Contributed By: Jake Schell
Few artists can encapsulate as much open emotion as Hudson Freeman. The band has music reminiscent of some of the greats of indie-folk, including modern-day favorites like the Lumineers or The Head and the Heart. Hudson also says that classic bands, like Bon Iver, have had a big influence.
The band’s lyrics are deeply relatable and each guitar strum has a genuine, young-at-heart vibe that anybody can enjoy listening to.
Originally from Dallas, Texas, Hudson Freeman lived in South Africa as a child. Currently, he has found his way to Springfield, Missouri for college at Evangel University, where he met his band: Drew Hendrickson on drums, Josh Cheezum on electric guitar, Ephraim McFarland on bass, and Jordan Spence on keys and percussion.
Recently, Hudson Freeman released a new EP titled Winter Pack, and just as the title suggests, the songs are a perfect hymn to snowy winter days. The Feature Story sat down with Hudson Freeman to discuss his past endeavors, present life, and future plans.
The Feature Story: What genre do you consider your music? What artists are your biggest influences?
Hudson Freeman: I would consider my music to be indie-folk music at its heart. There are influences of indie-rock, alternative, and indie-pop music, but it has always ultimately lingered in the folk department. I listen to a lot of Sufjan Stevens, The National, Gungor, The Middle East, Bon Iver… Those artists have been monumental for me in going after a really big, impassioned sound.
Each of those artists tend to use rock or folk music as a means of exploring really complex sonic landscapes. They all are constantly innovating and experimenting with how they go about writing and producing music; never really settling for one sound and sticking to it. Those guys truly inspire me.
TFS: Have you always wanted to play music? When did you start? What inspires you to keep going?
Hudson Freeman: I’ve wanted to play music off and on since I was a kid, but I didn’t really start until Christmas of 2008. Basically, that year I got really, really into Guitar Hero. I was really good at it, too. So that Christmas, I got the new game “Guitar Hero World Tour,” the one with the whole band. It was basically a rip-off of Rockband, but nonetheless, I was pumped because I had already mastered the guitar. Now, I needed to master the Guitar Hero drums.
My grandparents actually got me a real guitar, but I was much more interested in Guitar Hero World Tour. Long story short, I broke my Guitar Hero World Tour drums and decided to just try playing the actual guitar. Since then, I have not gone more than a week without obsessively playing music.
TFS: How do you produce your music?
Hudson Freeman: I am currently a member of an independent record label I helped start called Ope! Records, based out of Springfield. My bass player and good friend, Ephraim McFarland, started it with me as a way of showcasing the independent music communities around the United States. Ephraim McFarland is a genius who helps produce a lot of my music, as well as his own fantastic project, two:eighteen.
TFS: What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?
Hudson Freeman: I remember a friend of mine telling me recently that they listen to sad music to feel more sad and that really messed with me. For me, sad music always just made me feel less alone. In times when I felt sad, sad music made me realize that there was this other human being out there in the world who had experienced similar feelings to mine. Sad feelings weren’t these oddities to avoid, but times to reflect and build and empathize.
That being said, I don’t particularly want people to feel sad when they hear my music, I want them to feel less alone. I want them to feel hopeful and thoughtful and reminded of all that there is to look forward to.
TFS: Are there any common themes or messages in your music?
Hudson Freeman: Trying to escape cynicism, embracing uncertainty, stubbornness, loneliness, trying to find hope within anxiousness… All these themes are just things I have found myself thinking about and dealing with over the last few years.
The first real song I wrote as Hudson Freeman is called “Oh Well” off of A Man, One Day. That song and its dealings with fear and the embrace of reality characterize nearly all of my songs.
TFS: Specifically, can you tell me about the meaning behind your song, “The End”?
Hudson Freeman: “The End” is a song I wrote towards the end of my time living in Africa. To be frank, living in Africa was pretty hard on me and my family, but it started to really look up in the last year I lived there. I started to make lots of friends and started writing music.
“The End” was an attempt on my part to write somewhat of a letter to my younger self basically saying, “Hey, I know life feels really crappy a lot of the time, but you are deluding yourself if you think that there aren’t things to care about, times to look forward to, and people who care about you. Enjoy it all in the moment, because it will be gone soon and you’ll wish you had.”
TFS: What can we expect next from Hudson Freeman?
Hudson Freeman: I will be releasing my first full-length LP very soon, but the release date is a surprise as of now! Please follow me to stay tuned for that.
TFS: Where can we find you on social media?
Hudson Freeman: I love engaging with everybody through my Instagram @thehuddog. I post quite a bit through my story and like to give music suggestions, updates on where the album is at, show dates. Follow my Spotify as well!
TFS: Any last words?
Hudson Freeman: I want to thank all the members of Hudson Freeman: Josh Cheezum, Drew Hendrickson, Ephraim McFarland, and Jordan Spence. I want to thank my parents and family for supporting me being a musician. You guys are clearly crazy, but thanks anyway.