Hidden In Plain View: Interview With Rob Freeman

With a new release titled Life in Dreaming having hit stores on February 22nd sitting the band safely on the Billboard Charts at #154, it seems that Hidden in Plain View is anything but. It seems that the hometown heroes from Stanhope, New Jersey have definitely established a name for themselves. I was able to catch Rob Freeman, vocalist and guitarist of the band, to discuss the band, their album and upcoming tours.

I remember watching Hidden in Plain View in local Jersey VFW’s and firehouses opening for bands like 37 Slurp and 21 Pennies. I have demo CDs featuring songs like ‘Ferris Wheel’ and ‘Eighty West’ that are labeled with marker. And now, four years later, I’m seeing you in concerts with bands like Something Corporate, having just released your first full length record. What has the transition from local Jersey band to Drive Thru headliner been like?

I don’t think things have changed much since those days. Before we were independent and didn’t have the support of a label like Drive-Thru; as far as recording and production went we were pretty much on our own. But now even though we are getting out there, playing concerts and selling CD’s; we aren’t that different from that band that played in the local VFW’s. I mean obviously we’ve encountered member changes and moved from place to place, but we are still the band from Stanhope. We still have our home based recording studio with our friends and family backing us up; you can still see us going to the same diners and hanging out at the same places. We owe so much to the local scene.

You have definitely matured since those days though. Your new CD Life in Dreaming was just recently released as your first full length following a series of shorter releases like Find, Operation Cutthroat, and your self- titled Drive-Thru debut. This seems to be a big step for the band; what were your thoughts and goals going into the production of the album?

Before we even started we knew that we really wanted this album to stand out amongst our others. I think the consensus of the band was to make this album a little heavier and moody then the others. Between the five of us we have a very wide scope of interests and inspirations musically, we try not to fit a certain genre. I mean, we grew up with bands like the Beatles and Nirvana that really didn’t fit a certain category like “emo” or “hardcore” that just got out there and played and were successful at it. We didn’t want to be just another punk band in the mix, groups like that were a big inspiration to us all and drove us to create our albums the way they are. We have albums like Find and Operation Cut-Throat that are a poppier while our EP and Life in Dreaming were significantly more heavy and moody.

Even aside from the albums, you have songs like the Christmas compilation track and the cover ‘Mr. Jones’ off the Counting Crows tribute Dead and Dreaming that sound completely different than a lot of your other songs.

Mr. Jones was actually a last minute thing that we decided to do on a whim. We heard about the Counting Crows tribute and decided to put something together. Spencer was home in Atlanta that day, so he actually recorded and sent us the drum tracks from there. We recorded the rest and put it all together and that actually became the final version of the song.

Speaking of which, as your first full-length album what was the production of Life in Dreaming like in comparison with the others.

We came into the project with a list of about thirty songs written and prepared. We sat down with our producer and went through which songs worked better together, which needed to be refined and which didn’t really fit the flow of the record. After we decided pretty much how the album layout would be, we spent a while rewriting and working out some of the songs. After that we spent about twenty-one days in the studio recording and finalizing the project.