INTERVIEW: FREE VICES

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

EH – If I was doing any better I might be arrested!

KH – good thanks.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Wild”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

EH –It started off experimenting with different effects on an old 8 track recorder. I was using track after track of rhythm and lead guitars all effected differently until it was a drunken cacophony of guitars.  It was obviously well into the wee hours, and that was the end of it.  Months later I gave Kirk the 8 track to work on other songs I had created and he uncovered it and thought something was there.

KH – When I first heard the music Eric wrote, my first thought was how he really captured a frenetic energy in the song. There was a feeling of fun to it but also a lot of intensity and that really drove my lyrics. That’s why there’s a bit of a juxtaposition in the words – the song feels like there’s something coming at you (“the madman’s coming”) but also the excitement of being free (“let’s get lost tonight”).

Any plans to release a video for the track?

KH – Yeah, we’ll definitely record video.  

The single comes off your new album Tracks – what’s the story behind the title?

EH – I’m a sucker for literary and artistic devices and besides the obvious double entendre that is a track listing of songs as well as a means of travel, we love the traditional imagery associated with tracks throughout American culture.  Be it evidence of events past, pathways to future, or evidence of emotional connection and addiction… the “Tracks” are what you make of them.  

KH – The idea really came from a painting that Eric had commissioned, with a girl on railroad tracks, looking ahead to an uncertain future.  I’ll admit that we probably overdo the double entendre thing, but on one of our songs “Homecoming” there’s a line that says “with all that’s been done and the grooves on the tracks” which is talking about how our past effects our current perspective, which is always reflected in our music.

How was the recording and writing process?

KH – This one was a lot of fun. Eric recorded the original melody and a ton of guitar tracks during an all night drinking session on a little digital 8-track. In fact, there were so many guitars that there wasn’t even room for a vocal melody, but I knew when I heard it I knew that it had to be a song. So I threw it on Pro Tools and I muted 1 or 2 of the guitars in various places and laid down the lyrics. When we brought it to the band I told Raymond I was hearing a real punk rock kind of vibe and he just unleashed on it on the drums. Instantly, the song was transformed into a real rocker with a ton of life to it. When we recorded it in the studio and we first listened to real recorded drums and guitars we were all jumping around like idiots in a mosh pit because it sounded so fun.  

EH- As far as writing for the album, I tend to create themes and melodies and combine them with lyrics from poems I’ve written that fit that particular theme.  I’ll often record a progression and add a melody on an 8 track (I’m old school and have no computer skills,) then send the 8 track to kirk to do his magic. As for recording the songs…, they change dramatically in the studio because we tend to overload the song on those 8 tracks and we are forced to empty out the hoarding and create space for the songs to breath, thankfully.

Would you call this a departure from your previous musical work?

KH – It’s hard to say that because we have so many musical influences that I don’t feel like any of our songs sound too much alike. Sometimes we record rockers and sometimes it’s much more mellow. This is the most punk rock song we’ve done so I guess in a sense it is, but we never worry about genre when we’re writing, we just do whatever feels right for the song and trust that it’s always going to sound like us because it is us.

As you change band’s name – how has these influence the band’s music as a whole?

KH – It isn’t so much that the band name influences our music, it’s that as we’ve gotten older we’ve grown together as a group and in our perspectives on life, which of course influences our music. We changed the band name because it is more reflective of who we are (and to keep it real also because a bunch of other bands started popping up using our old one).

EH – Yeah, it’s one thing to get lost in the shuffle, and it is another thing to position yourself to get lost there. 

What aspect of life did you get to explore on this record?

KH – All of it really. We started writing some of the songs years ago when we were recording our first record, but we never record a song until we’re really happy with it. So over the course of several years a lot happened in our lives  that is reflected in the record (falling in love, getting married, having a kid, losing a loved one, trials in each of our personal lives). It’s a little scary writing down those experiences and then saying it out loud to the world, but that’s the only way a song is worth anything.  

EH- Additionally, I feel we are exploring those themes in the context of what is happening in the world around us and what  have we done that has contributed to that. There is no way that we are simply  passive  participants in our dramas…more often than not, we lay the tracks as much as we ride them.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

KH – I think from each other more than anything. It’s funny because Eric and I have very different writing styles but I also think that’s why the band works. Sometimes he writes the music and then I come up with lyrics. Sometimes I write both the chords and the lyrics and sometimes he writes both the chords and the lyrics. And sometimes we just jam things out and least the start of a song happens spontaneously. But no matter how the song originates, we always take it seriously and work to make it the best song it can possibly be. There are some songs where as soon as Eric plays the music he wrote I feel like I had written it myself and I know immediately what the story of the song should be. He has said the same about some of the songs where I’ve put together the chord progression and the first time he plays it (far better than I could) it’s like he had written it.

Any plans to hit the road?

KH – We are going to be tuning up playing shows in the L.A. area and are  looking to create a tour as we continue toward releasing the album.

What else is happening next in FREE VICES’ world?

KH – We’re excited for the full album release coming up in October but we also are always jamming and writing. The concept of another album is starting to take shape but we never rush it. In the meantime, we’ll be playing shows coming up in the next few months.

EH- yup! That and keep on living to the fullest.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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