By Amanda Romeo
C+C Music Factory rose quickly to fame in the early 90’s following the immediate and immense success of their five-time-platinum hit “Gonna Make You Sweat.” Freedom Williams, one of the three founding members of C+C Music Factory, joined the Chronicle for an interview after playing at Fall Fest this past Saturday.
So how did C+C Music Factory start?
“Well there was a guy named Rob and a guy named David. We just made a ton of records –a lot of different records for different people. I was a recording engineer, and you know we were just always making records. Then one, “Gonna Make You Sweat” evolved into an album.
“We had other records before that, that were very popular but that was probably the biggest record. It was huge, it was a good time. We did a lot of touring and a lot of TV, all the TV you can do –Saturday Night Live, Good Day New York and everything.”
Your first hit single “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” topped the charts when it came out, and still gets played on the radio all the time. What was it like when that song initially blew up? Did you like that aspect of the success?
“You know, being famous is an entire world. You have to know how to embrace all of success. All of the fans, all of it is part of the job.”
How did you David and Robert initially start making music together?
“Well I was an engineer and I was at a studio called Quad, and I was mixing records with them as an engineer. But I also was an MC in ’87 and ’88, and then I started to rap on different records that we would do. Then I had some records I was putting out on my own label in 1988, and then we just kind of merged.”
In 2016, Billboard magazine ranked C+C Music Factory having 44th most successful dance artists of all time. Do you still work with a lot of dancers?
“I don’t use as many [dancers] as I used to. It’s the airline tickets that become really expensive, you know we used to be able to fly for 200 bucks in the ‘90s. Now its 700 bucks. It becomes very, very expensive unless you have a huge budget. But I still work with them when I have to, locally.”
In 2003, you acquired trademark rights to the name “C+C Music Factory.” What made you do that all of a sudden, years later?
“I left the group in about ’93. I wanted to go and pursue other things. I had already been with them four years… And C+C was kind of my creation, as well as Rob and David’s, from the beginning. David died in ’95, and Robert is kind of just a pain in the behind –nobody wanted to be bothered with him. There were some other people calling themselves C+C, and you know I had the big records. Robert had stopped really making records, he wasn’t doing and production. So I said, let me go and lock it down because [if not] somebody else could buy it.”
Have you done any touring recently?
“’I’ve always been on the road. I just left the 90’s tour –the I Love the 90’s Tour… that was about two months.”
What is your following like now? Has it changed over the years?
“[It’s] a lot of older people who want to be nostalgic. But this is a very unique record, right? ‘Gonna Make You Sweat’ is probably one of the biggest records ever made, and so it has a tendency to be in a lot of films. It’s got an edge to it but it’s also kid friendly. You can do it on ‘Sesame Street’ but then you can also put it in an action movie so it kind of jumps across generations. You know, I’ve done Weddings Bar Mitzvahs Bat Mitzvahs, I’ve done everything but a funeral… that’d be a little weird”
I want to talk a little bit about the 35 music industry awards you’ve received worldwide. Can you tell me about any that are particularly special to you? How about your first one?
“My favorite accolade is being number one in um… what, what was it? Not ‘Right On.’ It was a magazine, it was a little… Jet! Jet magazine, you remember Jet? Jet magazine was a little small little book made by Ebony –Ebony publications. And that was black household’s like James Brown, Michael Jackson everybody was in it… they had all the facts about music and what was happening. It was a little book and then we were number one in Jet.”
So was that the first really big mention you saw of yourself?
“No it wasn’t my first, we had a number one Grammy, but it was because I grew up reading Jet… Those kinds of little things you remember as a kid and jet magazine was like, Billy Dee Williams was on the cover of Jet magazine… Because I had watched Jet magazine my whole life, it was like ‘Woah I’m in Jet magazine…’ Jet was the bomb.”
Anything new coming out from C+C?
“We got a new record, it’s the 25th anniversary of ‘Sweat.’ It’s really a good record. Yeah, it passed last year but it’s this year. We’re celebrating it for a whole five years… So yeah, I got good mixes on there, we’re going to do an EP. The first singles called ‘Sweat 25…’ it’s coming out in about a month so you got to look for it. We’re shooting a video, got to look for it. We’re going to have about five or six mixes on that, and you know some TV stuff I’m working on. Just moving the pieces, you know? Trying to get back in Jet.”