HUGHESVILLE - Small Town Titans will rock Big Dogz Sports Bar and Restaurant, 5010 Route 220, at 9 p.m. this Saturday night. Frontman Phil Freeman took time out of his wild schedule to do a phone interview. The other members of the band are Jonny Ross, drums; Vyn George, guitar; Ben Guiles, guitar; and Ed Robb, bass.
APRIL LINE: Talk about the songwriting process, who does it? How does the sound evolve once a song is complete?
PHIL FREEMAN: Mostly, the lyrics come from me. Then the other guitarist will chime in with ideas for a chorus or something else. Musically, it's a collaborative effort. Everybody has a hand in making the music sound as it does. All of us have a background in composing our own music, and bringing our heads together really does make something completely different and completely new. It's a really refreshing process.
The Small Town Titans will rock Big Dogz Sports Bar and Restaurant, 5010 Route 220, at 9 p.m. Saturday.
AL: Did you all study music in college?
PF: I did and Ben is currently in the school for business admin. Mark is going for digital communications. Jonny, the drummer, is doing a degree in music business and Eddie is a bassist who's worked with multiple bands.
AL: You're a busy dude. How do you get everything done?
PF: I like to keep myself busy. I have a solo project, The Lone Wolf Project, which is more Americana. I run an open mic night every Wednesday in York. I don't sleep much. I also work full time at the moment.
AL: How long have you been singing?
PF: I have been singing for most of my life, I would say. The first time I picked up a harmonica, I was 3 years old. I ended up spitting in the valves and messing it up. I've always had an instrument in my life, a piano or guitar. My parents are both musically talented people.
AL: What exactly does a management deal mean? A lot of bands are DIY these days, almost everybody I have talked to who is managed says that they only reason is that they started getting managed when the music industry was different. I wonder if this is a sign that the music industry is putting itself back together that management means something different now. What do you think?
PF: It's interesting. It's hard to understand what the job of a personal manager is. The manager is essential to even an independent band that sells its own records. Having someone to be the middle man, manage the booking of shows, the contact, the touring, the distribution. Having someone to do that is essential. Ever since we signed with Susquehanna Entertainment, we've seen a lot more shows come in. We're doing a lot more as a band. It's collaborative: whenever there's something that the band can do on its own, the manager works as a central point to allocate tasks to it. It's a huge asset. I recommend having a manager of some kind, even if it's not a signed situation, to have just one person dedicated to manage the band's logistics.
AL: The music is really high energy, even the slower songs. Talk about what people can expect from a live show.
PF: When we played at Big Dogz before, we loved it. We're really looking forward to it. It should be a great crowd. We love performing. We're always enjoying ourselves. There's definitely a physical aspect to the performance. The bands that really have it are the ones that can
sound really good on stage - as good as their records - and put on a theatrical performance at the same time. I think of Eddie Vedder, who would stage dive into the crowd, which is something I recently realized my dream of doing. We're looking forward to Cinco de Mayo at Big Dogz.
AL: Are you excited to record next month?
PF: Absolutely. We're really excited to record with Jason Rubal. He recorded my solo work, and we're going to be releasing an EP with him, it should be out by the end of the summer. We'll definitely keep everyone in the loop on that.
AL: How do you know each other?
PF: In early spring, around this time last year, we all started playing together, and we knew we had something special immediately.
AL: Was it a huge rush to win the battle of the bands at Lebanon Valley College?
PF: It was really great. We got to open for Secondhand Serenade this past weekend as a prize. Videos from the event will be posted very soon on YouTube. We have a cover of AWOL Nation's "Sail" that Jon and I did, and it's hit over 90,000 views at this point. We're really excited about that as a band.
For a taste, visit Small Town Titans' website, smalltowntitans.com or check out the group's Facebook fan page.
Terry Selders, their manager, may be reached for booking and questions by calling 717-648-7159.
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.