It takes one hell of a production crew to make it snow in New Orleans. And maybe a better one to place a DJ inside a giant, inflatable snow globe on stage during a packed event.
FREEWATER has made similar epic party moments part of the NOLA norm for nearly three years now. The visual collective specializes in filmography, photography, design and creative inception. This multimedia approach to music and arts usually manifests into various projects, parties, music videos and clothing lines scattered across the city of New Orleans.
“There are so many different avenues to what we’re doing, and everything has a purpose.” – Evan McNulty – Freewater Member
Founded by Frankie Watts and Dominick “Mardi” Byrd in 2015, FREEWATER is a visual and rap collective that works together from conception – to production – to manifestation – to the day of the show. Their collaborative block parties, epic bashes, modern clothing line, and characteristic visual art have brought a very new look to the New Orleans party scene.
In a recent interview with Offbeat, Frankie and Mardi discussed their role in the ever-changing scene of New Orleans. Stating FREEWATER’s mission is to share with the world that “New Orleans’ Black youth culture is more than the bygone heyday of rap dominance and post-Katrina fallout.”
“We’ve been around the world, and when people think of New Orleans, they think about Hot Boys, baggy clothes, just this old era.” It’s like, no. It’s lit now. We swaggin’ now. People doin’ new stuff. Y’all need to tap in and see what’s going on. I think that’s what we’re here for.” – Frankie to Offbeat Magazine in 2018
Collaborations with national brands like Mountain Dew and Complex, plus local loves Defend New Orleans and Sneaker Politics, have brought both a national and local spotlight on the rising collective.
Most recently, FREEWATER launched a brand new collaboration with rapper Mhadi G. An artist with whom Frankie and Mardi are working directly as creative directors. His first full release is slated for early this year, but his most recent song “Safe” was produced by Freewater, and released in collaboration with Cinematic Music Group, a New York record label currently under the Sony Music Group.
FREEWATER in 2019
Last year, FREEWATER did a special showcase for BUKU Music + Arts Festival and hosted a ridiculous afterparty featuring Hippie Sabotage, Rich The Kid, and Neno Calvin. They’re slated for the fest again this year and are sure to bring another after-bash to Republic NOLA.
With success comes growth and in 2018, FREEWATER opened a physical store on South Peters – right next to Republic NOLA. The space features local clothing collaborations as well as an area for shooting and design work. And while there’s nothing official set in their future party books yet, keep an eye on their Instagram and prepare for whatever they decide to drop next.
Images via Freewater website and Facebook Page