Seems simple enough: put some positive energy into the world, gain some positive credit back. It seems to be the story with Fang Island's self titled that has earned great credit across the critical board. After quite a few showcases at this year's South by Southwest, the band is already showing off new material for their next endeavor. At the Sargent House showcase this year, the band took some time to talk about their success and how small kids can be the best word of mouth and audience to date.
With the new album, did you guys think it was going to take off like it did?
Jason Bartell: It's like going back and forth between what you expect and what you hope. It's hard to distinguish those two things. Every band hopes that it will do as well. Now that we're here picking up real momentum, it's really different from how the band has been up onto this point. In that sense, we didn't really expect it. We're just happy to make it; happy to have it. If one person listens to it and likes it...[well,] the fact that it's going this well is pretty sweet.
Nick Sadler: We just wanted to get it made. That was the struggle. "We just want to make it. We just want to make it." Now it's here and it's kind of exceeding my expectations big time.
Do you think the positive energy of this record came back on you guys?
EVERYONE : I'd like to think that---Yeah, for sure.
Bartell: I kind of fully subscribe to that just in general. As new age as that sounds, it's proven itself time and time again. When you put in hard work, staying positive about the overall picture, it'll all come back.
Do you think it was mainly based on the kindergarten kids' word of mouth on that one?
Sadler: Twenty years from now...[laughs]
It's very guitar heavy and driven within everything. Were there any ideas to stick in certain mediums or modes or chord progressions? Was it challenging to stay in and out of certain modes?
Micheal Jacober: There's definitely ways to challenge yourself, even in a major key. You listen to the syncopation on the record. You listen to all the different rhythms. Just in general.
Bartell: Whatever path you choose to make music in, there's infinite ways to do it, whether it's atonal noise music or popular rock music. It's all about figuring out new ways to do it for ourselves. [Don't] lock yourself into anything.
Sadler: The idea that it's all major notes is not necessarily the main focus. It's what the band is right now and what we're interested in. I think we'll start adding minor parts...It gets a little darker. It's not as happy at the end of "Sideswiper," you know what I mean?
The whole album hits you, and then you get to "Davey Crockett," do you think that was necessary for it not to be a complete rager all the way through?
Sadler: We initially pieced the songs together so that it would be in the end. But a lot of records, I feel it is the standby to end your record very epically. We wanted to end ours on a very upbeat note with "Welcome Wagon," and then to close it with a very calming track, "Dorian," was very peaceful. It was all intentional.
Lyrically, there's not these long poetic lines. It, again, is straight to the point. For you guys, was it the lyrics first, and let's create the music around this theme, or was it let's create this song and then let's back it with a verbal standpoint.
Bartell: We've always used guitars in a very vocal way...Generally, I'd say, we form melodies first and then decide how to delve them out. Would this be a really great vocal part or would this be for guitar? It's always changing, but usually it's the melody first.
With the record opening up by sounding like fireworks going off, it also seems it is put together in a mood, creating an atmosphere.
Sadler: I think when the band started, I think that's what came out. Music that did conjure up various ideas and pictures in mind. Nothing is constructed to express a certain idea like that, but we're aware of it. We really like it. I think it's an extension of certain members of the band. It's just kind of like how people are. It's a way to look at our childhood and our friendships and things like that. We sort of cherish certain parts about all those things, and it just come out in music.
Just for fun, what was more incredible, playing for those little kids, or playing with Andrew WK?
Bartell: They're both surreal and really different. Playing with Andrew WK was surreal to see a hero of yours and play with him. Playing for those kids, it was the best audience we ever had.
Chris Georges: We had our amps on like .5, and we still thought those kids were going to tip over.
Marc St. Sauveur: We wanted to make happy music. To make kids want to dance, that was pretty amazing.