Editor’s Note: It was a great time discussing “Shake The Cage” with Freddie Nelson! He is known as a producer’s producer and for his work and collaboration with one Paul Gilbert of Mr. Big fame. On July 7th, Freddie Nelson will be releasing “Shake The Cage”, and he has also released the music video for “Hey Doll”. You can find Freddie Nelson on Facebook, Twitter, and his official website at www.freddienelson.com, without further delay, here is my unique and fun conversation with Freddie Nelson! You can see the complete interview that I conducted with Freddie Nelson at www.muenmagazine.net
Freddie: Just wanted to say thanks for taking an interest and reaching out!
Matty: Thank you for calling and everything! Are you used to doing interviews this early in the morning? *laughs*
Freddie: In my harder drinking days, no! *laughs* But I don’t drink that much these days! I’m up pretty early to try to get into the studio to get some work done.
Matty: I know that you’re a producer and engineer, most notably with the legendary Paul Gilbert of Mr. Big, tell us about a couple of other collaborations. What has stuck out to you the most?
Freddie: Well, I’ve worked with a number of people. One, that is on the top of my head is recent is one Thomas Lang, basically he’s one of the top notch drummers. He’s the one guy that all of the other drummers sort of fear, but he was working on a project with a Japanese band, and they needed some different production things done, and they were trying to release an album in the States and all the vocals on it were sung in Japanese. They wanted the vocals to be a loose translation of it for America, so I worked on that, and it was really tricky because Japanese doesn’t translate very easily to English, so to try to actually make this work and to fit it into the landscape of the song, and for it to sound right was kind of a tricky process. That was one of the more recent things from a production standpoint.
You know it’s funny because I don’t really credit myself as being an engineer, I’ve produced a number of different things, there’s been some local projects, but as an engineer, I kind of take that label out and have the studio in my house, I needed an engineer, so I can work on that in a different direction myself.
M.T.C.: What was the most rewarding work of working on that project?
Freddie: I think in any situation like that when you’re doing a production project, whether you’re acting as the producer, or getting the best possible product, best possible performance out of an artist, you gotta do that a lot of different ways, some artists you have to coddle, some artists you gotta maybe yell at a little bit, to get them to driver a little harder. You really almost have to play psychologist some of the time in order to understand how to get the best possible performance out of them, but everybody reacts differently, so there’s a big crossover, there’s a lot of head games in order to try to get a performance out of somebody. There’s a crossover between being a producer and being a psychologist.
M.T.C.: Speaking of drive and motivation, “Shake The Cage” is coming out July 7th, let’s say you hit the studio and you don’t feel motivated to make that music, what drives you and motivates you to make that music?
Freddie: Man, that’s a good question! It’s really hard to force creativity, because it kind of flows through you in this sort of vessel, and when it’s not coming through, it is hard to light a fire and to force yourself through it. For me, I’ve been in kind of a paradigm shift for a long time, and I just think with a lot of meditation, or if I just get out into nature, and sometimes I’ll just sit in the woods while walking around in the woods, or it doesn’t even necessarily have to be in the woods, as long as it’s a quiet place, or a lot of times I’ll draw inspiration from it, or when I was a kid, I never used to realize why bands would get together to go to an island or something in order to write a record. As I got older, I started to realize that it’s all about the experience and the adventure, it’s a pretty huge thing in creativity, or from anything, getting into new energy, and having to experience different things, and you can get this overflow of material for an outing, so it’s a matter of picking it up, going somewhere, and putting it into a different environment, to experience something different that will get you motivated.
MT.C.: What are some of the visions of “Shake The Cage”(release date July 7th) that you want the listeners to grasp?
Freddie: When I was a kid, I wanted to do this at a very early age, but I never said that I wanted to be a rock star, but I’ve always said that I wanted to be a professional musician, and that I would be able to sustain and do that for a substantial period of time. I hope that this album inspires people and to show them that you don’t need that giant studio and spend all kinds of money. It’s a new day and age. There’s other options, and if you truly work for it. The guys I know that work the hardest and the ones that work at this everyday. There’s always this illusion that the lifestyle of doing this is this awesome thing that you get to sleep all day long that you get to walk out on that red carpet and go to award shows. The ones that I know that sustain are the ones that work every day at it, so I’m hoping that what people get out of it is that it’s inspiring in such a manner that when I recorded it all myself, not to say that, “I was doing it for myself”, but necessity is the mother of invention, I didn’t have a band, so I kind of had to do everything myself here.
For one, that it’s inspiring and two, it’s all honest and that it’s all real. There’s two things about the technology, one I wouldn’t have been able to do this album without all the technology that we have today, and two for anything that can be discovered or used for money and power, it can become bad in a sense. In other words, they think that the technology today is used a lot of times as a crutch to cover up sub-par performances and things that are a little mediocre, and you do it to make the corrections, and that when it’s out, you’re here for a month and gone after that. The other thing that I’m trying to show is that I did this honestly, I worked at it using the gifts that I have been granted and what I’ve worked on my whole life. I’ve tried to keep it as real and as honest as possible, and really try to get good performances out of myself and to use technology to try to cover things up, to really try to get down that emotional wormhole for people to respond to the genuine performance as opposed to responding to the technology.
M.T.C.: In further regards to the “Shake The Cage” record a bit, tell us about the song and music video for “Hey Doll”. Was it fun making a music video?
Freddie: When we recorded this album, I would play the demo for people that I knew and trusted here and there, I’m playing them different things. There seemed to have a consistent type of people that liked different genres of music. That was kind of my goal was to have people that were moved by different types of music to listen through it so I could find a common thread between all of them, and this particular song seemed to have a common tether to it.
As far as the video goes, it had originally started out to be a lyric video. I was walking around my house, I didn’t know what I was exactly going to do. I stopped in my dining room and looked around, and was thinking about if I shifted some things around, I could build a stage over here, luckily my wife was pretty understanding *laughs*, so I did that and called on a friend that I know who is a great videographer and photographer, and she came over and started to shoot it, and when I got into the editing process of it, and when I looked at it, I felt that we had something that was kind of a step up from the lyric video, so we just kind of went in that direction with it, and it just kind of worked to do this, because I never really go down the whole process of shooting and editing videos and all that, like with any type of art or anything, you gotta put the time into it in order for it to be somewhat decent. It turned out okay to where at least we were happy with it, and to at least not call it a lyric video, it was a step up from the lyric video, we just kind of released it as a music video, it’s gotten a favorable response so far, so we’re pretty happy about that.
“Hey Doll” by Freddie Nelson
M.T.C.: I’m going to give you the floor to say whatever you want to say about “Shake The Cage”, message to the fans, anything you want to add.
Freddie: First of all, for anybody that checks out the album and ultimately buys it, I say a giant thank you because that allows me to continue to create music, and just for any information, you can go to www.freddienelson.com, or www.facebook.com/freddienelsonofficial. I just want to say thank you to those that at least give it a shot or give it a listen, if you like rock-n-roll, you’ll like this album because it’s honest.
Matty: Thanks for the time Freddie!
Freddie: Thanks for the awesome questions! It’s nice to talk to someone that looks for different things in the interview and I appreciate you helping me in getting the word out!
Go pick up a copy of “Shake The Cage” on July 7th! You can also find Freddie Nelson at the following locations: