Sounds Under Radio’s Lang Freeman celebrates new single with solo acoustic shows at Cactus Cafe


Michelle Toussaint

Lang Freeman, lead singer and guitarist of Austin-based alternative rock band Sounds Under Radio followed in his father’s footsteps and began to play guitar at 13. He performs On Monday at the Cactus Cafe’ as part of a month-long residency. 

Kritika Pramod Kulshrestha

UT alumnus Lang Freeman, lead singer and guitarist of Austin-based alternative rock band Sounds Under Radio, recently released his brand new single “A Hundred Good Reasons” on iTunes. In celebration of his new solo release, Freeman is performing Monday as part of a month-long residency at the Cactus Cafe.

It was during Christmas when 13-year-old Freeman first began to play the guitar after his father, a folk singer and guitar player himself, gave Freeman and his brother guitars as gifts. Growing up in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metropolitan area, Freeman juggled academics and music, playing whenever he could.

“I got inspiration from the little things that happened in my life,” Freeman said. “Anything that I consume in the world informs and inspires what I do creatively.”

Freeman moved to Austin in 1999 to pursue his English degree from UT. It was during this time when Freeman met Sounds Under Radio band member and friend Bradley Oliver when they were both living in Moore-Hill Hall. In his freshman and sophomore years, Freeman began working with Oliver on the concept of his band. He graduated with a degree in English in 2005. In mid-2005, Freeman and Oliver, together with Sonny Sanchez and Doug Wilson, launched Sounds Under Radio. They were the only unsigned band to have their song “Portrait of a Summer Thief” featured on the sound track of “Spider-Man 3.”

In late 2008, Sounds Under Radio released their first full-length album, Cinematica, and, in 2011, they released their second studio album, Where My Communist Heart Meets My Capitalist Mind

“That record title was a point of contention, and, when I brought it to the band, they thought I was one of the craziest people,” Freeman said. “But the whole point of that record was to inform and parade the idea of the conflicts that we all suffer.”

Besides working with the band, Freeman also began pushing the boundaries of what he could do as a musician by perfecting the craft of songwriting, growing in his career as a solo artist. “There’s something really special about being in a room and being creative with other people whom you know, whom you trust and whom you have respect for creatively,” Freeman said. “But it’s also equally wonderful and inspiring to see creative ideas flourish on my own and take shape.”

Andy Melvin, Austin-based record producer and songwriter, who has known Freeman for close to 10 years, said he first met Freeman when he was a guitar player for a band called Rufus McGovern.

“He has never risked it all on what he can do,” Melvin said. “He’s always pushed himself to do something new, to grow as an artist, and that’s his defining quality.”

Freeman said the songwriting process has always been about coping with the changes occurring in his life and around him.

“Every songwriter’s process is a bit different,” Freeman said. “I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with an idea in my head — with a melody, a lyric — I jump out of bed and write it down. This takes me 30 minutes, but then the song eventually longs for an end.”

Freeman is currently focusing on his career as a solo artist even though the band is lying dormant with no new albums in the making. 

“I feel like there’s so much music out there these days, and, even if you are not into alternative music, even if you are not a music lover, there are things out there that you can tap into with relative ease that are really inspiring,” Freeman said. “I want to impact people, and I want to make people feel things, with my music.”