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INTERVIEW: Happy Abandon

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Happy Abandon: Hey!  We’re good but busy.  This is our second tour this year and we’re about halfway through.  We just had a couple days off in Montreal so we’re feeling refreshed.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “If I Stare”?

HA: If I Stare is one of our more theatrical/ dramatic-sounding songs, and our first release as a four-piece.  In addition, many good friends lent us their talents on various orchestral instruments or behind the scenes.  We’re extremely proud of it and the reception thus far has been extremely rewarding.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Peter Vance: There was no one specific event that inspired this song, but rather an accumulation of events that put me in the state that this song encapsulates. The song came to me during a time in my life where there was very little structure. I was subletting a room after a big change in my life, feeling pretty down. But the place I was subletting had a piano. This was the first time I had lived somewhere where I had access to a real stand up piano at all times. I would spend hours just sitting there, trying to mess around with the keys, as piano is not my first instrument. Eventually that main riff that occurs at the beginning of the song came to me. The words started to just come out, and I knew that they were real or they wouldn’t have come so easily. This is the first song that I’ve written on piano, and though I’m very proud of that, I still opted for Alex to take over the piano part as he is a much more affluent pianist than I am.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

HA: We’ve discussed it and have been approached by some videographers, but nothing is in the works quite yet.

How was the recording and writing process?

HA: Peter came to the rest of the band with a pretty much finished song, but we had a collaborative arrangement process; the goal was to accent the highs and lows of the song while also matching the emotion of the instrumentation to the lyrics.  We did this by incorporating flutes, cellos, violins, 5 voices, various guitar pedals, bowed cymbals, pianos, and some sonic experimentation.  The four of us and our producer (Brett Scott at BNB Audio) approached every idea with an open mind and a few months later we ended up with something we can all stand behind.

What role does NC play in your music?

HA: Our identity as North Carolinians was pivotal in the formation of this band. The four of us met at UNC about six years ago, and the bands we all used to play in back then played shows together, both on and off campus, breaking into the NC music scene separately.  When we formed this band a year ago, we already had four years’ worth of connections, so this project gained momentum fairly quickly.  We also got invited to play the NC State Fair this year as well as three benefit concerts to fight against HB2 – so we represent North Carolina in several ways in the best ways we can.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

HA: Yes – we are currently in the planning and writing stages of our first LP and are currently scouting producers, studios, and labels to make the best possible album.  We’ll hopefully start tracking this fall and release sometime next spring.

How is the current tour going?

HA: It’s chugging along – this is the longest tour any of us have undertaken with any of our previous bands and we’re playing a new city every night that are all new territories for Happy Abandon.  But friends from UNC are coming out of the woodwork to attend the shows and give us floors to sleep on and we’re making some new, valuable friends everywhere we go.  And the audience reactions and show attendances have been very strong for the most part.  We’re about to play a show in Montreal tonight, which marks our first time performing outside of the US.  It’s a very exciting time.

What else is happening next in Happy Abandon’s world?

HA:  In addition to recording the upcoming LP, we are finishing a second single and hoping to release a video for it in November.  We’ll also be playing several high-profile shows around NC this fall including three day parties at the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh in early September.  We’ll also begin planning a tour to the West Coast early next year.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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