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"Cabin fever: Freefall targets young fans by rocking summer camps"

Leave it to a couple of Harvard kids to discover rock’s last virgin market:summer camps.

This summer Cambridge-based band Freefall will play 34 shows to thousands of pop culture-deprived kids at summer camps from Wisconsin to Maine.

As Harvard freshman roommates last year, Freefall’s guitarists/vocalists Sam Lissner and Kevin Bombino hatched the plan as a great way to make a little money while honing their musical chops. Last summer the two, along with Lissner’s high school friend Neil Hartmann on drums, brought their highly commercial power pop to four camps. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive. The kids screamed and danced and mobbed them for autographs. Camp directors wanted them back.

“We put together a show that’s not offensive and is age-appropriate and high-energy,” Lissner said. “It’s mostly our original music with a few popular covers. It’s exactly what kids and camp directors want.”

From the beginning, Lissner and Bombino have been Ivy League smart. In late 2005, they hooked up with Berklee bassist Ben Feltner to round out their sound. In March, they got a booth at the American Camping Association Convention, where they connected with dozens of camp directors and even picked up a sponsor, Simply the Best Inflatables, which is underwriting most of the tour costs.

To further help Freefall maximize its profits, camps are often putting the band up after the shows.

But that’s only the beginning of this outfit’s brains. Now they’re in the process of sending every camp an advance copy of their new CD to play during meals and activities, so the kids can get to know the Freefall sound before the show. And there are the 200 T-shirts and 1,000 CDs the band is bringing along to feed the always merch-hungry adolescents.

“In terms of what most unsigned rock bands have to put up with, this tour will be incredibly lucrative,” Lissner said. “We’re not going to get rich, but we’ll make a little money and we’ll have the experience of playing before 20,000 people.”

“Playing one of these shows will be infinitely more valuable than, say, an Abbey Lounge show, because there will actually be a captive audience,” Bombino added. “We’re not going to be ignored.”

With no parents for miles and their first taste of live rock - or at least live pop - it’s no doubt that campers will be adding Freefall as their MySpace friends as soon as they get home. But all the new fans could damage Freefall’s budding reputation with college students. The band doesn’t want to be known as just kid stuff.

“I’m very worried about that,” Bombino said.“But we can combat that with club shows.”

Two key summer gigs for Freefall will be a July 16 date at New York’s Knitting Factory and an Aug. 8 show at the Middle East in Cambridge. It’s in front of small, skeptical crowds of knowledgeable, not newbie, fans that the band knows it needs to succeed.

But before piling into a van and heading off for their first 2006 camp show at Camp Chi in Lake Delton, Wis., they’re staying focused on a summer of free Kool-Aid, cheering Girl Scouts and mosquito bites. - Boston Herald / Jed Gottlieb

"Interview with Sam and Kevin from Freefall"

Lavender Ice Promotions: Hello guys! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us here at Lavender Ice Promotions! Before we get this thing started, can you each tell everyone about yourselves?
Sam: "Kevin and I (I’m Sam by the way) began writing and arranging music together during our first semester at Harvard. We started out playing for friends in our building, but after a while we began performing at open mics in Boston. Our makeshift “duo” was rewarded with compliments and acclaim in the community, and after playing a few shows together we decided to form a band. That’s when we found Nat, Steve, and Burak (also Harvard students) who are each very talented musicians."

LIP: How long have you guys been together, calling yourselves a band?
Kevin: "Freefall has been together for about three months… but the chemistry is so good that it feels like we’ve been playing together for years."

LIP: How would you describe your musical sound to someone who has never heard you play before?
Sam: "Id’ say that our sound could be described as an energetic mixture of Pop and alternative Rock… It’s sort of a cross between Maroon 5 and Simple Plan."

LIP: Could you tell us about some songs that you have recorded? Such as, how many have been recorded, and what they're about?
Sam: "We just finished recording our self-titled EP, which will be coming out as a limited release of four songs. My personal favorite is called “Moment by Moment” which is about the importance of realizing who the special people are in our lives… the moment that you realize you really love or care about someone..."

LIP: What are some of the places that you have played at? Are the audiences usually into your music?
Kevin: "We started by playing around Harvard, but we’ve been playing shows at larger venues; we are currently booked to play some nationally known spots like the Middle East in Cambridge, MA. Whenever we play, the audience really gets into it. We’ve seen some pretty interesting things from the stage, but the best thing is just to see an audience that knows your songs and feels the music. We’re lining up a tour of some colleges, and we’re hoping to have that set up in the near future."

LIP: Does Freefall plan on putting out a CD for the public anytime in the near future?
Kevin: "Our four-song debut EP is currently available on our website ( and for sale at all our shows, but we’re hoping to have a full length LP in stores someday!"

LIP: Now that we know a lot about the band and the music you play, we want to get to know the guys a little better. When you're not performing or rehearsing with the band, what are some things that you enjoy doing in your free time?
Sam: "I play on the Harvard Golf team, but really, being a student at Harvard takes a good amount of our time time. I’d say all of us concentrate pretty hard on our studies. Kevin is actually a master at computers; he is always buried in pages of computer code whenever I see him. Nat plays and refs basketball, but I never play with him because he’s a beast on the court! Steve does a lot of charity work in the community, and Burak dabbles in film production."

LIP: Who are some of your musical idols/role models?
Sam: "I grew up listening to a guy named Dan Fogelberg, who was my dad’s favorite artist as a kid… I definitely see some of his qualities in my song writing. In general, it was my parents that started me in music – they have always supported whatever I’m interested in… I’ve had phases listening to everything from Metallica to Joe Pass, and I’ve always looked up to the musicianship of John Mayer, Guster, Sarah McLachlan, and Ben Folds. I also draw personal inspiration from my sister Eliese who always pushes me to be better."

LIP: Growing up, had you always wanted to be in a band? Or did you have some sort of other dream for your life?
Sam: "I started playing guitar when I was very young, but it was mostly classical music (some jazz). I’ve played in a bunch of different garage bands, but nothing has ever been as serious as Freefall. Kevin: I was a guitarist in a locally successful band in Alabama, but to answer your question, I think we both share the dream of making it in a real band."

LIP: It's almost time to wrap this interview up, but we have 2 more questions for you. We have a question that we ask every single artist that we interview: if you had been born female, what would you have wanted your name to be?
Sam: "Definitely Sam. Sammantha?"

LIP: Last question, do you have a message that you would like to say to your fans?
Kevin: "I think we’d all like to just say thank you all of our friends who have been supportive of us, and I hope to see all of you guys on the road someday…"

LIP: Thank you, once again, for taking the time to do this interview with us! - Lavender Ice Promotions


Road Trip EP (2006)
- tracks: Last Chance, Leave it All Behind, One More Time

2005 EP
- tracks: Moment by Moment, Each Other, Spotlight, Wish

We will gladly FedEx a free copy of the EP and Performance Video to anyone interested.



Rising juniors at Harvard, Sam Lissner and Kevin Bombino are unashamed to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Click Five or Fall Out Boy. In the words of lead singer Sam Lissner, "We're still young and we write music that is easy to identify with for adolescents."

Freefall's music has been featured in two independent television shows, and has recently reached obtained over 85,000 total streams on the website The band has embarked on a landmark tour of children's summer camps for the summer of 2006.