. We want to revitalize the rock genre because I feel like it’s very kind of like neutral black-and-white, very dark.

Victor: It’s become this weird thing nowadays, especially here in Nashville. Like what the f*** happened to rock n’ roll? Rock has been boxed nowadays, and we just want to break that box.

Leo: You listen to music from the ‘60s and ‘70s and it’s so much more creative. It goes different places. We want to break that box, but not be a nostalgia act.

Max: We’re not trying to be what was, like Greta Van Fleet, or like a lot of other bands who are trying to be “vintage.” We love that stuff, but we’re trying to really reinvent it. We want give rock a breath of fresh air. We love every type of music. All these great rock bands that we love, they loved every type of music, so they tried to incorporate it. That’s kind of what we try to do. Music is so vast nowadays, there’s so many sub-genres, so we really try and pull from everything and just make it one thing. But ultimately, it’ll always be rock and how that’s we feel the spirit and essence of it.

Any new music on the way?

Victor: Yeah, we got some juicy stuff coming.

Max: The album comes out February 14. We did a live session at this place called Castle Recording Studios in Nashville and we filmed seven choice songs from the album. We’re working on just putting out really nice content videos. We set up microphones here in our living room and we do these weekly jam things where we’ll improvise and we post it on our social media.

Leo: We have basically most of the next album written and planned out. We’re just finalizing those and we’re going to record them probably in the next couple months.

Max: And then hopefully a tour in late May. We’re planning like maybe a week or two long tour and around Athens, Nashville, North Carolina, kind of just in the South East.

Victor: Our main thing is really just getting this album out there. We’re in the middle of mixing up this Castle [Recording Studio] live session so that’ll kind of coincide with the album release. We’re thriving over here. We’re also able to, you know, not spend a bunch of money on these things just because we have connections in these recording studios.

Leo: They believe in the music too. They want people to see it so they’re just trying to give us what they can.

Victor: And everybody needs help now, you know, even Castle Recording Studio. We’re helping them by giving them our services and our money while they’re helping us. So, there’s just this symbiotic growth of beauty and jam goodness.

Max: Jammy goodness always.

It’s hard to capture how awesome this trio’s spirits are with words, so that’s why you should check out the full interview coming shortly to our WKNC podcast, “Off the Record,” which can be found here! Tune in to hear us talk more about spirit animals, our shared Brazilian heritage, and terrible band names.

If you want to check out Fresh Squeeze for yourself, you can follow them on Instagram and listen to them on Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube. As they said, their new album, “Not From Concentrate,” comes out on February 14, so make sure to give it a listen!

“Not From Concentrate” Album Cover (Artist: Leo Faillace)

Happy listening!

DJ Butter

By DJ Butter

A little Butter makes everything better. Part-time WKNC content manager and graphic designer, full-time sludgy surf rock funk master metalhead. Get in touch with ya suggestions n' such at content@wknc.org.