Interview with Farewell to Freeway drummer Richie Gregor

- Jul 12, 2007 at 04:33PM
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No strangers to the road, Farewell to Freeway have just recently come off of an extensive Canadian tour (only to begin a new one shortly), during which they took the time to collectively answer some questions for PureGrainAudio. If you’re not yet familiar with Farewell to Freeway and you’re checking out this site, do so via their MySpace page at, because they incorporate elements of pretty much every type of music that PureGrainAudio promotes. You can read the review of their impressive EP In These Wounds here. Hopefully you gain a bit of insight into the workings of a musical unit that, because of their potential, you’ll no doubt be hearing more and more of in the future.

First off, introduce yourself/selves and tell us what you do in the band.
Richie: Richie Gregor - drums/ vocals
Chris Lambert - guitar/vocals
Adam Lambert - Bass/vocals
Michele Walter - Keyboards/Samples/vocals
Drew Harwood - guitar/vocals

So your latest release In These Wounds is a lot ‘bigger’ and heavier sounding than past material. To what do you attribute this transition?
Richie: We spent more time writing those songs, and we recorded with a great producer [in] Mike Borkosky from Toronto. He really helped us achieve what we had been trying to do with every previous recording. He suggested different things with the songs, and he is an amazing singer/performer himself so we knew it would turn out great.

What about the lyrics? Your lyrical content seems very personal – who writes the lyrics and from where do you draw inspiration?
Richie: We all contribute to the lyrics, but Adam and Chris did the majority of the writing on the In These Wounds EP. When it comes to arrangements and melodies, though, we all try to contribute. Most of the lyrical content deals with personal reflection towards anything and everything. I know that sounds really broad, but it's actually the way we write.

Name some bands that you’d cite as influences and how you feel they’ve helped shape what you guys (and gal) are doing?
Richie: We all love tons of different bands and styles, but I would say our specific sound is reflective of bands like Thrice, Hopesfall, Misery Signals, Taken, It Dies Today, etc. We like to keep it heavy, but still have tons of melody incorporated into the sound.

What were you listening to most exclusively around the time that In These Wounds was being written/recorded that would have influenced that record specifically?
Richie: At that time we listened to a lot of different stuff again, but I would say a bit of Darkest Hour, Misery Signals, Killswitch Engage, and Taken come through well [in the music].

I was recently talking to your (Year of the Sun Records) label mates in What’s He Building In There?, and they gave me some insight into their writing process, and how a song comes together from birth to finally being recorded. Tell us about your songwriting procedure, and how the tracks take shape from beginning to end.
Richie: Well, we’re actually not on that label (Year of the Sun) anymore so really they aren't our label mates... they are a great band though! Our songwriting usually starts with a guitar part that Chris, or Drew, or even Adam will present to the band at a practice, and then we just start jamming on that riff and work it into another part that fits until we get a basic structure of a song. Then we’ll begin to add different elements afterwards that make [the basic structure] more technical if the song calls for it. We try to have a main emphasis on melody in writing a song, though, as we're big on catchy parts and choruses that people will get stuck in their head.

If you had to describe your band to someone who’d never heard you, how would you do so?
Richie: We usually say ‘we’re a hard rock band with metal, pop, and hardcore influences’. Again it's a pretty broad description, but it’s honestly they way we feel our songs are.

You guys are no strangers to the road – it seems that you’re always on tour, often with quite the variety of different acts. What are some of the most unusual bills of which you’ve been a part?
Richie: Well, we get added to shows with ‘beat down' hardcore bands, and also get added to straight up metal shows, and we also get added to ‘poppier’ or lighter sounding shows. We love the variety that we get to take part in since our songs are fairly ‘all over the place’, so we can adjust our set accordingly without taking away from what we want to put out there. I would say we like playing the lighter shows so we can stick out as the ‘heavier’ sounding band, but yet still have the catchy and melodic parts woven in.

What’s it like when playing in a city you don’t usually visit to people who’ve never encountered your band before? How do you win over a fresh crowd?
Richie: We just play with everything we have. We're a full-time [touring] band, so the 30 minutes we get to play is the very point of why we do it. We love playing live and we are a very aggressive band live. We play loud and hard. Most of the time, people get into it because we are into it.

Ed.’s note: They aren’t lying. At all.

You just came off a tour down in the States with (recent Victory Records signees) Emmure. Any strange/funny/generally good stories from the US trek?
Richie: We had a great time on that tour. Again, it was a bit tough for us to win crowds over when there was a band like Emmure, who are blowing up across the States, headlining the shows, but we thought we went over really well. It gave the hardcore crowd a little something different. [Emmure] play ridiculously heavy music that’s so awesome to see live, so overall it was a lot of fun.

If you could introduce someone to your band by either handing them a record or having them come see you live, which do you feel would give them a more embodying impression of what you ‘do’?
Richie: Definitely live!

The EP’s single “In These Wounds” appeared on the latest Taste of Chaos sampler alongside some ‘scene’ heavyweights. How did its inclusion come together, and how has the reception of that track been, to your knowledge?
Richie: Our producer submitted us to the Warcon Records guys who were in charge of the comp for the Canadian release. They liked our stuff, and chose us to be part of it. We were pretty blown away! It's for sure helped us out tons. They’ve pressed 10,000 units of that comp, so its been pretty well received.

If you could put together a fantasy show with any two bands – one past, one present – that would share the stage with you, who would they be? (I asked this question to The DUPEs a couple years back, and (former bassist) Chris actually picked you guys for the current act.)
Richie: Past - This Day Forward/Grade, Present - Thrice.

Year of the Sun has a seemingly family-like relationship that exists between bands and with management. How did you first get on board with them however many years back, and what’s your relationship like with the label and the other bands on it?
Richie: We were the first band to sign with them. It was basically our buddy who wanted to get involved in the music industry, and we were just a young band back in 2001. Having someone who wanted to put time and money into us was great! They helped us a lot. We think the other bands on the label are pretty diverse, and are all great. We wish them and YOTS luck in all their future endeavors.

Your music videos, specifically the one for “Promises of the Gods”, have received airplay on (Canadian music station) MuchMusic, and you’ve also been featured on (MuchMusic original program) Going Coastal. First, what’s it like watching yourself on such a major station, and second how do you think airtime contributes to your general reception from fans or strangers?
Richie: It's great! We were super excited when all of that happened. It's almost the best promo you can get, to see your video played on a major national TV Station for weeks at a time. It’s awesome, really. It got the word out tons, and we had tons of feedback from people who were generally stoked that we got the video on MuchMusic. It was mainly all good feedback, even from those who’d never heard us before.

Killswitch Engage or Underoath?
Richie: Both, for different reasons. Three of us would say Underoath, two of us would say Killswitch. [laughs] Maybe we're partial to Underoath because we’ve loved them since before they blew up. Their Changing of Times album was huge for us. We pulled a lot of influence from that disc. Plus, we had the chance to play with them on their ‘Chasing Safety Tour’ a couple years ago.

Now that In These Wounds has been completed, where are you guys headed from here? Is a full length in sights?
Richie: Absolutely! We’ve been writing a full-length for a couple months now. We have eight songs pretty much done, and we'll write three to five more, depending on how much time we have. We’re big on being careful not to rush the writing process. We are currently shopping a few new demos and our last EP [to various labels] for a new record deal, so we're hoping something comes along. Be on the look out!  [ END ]
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