Exploring The Bottle Garden with Freelove Fenner

Modesty usually isn’t a prevailing trait for a modern rock band. But when you sit down to talk to Freelove Fenner, a local pop-rock three piece, the first thing that is apparent is the absence of any pretension usually associated with musicians. “[People] don’t have to listen to us,” said singer Caitlin Loney. “But it would be nice if they did.”
Loney, Peter Woodford and Michael Wright make up Freelove Fenner, named after one of Loney’s ancestors. After meeting at a party in 2005, Woodford and Loney began playing music together. “Caitlin started writing songs and I volunteered to play guitar. Then we just kind of started collaborating,” explained Woodford. “It was the first time I sang, [so] I had to learn how to. I also hadn’t picked up a guitar since high school,” added Loney. They then proceeded to add Wright as drummer and began playing shows around town.

Then, in 2006, the band teamed up with Valleys, another local rock act, to release a split seven-inch single. “We had talked about making an [EP] at a party and I didn’t think much of it. But [Valleys] called us a few months later to do it.” Splitting each side of the vinyl record between the bands, they recorded two songs and began selling it a shows. “That was our first real album,” said Woodford. “It took us a lot of time to make the other one.”
But now with the release of In The Bottle Garden, the band has finally come out with their first full-length album of songs written by Woodford and Loney. Recorded in their basement studio named The Bottle Garden, the process was “very slow” and “part time” due to the members working and going to school. “It was difficult to get everybody in a room” at the same time, explained Woodford. “We were also learning as we went along,” added Loney. “We ended up buying a reel-to-reel machine and built the studio from there.”

Making the songwriting a collaborative process, Woodford and Loney create catchy pop hooks layered over mildly psychedelic melody. “One of us starts with an idea and the other one writes another part which usually ends up adding a lot to the song. For example, with some of the songs I’ve written, [Peter’s] guitar part is the most interesting thing about it,” said Loney to which Woodford shyly added, “I don’t know about that – but it definitely is an exchange of ideas.”
One thing that is evident in listening to Freelove Fenner is the group’s attention to detail. A year in the making, In the Bottle Garden utilizes various recording techniques to keep it sonically fresh and new. “We like to take advantage of the equipment as a creative tool,” said Loney. Woodford’s jangly guitar riffs and Loney’s crisp vocals are a refreshing change from the sometimes blurry sound found on a lot of freshman records.
Though the recording process was a drawn-out affair, the band remains optimistic about the experience. “I never found it really frustrating, to be honest,” explained Woodford. “The learning curve was very interesting.” It also prompted them to begin recording other bands, something which Woodford admits to enjoying almost more than playing shows. As for the future, the trio aren’t too worried. “It’s a weird time for music right now. To actually make money you need to tour constantly,” said Woodford. And with two members in school and the other working full-time, this kind of lifestyle remains difficult to envision. “Besides we need to feed the cat, who will do that if we’re gone?” concluded Loney.

See Freelove Fenner at Il Motore March 29 at 9 p.m. Check them out at myspace.com/freelovefenner

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Modesty usually isn’t a prevailing trait for a modern rock band. But when you sit down to talk to Freelove Fenner, a local pop-rock three piece, the first thing that is apparent is the absence of any pretension usually associated with musicians. “[People] don’t have to listen to us,” said singer Caitlin Loney. “But it would be nice if they did.”
Loney, Peter Woodford and Michael Wright make up Freelove Fenner, named after one of Loney’s ancestors. After meeting at a party in 2005, Woodford and Loney began playing music together. “Caitlin started writing songs and I volunteered to play guitar. Then we just kind of started collaborating,” explained Woodford. “It was the first time I sang, [so] I had to learn how to. I also hadn’t picked up a guitar since high school,” added Loney. They then proceeded to add Wright as drummer and began playing shows around town.

Then, in 2006, the band teamed up with Valleys, another local rock act, to release a split seven-inch single. “We had talked about making an [EP] at a party and I didn’t think much of it. But [Valleys] called us a few months later to do it.” Splitting each side of the vinyl record between the bands, they recorded two songs and began selling it a shows. “That was our first real album,” said Woodford. “It took us a lot of time to make the other one.”
But now with the release of In The Bottle Garden, the band has finally come out with their first full-length album of songs written by Woodford and Loney. Recorded in their basement studio named The Bottle Garden, the process was “very slow” and “part time” due to the members working and going to school. “It was difficult to get everybody in a room” at the same time, explained Woodford. “We were also learning as we went along,” added Loney. “We ended up buying a reel-to-reel machine and built the studio from there.”

Making the songwriting a collaborative process, Woodford and Loney create catchy pop hooks layered over mildly psychedelic melody. “One of us starts with an idea and the other one writes another part which usually ends up adding a lot to the song. For example, with some of the songs I’ve written, [Peter’s] guitar part is the most interesting thing about it,” said Loney to which Woodford shyly added, “I don’t know about that – but it definitely is an exchange of ideas.”
One thing that is evident in listening to Freelove Fenner is the group’s attention to detail. A year in the making, In the Bottle Garden utilizes various recording techniques to keep it sonically fresh and new. “We like to take advantage of the equipment as a creative tool,” said Loney. Woodford’s jangly guitar riffs and Loney’s crisp vocals are a refreshing change from the sometimes blurry sound found on a lot of freshman records.
Though the recording process was a drawn-out affair, the band remains optimistic about the experience. “I never found it really frustrating, to be honest,” explained Woodford. “The learning curve was very interesting.” It also prompted them to begin recording other bands, something which Woodford admits to enjoying almost more than playing shows. As for the future, the trio aren’t too worried. “It’s a weird time for music right now. To actually make money you need to tour constantly,” said Woodford. And with two members in school and the other working full-time, this kind of lifestyle remains difficult to envision. “Besides we need to feed the cat, who will do that if we’re gone?” concluded Loney.

See Freelove Fenner at Il Motore March 29 at 9 p.m. Check them out at myspace.com/freelovefenner

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