Graphic Nature’s Harvey Freeman: The 10 songs that changed my life

Graphic Nature vocalist Harvey Freeman talks us through the soundtrack to his life. Turns out, the Brit nu-metal screamer’s big on Nickelback…

Graphic Nature’s Harvey Freeman: The 10 songs that changed my life
Nick Ruskell
Nat Wood

After a banner 12 months that's seen them release one of the heaviest albums of the year, tear a hole in Reading & Leeds, and tread the boards at Wembley Arena with Skindred, Graphic Nature hit Camden Underworld this weekend for their biggest headline show to date. And so the natural question at this point is: what’s been the soundtrack to singer Harvey Freeman’s life? Nu-metal bangers, a country-rock classic, and some other very fine British bands. But not one very particular Slipknot song…

The first song I remember hearing…Nickback – How You Remind Me

“The first one I probably heard was probably some James Brown songs, because my mum and dad were very much into soul and jazz music. But the first one that really resonated with me was How You Remind Me by Nickelback. It was the first song I’d heard where I was like, ‘Oh, wow, this is different to what my parents listen to.’ It's got that hard rock type thing to it, and from there it just stemmed from Nickelback into everything else. I first heard it on Top Of The Pops, I think, then I went down to Woolworths and got the single, and then my parents bought me the album for Christmas. After that I was like, ‘This is my jam. This is sick.’ People shit on Nickelback so much because they think it's cool to shit on Nickelback, but they've got some fucking good songs.”

The song that reminds me of school…Static-X – I’m The One

“When I was in year seven I joined a band – but not a band that did shows, it was a band where we'd all jam in the living room. We did a demo, to give out to our friends, with this on it. We did it on this little four-track recorder, all done live. I was on an electric drum kit, we had a shitty microphone and a little combo amp. I just remember being so proud of that, and distributing these fucking burned Tesco CDs to my friends, being like, ‘Look, we did this shit!’”

The first song I learned to sing…Architects – In Elegance

“When I was at music college we had to do an end of year performance of songs that we'd learned, and they had to be from different genres. So I played drums on a Stevie Wonder song, and then we did In Elegance by Architects. That was the first song that I wanted to learn to do vocals for. I guess that pushed me to want to shout and want to try and sing a bit. Was it any good? Probably not. I was about 17 or 18 at the time. I would have been like, ‘Yeah, we killed it!’ It probably wasn’t very good, but you got to start somewhere, so fuck it.”

The song that reminds me of my first love…Rascal Flatts – Life Is A Highway

“This is about to get real soppy… I haven't felt the way that I do for my wife, like, ever. I've never felt these feelings before. I would die for this woman, and I’ve never felt like that before. But the song that reminds me of her is Life Is A Highway from Cars. I think the film sucks, but the song is so good. And this all reminds me of her because during lockdown it was a trending song on TikTok or something, and we just started playing it. Like, whenever we were just bored, we’d put it on and dance in the living room and shit. Not slow dancing, just acting like idiots.”

The first Graphic Nature song I heard on the radio…Graphic Nature – Grit

“Daniel P Carter put it out for us on Radio 1. That was wild. But it was censored! I was a bit pissed off because they left out all the cool words and it was just a clean version. But that's the world we live in. But it was cool, because I've been listening to Dan's shows for so long. He's been such a staple of showing people new music, especially me when I was younger. I'd have a DAB radio in my room, putting on the alternative radio stations and stuff. And now it’s cool to have support from someone that I genuinely thought was pretty famous. I think that's pretty fucking cool.”

The song that picks me up when I’m feeling down…Barenaked Ladies – One Week

“If me or my wife are having a fucking bad day we'll just chuck this on and start singing and mildly rapping to each other. I don’t know the whole thing right off by heart, but I could definitely try. It’s a song that reminds me of that American Pie era around 2001, when shit was fun, and music was really fun to watch. I feel like we've lost that a bit with this generation of music. I'm sure there are bands out there that either I'm completely ignorant to, or I just don't know who they are. But watching Kerrang! TV back then, it felt like every music video was funny. And now every music video is dark and moody. Like what we do…”

The song I’d go back and change if I could…Graphic Nature – Sour

“I love this song, it’s one of my favourites to play, but I've always just thought it needed more vocals at the start. There's too long of a gap. And by the time I realised it was too late, it'd been mastered and sent off to the label. That's always been a nitpick for me. Everything that we do that's completely finished I'll be like, ‘Yeah, that's cool. But if we added this, it would have been cooler.’ But we just have to move on to the next thing.”

The Graphic Nature song that’s the most fun to play live…Graphic Nature – Bad Blood

“It's the time where the crowd really starts to liven up. In the set that we currently have, it's after Sour, so they're already warmed up, but now they're ready to go and it's circle-pit central. That’s when I can do really cheesy ’90s nu-metal jump-the-fuck-up shit. And people want to do it. That’s fun, and it’s so aggressive. The only thing is, I never give myself a chance to take a breath because I stupidly wrote too many lyrics. I always do that…”

The song I always skip…Slipknot – My Plague

“You asked the worst song ever written, which I can’t think of anything, because even something like Mr Brightside is good, it’s just been ruined. But my least favourite song by the best band… I fucking hate My Plague. I think that's Slipknot’s worst song. I don't know why, it's just always pissed me off to the point that when I had an iPod, I deleted it so it would just go straight into the next song. I don't know why I hate it. I can see the comments now. Bring them…”

The song I want played at my funeral…Fightstar – Our Last Common Ancestor

“This isn't because it's a sad song, I just think it's a beautiful song. It’s from this album called One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours, I believe it's about the machines taking over the world. This is on there, and it’s a beautiful song. Fightstar are one of my favourite bands of all time. I listen to them every single day. I want to get Charlie Simpson on a track. I don't know how I'm going to do it. But if we were to ever do a collaboration song, that's the person I'd want on it.”

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