Behind the Scenes with Organ Freeman

Behind the Scenes with Organ Freeman

Organ Freeman, a jazztastic, high-octane funk fusion trio from L.A., is one of the most riveting acts in a while. Slinky guitar and organ melodies splash over dynamite drums; it threatens to spiral out of control at times and when it’s over, you can’t help but listen again. Recently at Summer Camp the trio of Trevor Steer (organ/key bass), Erik Carlson (guitar), and Rob Humpreys (drums) sat down with me for a short interview.

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The first thing I had to know was where the ideas came from for their music; if you haven’t heard it before, it’s fairly complex and intense, and sounds very raw and in-your-face. As Steer puts it: “A lot of it is derivative of music that we all listen to. I would say it rarely happens through jamming. Most of our songs are pretty intricately arranged. That doesn’t mean it’s not happening as a group, but they’re very thought out. It was definitely a conscious choice in the studio to make things sound more live. We owe a lot of that to the guy who mastered the record.”

While they’ve only been a group for a few years, their story goes back further than that, as Steer explains: “We met in college. We were all in the music program and had played on each others’ projects and remained friends, playing around town with other groups and decided to give it a try.” They’ve been building a big buzz around the country, and just recently finished up their first tour. Steer says, “It was a total grind. This is the first time that we’ve ever done something like this. This is our first project that’s ours that we’ve taken on the road, and it was just a grind. It was a challenge but I think we were all looking forward to it. It was a good mix of the expected and the not-so-expected, because we’ve toured with other people, but in that situation there’s less pressure on you. So we had an idea of what it would be like, but not necessarily an exact idea.”

The hard work ethic is clearly there, and with that in mind I was curious about their take on getting your music to the fans in addition to touring. Steer explained, “Focusing on the positive, one of the things that’s great about the state of things right now is that you can just be a bunch of guys who haven’t really done anything, and just put it out there on the internet, and almost randomly people will come across it. Everything we’ve been able to do thus far is just because of people we’ve met through getting our music out there. We don’t have a label or anything, we just kind of threw it up to see what would happen.”

So without a label, how does music get done? Who provides the instruments, who can give that much of their time, and how does it all come together? Once again, it goes back to their roots in college, as Steer says: “We’ve worked with a lot of people, so when it comes time to record something, and you want someone to record some auxiliary part, we have people. So in some ways I don’t think a label would even help us when we have friends that we know through working in L.A.”

They were also quick to mention their admiration for their peers they’ve met in the music scene. Steer recalls, “It’s so inspiring; we just did a show with Turkuaz, and there are nine people in that group, and their setup is huge. But they tour so much, and they kill it every night.” Humpries was quick to add, “I don’t know how some of these guys do it, I feel like I need to tap out sometimes.” This was most likely in reference to the fact that they had to fly back to L.A. from Chillicothe after being at the festival grounds for three hours. The grind is real indeed.

By this point, the next band was getting into their sound check, so we started to wrap things up. Steer however did make a point to mention, “We’re pretty much done with our new album, there are just a couple things we have to get done, but we are pretty excited about it. Expect that out soon.”

If you’re looking for some electrifying, instrumental, high-energy jazz-funk-fusion, Organ Freeman has what you need. Go and check them out if they’re playing in your area as well.

For more info on the band, their music, shows, and more, check their Facebook page:


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