An In-Depth Interview With The Modern Rock Group, EDGE OF FREE!
Posted On 16 Jun 2017
Edge Of Free is modern rock with a combination of acoustic riffs, heavy guitars and heart-felt lyrics that are both melodic and hard-hitting. Their songs of addiction, love, loss, and survival, are delivered with the passion that can only come from someone who has lived it.
Produced by Toby Wright (Alice In Chains, Korn, Tantric, Metallica) Edge Of Free’s debut, self-titled album is an intimate collection of honest songs powered by guitarist John Hussey’s dynamic music and singer Scott Sneddon’s dark melodies, soaring choruses, and gut wrenching lyrics about depression, drug addiction and recovery.
With disarming honesty, songs like “Blood Eagle,” “Pushin’ The Needle,” and ﬁrst single “Pony,” the listener can hear and almost experience the tumble into depression and other struggles that Sneddon faced as they frequently reveal themselves in the tone and lyrical content of the record.
“On this record I composed all the music and Scott wrote all the melodies and Lyrics” explains Hussey. “Producer Toby Wright (Alice In Chains, Korn, Tantric, Metallica) made some adjustments in the rhythm section that brought out the best groove under the guitar riffs. We are so glad we chose Toby – the collaboration has been killer!”
The debut album Edge of Free features 8 songs from the whirlwind of writing, reﬁning, rewriting and recording in 2016. “We have been through some heavy shit together” says Hussey. “Drug addiction, divorce, near death experiences and ﬁnally the completion of our ﬁrst record”.
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Learn more about Edge of Free in the following All Access interview:
How did Edge Of Free first form? How did you come up with your band name? What other names were you considering?
John and I are longtime friends and we previously collaborated and ran into each other while playing in different bands. During a visit in 2011, I starting singing over some new music he had written – this was sitting on his front porch in Nashville – and there was this chemistry that was undeniable. I said “let’s make a record” and he pointed his gun at me, looked at me like I was crazy…I am, but we did it anyway!
John and I are the core of Edge of Free and I feel most inspired writing vocals (lyrics and melodies/harmonies) to his bed of music. We both naturally started playing this aggressive, acoustic style from the start and we didn’t hear anything out there like it so it is a unique voice for us.
John started sending me new music ideas as he finished them in his home studio, and I would write and record vocals in my home studio – which at first consisted of just an iPhone on “record” via Voice Memos and an open kitchen to belt – and I would send the idea back. Once we had about 10 more of these we knew we were on to something and when we talked about what to call ourselves…
The name “Edge Of Free” comes from the struggle to find meaning and understand why we’re thrown into this life with its ultimate boundaries that just can’t be breached….how to be free, or at least get close….to the edge. It is literally something I scribbled down in my lyric/journal book quite a few years ago. We considered a handful of other names…Things like “Voodoo Lounge” and “Psychedelic Prince Parts” or “Aces to Ashes”…okay, I just made that all up, except for the Voodoo one…I think that was real, but I can’t remember. No name really carried any meaning for us beyond maybe sounding colorful, so “Edge Of Free” it is!
You recently released your debut self-titled album, so let’s talk about the process of putting it all together? What was the inspiration for these songs? Did anything surprise you guys at all about the making of it?
The melody and lyrics depend heavily on the vibe of the music John sends me, and a lot of his music is informed by personal experience, recently having been through a divorce and some sense of betrayal, along with the gravity of loss. Consequently, the lyrics also address themes along similar lines, but I don’t sit down with a pen to write songs. Lyric writing for me is a process of discovery. I have a melody and then at various times throughout the day – usually while I’m mountain biking – a particular phrase might pop into my head and it’s almost as if the song writes itself. The inspiration I’d say comes from relationships – not just with people, but with ideology (who’s your God?), mortality and…drugs – and from digging out the painful phrases of a particularly rough period I experienced.
It has been cathartic to address some long-buried experiences – bordering on trauma – and write blatantly and honestly about the desires and heavy impact those events had on me.
…..I was surprised we were able to make such a deep album and since the rhythm section was added last, hearing these songs come to life at a whole new level…was a pleasant surprise!
What was it like working with your producer Toby Wright on this album? Was it intimidating at all to work with someone that has produced for Alice in Chains, Korn and Metallica?
Working with Toby was pure joy every single second – ha! Ok…bullshit, but Toby is a straight-shooter and making an album like this – that isn’t just filler for an existing career, but really needs to kill out of the box with something unique – requires pushing people beyond where they’re comfortable, along with a strong dose of honesty! There was nothing intimidating interacting with Toby, he definitely expects a certain caliber….but, there’s so much we have in common it seemed like we had always been doing this together.
That said…when I cut my first vocal in front of him, in an unfamiliar studio, knowing he’s heard the greats – Layne Staley comes to mind #1, as I was singing into the same mic Toby had built for Layne during “Jar of Flies” – yeah…I felt for sure that this is the real deal and you either give it all and deliver, or pack your shit up and acknowledge you’re not really supposed to be there. Top that off with Toby’s rule of not being a “fan” – meaning he’s not going to pat you on the back about how great you are before telling you the truth – and it was a little intimidating in some respects, but the end result speaks for itself and I would do it the same way in a heartbeat!
Let’s talk about how your current single “Pony” came to be? What is the story behind how this song was made? What are some other songs you are excited for people to hear on this record?
“Pony” is actually one of the first songs John and I ever wrote together! It started with an acoustic riff John had and I took that and mused about my experiences in Nashville. Later, we added drums and bass, but against the punchy acoustic we had to find a groove, so we set them at half-time and hearing that juxtaposition is what caught my ear. I always liked the quirky title, the play on words of finding your own path, but also the literal concept of taking off with someone you fall in love with.
The story is a reminiscing of some very hard times I went through during a year when I lived in Nashville. I had an…experience…with someone at that time. I was deeply depressed, and alone, alcoholic, and living in this really old, sparse, cold upper-attic of an old Victorian house in East Nashville. I paid $150 per month in rent, but it had no heat. I ran into this girl – skated more like, because we were roller blading in the park – and I fell in love about 5 minutes later. The first night we hung out, we knew nothing about each other…turned out we were playing a show together in six weeks! Still, I expected to be kicked to the street because too-good-to-be-true usually is, but sometimes you get to live the fantasy for a while…and this is where in the second verse, the line “Fable came to fortune,” comes into play – it really did in a sense.
I really want people to check out “Higher” and “Pushin’ The Needle”!
We set NO boundaries in this band, we simply write and play music we love, and both of these songs give you a sense of were I live…they are true stories and if you want to hear what “heavy acoustic” sounds like, this is it.
Do you have plans to tour much this summer in support of your album?
Comparing options right now and ready to roll out where ever someone wants us!
Who are you all listening to these days? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I have rediscovered old Alice Cooper – talking about “Killer” and “Love it to Death”…amazing orchestrated music! Of course, you can hear the Led Zeppelin influence and If I’m feeling down, Chris Cornell’s vocals (via Soundgarden) on “Black Rain” and “Far Beyond the Wheel (live)” will cause me to flip manic! I love that man just for breaking down that wall…
James Brown and Aerosmith from the “Rocks” era are always on my Spotify lists….along with Joe Walsh – talk about under-rated! And we could never forget to mention Neil Young and CSN!
As far as someone out there now, I’d love to work with Rival Sons, maybe Stone Sour? And if Stone Temple Pilots come back around, that would make for some fun!
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What do you hope is the message of your songs?
We love writing this music together…it really is something organic and natural. Pursuing art/music for the sake of its own creation – the self-awareness and satisfaction it brings is an ideal we hold dear.
I hope we get the chance to share it with many people…many of the songs deal with very personal troubles I’ve had, and if it helps one person find light at the end of the tunnel, that would mean a lot to us. Troubles come, but recovery is real and bad times always pass!
I also hope people might pick up on the questions about the nature of human existence – for example, in Blood Eagle, it’s really a contemplation of the balance we walk as partners in a civilization and the need for harmony, yet the most successful sects [aspects?] of humanity seem to thrive from competition, where ultimately one group of people loses to another, and in many cases this loss can occur through the violence of war; a tool we still rely on heavily to solve our problems. The dove vs. the eagle…and threads of inter-connectivity…so through all of the propaganda one is exposed to, which is really the best path forward? Are the traditions you subscribe to really sound and have you thought through and explored on your own, or do you latch onto someone else’s truth for your paradigm of the universe?
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves and your music?
This is something we do and will continue to do out of necessity…there’s something healthy about constantly creating from the heart. We are much more than our music, however, and we have found a way to live and love life that includes making this music. From mountain biking, skydiving, astrophysics, to understanding the emotional swirl humans exist in….life is great and it’s only here once. Come and share some of it with us if you would?
(We actually do talk directly to our people on Instagram, Twitter, FB, etc.)