Boy band One South Lark formed in high school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Now, away from each other at college, they still display a strong connection to each other and the music they make together, reminding listeners of youthfully blissful times.
TABOR BREWSTER: I’m Tabor Brewster, drummer.
GRAYSON WORLEY: Grayson Worley, guitar, I’m also the most handsome.
COLE HERRINGTON: Cole Herrington, I play bass.
ROBERT FREEMAN: Robert Freeman, vocals and keys, best smelling in the band, Tabor’s the worst.
TABOR BREWSTER: Let the record show that Robert’s lying and I actually smell the best.
REBECCA SHAID: You just heard from the members of boy band extraordinaire, One South Lark. With an almost unparalleled passion for both the music they make and time they spend together, the group is able to make the fun and nostalgic music that, let’s be real, we all need in our lives.
REBECCA SHAID: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Rebecca Shaid. You’re listening to Sound Source, a podcast tuning into music on and around campus. Today we’re hearing from the members of One South Lark: Tabor, Robert, Grayson and Cole. The band, made up of the four college students, released their debut album, Vista Beach, in December of 2020 and are still going strong. But first, let’s hear about how this group formed… And uh, try to follow along to their jokes.
TABOR BREWSTER: We actually started as a contemporary Christian rock group, but that didn’t work out. So we uh, we’re – no I’m just kidding. We met in high school.
COLE HERRINGTON: We were at first a party band. We toured around New Orleans and made our own sets and when we decided we wanted to be more serious we dropped our singer for a legit one, and that would be Robert Freeman.
ROBERT FREEMAN: December of 2017 was when we really started trying to write things together seriously. And then we, you know, played a couple of little tiny shows, just to see if we could do it and we were just kind of getting together on the weekends and during free periods sometimes and trying to come up with real ideas, and then we recorded our first music in, it was either May, late May or early June of 2018.
TABOR BREWSTER: But yeah, we’ve sort of known each other for a long time before that, too. Like Robert and I went to the same, I guess we started going to the same school in Pre-K, and then Grayson came around and ruined everything and made us start a band.
ROBERT FREEMAN: Cole and I were on the same peewee soccer team. My mom and her sisters went to school with Cole’s mom, and then I knew Grayson in middle school.
COLE HERRINGTON: I actually met Tabor for the first time on set of a hit rock music video together when we were probably three or four years old.
TABOR BREWSTER: So yeah, we started really writing music and putting out (when) we were probably three or four. That’s when we started, like, getting serious about things. Before that it was just fun and games.
GRAYSON WORLEY: But after Cole’s career-ending injury in peewee soccer, he really switched to music and that’s when everything got going.
ROBERT FREEMAN: (An)other slept-on fact is that my birthday is on the 22nd of a month. Tabor’s birthday is on the 22nd of a month and then isn’t Cole’s also on the 22nd of a month and then Grayson’s is on the 11th, right? It was predestined. It was definitely predestined in some type of way.
REBECCA SHAID: Predestined or not, these guys have chemistry. Just listen to the on-the-spot story I got about the origin of their name.
TABOR BREWSTER: Let’s actually keep it a secret. Let’s come up with a good story though. Like, we saw a lark migrating south over the Mississippi River. And we were like, wow, this is a beautiful moment.
GRAYSON WORLEY: We just thought, that’s the one, that’s the one like.
ROBERT FREEMAN: But he was trailing behind the pack trying to get back into the V formation. Like struggling and we were like, that guy.
ROBERT AND COLE: It was just gotta have the mindset, that one lark’s mindset.
REBECCA SHAID: If that didn’t capture the special relationship this group has made, don’t worry, we still have more of this podcast to go. Remarkably, the group is making it work from all over the country. Tabor is the only band member who is also a Northwestern student, while Cole is at the University of Alabama, Robert goes to the University of Miami and Grayson attends the University of Virginia. Being able to make a band work from four different locations is impressive, but it certainly comes with its challenges.
ROBERT FREEMAN: It’s very difficult.
GRAYSON WORLEY: Yeah, it definitely makes it a little bit harder to kind of like put things together and stay organized as a band. I mean, I think in some ways it benefits songwriting a little bit, because now we all have, we’re coming from super different perspectives living in different places for a couple years. And, like, we’re all having different experiences to write about and stuff. But it can be, it can be pretty hard to get things going. Hopefully in the future, if stuff picks up, we can all end up in the same spot together. But for right now we’re just making it work.
TABOR BREWSTER: We have like a Google Drive folder where we collaborate and stuff. We’re a very 2021 band now. It’s very much, very much digital, which I think gives us a unique edge. We’re ahead of the curve here.
REBECCA SHAID: Luckily for One South Lark, being forced off of their respective campuses and back to New Orleans at the start of the pandemic was actually super helpful for their musical process.
TABOR BREWSTER: At the beginning of COVID(-19) it was kind of like a blessing. Because it was like we all had to go back home. So that was actually great, because we just had so much time to write more songs together. We did put out an album. Our first album came out in December, right? That’s what it was?
GRAYSON WORLEY: Yeah, December 4, I think.
TABOR BREWSTER: Yeah. And so a lot of those songs were ones that we wrote over quarantine. But a lot of them were also ones that we had written before.
ROBERT FREEMAN: I would also say, like, generally our songwriting has always been like, there’s always a nostalgic tone to our songs, I would say, like very – a lot of it is kind of reflective. And I think that definitely, the pandemic like made us a little more nostalgic, like, at least in our lyrics and stuff and our kind of vibe. Thinking about, because I mean, I was pretty, pretty down, I would say. I think we all were pretty down for a little bit. Thinking about the old days for the first couple months of the pandemic, I would say.
GRAYSON WORLEY: Three of the songs on the album were written in lockdowns, like Seaside, Vista Beach and Hollow Summer. And Seaside and Vista Beach are both kind of about wanting to be elsewhere. And just wanting to go back to the good old days , I guess, before everything kind of happened.
TABOR BREWSTER: Yeah, I think a lot of the inspiration for the album was like, being home in a new lens for us, I feel like, it was like, okay, we’re back in this place. We’re back in New Orleans. We’re like — we’ve done all this songwriting before, and everything was so great back then, but now everything sucks. Because, like, the pandemic, and if only we could just go back to those days. We were playing shows and just having fun. You know, swimming, enjoying the sun, eating popsicles, you know.
REBECCA SHAID: And if the band hasn’t already struck your interest, just listen to their production process.
TABOR BREWSTER: We drive like an hour and a half north of New Orleans to this tiny studio that’s in a cabin in the middle of the woods in this place called Bogalusa, Louisiana, which is in the middle of the swamp.
ROBERT FREEMAN: Really stinky.
GRAYSON WORLEY: There’s a paper mill or something and it’s horrible.
ROBERT FREEMAN: And we always stop at (Raising) Cane’s or Chick-fil-A.
COLE HERRINGTON: There’s lots of country flies as well.
EVERYONE: [laughter] A lot of country flies.
COLE HERRINGTON: Only in the summertime, though.
TABOR BREWSTER: And so we drive to this cabin called Studio in the Country, in the middle of the swamp, but it’s actually a really historic studio, like lots of famous musicians record there. But it’s really fun because we just get to go to the middle of nowhere, take our minds off of things and just sort of like record all of our songs in one day. We make sure that we have everything prepared because we only have a certain amount of time in the studio. So we try to get the songs like 100 percent ready.
ROBERT FREEMAN: It’s a really awesome combination of being wildly stressed out and just having so much fun. Because there’s really nothing quite like hearing the song for the first time after it’s been recorded with all the production on it. It’s just a really great bonding process and just honestly something that I think I can speak for the rest of the guys that it’s just like a really special thing that I hold very dearly, just going in the studio with the guys.
COLE HERRINGTON: Definitely, besides playing live together, my favorite thing by far would be recording together.
GRAYSON WORLEY: The sound engineer is a beast. He’ll be playing the songs back and just vibing, just doing his own thing in there and letting the creative juices flow, and we’re just sitting in the back just laughing, having a good time.
REBECCA SHAID: The One South Lark members also gave me a sneak peak at what’s coming next for the band.
GRAYSON WORLEY: Should we spill the beans here?
ROBERT FREEMAN: I can see some beans being spilled a little bit.
TABOR BREWSTER: I can see some legumes tossed around.
GRAYSON WORLEY: We may or may not be working on our second album, which may or may not be called Two South Lark. So I can neither confirm nor deny. But that might be coming in the near future.
ROBERT FREEMAN: We’re definitely not working on another album. And it’s definitely not going to be called Two South Lark.
TABOR BREWSTER: It’s also definitely not featuring Drake. So don’t get excited for that.
ROBERT FREEMAN: We’re definitely not making a Hotline Bling remix.
TABOR BREWSTER: We’re definitely not returning to our Christian contemporary roots.
GRAYSON WORLEY: We also have a side project called Bridge to Antarctica, which is kind of a crazy little metal band. We might see some stuff from there in the near future, we’re gonna come out with an album called Funeral of Fire. It’s gonna be pretty crazy.
TABOR BREWSTER: We’re all about trying new things.
REBECCA SHAID: Tabor’s not wrong. The group has managed to make an impressive collection of indie pop songs since they began putting out music three years ago. If you’re interested in some key One South Lark recs, let’s hear the favorite songs from the band itself.
COLE HERRINGTON: I’m a massive fan of the song Vacation.
ROBERT FREEMAN: On Jupiter Drive.
GRAYSON WORLEY: Seaside.
ROBERT FREEMAN: Sons and Daughters too. Sons and Daughters always makes me tear up a little bit because it takes me back to right before we, ah, right before we all went to college.
TABOR BREWSTER: Vista Beach.
GRAYSON WORLEY: And it’s the title track and the introduction to the album. So it was kind of cool. Like, after finishing like the nine other songs just finally getting that one done. And seeing the whole thing coming together. It’s really like a, kind of a thesis statement for the whole thing. So that one was super fulfilling to finally hear the recording of.
TABOR BREWSTER: Thesis statement. You must go to college.
GRAYSON WORLEY: Yeah, I’m actually pretty smart. Okay, I do attend a university. I do use big words.
ROBERT FREEMAN: Sweat bag.
GRAYSON WORLEY: Alright, I’m quitting the band. That’s it. It’s done.
REBECCA SHAID: [nervous laughter] Let’s hope that was a joke.
REBECCA SHAID: But, Grayson or no Grayson, One South Lark supplies youthfully pop-y beats reminiscent of the beach and generally, good times.
TABOR BREWSTER: I think we’re really inspired by our upbringings, I think, and our time together as teenagers, and the idea of wishing we could go back to those good old days of all being together.
TABOR BREWSTER: We’re also very inspired, I think, by The Beach Boys, The Beatles. I know Cole and I listen to a lot of Van Morrison. But then also we love pop music and stuff like that. And we try to incorporate a pop vibe. I’ve been listening to a lot of Lady Gaga recently.
ROBERT FREEMAN: I’ve been listening to a lot of Dua Lipa recently.
GRAYSON WORLEY: We stan Dua Lipa. Another thing that I remember me and Tabor talking about at the very beginning of One South Lark was we kind of wanted to make songs that were kind of upbeat, but still had kind of melancholy lyrics. I remember saying we wanted to make a song that girls can stand on a table and dance to at a party. But then like, their boyfriends who they just dumped, can get in their feels and listen to it at home or something like that. I don’t remember the exact thing we said. It’s kind of cringe. But that was sort of like the vibe we’re initially going for.
REBECCA SHAID: It’s evident the group has deep-rooted passion for the music they’re making together now, and when I asked them where they’re hoping to take this passion in the future–
ROBERT FREEMAN: To the moon. Our goal has just always been to keep growing and keep writing. We want to be prolific songwriters, we want to be, you know, we want to play a lot of shows, and, you know, we all kind of love it. And sometimes it’s hard when we’re all apart, and we can’t, you know, get together in the same room and just jam together. But when we’re all home together, it’s very special. It’s always something I look forward to. So just keep at the grindstone, and maybe one day, we’ll find a rocket ship, and we’ll take it to the moon.
GRAYSON WORLEY: Yeah, I don’t think there are any plans to ever, like, kind of pack it up, or just quit and see what else happens. I think we’re just always gonna keep working at it. And I mean, hopefully at the end of the day, like, we can just be in a band and like, that can be a career because I feel like that’s the dream. And Robert’s dream is also to marry Dua Lipa. So we can’t stop until that happens.
TABOR BREWSTER: I think some of our goals are like go on tour, you know, play a festival, get a record deal, like lots of big stuff. And that would sort of lead to the ideal situation where we can be doing this every day and we would never have to work a day in our lives because it would be so amazing. And headline Dillo Day, obviously, if anyone from Mayfest is listening.
REBECCA SHAID: Mayfest, if you hear this, get these guys to Dillo. Thank you so much to the members of One South Lark. That’s all for this episode of Sound Source.
REBECCA SHAID: From the Daily Northwestern, I’m Rebecca Shaid. Thanks for listening. This episode was reported and produced by me, Rebecca Shaid. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Madison Smith, the digital managing editor is Haley Fuller, and the editor in chief is Sneha Dey.
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