The Freematics
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The Freematics

Band Hip Hop Rock


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"The Freematics" LP, released September, 2009.



The Freematics want to start a conversation. At a time in our nation’s history when the way things have always been done seem to no longer work, along comes a hip hop/funk band asking “what are we doing here?” and looking for fans to help them find answers.
Front man/emcee WarrenPeace (aka Joe Leibson) has spent much of his life trying to do just that. He worked for an NGO building schools in developing countries for three years, and also taught in Honduras for a year. These experiences showed him a lot about what it takes to make a real difference in the world, but he’s always felt that he could create an even larger impact through music.
“We live in an age in which media rules,” states the Oak Park, Michigan native. “Young people spend much of their time communicating with their friends on Facebook or searching for new music online. There is a great opportunity to spread a message and create a community that is passionate about the same issues as you are. And I feel that music is a great jumping off point because it’s universal. It has been an important aspect of every culture in human history.”
Warren’s wife, Monica Mae, shares in the songwriting efforts and lends her powerful voice and stage presence to the band. Born and raised in Plymouth, MI, Monica is a licensed acupuncturist, and her sunny disposition brings a nice balance to Warren’s sometimes somber lyrics.
“The band has been a really fun creative outlet for me,” Monica says. “Singing is my passion and collaborating with my husband has been a cool experience because we’ve always connected musically but never actually written music together.”
The Freematics had a big year in 2009, with the release of their first studio album, a self-titled, 8-song trip through several different genres and influences. The group began playing shows in front of larger and larger audiences, including opening for hip hop legend KRS-One in September.
The end of 2009 was also tumultuous for the band, as they were forced to replace their guitarist and bassist just after the release of their album.
“I was kind of distraught,” Warren admits. “It takes a lot of time and money to make an album, and of course you want to get out and promote it right away. I started feeling like maybe music wasn’t in the cards for me.”
Fortunately, drummer DanZell Tolbert splits his time with another band, the Square Boys. Their guitarist, Matt Calendine, had filled in for the Freematics at a few shows, and fit in seamlessly.
Then, in December of 2009, Square Boys bassist Ryan Ghedotte approached Warren and offered his group’s services as the Freematics’ backing band.
“I can’t say I didn’t think about incorporating those guys into our band, but I didn’t want to just push my way in,” Warren said. “I respect those guys a lot, and I really like their band. But when Ryan offered to play with us, it just made sense. We figured it would be a good way to get both bands some exposure, and I already knew that Matt could work with us. Plus, having Pete (Zajicek) on keys really fills out our sound. We all just want to play music as much as possible, so it’s a good situation.”
Having finally revamped their musical lineup, the Freematics are looking forward to making their mark on the Detroit music scene in 2010. WarrenPeace can’t wait to see what direction the band takes.
“We’re already working on material for our second album,” he says. “We learned so much from recording the first one, and the process put us in touch with a lot of people who are well-connected in the music industry here in Detroit. We’ve got some great gigs coming up, as well as music videos and other opportunities in the works. I think we really have an opportunity to make a difference for people while doing something we love.”