Oliver Bloor (Bass), Paul Cole (Drums) and Greg Shute (Guitar and Vocals) Sally Hossack (Vocals and Flute) and Mike Sole (Keyboards)
Hot on the heels of the release of their first release Extended Play Leicester five-piece Free Control are set to play one of the city’s most popular music venue’s The Donkey on Welford Road this Friday. As the band were running through some last minute rehearsals for the gig Pukaar News had the opportunity to ask lead vocalist Sally Hossack and drummer Paul Cole about the reactions to their new release, Leicester’s music scene and their plans for the future.
Free Control formed four years ago when Greg Shute, Oliver Bloor and Paul Cole decided they wanted to take a different musical direction from the rock acts they had previously been a part of. Joining forces with singer/songwriter Sally Hossack and keyboardist Mike Sole the band began to embark on new more experimental path.
Musically Free Control are difficult to pigeonhole, they half jokingly refer to themselves as “psychedelic-trip hop-rock,” this eclecticism is one of the band’s strengths when slotted between the generic indie scene and myriad of introverted acoustic acts they stand out as refreshingly innovative. Last month at the band’s EP launch show at Leicester’s historic Guildhall Free Control unleashed the pounding instrumental War of Opinions alongside the more ethereal tracks like Balloon and the haunting YTYKS.
Sally Hossack’s flute playing isn’t your usual mild mannered Celtic ambience at times her lead sections resemble majestic rock solos lifting the songs to a shimmering plateau.
She says “The flute is an underused instrument. When you’re talking about auditory range the flute can really soar. It can float along but then it can really resonant down with the bass. I can’t wait to play the flute on Friday at The Donkey it will sound amazing in this space”.
Refusing to follow a well-trodden path can also have its draw backs however as Drummer Paul Cole points out, “often in the music industry people feel safe if they can put you into a particular category it can be difficult to sale yourself if you can’t quickly identify what genre of music you belong to”.
Lyrically Free Control are also hard to pin down. Although guitarist Greg Shute has also written some of the bands lyrics the bulk song writing is done by the lead singer. Sally Hossack’s lyrics can focus on quite personal themes, quirky events or political subject matter. Balloon is about her feelings after her mother underwent a heart operation. Another song originated from a comical newspaper headline “Twenty Year Chocolate Career.” Whilst Straw Man which features on the band’s EP is about an individual’s stand against the government.
Although Free Control are not currently signed to a record label they don’t see necessarily see this as a drawback. The band cite out of date copyright laws that have failed to prevent illegal downloads as just one of the reasons why being signed isn’t the be-all and end-all it used to be.
Paul goes on to say that, “I think being unsigned and having more control over what you do is the way forward. We don’t really want a rock star wage we just want people to know about us so we can go out and play live”.
Extended Play was released last month on January 28th. Sally tells of the positive feedback they have received. “Obviously our friends and family are really happy about the release of the band’s first record but also the people I know from gigging and our loyal fan base have given us really good comments as well. Lots of people who have followed us for a while and really know these songs are really impressed with how well they have been crafted on the EP”.
Enthused by Leicester’s current music scene Free Control reckon the city has a lot to be proud of when it comes to home grown acts such as By the Rivers, Howard James Kenney, Grace Petrie, NFQ and the Elusive Jazz Band. The band has regular bookings coming in all of the time and plenty of new material they have yet to record. The next logical step for Free Control seems to be recording a full length album but without the financial backing of a record company studio time is difficult to afford. Perhaps this is the only real downside of their Do-It-Yourself work ethic.
Sally explains “Whilst we definitely would like to record an album. We want to do it on the same level as our EP we don’t want to sacrifice the quality just to get it out there as quickly as possible”.
Given the professional quality of the EP, intelligent lyrics and sophisticated instrumentation it would be a great pity if the band were to rush things.
In the immediate future Sally says that Free Control’s plans are to “work as hard as they possibly can. I think you have to if you really want it. I find that we all get a little bit better every six months, that’s not to say that things get easier but they continue to evolve. I feel very different, more confident on the stage than I did four years ago”.
Free Control play The Donkey on Welford Road on February 17th
For more information on Free Control visit: http://www.sallyhossack.com/freecontrol/
To download the EP Extended Play from itunes visit: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/extended-play/id494616082?ign-mpt=uo%3D4