Alex Bean of "TheFreaks" Artist Feature (March 2018)
Lead singer and guitarist for The Freaks, Alex Bean is an Atlanta born musician, singer/songwriter and executive engineer. He now works/studies in Manhattan at Clive Davis on Mercer Street, where he intensively breaks down each song piece by piece, instrument by instrument, Bean is a one man band. From the first note on the track, to the beautiful tempo to the melody, Bean is the mastermind of his own unique sound.
With the recent release of his debut LP, Actual Reality, The Freaks is already performing at local spots in NYC, and recently had a set at SXSW. Still being young and new to the industry, only Bean truly knows what he can contribute to the music world...
Mixing his real passion for music with his engineering talents, expect to hear very well put together songs from Bean (without a single note offbeat, unless he wants it to be). Playing all his life, he’s heavily inspired by Y2K bands like OASIS, Blink 182, etc. If you know us here at Lucid FC, Noel and Liam (OASIS) are legends in our books. Approval!
Alex Bean, lead singer and guitarist “The Freaks”, photographed wearing our SS18 "Classic 4 Button LS in Jacquard Denim".
check out extended footage from our interview with Bean here.
INTERVIEW WITH ALEX BEAN
Lucid: How did growing up in Atlanta affect your creative process?
Alex Bean: Well growing up here in Atlanta I was able to spend a lot of time on my own and cultivating my sound and cultivating different skills. So starting early in high school, I would go intern at recording studios here in Atlanta. I would do things during the summers like take out trash, get coffees for people…
Lucid: What studios did you work at?
Alex Bean: 800 East Studios, Zach Recording which is now Astro Studios. And then I was kinda teaching myself all that stuff by watching them and I went home and built a studio in my basement. I had a lotta songs I had written in, you know, 8th grade, 9th grade, 10th grade, and taught myself how to record by using my own music. And my love of music is pop punk, emo, hard rock, stuff like that. So growing up in Atlanta was perfect because I had my own environment.
Lucid: When creating a new track, do you focus on songwriting? Or is it more about the instruments?
Definitely more about songwriting. That’s the most important thing. I have a set of instruments that I use for every song, and it’s really just about what I am saying, and like there’s a core emotion that I feel and I’m using the songwriting as a way to feel some sort of catharsis. And hopefully other people can resonate with that and kinda feel the same emotional release I felt when song writing.
Lucid: I know this is only our second feature, but some people we work with as far as music think it’s more about the instruments, so it’s good to have someone with a different opinion.
Alex Bean: Right, yeah. It’s definitely always more about the songwriting. Think about it; a song is only as good as the notes and the lyrics. So yeah, a song can have huge production with tons of like amazing drums and a million microphones, but if the song isn’t good when you sit down with an acoustic guitar and play it and sing it, then it’s not a good song.
Lucid: You mentioned in your recent feature with OFFICE MAGAZINE that song writing is a Manifestation of your emotions. Tell us more? Do you ever write about emotions that you maybe feel in a different life or in dreams?
Alex Bean: Oh never.
Lucid: It’s all real?
Alex Bean: It’s all real. It has to be. I mean, dedicating your life to something like music is because you kinda feel a certain calling. And it’s about having something to say, I have to catharticize what I’m feeling, and hopefully it uplifts others. That’s really what it’s all about.
Lucid: That’s a really good message.
Alex Bean: I mean music is supposed to spread hope, and it’s supposed to be something that connects and touches other people.
Lucid: Since you play every instrument, do you have a favorite. What instrument is your go to?
Alex Bean: For songwriting it’s always guitar, because you can’t really write a song on drums, you have to start with chords. When I songwrite, I’m feeling a certain way and the only way I’m able to understand what I’m feeling is by putting it into a song. You know, like manifesting it and taking a look at it. So I start with the guitar and the chords, and then come up with a melody. Then I’ll usually put that on my computer using Logic or something to put the chord progression down, and then do a melody over it. Then once I have that melody I’ll start doing lyrics. But starting with the guitar is a much better way, and then drums just really enhance and push that along.
Lucid: We noticed all The Freaks’ single covers feature collages of photos. Do you collage those pictures and how do you decide what goes in them?
Alex Bean: Yeah so I made the collages actually. Me and my friends went down to my basement this past summer, and we got tons of different magazines, maybe almost 20 different ones, and we got glue sticks and a big poster board…
Lucid: Oh so the images are not computer graphics?
Alex Bean: Not computer graphics. So we cut out everything we could find. We found a bunch of pictures of Migos, a bunch of pictures of beer advertisements. We went through Guitar World magazine, so we got little guitar things, like a Marshal advertisements. Just everything we could find and filled up this huge poster board, and then we just took pictures of it. And so the album covers are the pictures (from my iPhone honestly) of the thing and I photoshopped it to add a little border and some text. But the reason I did that is because I felt like I wanted to create a visual representation of kinda what’s in my brain and what I’ve seen. It goes along with the title Actual Reality because it’s like, this is the reality of the culture I’m into and the reality of who I am. Like in a weird collage.
Lucid FC: Yeah that makes sense. Not inspirational but just what’s in your head?
Alex Bean: Yeah, I mean some of them were obviously inspired by guitars…
Lucid FC: But not all of it? Like the photo of Migos?
Alex Bean: Oh dude, I love Migos though. The thing about it is, Migos are like the rock stars of today. Like I’m looking up to people like Migos, Lil Uzi Vert, and Post Malone because those guys are on the big stage, you know? Those are the guys today who don’t make pop music but make authentic music that’s angsty, that’s rebellious, but it’s on a pop stage. The same way I feel like bands like Blink 182 and Green Day were not necessarily pop, but they were authentic music, angsty music that was on a big stage. So I look up to a lot of modern hip hop artists in that same way.
Lucid FC: We actually have a question about that exactly. Being such a classic genre, the rock industry has not introduced nearly as many new talents as other genres… Do you see that changing?
Alex Bean: I definitely do. There’s such an influence of rock music in modern hip hop. I think maybe 10 years ago you could see that there was rap being infused with rock music, with bands like Rage Against the Machine and Linkin Park. But today it’s kind of the opposite where you have rock influence in rap music.
Lucid FC: So before rock took over rap and now we’re seeing the reverse?
Alex Bean. Exactly. It’s kind of cyclical, you know? Everything comes and ebbs and flows. I really enjoy a lot of the hip hop music, but it’s gonna become oversaturated eventually and people are gonna want what’s next in rock music or other genres.
Lucid FC: So do you think Y2K, early 2000’s rock, is coming back?
Alex Bean: Well, not exactly that sound. (The sound) has to be based off something, but also progress and move forward.
Lucid FC: Yeah, agreed. If you could work with any artist, visual or musical, who would it be? And what kind of project would it be?
Alex Bean: Oh that’s such a good question, damn. There’s actually really one amazing producer named John Feldman. He’s amazing. He used to play in a band called Gold Finger, and he has produced, in the past 10 years, amazing pop-punk acts. He’s done The Used, All Time Low, 5 Seconds of Summer, the new Blink 182 record California. I just really admire his work.
Lucid FC: So he’s a producer. So he does what you do?
Alex Bean: Exactly. You know it’s one thing to mix and produce your own music, which I did with Actual Reality, but you kinda lose perspective. If you’ve been working on a song since its beginning, you know the way bass sounds, you know the way the guitar sounds. You’re gonna kinda want whatever you’ve worked on the most. Say you worked on this one guitar line for like, 10 days longer than you worked on everything else, you’re gonna want that to be more forward in the mix. But in reality, when anybody’s just listening to the song, that may not be the most important part to them. So by having somebody else produce, by having somebody else mix, you kind of release yourself and say well, the audience is gonna enjoy this it doesn’t matter how much time I spent on it. That’s the most important part of the song in reality.
Lucid FC: Yeah, that’s bright. Everybody’s opinion is probably different on that though.
Alex Bean: Yeah, but I trust (John Feldman’s) haha.