Matt Fazzi has been through his share of bands - the last one being quite huge. When that ended, instead of calling it a day, Fazzi took some music he'd already been working on and rode with it to create Happy Body Slow Brain. With the release of Dreams of Water, the band is already getting praise and Internet buzz. Fazzi took some time to answer a few questions I sent to him over e-mail.
I recently ran into your old bandmate Matt Rubano at Austin City Limits this year. He had said that you've been working on these songs for quite some time. Why has it taken a while to release? How much did you mull over the album before you go it right?
A lot of the songs had existed in some form for a while going back to when I first joined Taking Back Sunday and even before that when I was still in Facing New York. I didn't actually put the time into completing most of them until I went separate ways with TBS earlier this year. I had always intended to make my own record. The process of finishing and recording actually happened surprisingly fast and the songs changed a lot in the month leading up to the studio. I didn't give myself too much time to sit on the completed songs, I just kinda went for it.
This is obviously a different direction than Facing New York. Would this have been a direction the band would have taken, or does it feel better to have this be under a different moniker?
I'm sure some of my influence would have remained in the sound of the band had I continued to play with Facing New York, but at the same time, it's so heavily Eric's thing that I feel eventually I would have branched off anyway to get some of my own music out. It's nice to be able to be the guy in charge of the bigger picture musically and I'm glad things have played out so that Happy Body Slow Brain is my new thing now.
At times, Dreams of Water seems airy, and others rhythmically backed. Was that something of a wide spectrum of contemporary rock you wanted to explore?
I just really like a lot of groove in my music and I also enjoy a lot of different, varied textures and sounds. This album is my best attempt to squeeze in all my favorite tiny elements of music that would make it fun for me to listen back to. I don't like sounding too much like other bands so for this album I purposely tried to avoid power chords and straight 4/4 rock songs and I tried to keep all the rhythm section parts interesting. I still feel like there's much more to explore in all realms.
How has using a digital model worked out for you guys? Upon the initial listens, many were already wanting a physical release.
I'm really stoked about it. Being able to add so many special extra treats to our digital album release makes it a lot more fun for the people who are supporting our music and also helps our release stand out a bit. We took great pains to make sure our release took full advantage of the Bandcamp setup, making sure all the lyrics were embedded in the tracks, every track has it's own artwork and that all the album credits info is there as well and a plethora of other things to enjoy. We have a physical version available on tour and at CDBaby.com as well as iTunes, Amazon and many other places. We'll also have our physical available eventually at happybodyslowbrain.com. Going with the Bandcamp model has really helped us kick-start things as far as making some money up-front through digital sales so that we could purchase merch, rent a van for tour and complete many other tasks that would have been tough to pay for had we waited to sell only physical copies. I can't sing their praises loudly enough at the moment.
Speaking of physical, you guys gave away quite a bit in your digital format. How did that idea come about? Do you think that should be a norm among digital distribution at this point?
For us, it was trying to pack in as much bang-for-your-buck as possible so people would want to get the album. We are a new band so we recognize that giving a little bit extra away to start is only going to help us spread the word and it gets people more excited about supporting us directly as you can only get the "super mega special" version through www.happybodyslowbrain.com. Hopefully, people enjoy the music enough to tell someone else about us.
To follow-up, if intangible digital extras do become the norm, would that be another nail in tangible mediums, even if there is going to be a select minority?
Things are ever evolving so it's hard to say. Intangible digital extras are already a thing as far as I'm concerned. I think at this point you just have to experiment to find new ways to reach people.
Since these songs have been worked on for a while, have you already begun writing again for the next effort? Anything new you are expanding on?
I've already started compiling ideas for the next album which I'd like to release next year sometime. I'm still finding my songwriting style so I intend to expand on some ideas I tried on Dreams of Water and also find new ways to keep growing.
Really digging this album. I think his style showed on some tracks in "New Again". I'm glad he's getting to do his own thing. I think he and TBS are both better off now that they've parted ways. Best of luck to him.