Guy Freedom English interview
Written by Kevin Tanza on January 25, 2022
It’s always great to have Guy Freedom English back in MusikHolics. An independent Hard Rock musician, Guy has recently released a new album called Don’t Dream Tonight, which we reviewed here.
So it was a pleasure to talk with Guy again. We talked about his career, his time during the pandemic, his new album and a lot of different things. Hopefully you will enjoy it and support his music if it’s of your liking.
First of all, thank you for being here once again, Guy. How are things going with you during the pandemic?
You’re very welcome. It’s always a pleasure Kevin. I’ve been doing fine through the pandemic and I hope you’ve been making it through it ok. I’m all vaccinated and haven’t had any health issues. Everyone in my family is doing well too. I’ve been very blessed that the pandemic hasn’t been an issue for me on the home front.
How much of a toll did this take in your projects?
Project wise it didn’t slow me down. I was able to produce two albums last year. Early in the year I produced the hip hop album Dirty Dante, The Goodie Room. And then I spent the last few months of the year writing and recording Don’t Dream Tonight. The biggest thing that had this project stalled was just waiting to get the new guitar and drums.
I have been following you for a while, so I know what you have been up to, but for our readers, what have you been doing since our last interview?
I just recently released the album Don’t Dream Tonight. Stylistically, it’s a different direction from the other albums. I gave the lyrics a much more serious tone and wrote about things that were very personal for me that I’ve avoided writing about in the past. Musically I wanted to kind of reinvent my sound. I took things in a heavier direction and I feel the music fit the lyrics very well. For the the first time I felt like I was really firing on all cylinders.
How much do you think you have evolved as a musician in recent years?
I feel like I’ve evolved quite a bit over the last few years. Before I started playing again I was just a guitar player. Over the last few years I’ve had to learn to play the drums, keyboards, and learn how to be a sound engineer. I’m still very much learning as I go but Don’t Dream Tonight felt like a huge leap forward for me on all fronts.
Let’s talk about your recent release, Don’t Dream Tonight. Walk us through the process of making this album.
With this album I knew I wanted to make something I haven’t made yet. Not only musically but also visually. I am very happy with the other albums and I feel they were absolutely necessary to get me to this one. This was the first album where I haven’t used any old songs or ideas. For me this one was completely brand new.
I gave my drums a much needed upgrade and got a sweet Alesis electronic kit. I was also able to get my hands on a ESP EC-256 guitar, that baby sounds fantastic! These instruments were vital in getting the new sound I was aiming for. Visually I wanted an image that looked like the album felt. I wanted to create this character that I could use in the artwork moving forward, and have a logo design to use for the name. My daughter’s a very good artist and she was able to help me come up with the image.
One thing I noticed when listening to this project was how much you improved the production. Did you do anything different for this one?
The magic was in the new instruments and having a feel for what I’m doing. I used the same 8 track recorder and $10 condenser mic from before. I didn’t want to wear my influences so heavy on my sleeves and make an album that felt more unique as my own sound. I used a natural chorus effect to record the guitar and vocals. With the vocals I sang each part the same on two separate tracks but kept it blended together evenly. I was going for a one vocalist feel the entire time opposed to lead and backing vocals.
With the guitar I recorded the rhythm and lead the same as the vocals except I panned the tracks 45 degrees in stereo. The new drums I could run directly into the recorder and which was the same as before they sound a million times better. Now this probably doesn’t sound very rock n’ roll but I used a keyboard for the bass guitar parts. I have a keyboard I used for producing hip hop and it has several bass sounds which sound quite good and better than my old cheap bass. So I wrote and recorded those parts completely off the keyboard.
And songwriting wise, have you changed anything in the way that you write songs?
With these songs I wanted to make a stripped down, short and sweet approach. Not so much layering parts but more thickening them up. Sound wise I wanted things to be heavier, darker and simpler.. As guitarist I focused much more on the riffs than the leads. I felt that if I could lay down some good riffs everything would fall into place.
As a songwriter I challenged myself to write an album that had no sexually themed lyrics. First time out the gate for me writing an album with no silly songs on it. I tried to really keep things constantly moving musically. Other than the intro, I wanted vocals, lead guitar or fills constantly there to keep a steady flow in the sound.
What can you tell us about your singing? Have you been working on it?
I’ll be honest, I don’t know the first thing about singing. I only know what to do to get my voice to sound the way it does. This album was the first time I’ve ever felt comfortable singing and it was by sheer accident. When I got the new guitar it was tuned in “D” as opposed to “E” standard tuning. I loved the way it sounded through the amp so much that I left the tuning. Well it turns out “D” is a bit of a sweet spot for me vocally and I felt very comfortable singing in it. playing in a drop tuning brought it down to “C” and made it all the more comfortable for me as a vocalist.
When compared to other releases of yours, such as American Made or Forged by Fire, what do you think are the main differences with Don’t Dream Tonight?
With Don’t Dream Tonight I feel like I finally found my sound. From a writing, performing and producing I feel like I found a sound to build off of moving forward. For me this feels like the first real Guy Freedom English album. This was probably my first album you could call a heavy metal album straight through. By starting with a clean slate going into this one, I feel that was the ultimate difference maker.
What are you considering for future projects? Can we expect more changes in the musical direction you’re taken?
I would love to make another album with this same feel. I was really pleased with how Don’t Dream Tonight sounded. This felt like a natural progression for me so I would say definitely. You will absolutely hear more changes in this new direction. To be honest I feel like I have a direction for the first time. I really want things to sound like a band, not a guitar player that does all the other stuff.
Of course, you play and record everything yourself. How do you think you have progressed in that particular regard?
I feel like I’ve progressed in all aspects. I would much prefer to have a band and just be a guitar player but with my situation this is the only way I’m able to do it right now. I feel like I spent the last few years and albums honing my craft.
Any particular goal that you have in the short term?
I look forward to making the next album. It would be fun to try and do more with producing some videos. I think the next big studio upgrade will be with my computer.
Thank you for taking the time to do this, Guy. It was a pleasure. Any last words for our readers? Where can we follow you on social media and buy your music?
To anyone out there that takes the time to listen to any of my songs, thank you! I really appreciate it! You can check me out on the following places:
My first video! Hindsight Burning: