Farewell to Freeway: Metal in the Mountains

Farewell to Freeway

This past weekend, I had the privilege of trekking to Vermont to work with Victory Record’s Farewell To Freeway.  Guitarists Chris Lambert and Drew Harwood, Drummer Mike Farina, and Singer Adam Lambert went DIY and rented a mountain cabin to record their latest release.  Metal/Hard Rock veteran Eric Arena (A Day To Remember, Endwell, Killswitch Engage) was brought on to handle all recording and production responsibilities.

After many wrong turns, I finally found the dirt road that led to “Eagle Rock Studios” and from there, it was only a 5-minute drive up the side of the mountain.  I reached the top and there ahead of me was the massive 3-story cabin, complete with bunk beds, 2 stone fireplaces, Eric’s pest of a kitten, plenty of food, and enough Canadian whiskey to sedate an elephant.  Two makeshift control rooms had been set up, one in the living room and the other in a bedroom.  I could already tell this would be much different than the cushy studio environment that I was used to.

I had a chance to ask Guitarist and Singer, Chris Lambert, why the band had chosen to leave the traditional studio for the DIY approach on this record.  As he put it, “The stress is nearly gone.  All studios scream deadlines!  Here, we are doing it on our terms with no outside influences.”

Chris Lambert (Guitar/Vox)

In 2008, Farewell To Freeway worked with Eric Arena on their debut Victory release, “Definitions,” at Zing Recording Studios in Westfield, Massachusetts. When I asked Lambert about working with Arena, it didn’t take much for me to understand why the band has loyally returned to his services on each of their subsequent releases.  “Eric just understands what we want and then some.  We trust him with a concept and he really allows it to develop.”   At this point, Arena looked over his shoulder with a devious smirk, announcing that he just had finished a re-edit on the drum tracks. (video below) With all of our undivided attention, the playback revealed a deafening ensemble of flatulence that erupted in perfect sync with the original drum tracks.  “Oh, and I forgot to mention he knows when to turn on the funny,” Lambert added after catching his breath.

Unfortunately, I had to head home while the band stayed back at the cabin for a few more days of vocal tracking and fine tunings. The whole process was a recording experience unlike any that I’d ever seen.  Calm, relaxed, yet still very productive, the session yielded some very impressive final results.

- Joe

Session Pics:

Arena’s “Drum Edit”

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