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INTERVIEW: Strange Familia

Pic by Aaron Hendrix

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

Pretty great! Just busy with the album release and a run of shows we have over the next few weeks.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Love/Drugs”?

We were in a basement apartment late one night and Brecken was just playing the piano while I was working on something. The way he was playing the progression really hit me and I started humming to myself. I told him to set up a microphone and I started singing some kind of nonsense. When we listened back to the recording, it was a little difficult to get through. We had used a bad cable and there was static in the recording. We labeled the song Static and left it in a demo folder on the computer for some time. One day after work, Brecken told me I needed to check out the new Static. After listening I thought the song was ruined. The brooding bass and distorted guitars were so far removed from where the song had come from, I thought it was a joke. Three days later I was in love with the song and finished writing the lyric and melody we have now.

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

It was less a particular event and more a continuous observation of how we or others close to us have handled heartbreak. Some difficult life events cause you to reevaluate things and after some soul searching it’s pretty typical to want some kind of drastic change. Who wants to keep feeling shitty? We’re capable of making positive changes in our lives, but I think it comes at a higher cost than we initially expect. Sometimes it’s easier to ride the pain out and self medicate until you feel better. The drug references in this song can be taken literally but if I’m being honest, it’s a metaphor for anything we do to distract or numb ourselves from the pain of heartbreak. For some it is drugs, but for many others it’s disappearing into the Netflixverse for days on end, eating cookie dough, sleeping, exercising, anything to keep your mind from remembering the heartache.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Yes! We finished the video a few weeks ago and hope to release it within the next few weeks. Chelsea Keefer, a close friend of ours, dances for

a professional ballet company here in Salt Lake City. We asked if she’d be interested in working with us on the video and we can’t wait to share what she came up with.

The single comes off your new self-titled album – why naming the record after the band?

It’s unlikely that we record another album in the same way we recorded this one. It was just the two of us writing, recording, producing. It wasn’t until we started working with Scott Wiley in the mixing and mastering stages, that we shared creative control. With that being said, we love collaborating with other artists and producers and in the future would like to bring other elements into the band. While it will always be Strange Familia, we recognize that this is the most honest representation of us.

How was the recording and writing process?

Have you read A Tale of Two Cities? It was the best and it was the worst. We wrote and recorded in fairly unfavorable conditions through the entirety of the process. From basement bedrooms to makeshift mobile homes, it was never ideal. There is something to be said about struggling through; we were able to explore a lot of different places with the music because we weren’t being forced by expensive studio fees or producer influence.

What was it like to work with Scott Wiley and how did that relationship develop?

Working with Scott was an absolute pleasure. The music scene in Utah is tight knit and it doesn’t take long to figure out who you want to work with and who you don’t. I first met Scott when I was playing with another Utah band, The National Parks. They were recording their first album at June Audio and I remember walking away from the experience impressed with Scott’s ability to create comfort. I knew he was someone that would bring in great ideas, but wouldn’t try to force his hand in anything. It’s important that he bring out the best a musician has to offer than to simply leave his mark on a project.

How much did he influence the album?

By the time we brought Scott in, the majority of the record was recorded and produced but Scott helped us reconstruct the sound stage, helping the overall mix of the record sound more vibrant and emotional. When we left Scott’s studio after the first day Brecken mentioned that he’d learned more in that day than he had in months of personal study.

What role does Salt Lake City play in your music?

Salt Lake City has provided us a lot of opportunities to meet other musicians and develop a community to grow in. The friendships we’ve formed in the music community are some of the strongest we have in our lives.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Most of the songs on this record are about personal experiences we or someone very close to us has been working through. Sometimes it’s easier to write about other’s experiences because you don’t have to fight through your own insecurities for the truth. Songs I’ve written about others all too often end up feeling like they were written about me, which I think says something about the human experience in that we’re all going through a lot of the same thing.

Any plans to hit the road?

We’re almost finished booking a west coast tour that will be starting mid-June. We’ll be making date announcements in early May.

What else is happening next in Strange Familia’s world?

We’ll be playing regionally for the next few months and will start writing for our next record. We’ve been sitting on these songs for a while now and are eager to start getting new songs ready to play live and eventually record for the next album.

Album Stream: https://soundcloud.com/strangefamilia/sets/strange-familia

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1lBjfB4WzO9PLfZFpeHbNx 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/strange-familia/id1226184869

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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