The Artist Explains: Freddie Long & Ben Hunter - 'Hope'
When two rising stars come together to create something, the outcome is always something special. Freddie Long and Ben Hunter have combined on their latest track ‘Hope’, we had a chat with them both about the track and their work with charity CALM.
Your new track ‘Hope’ is out now, what is the track about?
Freddie: Yes, really excited to share this one. The track is aimed to help share the message around male suicide, and mental health in general. I think in the current society everyone has experienced first hand or through friends/family the struggles surrounding mental health. It’s great to be able to help share the message through a creative product.
Ben: Excited and very proud to share Hope and the message the record stands for. We're aiming to help eleviate the stigma attached to mental health in general and raise awareness for male suicide which is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. Both Fred and I have been effected by this personally and really enjoyed using a creative vehicle to spread the message.
It sees your pairing up with Ben Hunter / Freddie Long, how did that partnership come about?
Freddie: Myself and Ben linked up through a producer that we were both were working with at the time, JarJ music. In the first session we sat down and Ben shared his story of a close friend going through tough times, which lead his friend to contemplate suicide. This story took me back as I’ve also shared a few moments with close friends who’ve been going through hard times and dealing with mental health issues. Within the first session, the base of the track was down and we had a clear idea of the message we wanted to get across.
Ben: Fred and I were both working with Jarjmusic, a producer from East London , I remember J played me some of Freds stuff and I instantly wanted to work with him! Following that we booked a session and I explained the story of a good friend who had recently been going through tough times which led to a suicide attempt. I couldn't believe this had happened as I was so close to this person yet didn't spot the warning signs. During the session we began outlining the skeleton and had pretty much wrote the whole song! Following this session i jumped in the studio with Kaey and we developed the record having many of the instruments played in live. The track was mixed and then mastered by Abbey Road Studios.
Who directed the video for the track? How does the visual link to the track?
Freddie: All credit to Simon Aukes and his team. They did an amazing job capturing the story through the visuals. The video also features actor, Kwame Augustine, who did a brilliant job! Was great vibe on set always, as everyone was behind the message of the track.
Ben: I had been watching an up and coming director Simon Aukes and was a huge fan of his cinematic visuals so decided to reach out to see if he would be interested in the project - Hats of to him and the rest of his team as they did a great job in creating the story and really bringing my friends experiences to life! My good friend and Actor Kwame Augustine played the lead role and was brilliant on set throughout. We wanted to show how someone can appear fine on the surface yet be experiencing such turmoil within and based the story around the real experiences we had.
You have collaborated with the charity CALM, did they approach you or you them?
Freddie: We had the track complete 12-14 months ago and then the video finished off towards the end of last year. We knew we wanted to approach a charity and from doing some research CALM stood out straight away. They’re a forward thinking charity, using different avenues to share the message, through musician, actors, comedies, etc. CALM is leading THE movement against male suicide, it’s great to see.
Ben: We knew once we had finished the track we would like to work with a forward thinking charity actively working to support Mental Health for men so researched and found that CALM ticked all boxes. They frequently team up with important social figures, sports people and musicians and lead the movement against male suicide - We are extremely grateful they're behind this campaign.
What sort of work do they do? And what made you want to work with them?
Freddie: As I briefly mention above, they’re not afraid to step outside the box. In a world were social media is so busy and active, they create creative campaigns that stand out and get people engaged and speaking around this issue. They also work influential people who are very current in today’s society, Jamal Edwards, James Threlfall, Rio Ferdinand and many more.
Ben: CALM offer a safe place for Men who're fighting mental health, they're helpline/chat is open 5pm-midnight 365 days a year and articles/blogs share stories to guide people in tough times. They're also very aware of the current social climate and leverage important influential figures to really target the stigma surrounding toxic masculinity - Jamal who premiered the video on youth culture blog SBTV is active with calm and has great reach to men who may need their services.