Heritage may be home to the freshman students at Union, but to Josh Mays, a sophomore conservatory biology major, it is home to Free Space. Free Space is the wonder child: a bedroom pop band which he created his freshman year with fellow classmate Abi Brown.
During the weekends, they would cram into his small dorm room on the first floor of Dodd and record soft lyrical lullabies. As time progressed and songs grew longer, they borrowed various pieces of equipment from friends, such as amps, microphones and synthesizers, in order to grow their sound.
The two were able to hone their unique sound by spending countless hours slaving over writing articulate lyrics and perfecting their electric guitar solos in the dorm bathroom. Mays describes their sound as atmospheric melodies, with honest comforting lyrics.
“I think our music is very dreamy and intimate and comforting,” Mays said. “At least that’s the impression I get of it.”
They released their first album, Ahead of Myself, a couple weeks after the end of a semester, while their first single dropped on finals week. The eight tracks on the album have intertwining themes of nostalgia, looking back, longing and looking forward. The album’s first track, “Glowmont Drive,” depicts scenes of childhood, while tracks like “Trying” and “I Wish I Was Plural” speak of being dissatisfied with who you are.
“Without us even trying, the album really came out 50 percent Abi and 50 percent me,” Mays said.
Mays and Brown, although miles apart, with Brown now residing in Franklin, are in the midst of writing their second album. Mays hopes that their themes will stay the same, expressing the same love, but he wants to experiment with writing lyrics about the small moments in life. Taking moments such as pouring coffee down the drain, watering your plant and the morning light within your bedroom, and examining them closely.
While Mays and Brown continue to work on their second album, Mays recommends listening to “‘I Wish I Was Plural,” because it seems to be their most popular song. Mays also suggests listening to “Trying” because he believes it captures the chemistry between him and Abi really well.
So whether you live in Heritage, the Quads or even an apartment, give Free Space a listen. Mays and Brown’s soft vocals accompany each other effortlessly, while the soft rhythmic guitar and keyboard give their songs a dreamy feel.