Artist Spotlight: Mortgage Freeman

Lakefront Brewery held an extravaganza at Cactus Club Thursday evening, raising money for the Sojourner Family Peace Center. Each artist/band on the bill either has been or is an employee of the brewery. James Ozminkowski (of Audible Kink), Gold Steps, Deep Femme, Pete Freeman and the Fritos, Resurrectionists, Mortgage Freeman, Garden Home, Holy Shit!, and Fuzz Summit all played sets.

Mortgage Freeman is an art rock band consisting of vocalist Treccy Marquardt-Thomas (MT), vocalist/keyboardist Adam Gilmore, guitarist Mike Walker, bassist Chuck Zink, and drummer Clark Stamm. They have been a band for about a decade now and take vast influence from classic rock, hard rock, jazz, new wave, and 90’s alternative music.

Stamm explains the band’s name.

“The word “mortgage” is French for “pledge to the death” … so it means “pledge to the death to be a free man.” Some of us do actually have mortgages, so you could say we broke the promise of our namesake.”

The band dropped a new record called “It’s All a Wash” in September. Gilmore describes the recording process.

“It was lengthy. In 2015 we really started getting caught up in our regular lives and it became harder and harder to get together, write, and record. It was an arduous process, but we got it done. Basically it was us trying to make a break-up album with a big, theatrical space vibe. We actually kind of benefited from the five-year process; it gave us a lot of perspective on the lyrics of some of the songs. The last song we played tonight “A + B” we wrote the music for right off the bat in 2015; we didn’t have those lyrics done until mid-2019. Having four years to look back on previous experiences and growing in life gives you a lot of perspective you just don’t get sitting down and venting it all out in thirty minutes – you’re getting a very narrow perspective that way. This allowed us to capture those feelings from a huge range.”

Stamm elaborates on the record’s title.

“When we think of relationships in the past, saying “it’s all a wash” kind of sounds like it was all for nothing or it’s all gone in the past. There’s one interpretation that it can be for nothing or that it was some cleansing process that we came out of it refreshed and stronger. That’s the conceptual basis of the whole album but I think another important part of it is the recording itself. Through the five years we recorded it, we were in three different recording studios. We kept moving and finding new and better spaces to practice. We found ourselves having to re-record stuff from years before…I would listen to something I recorded right when we started and three or four years later I felt I could do it better.”

“I don’t think there’s anything on the album aside from maybe one track from our first studio,” Gilmore added.

Mortgage Freeman are working on demos for a new EP they hope to get out by summer, before Stamm embarks on a bike trip.

“After five years of working on an album, we would love to come up with something quicker and faster. We’ve been playing these songs for so long and we’re ready for something fresh,” Walker said.

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