Friday, June 03, 2016

10 Questions with The Fairweather

Hailing from Tulsa, OK The Fairweather is releasing their debut Untie My Tongue this month.  They will be playing a record release show tonight, June 3rd, at The Vanguard with fellow Tulsa band Slow Dreamer and Oklahoma City's The Notionaries.    

This interview was conducted via email with Ashkan Karimi and Kris Elliott May 29 - June 1, 2016.

For more information on The Fairweather check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google +, and SoundCloud pages.

Dave:  How did the band get together?

Kris:  We all knew each other through other projects, and even shared the stage with each other a handful of times in old bands, but it was really timing and passion that brought us together. My (Kris - drummer) old project Good Morning Grizzly had gone our separate ways back in the Fall 2014, and I was looking for something new. I messaged Ashkan on social media asking if he knew of any bands looking for a drummer, and he said he’d get his feelers out there. A few months later, Ashkan & Austin’s group, Aftermidnight, lost their drummer & bassist, and had to quit playing shows. Around January 2015, Austin sent me a message asking if I’d be interested getting Aftermidnight back up and running with them. I jumped at the chance, and never looked back. Austin & Bobby worked together at the time. I had met Bobby in the past, actually took some guitar lessons from him, and knew how talented he was. We had Bobby out to a practice in late Feb 2015, and that was that. We played our first show in March as Aftermidnight, since most of the songs we had at the time were AM songs, and were finally able to rebrand that summer as The Fairweather.

Dave:  What’s the story behind the name The Fairweather?

Kris:  I think our music and general mindset as individuals revolve around addressing the difficulties of life with positivity and courage. We wanted a name that was a little bit lighter and projected that mindset, to give happiness and warmth to the people listening to our music - plus we could ironically call our fans Fairweather Friends.

Ashkan:  Originally before we ever had the name all we had was a few visuals like our logo. We had a TON of band name ideas and eventually we found ourselves narrowing it down to The Fairweather. Also, before we had our name we had some songs written, like “I’d Be A Fool” which is on our new record and there was a lot of reference to the elements the float around the weather, like storms, waves and things like that, so I think the music we had written kinda gave us some direction for the name. Not saying we’ll always write music about the weather haha, but it’s a common theme I think.

Dave:  For those who have never heard the band, how do you describe your music?

Kris:  putting a single genre on a band these days is so difficult, but I think of us as a mesh of indie/rock/alternative with pop elements engrained. We’re big on the dynamics and swells of volume, tones, and lyrics to take the listener on a journey through the EP. There are some super drivy in your face rock sections, that dip off into dance dance dance pop beats, then throw you into a huge halftime ballad of a chorus. Ashkan’s range is killer as a vocalist, and Austin comes up with the wildest original guitar riffs, combined with Bobby’s always inventive and progressive bass stylings - it’s so much fun to be a part of.

Ashkan:  Like Kris said, we’ve got a pretty eclectic mix of sounds and influences. We all 4 write together and all 4 of us come from different musical backgrounds with the common thread being rock and roll. Bobby has been in some metal bands, Kris has been in a heavier rock and rock band like what he mentioned before when we met, Austin listens to everything that consists of great guitar ranging from Stevie Ray Vaughn to country music and I pretty much listen to anything that has a good melody and strong vocalist - usually with an alternative rock sound.

Dave:  Your debut Untie My Tongue comes out in June. What's the story behind the record?

Kris:  Untie my Tongue has a lot to do with us as a band finding ourselves and our music. Coming from multiple different musical backgrounds, we had a thousand different directions we could take our songs. Through collaborative song writing, musical flexibility, and dozens of brainstorming sessions, we were able to put our talents and individual styles into one wall of sound that we’re super proud of.

Dave:  Do you have plans to tour in support of the new record? What are some of your favorite places to play?

Ashkan:  Most definitely, right now we have about 10 dates for the summer time all touring the region. We have some dates in Arkansas, Texas, the Oklahoma City area, Kansas and we’re still adding more dates so we’re pretty excited to have some shows to follow-up the release. Prior to this release we had played the region during the last half of the Winter and early Spring but didn’t have any music to give people except for our single Machine Gun Heartbreak which was a pretty rock and roll song. Since then we have a little more matured and rounded sound, so now we’re really stoked to get the new music into people’s ears both live and digitally.

As far as favorite places to play, not to be super cliche but anywhere people are listening to the tunes and connecting with the music is a “favorite.” As far as actual places, so far I think we have all really enjoyed playing Columbia, MO cause it’s a college town, and they have a cool music scene and venues. Also, Norman, OK is great because of the college vibe there too - we have another date there this June so we’re excited about heading back!

Dave:  Do you have any specific type of songwriting process?

Kris:  our songwriting process is fluid and collaborative, so there really is no set-in-stone method. Typically one of us will bring “an idea” to the table, whether it’s a specific riff or chorus line or melody, just something that stood out and we want to explore. It usually starts with a text - Ashkan will record a short guitar/vocal part on his phone or Austin or Bobby will put together a short pre-pro demo of an idea then text it to our group chat. From there we’ll listen to it individually and see how it affects us, and what elements we want to bring to the table. Then once Thursday night rehearsal comes around, we start building a skeleton. Get the frame of the song in place, what tempo feels right, how long is the verse going to be, should we repeat the chorus here, do we want to add a dancey jungle beat groove somewhere - that kind of stuff. Once the structure is down, one of us records it so that next practice we can keep building. From there it’s a long process of fine tuning, adding layers, taking layers away, filling in the rest of the person that will be this song. I’d guess all around it takes about 6 sessions for us from start to finish. Although I’d be a Fool was written in one night haha.

Dave:  What are your thoughts on the music scene in Oklahoma?

Kris:  Oklahoma’s music scene is a unique one, as it produces musicians of all different genres. A lot of regions will push one specific sound, or genre, whereas we have them all. I think a lot of that has to do with our population’s love and respect for music of all types. I also think our mesh of elements from multiple genres comes from that mindset as well.

Ashkan:  I think the music scene in Oklahoma has been growing a lot lately - not necessarily in size but in acceptance of different styles and genres of music. I feel like in the past that it hasn’t always been super accepting to newer music ideas but lately it’s been great to see the number of people listening to very diverse styles of music - which affects us as bands and artists too. I think it helps us strive to grow ourselves, so we are producing something new and challenging ourselves to do something different while still trying to retain our roots - it’s a fun challenge.

Dave:  This is a High Fidelity inspired question. What are your top five favorite bands, albums, movies, television programs, books/authors?

Ashkan:  That’s tough to answer by myself for the whole band but I know the guys well enough to answer parts of that haha…Bobby our bassist is big into dance music and edm, Zedd has come up in conversation and Calvin Harris too. I really like Calvin Harris as well from a dance music side of things. Bobby also likes heavier stuff from being in his other bands, so Arra is one of his favorites.

Manchester Orchestra is a big one for Kris, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Switchfoot for Austin, and for me I’m all over the place but I like Miles Davis, Mute Math. On that note, we all like Mute Math.

One of my all time favorite albums is Grace by Jeff Buckley.

We almost all watch The Walking Dead and it comes up in conversation when we’re on the road, Gotham is another one of those shows, atleast for Austin and I.

Dave:  What’s next for the band?

Ashkan:  We’re just going to be hitting the road to play songs from the record, while at the same time continuing to write more music. We’ve already started working on the next project which we’re excited to tell the rest of the story. A lot of our music’s goal is to take the listener on some sort of a journey and the record kinda has a place where it ends nicely but there is definitely more to tell. We also hope to do a vinyl release with some remixes of the songs since we all love that dance aspect of the music. We feel like it will challenge us to think and write future songs with dance elements, plus some of our songs kinda call for a “remix” of sorts because they’re already so dancey but we’re just using more raw instrumentation like guitars and real drums so to re-do a song with more synths and to experiment with electro-pop elements would be cool.

Dave:  Any final thoughts?

Ashkan:  Just a big thanks to you for taking the time to talk to us and interview us. We’re excited about the record and to shed some light on the creative process always helps. I think art and music is sometimes overlooked or not as valued because we don’t always hear the back story and the time it took to write the songs because we live in a society that is big on immediate gratification and having our new music right now, so to be able to talk about the process before the creation of the art means a lot to us because it doesn’t happen over night. You have that 1 rare song every now and then that happens fast but those are not all the time and even then there was a journey up until that moment that finally everything just pours out like a fire hydrant.

If you want to check out more about us we’d love to get to know you so you can connect with us on all the follow social media avenues, and our website. We also have an email we send out every once in a while with exclusive releases that you can sign-up for too if you’re into that sort of thing and want to see what our lives are like a bit more. I listed them all below for you!

Also, if you want to come out to the release show in Tulsa you’re more than welcome. We have Slow Dreamer from Tulsa and The Notionaries from OKC joining us - Tickets are $10 and it’s at The Vanguard in the Brady District of Downtown Tulsa, just down the street from Cain’s Ballroom. The doors are at 7pm and the show is at 8pm..

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