HT Interview: Freekbass Keeps It Honest

“You got that Freekbass thing going!” Many years ago during one of their first encounters, Bootsy Collins said this to a young bass player then known by the name of Chris Sherman. Sherman and Collins we’re working together in a Cincinnati studio when the bassist plugged in and started playing through an assortment of Bootsy’s effects. The engineer picked up on it, followed by everyone around the studio beginning to call Sherman by his new handle. Before long, even his mom started calling him Freekbass. “That’s when I knew I was in trouble,” Freekbass remembers. “It was one of those crazy names that stuck, and seemed to fit with my unconventional style of playing.”

Now, the name is all but written in stone as Freekbass has been turning heads for years with his unconventional approach, winning awards for his bass playing and being a musician’s musician so-to-speak. Over the past two months in particular, things have truly taken off. Freekbass just played to huge receptive crowds at both Electric Forest and Camp Bisco, and recently released an absolute monster of an album (free to download) called Concentrate.

We caught up with Freekbass via telephone on his way home from Camp Bisco to discuss the new album, his approach to synthesizing his love of both funk bass and DJ culture, his upcoming instructional bass video and his fanaticism for Reds baseball.

Hidden Track: To get started, if you could give a bit of background on how your sound came to be? It’s definitely different than anything I’ve really ever heard. How did the combination of your musical studies and playing bass merge with the electronic elements?

Freekbass: It’s funny, because as much as I play live and am known as a live type musician, I actually started out as a studio rat. I was living and hanging around in studios. There is a popular drum machine sequencer called the MPC2000 and at the same time I was developing my bass skills, I was also learning how to use that machine as well.

I’ve always been immersed in DJ/Hip Hop culture and funk  is a big influence of mine. As you know, growing up in Cincinnati, there has always been a strong funk culture there. The only difference was that my friends who were doing DJ stuff were using turntables, whereas I always had a bass in my hands.

Also, I’ve always been drawn to really bass-heavy, sonic-oriented music and groove-oriented music as well. As far as this record which was just released, I wanted to try to take all those things I just mentioned and bridge the gaps on one record. READ ON for more of Ryan’s chat with Freekbass…

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