By: Shelby Lum
Fronted by Australian Dion Nania, New York based Free Time has started to carve out a niche for itself in the music industry. Atlanta Music Guide got a chance to catch up with Jonah Maurer and talk about their friendly competition with Gotye, what they like to travel with, and what’s most played on their own stereo. Check out the exclusive AMG interview with Free Time:
Free Time front man Dion is originally from Melbourne, relocated to New York. Do you see yourself as an Australian band, or an American band or a blend of both?
We see ourselves as a blend of both. It’s Dion’s project, so in the states it feels like a New York band by way of Melbourne. We try not to make fun of Dion too much even though he talks funny.
Where did the band name Free Time come from?
Dion used to front a great Australian band named Panel of Judges before he moved to New York and started writing new songs with a new project in mind. Mike, Jonah and Adrienne have also had other music projects. Dion chose the band name Free Time because these songs and project as a whole seemed to develop naturally, without heavy planning or organization.
What’s a behind the scene glimpse at song writing for you guys? What is the process like?
Dion writes the songs and brings them to the rest of the band. Sometimes the songs arrive complete, sometimes in fragments for us to discuss. The music for incomplete parts we write together or flush out through improvising. Dion writes the lyrics, mostly about his girlfriend (sorry ladies!)
Do you feel more competition from other Australian groups rather than American groups?
We do feel a strong competitive energy with Gotye. Our label/management has asked us to knock him out of the game or record a collaboration album by the end of the year. We are supremely confident this won’t be a problem. However, we are close friends with many of our other Australian contemporaries, and wish them the highest possible success.
What’s most played on your iPod right now?
Andrew Cedermark, Dick Diver, Yo La Tengo, Outkast, Chris Cohen, Pusha T, Julian Lynch, Woods
You are still a relatively young band. What has it been like forming about just a year ago and already having put out an album?
It’s been amazing. Some of us were friends before forming the band, but we’ve become extremely close over the last year. Not only have we all found this new family, but people seem to like the tunes! It has felt great to have the support of a label and we can’t wait to hit the road to play for new cities!
Turning around an album so quickly, did you ever feel rushed?
We did record the album very quickly, and mostly before we had even played a show, but there was nobody rushing us but ourselves. We wanted to record before Dion flew back to Melbourne last year, so more than half the record was recorded on the day before his flight. It did feel a little rushed, and we play these songs better now than we did back then. Besides that recording day the record has come along at a normal snails pace (it was finished in January).
When you formed the band, what were your original goals with your music? A year in now, do you think you have met those goals?
Our original goals were to record an album and have fun, there is no denying we have met those goals.
On tour, what is the one thing you can’t travel without?
Its probably different for each one of us. In no specific order: working car stereo, coffee, tobacco.
Free Time is scheduled to play at The EARL on Sunday, June 16.