Freekbass on his 5 best bass albums
Cincinnati-born Chris Sherman was once dubbed “The New Spiritual Warrior For The Funk” by none other than the legendary Bootsy Collins, who helped Sherman find his own bass guitar sound and voice, now under the Freekbass name.
His early musical ventures were at his hometown School of Creative and Performing Arts, where he caught the eye of Gary ‘Mudbone’ Cooper, who hired the future bassist to record a Jimi tribute track. Hendrix.
Former Rubber Band vocalist Mudbone was so impressed he introduced the youngster to his former employer. However, Freek is no Collins clone – he is considered a towering figure at the intersection of classic funk, futuristic explorations and hip-hop, as well as for his technique, squelchy sound and ultra soul. -funky.
A series of increasingly well-received albums have emerged over his two-decade career to date, working with the two P-Funk alumni and taking the idea of funk into strange, wondrous new sonic realms. and very dancing. During the lockdown, he posted videos and songs online, and has a new Twitch tutorial channel, among other things.
Here, Freekbass talks to us about some of the records crucial to his adventures. Let’s take Freeky!
The whole road. Until the End (2019)
“It’s a great portfolio of where I am as an artist, bassist, and songwriter. One side of the album was recorded at Color Red Studios in Denver, Colorado, and it has a retro sound , with the production qualities of 60s and 70s funk – the sounds of Motown, Westbound Records, Funkadelic – that were a huge influence on me.
“We recorded it totally live in the studio, dubbing some vocals on a real tape recorder so that we could supersaturate the drums. I got some great bass tones out of it. If someone made a mistake, we would start over. He really has a different energy.
“The other side of the album is more futuristic, produced by me and Itaal Shur, who co-wrote Smooth with Santana and won all kinds of Grammys. We grew up playing together in Cincinnati, and we’re pushing funk into the future. Almost all of my bass tracks, even if I have an initial bed or a loop, I go back and re-track in a long take because the energy is different.
“Even though it’s a repetitive bass line, it has a human side to it. We exchanged files between Cincinnati and New York, some people here in the studio with me, recording and mixing in both places.
Everybody Feels Good (2015)
“The keyboardist on this track is the late “Razor Sharp” Johnson, who was one of Bootsy’s Rubber Band’s original keyboardists, and who toured with George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic for many years. On drums there is had Chip Wilson and Ken ‘Bamn’ Smith, who had both toured with Bootsy, so we had a hard core.
“We experimented with a lot of bass sounds; on this album, the bass became very central. Some songs are just bass and drums, with Razor possibly doubling the bassline on the keyboards.
“Duane Lundy produced a couple of my albums, and on this one he put my bass through some weird speaker setups, and the drums through all kinds of stuff. We really spent time on the production.
“Writing songs is like playing an instrument – I hope you get better as you go along. On this album, I really felt like I was starting to realize what I was doing. The saxophonist Skerik came to play on Mom is like a cowboyplus bass and drums, and it sounded so full that it dictated the mood of the song.
“It also means lyrically – the way I approached the performance of the rhythm and cadence of my vocal part.”
Get Down (2021)
“If I had to choose a song that says ‘Freekbass’, this is it. In terms of groove, tone, writing, everything is there.
“I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, which has a very strong funk history and Dayton is right next to us – bands like Ohio Players and Zapp were there.
“This Zapp song, More bounce per ounce changed my life when I was little. I realized these were the kind of lines I wanted to play and the way I wanted my bass to sound.
“One of my main influences was Cameo, so when I started hitting and pinching, it was partly their technique and their tone, but also how they were really repetitive, and almost robotic, but also very melodic. .
“I was releasing one single and one video a month since the pandemic started because we weren’t going to be on the road for a while and I had to keep creating and pushing things forward. I almost didn’t release it, because it came so fast.
“I just shone it a bit production-wise, and I thought it was just a cool little thing, but it’s one of our most listened to songs of all time.”
Body Over Mind (2001)
“It’s my first album, so I was just learning, learning, learning. That’s when I developed a pretty close relationship with Bootsy, who I would go to his studio and we would be there maybe eight hours a day for three or four weeks, and for the first three or four hours we would just talk.
“He was talking about the music industry and how to survive it – you know, don’t go too high in the highs or too low in the lows, and how to build a career.
“I learned so much about recording, EQ, panning and sampling, all of which makes you not only a bass player but also allows you to be a producer
“He gave me templates for things to think about, and then I would go back to my studio, write like crazy, and bring in different people. I was just starting my career at the time, so I was barely touring. I had a little four-track tape recorder and
I was learning a bit of computer recording.
“At the time, I had no idea how to navigate the music world, but Bootsy never tried to make me Bootsy Collins II. He was preparing me so that I could have a career as a Freekbass.