I first met Freddy Hall on the train. This has become one of my favorite ways to meet people, especially the more I’ve gotten to know this teddy bear of ambition. The ice was broken when he sat beside me and whipped out a Chris Dave shed video on his phone. Immediately I knew the Lord had brought me a new friend. What I couldn’t tell fully at the time, was the intelligent design behind my placement on the Red Line that day. I have discovered within Freddy a dear friend and truly gifted drummer. It is my honor today to tell you the story about this Seattle cat who migrated to the pocket of Dallas to find his identity as a drummer — a pilgrimage that began when he was born to Seattle legend, Fred Hall. You can hear Freddy’s work after the jump below. -Crisman
“I’m old school, right? I’m taking older songs, chopping them up like ?uestlove, and putting live drums in. That’s what I’m going for. As far as making a simple beat or loop, or sampling, I fall on my dude who samples a lot of tracks — a lot of old school songs that make for a sick beat. We progress from there to the drum kit. I started doing this in 2008, I got hooked with Aretha Franklin. I took the first 15 seconds of a song and chopped it up. When I first started, I couldn’t believe how simple it was. I got hooked!”
“My buddy had this program called Recycle and Reason — he had ProTools but I didn’t know how to use that at the time, so I would just making beats from scratch with Reason. Then I started playing with Recycle, I took a song, liked the 15-20 of it, and made a beat. I made a beat for a skit on Johnny Roullete’s She album in 2009 (the album didn’t drop until early 2010). We met at Collin College, started talking about music, and got hooked. Six months into it, he was putting out his album, Based on a True Story, and I put in the live drums on a track called ‘Money Maker’.”
“Back in Seattle, I was vibing a little with the musicians there, but it didn’t really happen until I moved to Dallas. I wasn’t studying music and drummers, I just knew how to play, it was something I was born with.”
In fact, Freddy’ father was Seattle drum legend, Fred Hall.
“When I moved to Dallas, I looked back at the old days who the successful drummers were; I realized they were all jazz drummers. I went back to the roots and listening to jazz, trying to get my chops up like Tony Williams, Buddy Rich, Dennis Chambers. That’s how it all started.”
Freddy’s not only a student of our percussive forefathers, he knows what time it with today’s cats.
“Chris Dave is a drum god. He’s ahead of his time. When I heard Allen Matthews — he’s a beast! –say that Texas is about the drummers, and I’d always heard that Dallas has the musicians. I kept that in the back of my mind. I moved to Dallas to get in on the scene and see who’s on the scene, started hitting the Prophet Bar right away. First person I saw was Candy West, then Erykah Badu, Musiq Soulchild, Dwele, Common, and Mos Def — and those were all on just regular nights that I was going to anyway!”
“The first drummer I liked was Robert “Sput” Searight. I asked him, how do you get on your level?”
“Just listen,” he said.
“The next drummer who caught my eye was Cleon Edwards. I like Cleon because he lays the pocket, and he’s kind of like Chris Dave that way. He holds the pocket, the groove is there. Once you’re around those cats enough, it just gets in you. It becomes a part of your identity. You’re taking all these characteristics from the drummers that can play the gigs and make the money. I look at them as the foundation. We got a lot of drummers out there doing it. Chris Coleman took drumming to a whole new level.”
“Right now it’s about getting the studio together and working on production. Building my own sound from my own studio, finding my identity as a drummer. I’m gonna focus on production, making tracks. People get it twisted — loops is just something you put on repeat, but a track is making a song for an artist. I want to get my bearings with loops and work my way up to tracks. That is the plan.”
“My father passed away in 2007, I had moved to Dallas in 2006. Legacy is not a choice, it’s in my blood. Now, I might not be at the level as everybody else around here at the moment, but I’m getting there.”