The Beacon sat down to chat with the band last week on what they’re listening to and how they’re handling success. Read the full q+a below!
How did you guys get together?
Arran: I played with Jack freshman year and it was super awkward actually… We just stared at each other and played a few songs.
Jack: We didn’t even talk it was just super silent.
Arran: We didn’t even talk for an hour of just playing music and then we were like ‘We’re never playing with each other again!” Then sophomore year rolled around and I saw Jonathan with a bass one day walking up the stairs, so I invited him up to my room and we played music together until the person who lived next to us came in and yelled at us. It was midnight and he got really pissed.
Jonothan: He was on a scooter. He scootered over.
Arran: Then Jack was studying abroad in England. And so I texted him while he was over there and told him we’d really love him to play with us. It worked out really well.
Jack: I feel like before that point we weren’t really at that level where we were comfortable playing around people we had never played around before. Once we got to that point, we really connected a lot more. And it’s nice because I love playing with these guys. They’re solid musicians.
How would you describe your sound?
Jack: *Jokingly* It’s got some folky, singer/songwriter, americana, prog folk elements to it.
Jonathan: A DIY feel, but a little more polished.
Arran: We’re definitely not reinventing the wheel or anything. We’re not doing anything brand new or exciting. I don’t read music. I just learn chords and play, so I’m kind of self taught. Jonathan’s a jazz bassist and funk bassist, and Jack’s a classically trained viola player, so we kind of all bring a little bit of different stuff. In a sense, it’s still folk music but we have some fun elements in different songs.
What are you listening to the most these days? What’s on your Spotify accounts?
Arran: All three of us are listening to PWR BTTM religiously.
Jonathan: *Laughs* That’s great. We just threw out like three folk tunes, but yo, PWR BTTM.
I listen to Edgar Meyer a lot for the bass. Chris Thile, Margaret Glaspy, Julien Baker.
Arran: A lot of Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes, Jeffrey Martin who’s a Portland singer/songwriter.
Jack: Kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m listening to a lot of that new Childish Gambino album that just came out. I love it so much. Redbone, man! It’s so good. I’m also really into Vulfpeck right now.
Jonathan: Joe Dart! My real dad!
Jack: He’s a god among men. His musicianship is incredible. The way he can work his way around a steady funk beat and then take a basic concept and make it interesting to listen to. I love stuff like that. That’s what gets me excited.
You guys have played a couple shows in Portland now. You played at McMenamins White Eagle. How was that experience?
Jack: It was very different to actually get up there and put our music in front of a bunch of people who really haven’t heard it before. It was a lot of fun to watch people have a good time listening to what we were doing.
Arran: We learned a lot and it was so much fun. I was really surprised actually because it was a Sunday and somehow there were a ton of people there. They gave us really nice tips, which was weird. It was cool. We’ve never really played for anyone but our peers.
It seems like this has become a bigger time commitment. How do you balance it with school and other things?
Arran: This is pretty low commitment actually. Jonathan and Jack from the getgo told me that this isn’t something they want to make a career out of. Which I do, but we have a general acknowledgment that whatever’s going to happen is going to happen until it becomes too much of a commitment, so right now they’re all in until something comes up.
Jack: This doesn’t really feel like work. All this is just three guys getting together and playing music and having a good time. Whenever I get the chance, I always make time to spend another hour or two in the chapel.
Arran: We practice in the Shipstad chapel, by the way. We’re pretty good friends with Christ now.
Do you guys have any guilty pleasure music?
Jonathan: Oh, yeah. Destiny’s Child. Beyonce, just all of that woman’s projects are fantastic. Who else? Kanye gets me going, aggressively.
What Kanye though? What album?
Jonathan: Okay, Yeezus was good, and no one else likes that album, and I know it’s not the pinnacle of Kanye, but play me ‘New Slave” and I will just pass out.
Arran: I’m not embarrassed about it, but people don’t realize that I’m a huge Nine Inch Nails fan.
Jonathan: You should be embarrassed by that!
Arran: Like huge. Like every song is god. And Adele. Love Adele.
Jack: There’s this album that just came out called Pink Season by Filthy Frank. He’s a YouTuber with a really dark sense of humor and for some reason I really enjoy that. It’s supposed to be intentionally stupid and I relate to that.