Guys don’t exactly share if they have any poor body image issues about themselves – let alone sing about such personal topics to a mass audience of rabid fans. Nashville-based emo band Free Throw are looking to change that perception and open up a dialogue through adrenaline-pounding beats and provocative, yet relatable song lyrics.
Hanging out at a live Free Throw show gives fans a sense of the accepting community that the band is looking to promote. A refreshing escape from the harsh and judgmental social media driven bubble that the millennial generation deals with on 140-character filled daily basis.
Frontman Cory Castro has been facing poor body image issues on and off in his life and through the power of song, loves sharing his struggles onstage nightly with the band’s swelling and devoted fan base. Especially with a collection of new tunes off their recently released stellar sophomore album, Bear Your Mind. On the achingly honest gem, “Better Have Burn Heal,” which the lead singer wrote about his personal body image battles, Castro belts openly forthright lyrics as, “I feel afraid, I feel alone, like a captive in my own bones... and I need out.”
Bear Your Mind is a mature directional shift for the band, both musically and professionally. As the young lads navigate through the grueling touring life of a musician, finding time to record a powerful album while still figuring out this whole "adulting" thing that goes with it all.
AXS recently spoke with Castro before a show in Denver, as he spoke about their new album, Bear Your Mind, playing new songs on the road and how the band Sunny Day Real Estate helped him develop his musical chops.
AXS: You guys have self-labeled Free Throw as an emo/punk/indie band. Is that the direction you guys were going when you started out or has your sound evolved into those genres?
Cory Castro: We always put the emo thing after our name on social media, because it rhymes with Free Throw and we were trying to be funny and stupid (laughs). I think that was definitely the direction we were going for when we started the band. I think we’re always going for that emo-indie-punk sound with any album.
AXS: What were you listening to growing up that really turned you on to music?
CC: Oh, a lot of things (laughs). I’ve been playing music since I was eleven or twelve years old. What got me into our style of music was when I was in high school and the first Taking Back Sunday record came out. I was already dabbling with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate. From then on I always wanted to be in a band. One day over beers in our basement (laughs), we decided to start a band.
AXS: You guys seem to be showing a more emotional side on this new album, Bear Your Mind. What were guys trying to say with this album?
CC: With the first album, I was mainly trying to get off my chest what I was feeling after a really bad break-up I had been going through. For this album, I didn’t want just write about the break-up, I wanted to explore how I was doing mentally over the past years after that other break up. Like the journey from blaming things that I was going through on that relationship, then realizing that maybe I had my own personal problems that I had to deal with now.
AXS: You’ve been candid about your self-image issues that you’ve been dealing with on and off in your life. Was writing and even singing the song “Better Have Burn Heal” on a nightly basis pretty cathartic for you?
CC: When I first wrote the song I was not sure about it because you’re really putting yourself out there and being exposed. The more I went over the song in my head, and singing it every night really makes me feel better about the song. Now that I’ve said all this in a song, now I feel better that it’s out there and not pent up inside.
AXS: You guys are a pretty tight live band. How is bringing these songs to a live audience on your current tour?
CC: These songs are a little louder, a little grander than some of our previous stuff. So, there were a few challenges in doing these songs live. The band got me a new overdrive that I now needed for my birthday (laughs). It’s always a challenge playing new songs live, and when you have a new record come out you have to play a lot of those songs live. I think we’ve finally hit our groove in playing the new material.
Free Throw is currently on a headline tour around the country, with standout dates at the Hi Hat in Los Angeles on June 9, the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on June 23 and a hometown show at the End in Nashville on July 1.