Entertainment Features

C+C Music Factory's Freedom Williams

C+C Music Factory's Freedom Williams

By David DeRocco                            dave@gobeweekly.com  https://twitter.com/?lang=en 

If you were anywhere near a dance floor in the early 90s then you definitely grooved to the sound of C+C Music Factory, who issued the ultimate dance floor command in their smash #1 hit, “Gonne Make You Sweat.” “Everybody dance now” was a call to dance music lovers to revel in the unabashedly joyful funk techno hip hop mash up C+C Music Factory created on their first three albums.

With seven number one dance floor hits to their credit, C+C was one of the genre’s most successful outfits during its initial run. Unfortunate deaths, breakups and reunions, litigation and a change in the musical climate impacted C+C Music Factory over the years. Now, under the direction of trademark owner Freedom Williams, the current lineup continues to inspire dance floor devotion wherever and whenever they take the stage. Freedom took time to chat with GoBe Weekly in promotion of the band’s upcoming show as part of the “I Love The 90s” Show at the Avalon Ballroom featuring Freedom, Vanilla Ice, Rob Base and more.

GoBe: There’s a line in the lyrics to “Here We Go Rock and Roll” that says” rock and roll goes with the flow, whenever you develop a new form.” What was the intent when C&C was recording that first album? The collective really brought a new style to dance music with that debut album. Was there a conscious attempt to reshape or bring a new style to dance music?

FREEDOM: Yea, there was. That’s why I say “from technopop to funk hip hop to bebop, we rock the streets.” because we were creating a combination of sounds. I was really looking at techno and hip hop and funk. We were really creating a mash-up.

GoBe: I was working at a rock radio station when I first heard “Gonna Make You Sweat” and that iconic opening line. It sounded like an international command, “everybody dance now.” What surprised you most about how big that song got around the world?

FREEDOM: I was surprised how big it got because we didn’t really make it to be a big record. We were just having fun, creating stuff in the studio and messing around with music. It really took off. That was really surprising because you never know you’re going to have a record that big when you do.

GoBe: What do you remember most looking back at that period, collecting all those #1 records and feeling the impact from around the world?

FREEDOM: I remember everybody was so excited about it, and I was like, wow, this is just a record. We had made records and worked with the Brat Pack and made remixes and I was like, these people are really going crazy over this record. I remember going to Columbia Records and the guy was like, you’re going to have one of the world’s biggest records.

GoGe: What stands out most to you about those early sessions. Were they fun, improvisational, how did the music come together?

FREEDOM: The combination of the different energies, the singers, the engineers, again we had been doing that for two or three albums and this rhythm going. And so that rhythm kind of culminated with “Gonna Make You Sweat,” which was going to be my solo album actually. It ended up being a group album, but t it was supposed to be for a Freedom Williams solo album. I just remember we used or three different studios, it was fun. We were all young. I was 24, you know what I mean.


GoBe: There was a real musicality to C&C Music Factory that seems to be missing in today’s dance music. There were huge beats and killer grooves. It truly was about the joy of the dance floor. What’s your opinion of today’s dance music.

FREEDOM: It became much more mechanized for sure. Technology is increasing. It’s getting to the point where you can take anything out of a song and isolate it, the snare, take out the vocal, you can Autotune it. It’s become very repetitive in a lot of ways. A lot of music is the same. We came out of the era in the 80s and early 90s when you had to be unique, and you had to be different. Individuality was important. It’s not as important today.

GoBe: C&C had 7 #1 dance hits in that glorious early run. “Gonna Make You Sweat” is regularly named in the Top 100 Dance Songs of All Time, sometimes in the top five. You’ve kept the Factory operating all these years. What does the band’s legacy mean to you when you look.

FREEDOM: Whenever you can leave a legacy, whenever you can put your stamp on a sound or genre, even if you don’t know you’re doing it at the time – you never know you’re doing it at the time. Even a lot of the rock and roll bands, I’m sure Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl were like, we’re going to make this album, it’s going to be rad. But they didn’t realize what it was going to be. You just don’t know. That’s something special. So you’re really blessed and fortunate when it turns out you’ve imprinted a genre. We did a lot of underground house records with C&C and you jut never know. When you do, you’re grateful when you believed in yourself.

GoBe: There were ups and downs of course….band members coming and going; unfortunate loss…break ups and getting back together…law suits…and challenges. It would make a great book or movie. What’s the biggest nugget of wisdom you’ve learned through your experiences that you would share with any young artist thinking of a career in the music business today.

FREEDOM: Stay true to yourself, even if it’s dance music or pop music or rock music. Find what you really really want to say. Find out what your voice really is. Don’t be afraid to say it. And don’t be afraid to mix up genres. Don’t be afraid to do two genres at once. You don’t want to get too crazy because sometimes you are so far ahead of people that they can’t catch up. You’re making music for people who aren’t musicians, they’re just music lovers. So sometimes we can become so creative that we lose them. But don’t fail to try, don’t shortchange yourself. Just try anyway.

GoBe: What’s the show like now the band is up and touring again.

FREEDOM: I have a really good band. I’m really proud of the crew I work with. We give you a good show, a lot of energy. We really go hard. I really enjoy these guys.

GoBe: On a personal note, what do you enjoy most at this stage of your career. What brings you the most joy?

FREEDOM: Just relaxing. I go to the Caribbean a lot. I’m making a new album right now. I’m really enjoying it. I like where I’m at musically. It’s dance music. It’s hip hop, got some rock elements. I’m really just enjoying life. When you get into your 50s it’s really a beautiful time. If you’ve done some things right and have corrected some mistakes you can afford to do things. Life begins in y our 40s and 50s.




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