5 bloggers, 5 questions, 1 band, hand-picked by the MWA writers. Welcome to FIVE x FIVE. This week: pop culture aficionados, Freaks for Geeks.
A relatively new project born in the burbs and making its way to the city, Freaks for Geeks are making a name for themselves, and quickly. After playing the Reddit Holiday Party and an appearance on Fearless Radio, the band is ready to bring their unique blend of rock funk to the Empty Bottle for our very own Midwest Action Party, but not before taking a second to chat with us for an F4G edition of FIVE x FIVE.
Why do you go with literature and other references vs stereotypical topics – especially with hip hop? | Patrick David
For me, pop culture is a challenge. It influences a big portion of our lives, but things get tricky when you talk about using it creatively. I used this Gym Class Heroes example the other day – In 2006, they released the track “New Friend Request” – a song about Myspace. At the height of the site’s popularity, the references to things like being in someone’s “Top 8” made sense, now, most people wouldn’t even know what he’s talking about. It’s the game of balancing subtlety with (hopefully) timeless subject matter that makes writing about pop culture so much more intriguing to me than scribbling out generic lyrics.
Any difficulties being based in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, or do you find it helps to expand your reach? | Alyssa Welch
The suburbs definitely pose a few difficulties in terms of distance from the city. Even though Google Maps promises a 40 minute drive to the Loop, we’ve had trips take us almost two hours during rush hour. It makes any sort of spontaneous action very difficult. We have to plan everything meticulously in order to make sure that all of us and all of our gear gets into the city on time. We’ve been able to play at a few venues in the Northern and Western suburbs, but unfortunately most, if not all of the decent local venues in the South suburbs have closed down.
What bands have influenced your mixed genre sound? | Dan Fiorio
It’s absolutely no coincidence that Ryan and I first started writing acoustic hip-hop music the year that the Flobots released Fight with Tools. They were a big inspiration for us to try rapping over not just live instrumentation, but rock music.
You float between hiphop/rap and rock. In the future, do you see yourselves maintaining that balance, or are you beginning to gravitate in favor of one? | Dan Jarvis
I think that rather than leaning towards one genre in the future, we might begin to see the lines between the two blur a little bit more. Years ago, when we first started writing music for what would become Freaks for Geeks, we were very deliberate about what was a “rock” song and what was a “hip-hop” song. Since the music is the thread that connects the two styles for us, I can definitely see our songs becoming a bit of both genres rather than one or the other.
What is your current process for creating tracks, full band or just a few of you? | Patrick David
Things have definitely progressed in terms of songwriting. Before Freaks for Geeks, Ryan and I were just writing acoustic hip-hop songs in his basement. Now, with more members, the process has become much more collaborative and much more gradual. Most of our newer tracks are formed piece by piece rather than all at once. Ryan will bring something in and the guys will jam on it for a bit while I put down some ideas. Over a few practices, everyone will tighten up their parts, we’ll get some background vocals in, and from there we just keep on playing it until it feels like a song.
January 9 at The Empty Bottle Chicago, IL*