Interview with Jacob Hyman of Freelance Whales

So, will this be Freelance Whales’ last tour of 2010?

Yeah, December 15 will be our last show of 2010. It’s been quite a year.

You’re on tour right now with Miniature Tigers. How is everyone?

It’s great, man. Those guys are incredible and are great musicians. It’s just been a good time. They’re really laid back. We tend to take ourselves a little too seriously sometimes, so when we’re around them, they bring us right back down to earth.

Nice. Are you guys trying out any new songs on the road?

Well, we just put out a new single called “Enzymes” a few weeks ago with Green Label Sound. So, one of the new tunes we’ve been playing is that single. Also, there’s a B-side to that single called “Day Off” that we’ve been playing. I think “Day Off” will be coming out in a couple weeks.

Sweet. Were any of these songs written on tour?

Nope. The songs we have now are evolving on tour, but were written beforehand.

Actually, there’s another one we’ve been playing called “Footprints,” which was kind of mocked up by Chuck. We had practiced it a few times in the studio, and then decided to just go balls out and play it at one of our shows. It’s certainly imperfect, but it’s really cool to use at shows.

Absolutely, especially if you get a good response from the crowd.

Yeah, they’ll let you know if it’s good or if it’s not.

Are you guys thinking about your next album already?

I don’t think we’re in too much of a hurry to get the second one done until someone at the label tells us it’s time to get working. We’re enjoying writing. We’re not writing for a record, and that’s something I think we value a lot. Just being able to write openly and not have to feel the pressure of getting 12 songs done that are going to change people’s lives.

Good point. And you need time to refocus and see what direction to take the new album in.

Yeah. I don’t know if we’re intentionally going to change things or if that’s just going to be the natural course. We’re not going to try to re-create anything, but we’re not necessarily trying to change our sound in some drastic way either.

Let’s talk about your drumming real quick. You started out as more of a blues drummer, right?

Yeah, I studied Latin, jazz and blues drumming in college. That’s kind of where I cut my teeth, in the D.C. blues scene.

Were you in a lot of bands before joining Freelance Whales?

I was in six bands. Freelance Whales was the sixth band that I joined when I was kind of a working drummer in New York. I was in some southern rock bands, a blues power trio, a singer-songwriter band, a piano rock band and a funk jam band. I’m really into a bunch of different styles. One of the things I strive for as a drummer is to be very good at playing many different styles and hopefully mastering them eventually. Versatility in a drummer is very important. It’s something I take seriously.

Yeah, and it’s so important to deliver a catchy groove. I imagine it’s great when you see everyone in the crowd bouncing their heads.

Yeah, it’s always a good feeling when I see that.

Have you been messing around with any other percussion instruments?

Yeah, there are a few. Recently, I’ve taken up shaker — kinda playing on my drums with the shaker. I also use a lot of cymbal swells live now to add more dynamics. And weirdly, I use this thing called the watercone, which is like a 50s sci-fi instrument. It makes this creepy atonal noise. It kinda sounds like UFOs are landing.

That’s awesome!


Hey, did you know that the band’s song “Broken Horse” was in an episode of One Tree Hill?

I didn’t even know that show was still on [laughs].

Apparently so!

I know we had a song on the T.V. show Chuck. I’m a huge fan of Chuck. When I found out, I freaked out — you should have seen me.

I had met the music supervisor from NBC in L.A. last year and I was like, “Hey man, I really love Chuck. If there is anyway to get a song in Chuck…” Later on we got a message saying that our song “Generator ^ First Floor” would be used on Chuck for a spoiler. I pretty much lost it.


[laughs] I don’t know if he even remembered that he met me. The song worked really well though. It was great.

And, of course, Twitter used one of your songs when they promoted their redesign.

Yeah, Twitter was really great about letting everybody know whose song was in the video. They handled it great. We couldn’t have asked more from them really.

Totally. Thanks, Jacob. Have fun on tour!


Pick up Freelance Whales’ new single, “Enzymes,” and debut album, ‘Weathervanes.’

For upcoming tour dates, check out Freelance Whales’ official Myspace.