The Grateful Web Interview with FreekBass
“Concentrate”, the title of Freekbass’s newest album sums it well. With the influence of funk genre music that Freek experienced growing up in Cincinnati Ohio, along with his deep desire to play bass, Freekbass has without a question created an album that keeps bass and funk glued like never heard before.
From the first song on the album “Grinder”, Concentrate leads you into a journey that tests your mind to do exactly that as it toys with its ability to really feel the deep funk-bass groove that leaves you pleasantly bobbing your head and tapping your feet right into the next song, “Dream pit”.
Here, on this whimsical journey in your mind, your ears are teased to Freaks’ bass guitar serenading funk beats that sends pulsing motion through the very tips of your conscious. Clearly, “Concentrate” reflects Freeks‘ strong background in classic artists such as Larry Graham, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Parliament and Bootsy.
GW: Awesome! Um, this is Sarah with The Grateful Web and I’m here with Freek of Freekbass. Freek, your next show is in New York, is that right?
FB: Yeah, I’m gonna be up there at the very beginning of September. I’m gonna be a week out with a group I play called the Headtronics. Um, this is with myself, DJ Logic, and, Steve Molitz from Particle and Key, the three of us go out and we’re playing the first week we’re at the Brooklyn Bowl, and I believe on the Sunday, the first Sunday in September, actually we’re starting a week in upper state New York, at St. Lawrence University, which I believe is in Canton, NY, so were pretty much on the east coast the week. We’re playing a pretty cool festival in Pennsylvania called the Steel Jam Festival as well, so, um, I believe Buffalo NY too as well so its pretty much all New York except for that one Pennsylvania date. So, yeah, it should be a real fun week. I’m looking forward to Headtronics. Shows are always a barrel of laughs, so, I’m looking forward to it.
GW: So, what can your fans expect in your next show?
FB: Well, you know, Headtronics is interesting you know, because all of our, you know, whether we’re playing an hour in a half or two hours, whatever the case may be, um, all the shows are 100% emprov. So, um, and they have been since the band started. Um, so, you know, one song, one night may be five minutes long, the next night it may be thirty minutes long. Its all based on kinda, you know, how we’re feeling. The audience will kinda, you know, feedback we’re getting from the audience and its almost, not to sound hoakie, but it’s kinda like, in that way we all like it, because its like the audience becomes part of the band as much as the band, you know, as much as we are. They kind-of help dictate the mood, and help dictate where we’re gonna go with our beats and grooves and all the music that we do.
GW: What’s been your favorite show this year?
FB: Ah, my goodness, um, probably, I mean, I had so many fun shows this year. Probably something that happened just recently were camp disco. Um, another group I play in called FREEKBOT, which is myself, and ah, DJ Tobotius, whom used to call DJ, him and I go out and um, go out as a duo, and we, um, which is kinda the main thing I’m touring nowadays, and, um, he and I played at Camp Bisko, um, it was about two, two and a half weeks ago now I guess, and um, it was just amazing, just an amazing festival. I’ve heard of Camp Bisco for many years, and ah, it was pretty exciting to ah, finally get there to play there and see their amazing acts that were playing there. So, very, very, high, intense energy; so many people, and ah, just everybody all about feelin’ the music, and dancing. So, you know, I think, that’s the one that left a big strong impression on me as of like, “for sure”.
GW: Freekbass has a very unique sound, cross between funk and bass. How do you identify your music?
FB: Hmm, that’s always, kind of tough cause when, you know, you’re so close to it. It’s hard to put a label on something that you’re creating. Um, well, you know, I grew up in Cincinnati, OH, and Cincinnati is um, which is where I still live, I’m on the road, Cincinnati is at a pretty, which funk history. Um going way back to the days of King Records, back in the 1960’s, which is where James Brown, ah, recorded the majority of his hit singles, at um, you know James Brown in the sixties, um, Bootsy Collins, Ohio Players, Zap in the seventies, and then Night Star in the eighties. So, it’s like, it’s always has been this really hot bed of funk, so, um, you know, being around that and growing up and being a bass player specifically, where, you know, in that style of music the bass is so dominant, um, that is something that I’ve always been drawn too. A lot of my friends listened, when I was a kid, listened to Nirvana, and Greenday, and stuff like that, which I loved all that stuff too, but being a bass player I was always, you know, hearing more of the funk, a lot of hip hop. I was, you know, I was a huge Dr. Dre fan when I was growing up, and um, SO…stylistically I guess, musically now, I mean, obviously you probably gonna hear some of those influences. Um, a lot of people might not know it as much live touring as I do playing, I kinda grew up in a studio, as a studio rat kid playing with my MPC drum machine, as well as much as I was playing with my bass guitar. So, um, you know, I was always about crazy beats, and you know, putting my base to those beats. So, you know, what I’m doing now, such as with my latest record I feel like its kinda full circle. It’s where I feel the zone I feel the most comfortable in, and um, you know, its definitely where I see the path where I’m on right now feels like definitely I’m back at home, where I should be.
GW: What can your fans expect on your newest album, “Concentrate”?
FB: Uh, “Concentrate”, well, like I was mentioning before, um, you know, when I initially thought of the concept for the album, you know, its um, so much like I was mentioning before. I’ve always been into hip hop culture and the DJ culture, and, um, I thought, “You know, it would be really pretty neat to, like, get in touch with um, other DJ’s. Um, like I told you, I played with DJ Tobotius already, but, you know, but also DJ logic as well, and um, you know, DJ’s and flash producers, and kind of use my base as kind of the glue that glues all the different tracks and elements together, so, ah, concentrate it’s a, you know, it’s definitely a groove oriented record. Um, its got some cool guests on it DJ Spooky does a couple tracks with me on it. Um, Adam Deitch does a track with me on it. Um, Tobotius is on quite a bit of it, um DJ Tobotius and actually, him and I basically produced it. Um, Bootsy Collins does a track with me on it, which he’s been in my last few records, and I’ve always been a big, big, support system from me. Um, so yeah, it’s you know, it’s basically groove oriented with maybe a little bit of funk thrown in. Of course that’s always gonna be there because of what I do, and very bass driven kind of type record. And the best thing is its far easier for folks to listen to it is one thing as well as having a concept for, you know, the idea for the record is the other concept we wanted to write from the beginning is, release the whole album for free. So, you know, you can go to www.freekbass.com and, um, you can download the whole record wave, flat, whatever file, mp3, whatever file you want and we just want to get it out to people’s Ipods, get it onto their computers, get it at parties, and then you know, hopefully, people come see us Do it live, and so that’s how we keep the party going on a higher level.
GW: Thank-you for being part of the Grateful Web. Anything else you’d like to add?
FB: No, I’m just very, very, thank-you, for asking me to be a part. I’m very honored, um, I love the Grateful Web, and um, you know, its just um, I hope to see, you know, some of these folks at shows. And I mean, some, we’ve been doing a lot of festivals. FREEKBOT’S been through quite a bit of festivals. And we’re gonna be doing a whole west coast thing coming up in the fall, and uh, just, you know, anyone that’s reading this, or listening to this I guess, just, uh, you know, make sure you come up and say, hello and uh, boggy on down with us for a few. That’s it.
GW: Thank-you Freek! That was Freek of Freekbass. Have a great evening.
FB: Thank-you all, talk to you soon.