Pittsburgh based rocker Freddie Nelson has been been hard at work int he studio this summer and his upcoming album Shake the Cage is proof! It’s British influence and melodic themes make for high replay value and the album is a showcase to Freddie’s talent as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. Freddie was kind enough to take the time to talk about the album!
Q: Hi Freddie! What’s been going on this summer?
A: A lot! I write songs every day and have been doing a lot of work in the studio and anticipating getting this album out.
Q: When you say you’ve been writing every day, are you already working on material for your next album?
A: It’s interesting, while writing Shake the Cage I probably had two albums worth of material. I picked and chose and put songs together that seemed to fit together as a body of work. I have a lot of other tunes that are half done or ones that are completed that I’m not quite happy with. I’m kind of like Frankenstein, I’m building the monster!
Q: I was reading a statement on your bio that says “We live in an age where reality shows create superstars and technology that once revolutionized music has become the crutch of the creative process.” That’s very thought provoking and there’s a lot of truth to that.
A: When I was a kid, you had to sit in your room for a period of time and pretty much suck until you had that spark and it started to happen. It was really inspiring. Don’t get me wrong, technology is wonderful when it’s used for good. I still think at the end of the day, technology is useful. Had it not been for technology, I couldn’t have done this album from my house. However, you still need to hone your craft and put the time and work in. It creates stunning performances rather than letting technology do it for you. You’ve got to keep the wheels turning.
Q: I was listening to Shake the Cage and I apologize in advance because I might hammer this to death but your use of chord progressions throughout the album is simply fantastic!
A: Thank you so much! When I had this bunch of tunes together, the body of work came together well.
Q: Are you the primary writer for this album or was it a collaboration of efforts?
A: I wrote the whole album. I wrote it, produced it and played all the instruments with the exception of drums which were provided by the great Thomas Lang. I would put the drums track down and send them to him. He [Thomas] has a studio in his house and so he would send the tracks back to me.
Q: It’s so refreshing because there aren’t lots of artists doing all the writing or producing of their own work these days. It has to be nice to have flexibility as well to drive the creativity.
A: It’s wonderful because I can work into the studio whenever I want. If I don’t want to put in a twelve-hour day, I don’t and if I want to be in the studio at 2AM, I can. And it wasn’t to say ‘hey look what I can do! I can play all these instruments’ it was because I didn’t have a band there so I had to put things together piece by piece.
Q: I like that you have so many elements on the album. Blues, pop and southern rock can definitely are coming out to my ear. I thought I heard a little but of Mr. Big influence among the tracks?
A: Art inspires Art. I’ve been inspired by everybody I’ve ever worked with or been around.. I did write an album with Paul Gilbert about 8 years ago. It was called United States and Paul has such an understanding of melody. I could see some Paul Gilbert being heard, I’m more of a Paul Gilbert fan than a Mr. Big fan.
Q: Speaking of The Beatles, “Monster in my Room” has a chord progression that evokes the style of John Lennon and it stands out wonderfully.
A: Honestly, I think their music transcends generations. They were the kings of writing a song that left you humming it. Many bands have tried to emulate that. I’m obviously inspired by the Beatles that British sound is definitely present.
Q: “Hey Doll” is the first single from the album, correct?
A: When the songs were in their more infant stages, I played them for some people I trusted because you’re vulnerable at this point. I played them for some people into very different types of music. This one seemed to be the one they all really liked. I also found it to be a decent representation as to what this body of work is.
Q: Are you going to be doing any touring this summer?
A: I have a deal in Japan so I’m going to head over there. I don’t have anything right now. I’ll go anywhere that anybody wants me!
Q: Freddie thank you so much! I appreciate your time and I hope rock fans out there will give your album a listen when it’s released!
Check out Freddie Nelson‘s Official Website for updates and more! Shake the Cage will be released on July 7, 2017!
All Photos by Frank Vilsack