As a freshman at a relatively large university, my deepest wish was to find friends who liked and cared about the same things as me. This resulted in me being rather vocal about my interests, literally and in the form of constantly wearing band t-shirts. One day as I was walking down from my dorm in Brewster to Brockway Dining Hall with my roommate, I heard someone compliment the Brand New sweatshirt I was wearing. It was the first time someone had commented on any of my music-related apparel, and I was doubly elated because Brand New was (well, is) my favorite band.
The friend I made that day was Chris Freedman. He’s a current junior in the Bandier Program for Recording and Allied Entertainment Industries at Syracuse University, and he came all the way out to the tundra of Syracuse, New York from sunny Los Angeles. Before living in Los Angeles he spent the first 10 years of his life in Connecticut.
“I think moving from a small town in Connecticut to L.A. when I was young had a lot to do with who I am today.” Chris is, not surprisingly, incredibly passionate about music. The music he grew up with shaped the person he is in a huge way as well.
“I grew up listening to a lot of southern rock, specifically the Allman Brothers. I also loved radio rap from the time like Chingy. Then once I got into middle school and started listening to the Ramones and Iggy Pop, it was game over.”
Chris is someone who’s constantly talking about cool music and bands I’ve never even heard of. Back in freshman year he introduced me to Touché Amoré, and it seems like I’m always hearing about more bands from him. His love for music is what led him to apply to the Bandier Program at Syracuse, and what pushed him to start his own tape label, Ghoul Tapes.
The label is home to a number of local/semi-local bands like Blasteroid of Brooklyn and two of Syracuse’s own: minnoe and Super Defense.
“Ghoul Tapes is the thing I’m most proud of. It’s been so great being able to help my friends out this way. I was heavily inspired by going to shows at The Smell in L.A. and seeing labels like Danger Collective and Burger Records start out by putting out their friends music. It was really inspiring to see kids around my age making it happen instead of waiting till they were older or had more money. It was very clear that they were in it for the love.”
Since its inception, Ghoul Tapes has gotten tapes distributed at places like Rough Trade NYC and participated in Burger Records’ Beach Bash this summer.
Chris’s interests don’t stop at music, though he admits some of them go hand in hand with music anyway. He used to skateboard rather often (and wishes he did more today). Back in Los Angeles Chris volunteered with The A.Skate Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers skate lessons to kids with Autism “in an environment that is appropriate to their sensory needs in order to learn.” Back in freshman year, Chris let me try his skateboard once and I’ll just say I was not a quicker learner in that area.
While Chris spends a lot of time supporting his friends and their creative endeavors, his biggest support system is back in New York City in the form of his family and dog, Riley.
However, Chris’s parents weren’t super pleased when he got his first tattoo – but the significance behind the ink may have mitigated it a bit.
On Chris’s bicep is the black sheep that appears on the artwork of Minor Threat’s 1983 record, “Out of Step.” Punk music is another piece of Chris’s life that played a large part in shaping him.
“Punk music had a massive effect on me. I really admire bands like Minor Threat and their entrepreneurial attitude. The movement they created felt attainable and homegrown. Their music feels really authentic to me and that is something i really value. I saw this cross over with the bands I used to see at The Smell, like Peter Pants and Palm Reader.”
Ultimately, Chris is a DIY kind of guy. Nothing can cloud the passion he has for the things he loves. He says he tries not to agonize over the future too much, but I think it’s because he doesn’t have to – it’s gonna be a pretty bright one.