Lollapalooza 2010: FreeSol Interview

Written August, 2010

From Memphis Tennessee, front man Free and team joined up with producer Justin Timberlake after meeting at a local cafe in 2006. They are working on their debut album which will include the likes of Lil’ Wayne and the The Game.

FeeSol’s song was featured in the Entourage Credits of Season 7 Episode 5.

The FreeSol mentality of going out there and not taking things as, is a cool way of thinking, especially for me studying entrepreneurship because thats what it’s all about. I was wondering what life experiences led you to see this outlook? What things did you see, what things did you experience?

Growing up in Memphis you have musicians and you have warehouse people. FedEx was created in Memphis and we have Autozone and all that kind of stuff. My family worked these jobs, these five day, seven day a week jobs. Eight, twelve hour a day jobs and they complained about it. They hated their lives, they hated it. So why would I follow in their footstep? Why would I follow that path? That was would kind of led to I can’t do that. Then, I have music in my genes. From my great grandparents, to my great great grandmother was freed from slavery because of her voice. She sung her way to freedom. So it goes all the way back to then, its steeped in my genes. Using that, I realized as a kid, I was sixteen when I made a CD and sold about five hundred of them for ten dollars. So that was like, boom, shoot I can make money doing this.

Later I saw I could add a band and get more people to be in to it. So it’s that entrepreneurship mentality. Its always kind of been with me, cause my great grandfather was the first black owned business in Memphis,Tennessee. His son, my grandfather, also owned a lot of businesses, but then my father and my uncle didn’t go that route. They went the vice president and manager of FedEx, that route. I just never wanted to be a slave like that. We find ourselves slaves to this shit too, but its different.

Did your parents support you at first, or were they like you should follow our path?

Oh yeah, they were like go to school, finish school, get a job. I dropped out of college, and my parents didn’t speak to me for a second. It wasnt like a real bad moment, it was just like a disagreement. Then they came around, and now my parents today are the biggest supporters of the band, the biggest fans.

Did you regret the decision at all?

At moments the reason I left was because it was something to fall back on. I was really good at school. I only left because I didn’t want to get a job. I didn’t want it to lead to a job. You got to realize nobody was telling me you could use it to start your own business. I was more or less pushed to get a job. So graduating from school meant job, you know what I’m trying to say, to me. I was like nah, I can’t get a job, so I just stopped, and kept making music.

That’s funny because that’s how I feel sometimes studying business. I have lots of different interests, but once in school everything is just about finding a nice accounting or finance job, and nothing about being creative or creating.

You guys have been together for almost eight years. I was wondering if you guys have developed your own niches, kind of like a little paradigm? Is there different characters in the band? Is one the leader, one the jokester?

Everyone has their own personality.

Umm, the drummers the clown. Premo, I call him the storyteller. Elliot is more the pessimistic serious, but really he has two people in him. He’s really pessimistic and serious at times, then suddenly he cuts loose. And I’m kind of like the dreamer I don’t know. I’ll let somebody else say what I am.

I noticed how your mix-tape along with other mix-tapes are online for free. I wanted to get your opinion on buying vs. downloading. Does your mix-tape being up there show how you support or are on one side or the other?

I think one part of it is giving free music to get people to come out to your shows and support you. At some point you would hope that you build up a fan-base who actually want to support it. At some point, but I think the way music is today I mean it shouldn’t be so capitalistic, but at the same breath you don’t want to work for free either. You hope that the consumer can understand that. If I give you two mix-tapes for free, and I give you a single off the record for free for ten days. I hope if you like what you heard you can spend ten dollars! If you don’t want to do that at least come see us a couple times live. At least do that, and if you can’t do that then fuck you man.

So you see it as kind of a relationship, give and take?

Yeah, it has to be that way. We have to eat to survive.

When Justin Timberlake found you guys, did you have an idea he was watching you guys, or was it a total surprise?

I got a phone call from Justin, late Staurday Night, like one o’ clock early in the morning. He was like, “Yo, I heard about you guys and would like to see y’all.” So that’s how sit started, completely out of the blue. He had never seen us or heard of us. There was a guy he grew up with that I kind of grew up with also. Then there was another guy who was involved in him starting the label who both told him about us and he gave us a call. About a year later we signed with him.

Going back to the whole college thing. If you had to go back to school and couldn’t study anything involved in music, what area would you pick?

Mass communications. Screenplay writer, I like to do screenplays and stuff like that. Anyway it goes I would be writing. TV, movie, stuff like that books. I’m working on my first book right now.

Can you share what its about?

Its kind of about freedom. What I think freedom is in 2010.

So it includes stuff about your family history, what we were talking about before?

It brings into that. I’ve been working on this thing for awhile though. Eventually Im going to write this book. Eventually I’m going to finish it.

DeFi Punk