the freed unit interview
(October 1998)

It's hard to describe The Freed Unit; I should know, I've tried: "The first track is a quirky old thing, disconnected vocals repeat the title and some conspiracy theories over doorbell and kazoo hum" ("Getting used to not fitting in" single), "Juxtaposing a slowed-down disco beat with wheezing, bending in-and-out-of-tune chords and some unsettling singing The Freed Unit have come up with another grimy masterpiece" ("The City" single) and "Flecks of synth noise pepper the basic beatbox and minor chordage, a crust of analogue machinery and its associated random variation around the edges. Haunting, almost childlike, vocals add a disquieting aura with lyrical content never quite clear but indisputably covering religion, society and turning back time" ("Things are looking up" LP).

Most people just resort to a krauty/spacey/drone derivative, littered liberally with adjectives purloined from their copy of Roget's Thesaurus. The band are not impressed. In an attempt to fight fire with fire, we presented them (Gary, Jonathan and Matt) with the Roget entry for free and got them to describe themselves through it.


  free and easy?

Jonathan: Writing and recording music is easy. From then on it gets difficult.
Matt: Being "difficult" is easy, but I don't think we are difficult. I reckon the next batch of songs we record will be straightforward pop songs so that people take note of our melodies and not the squiggly bits on top, but then again...


Gary: I hope so, otherwise why bother? Boundaries and rules are there to be broken, but I think we don't recognise them in the first place. M: There aren't any boundaries to push.
J: I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall. I think we write thought-provoking pop songs. Social comment and personal subjects that anyone should be able to relate to. I think we write really catchy melodies. I reckon that in 2 or 3 year's time EVERYONE WILL SOUND LIKE US! We are not post-rock or space-rock (NME). We are not mad (MM), we've never compared ourselves to any other band or given any clue to our influences in press releases so we don't give a lot of journalists a starting point.


M: The only thing standing in our way is the price of a 30-piece orchestra although we've never had to stoop as low as playing a comb and paper or doorbells!!!
J: Perhaps we can be accused of putting too many ideas/sounds into one song. This is because we love so many different kinds of music.


(There is a fourth, freelance, member of the Freed Unit. He appears on their record sleeves with a large globe on his head.)

M: His name is Jeremy Wiltshire. When he's not with the Unit he wears a lot of glitter (when he takes his globe off). One of his talents is playing stand-up drums and he has a song on the Sorted LP "Suction prints" called "I wish I was John Peel's son". When he appears with us he plays tambourine.
G: John Peel recently played Jeremys song on his show, proof indeed that flattery gets results.


J: The band itself isn't impure but I'm sure each of us are personally!
G: In thought and deed, but not musically.


(What are the Freed Unit liberating us from?)

M: Mundanity.
J: The CK kids, the Tommy Hilfiger sheep, the soap watchers, Christians, the stubborn and narrow-minded, the soulless, the polluters, the loveless, the heartless, the MAJORITY. I do believe that things are going to improve. They have to. One day people will wake up and realise that they deserve BETTER. Things are looking up...
G: We're liberating people from The Everyday.


J: We were drinking across England from Averbury, Wilts to Leicestershire (on train). Everything from brandy to shandy, mead to lager...Vomiting into carrier bag. Bag had hole in bottom---it went all over trousers, seat, floor of train. Probably stank the carriage out. I passed out at Water Orton. Awoke in Melton Mowbray. We had missed the Leicester stop. We were on the last train. We could've ended up in Cambridge. If it happens again, we'll be knocking on your door, Jim...
G: I was standing on my head in the bar of a public house---instead of getting barred I got a round of applause, but I didn't perform an encore.


M: We don't steal from anyone. It's too easy and you never get away with it. If we sounded like anyone else there would be no point in continuing.
G: Influences---anything with soul or passion or anything that stands out from the crowd.

free gift?

(Best piece of free advice?)

J: Being told to keep away from Saint John (of the song "The Entropy Kids vs. Saint John").
M: I've only ever been given useless advice, the rest you have to find out for yourselves, unfortunately.
G: I'm not good at listening to advice until it's too late.

free love?

J: I've never paid for sex.
M: Nothing in life is free!
G: No pain, no gain. Anything that's worth something is by definition not free.

Knowing this to be true, it's not entirely suprising that you'll have to pay for the next Freed Unit recording. It's on triangular 8" vinyl. Typical. Obtain your copy by writing to: PO Box 5083, Leicester. LE2 0WX, or


 at liberty
 -- balloon
 -- and easy
 -- fight
 -- from
 never -- from
 -- gift
 -- from imperfection
 -- lance
 -- land
 -- liver
 -- love
 make -- of
 -- play
 -- quarters
 -- space
 -- stage
 -- trade
 -- translation
 -- will
 make -- with


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