Philadelphia-based Free Energy is making waves with their catchy classic rock inspired tunes (check out our swooning live reviews here and here-ed). The band was formed initially by former Hockey Night members Scott Wells and Paul Sprangers, and since signing with DFA Records, everything seems to be falling into place. The band is back in town tonight @ RNR Hotel and we’r rerunning this piece Megan did with the band in March, where Paul filled her in on how the band came to be, the album-making process, and a classy establishment called the C’mon Inn where they seem to be breaking some kind of record for most hot tubs ever.
BYT: Now, is this a real establishment? This C’mon Inn with the five hot tubs?
PS: Yes! How did you know that?
BYT: Oh you know, just read your twitter. I embrace the wonders of the internet.
PS: Oh, yeah. Have you been to the C’mon Inn before?
BYT: I have never been there, but it sounds like a classy, classy place.
PS: It’s probably the classiest I’ve ever been. A lot of stuffed deer heads on the walls.
BYT: Yeah, I think that would be suitable. Anyplace with five hot tubs, you’ve gotta have that kind of decor.
BYT: Alright, so Hockey Night is no longer…I’m not going to harp on that too much. But how did Free Energy kind of emerge out of that situation?
PS: Well, Scott and I just kept writing and demoing songs, and we had been talking to DFA for a long time, like before we put out the last Hockey Night record. So once we kind of had enough demos of songs, John at DFA signed us. But we still didn’t really know what that was going to be, and Scott and I, still after we signed at DFA, just kept recording and demoing on our own. And eventually, you know, like maybe six months later or longer, James finally got it and agreed to produce the record.
PS: But we still didn’t know it was going to be called Free Energy at that point.
BYT: And so you are based out of Philly now…are you enjoying the music scene there?
PS: Yeah, the music scene in Philly is amazing. I mean, I wouldn’t say we’re really a part of it exactly, but we have a lot of friends in the scene that have helped us out, you know, have helped us find places to live, and we’ve just made a lot of good friends in Philly.
BYT: Very cool. And you guys have Stuck On Nothing dropping the 9th of March, right?
PS: Yes, digitally. But physically that’s not out until May 4th.
BYT: Okay cool. Well that’s exciting! Tell me a little bit about the process of making that album.
PS: Well really there were a lot of different stages. One process was me and Scott hanging out a lot writing songs together and demoing in our practice space, just accumulating material slowly. And then kind of another stage was paring the songs down to like ten, and then bringing those ten to James and kind of working out each song, you know, going song by song with James and fleshing them out, developing them, recording them. I guess that’s the big picture; that isn’t day to day.
BYT: Right. And why did you guys decide to leave “Something In Common” off of the album? Because it looks like everything else from your EP made it on there.
PS: Well, “Something In Common” was meant to be a B-side, really. The record had been done for a while when we went in to record some songs as B-sides, as bonus material. And I don’t know, the production was different, and we didn’t get as much time to work on “Something In Common”…we recorded it in like two days, you know? So I feel like in order to put it on the record and do it justice, we’d want to be able to spend as much time on it as we spent on the other songs. But people have been giving us a lot of flack about that.
BYT: Yeah, everyone I’ve spoken with has had good things to say about that track. Now, as far as your sound goes, you guys are doing this modern take on classic rock, which seems like kind of a no-brainer, but it’s just interesting because I feel like not a lot of people are doing that right now, or if they are, maybe aren’t executing it so well. But everyone that I’ve talked to and everything I’ve read has just sort of been overwhelmingly positive about your music and your shows. I mean, do you think that there’s a nostalgia factor there that makes people even more receptive to an already solid sound?
PS: I don’t know, I don’t think so because so many young kids are into it. I just think the songs are really good and the production is inspired, and there’s just a lot of love in the music and in creating it. And I think that’s what shines through…I don’t think it being connected to any time period or nostalgia has anything to do with it. I mean, it’s not literally classic rock, it’s actually more modern. So yeah, I think what people are connecting to is just the love and the inspiration that goes into it, and I think that just shines through.
PS: I mean, definitely there are a lot of bands that reference classic rock that are just totally uninspired and boring, you know? So there’s got to be something else there I think.
BYT: So tell me how you ended up getting together with Foreign Born for this tour.
PS: That was just our booking agent who hooked it up, but they’re super nice guys.
BYT: What’s one of the crazier moments you guys have had on tour, or maybe just in general?
PS: We stayed at our friend’s place in Portland and he made his own hot tub. Some random naked hippie chicks got in with us, and that was pretty funny. I don’t know, it hasn’t been that crazy. We got hassled at the border a lot, and that kind of sucked.
BYT: I feel like that happens pretty frequently, which really sucks.
BYT: Has there been a show that you’ve performed that has stood out as the best or the worst?
PS: Last night was, to me, really awesome. That was at 7th Street. It was really fun, it was packed, and people were singing along with the words, which totally blew my mind. It’s just incredible, you know?
BYT: Yeah that must be weird when that all of a sudden starts happening after a while.
PS: Yeah, it is! It’s like, for so long you’re playing to nobody and then all of a sudden people start singing along. It’s really cool.
BYT: Do you guys have any future plans in sight at this point? Any new songs?
PS: Yeah, we have a ton of new songs that are all ready to go. We just need to have the money to record them.
BYT: Okay cool. And just out of curiosity, who have you guys been listening to lately?
PS: We’ve been listening to some Dire Straits in the van. I’ve been listening to Surfer Blood a lot, I really like that record. Been listening to Beach House, their new album is good, and the new Hot Chip record is really good. Some YeaSayer…I really like the new YeaSayer record.
BYT: All good, all good. Well we’re super excited to have you coming to DC and we’ll see you soon!
BONUS: The band was also kind enough to send us some exclusive tour photos, taken with their own bare hands, on the brink of fame.
Scott listening to “In a Big Country” By Big Country in Big Country.
wurkin on a dream
killing time while we wait for the van to be towed.. scott, nick, and paul begin work on a new web exclusive TV show called agate hunters: true victory.
van gets towed after back tire blowout
scott found a new bowtie
road rules maximum velocity tour
Geoff makes business calls before heading into Viking Burger.