Interview with Small Town Titans
INTERVIEW! – Today we’ll be speaking to Phil Freeman, Bassist and Lead Singer for Small Town Titans.
Let’s start with this: What’s the history of your band?
We started at Lebanon Valley College in the Spring of 2011. Jonny (the drummer) and I went through the same program there and Ben was just ending his band, so the timing was spot on. We got in a room with a few other guys and it started from there! We went from a five-piece to a four piece and then a three-piece in 2014. We’ve been that ever since. Instead of trying to find new members, we simply pulled double, sometimes the triple duty, and made the best of it. Hasn’t slowed us down one bit!
What’s your musical history? (Trained or Amateur)?
Some of us are trained (you could say overtrained, Haha!) in some aspects and self-taught in others. Singing has been something I’ve trained in academically and professionally for most of my life. Guitar/Harmonica/Bass I taught myself. Jonny took drum lessons from Jeremy Hummell of Breaking Benjamin (As a BB fan I highly approve – Ed) as well as training as a percussionist in the music program. Ben’s guitar and singing skills are almost completely self-taught! It’s wild because sometimes he won’t know what key we’re in, let alone the tempo, but with a little guidance, he’s golden!
So what can you tell us about your latest album? (Inspiration. Sound. Style.) How did you go about making it?
Our latest releases are not just recorded singles but a whole slew of content that comes with them. We decided instead of making an album, we would release a song every month or two and try to create as much of an experience for each song as possible. We had an amazing crew to shoot 6 music videos, 3 of which have already been released, and an awesome engineer to capture the audio, Mr Kevin Soffera of Hybrid Studios.
Anything you’ve learnt as you’ve gone along? Or have you simply tried a bit of
everything to see how it works?
Well, from the beginning we always compared ourselves to a pizza shop. What’s the goal of a pizza shop? Make the best pizza you possibly can, make it an amazing experience for
everyone, and treat the people who eat your pizza repeatedly like royalty. If it goes regional, awesome. If it goes national, fabulous. International? Even better. Replace pizza with music, both live & recorded, and there’s our mission statement. From there, we innovate and do what works and walk on the wild side once in awhile.
What sort of technology and instruments do you work with?
Minimal! Not that we have anything against it, but we try to make as much noise as we can with as little as we can. Bass, guitar, drums, and vocals, with a dash of harmonica, and play the living shit out our instruments while we’re at it!
Anything you’re keen to use on your next album?
Haven’t thought that far ahead yet 😉
Any future plans for your solo work, or do you have other projects on the horizon?
We all have a lot going on outside of the band actually, which keeps things really exciting. I’m a voice trainer and I do have a few side projects as well. Ben also does solo gigs once in a while and Jonny is actually quite a good songwriter as well!
Any plans for upcoming live shows?
We just signed TKO as our booking agent for 2018…so I’m sure this coming year is going to be bananas!
Let’s have a few general questions now. What do you see as a musicians role in society?
Meaningful provocateurs that illuminate humanity, that also have fun doing so.
Anything unique happening musically in your country?
Dirty Rock! Bands like Royal Blood, Highly Suspect, and Band Of Skulls are doing some
awesome things for Rock N Roll right now. We really dig the more authentic edge of the scene!
Where do you stand on music videos?
When done right, fantastic works of art, or junk depending on who and what it is.
-Do you see their value in today’s world?
Absolutely! Especially now, because anyone, and I mean ANYONE can develop the skills
necessary to make great art, be it in music, film, or entertainment. No need for a big corporation to foot the bill anymore. It’s the democratizing of media!
What’s your take on the “new” technology? (Bandcamp, Soundcloud, MP3)
Advantageous! Again, it takes out the middleman and allows for free expression across the
board. However; I caution those who rely on it too heavily. There’s nothing like a vinyl record playing and picking up an acoustic guitar to jam on. Striking balance is the key.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Nothing. The market is the market. We dig the challenge. As Bear Grylls says, Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. Haha!
Any advice for new bands?
Do what you love, love what you do, and do things you hate to keep what you love. If you have to get a shitty job to maintain your music, do it. Take opportunities. Make mistakes and innovate. Great failure is usually followed by great success if you see it as a great lesson.
Any last words for our readers?
Thanks for reading!