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Freedom or Death

Singer-songwriters/producers Sway and Fernandez

Song – "Elefant"
- Now playing...

Toronto-based duo Freedom or Death adopted that name as a mantra when it comes to their music. "We want to have the freedom to make the music and the artistic choices that we want. If we can't have that freedom, we'd rather not put anything out, which is the death of our art" says Fernandez, one half of the production and songwriting unit. Freedom Or Death's sound is based in everything: acoustic folk, electronica, modern rock, hip-hop rhythms. "We didn't want to get caged into any kind of pigeonhole," says Sway. "That's our freedom, to make the music however it comes out."

Freedom or Death's music is eclectic, yet always rooted in lyrics with substance."We posed the question, are we going to write lyrics that resonate with a mass amount of people, or are we going to write from our heart?" says Sway. "We decided to write things that had a truth to it. The lyrics are a really huge part... If there's no lyrics for a song, the song stops."

Fernandez was classically trained as a pianist and has been a DJ for more than a decade, while Sway has been a driving force as a vocalist and songwriter behind various bands. The two met while working at a major record label and have a solid understanding of how the music industry works. "We know what sells, and we know how to make it, but we decided not to make it," says Sway. "We decided we wanted to make music that we would like to listen to, regardless if it gets played on the radio or not."

Freedom Or Death assume all creative control; every song is written, produced, recorded and performed by the duo. Their songs have landed on BBC playlists, French tastemaker Les Inrocks has labeled them a band to watch, and they've earned high praise from the likes of The Toronto Star and The Wall Street Journal.


EGO (2011)
Freedom or Death (EP, 2010)

SOCAN Connection
Members since: 2003 (Fernandez), 2011 (Sway)