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The members of the Abolition Movement have been at it for almost 30 years.  Since Texas restarted the machinery of execution in 1982, Gloria Rubac, Joanne Gavin, …

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Featherface

Submitted by RamonLP4 on January 2, 2012 – 6:22 am4 Comments
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Featherface (Photo Ramon LP4)

It’s been two years since Featherface dropped their second EP, It Comes Electric, on an unsuspecting public. It may not have been the biggest release to have come out that year but those six tracks and the band behind it have been slowly gaining an audience of fans and admirers ever since. Listen to it and you can see why. It’s an EP that bursts with youthful energy, a lush and varied sound, smart arrangements, and some damn catchy songs. But two years is a hella long time to wait for a follow up for impatient bastards like us, so we caught up with Kenny Hopkins (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Jake Harris (bass), Travis Peck (drums), and Steven Wells (keyboards, vocals, guitar) to see how the new album was coming along as well as to find out how a band from Friendswood, TX can kick so much ass.

FPH – Why don’t we start with the basics - how’d you guys meet?

Kenny – We met in junior high. We were friends and music was just this thing we did. We played classic Rock covers for a while then this band started about two years ago when the three of us got together (without Travis) and recorded that first EP. Then we started playing shows and now we’re taking it way too seriously. (Laughs)

FPH – You guys are pretty DIY. How have you guys approached writing and recording?

Kenny - We use an 8-channel firewire interface - PreSonus FireStudio - to record. The first EP we did in Jakes’ dad’s house and the second one we did at Morning Star Storage unit that was just a storage facility - a 10 X 16 metal room. We ran an extension chord into the hallway where we set up my computer and we just miked and messed with things until it sounded good.

We try to keep what we do organic. Everyone writes - we’ll come up with a good idea and bounce it around until we get it as polished as we can before we start recording it. By the end of December or the beginning of January, we’ll be recording the album. Since we’re recording everything ourselves, we’ve been writing as we record. We record our ideas and record over them until we’re happy with our parts then, when were done, we’ll go back and re-record everything. Since this time it’s a full length, it’s felt pretty daunting.

Jake – It’s almost terrifying…

FPH – Why so?

Kenny – Because now we almost feel like there are some expectations. The last two things we put out, nobody knew who we were so we could do whatever we wanted. We’re still doing what we want but now there’s people paying attention and expecting something so now we kind of have to take this really seriously but, at the same time, we’re not stressing about it; we’re still having fun with it.

FPH – Is the new album going to be different than the prior EPs?

Steve – I would say that it’s more driving, expansive, and a little more psychedelic.

Kenny – I’m gonna go with saying it’s even a little funky.

Jake – We’re all big fans of funk and soul bands as well as bands like Mahavishnu [Orchestra] and King Crimson. There is a lot of music we like and we want to draw from all that but, at the same time, we don’t want to rip anything off.

Steve – We just naturally developed our own little sound.

Kenny – Yeah, I think that’s what I meant by our writing being organic. We’re just trying to write without having something in mind and the way it’s been turning out is a little more funky and soulful which is kind of interesting.

Jake – On the last album I was trying to be all over the place. This time I’m trying to kick a lot of Acid Bass. We’ve always listened to [funk and soul] and we’ve become more comfortable with our instruments so those kind of strong grooves and melodies just come out.

Kenny - But I wouldn’t want anyone to expect some solar Funkadelic thing with the next album. We’re not writing funk songs; we just write what we want and we want it to be different than anyone else. We don’t want anyone to put their finger on it and say “Oh, it sounds like this.” Funk and soul is just one element of it.

Jake - We focus a lot on melody and we like to keep things concise and moving. From something like Progrock, we’ll take how it flows – how a song constantly evolves - but we keep a really punchy, catchy chorus.

Steve – We’ve always been really focused on melody, and we really try to keep the songs fluid, but catchy.

FPH - How’s the rock scene in Friendswood?

Kenny – Oh, there isn’t one. (Laughs) So it’s been really hard for us to become part of the Houston scene because we didn’t know anyone in Houston. We went to shows but we weren’t regulars at venues. There’s definitely no culture in Friendswood as far as an arts scene goes so we have to come to Houston for that kind of thing.

FPH - What do you admire most in bands?

Kenny – I like when a band tries things that could fail or go over really well. I like when a band tries to separate themselves from other bands even if it’s not the trendy or popular thing to do.

FPH – How do y’all approach live shows?

Steve – People want to see that you’re passionate about what you’re doing. I want to see bands freaking the fuck out. If people see us having a good time, hopefully they will too.

Kenny – [Playing live] is the most fun thing in the world for us and the fact that anyone is paying attention is awesome. Like when we played that Winter Social and decided to throw together an after party at House of Creeps. I didn’t think anyone was going to go but we’re friends with New York City Queens and they had friends and I guess word got around and then it turned out awesome. That was really fun. These are my best friends anyway so it’s no different than us hanging out.

FPH – Are there any times where things can be trying?

Travis – When we played Baton Rouge. We had driven up from New Orleans at 5 in the morning, we hadn’t had any sleep, and it was really hot and humid. We ended up sleeping on the benches outside of LSU’s library but none of us were complaining - we were all having a great time and we’d do it again.

FPH – Where do you see Featherface going?

Kenny – (laughing) …as far as our mini-van will take us. We’re getting to the point where we know this is what we want to do and if we can get to where we do this as a living, it would be mind-blowing. That may be a long-shot but we might as well go for it because nothing else seems as exciting to us.

You can catch Featherface on January 28th at the 2nd annual Main Street Block Party ( Continental Club, Big Top, and The Mink/Backroom)

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