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Austin-TX-based folk/Americana act Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light

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

Amelia – Thank you! We’ve been good. Working with this new release, playing shows, getting ready for the road…

Erik– … raising a beautiful little 2-year-old! All good stuff. Booked pretty tight, but we’ve never been happier.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Pieces”?

Amelia – Yes. “Pieces” is the song that might have never been… Haha. Maybe not quite that dramatic, but it’s true. Erik was a little bit on the fence when he first wrote it.

Erik – …or when it wrote itself.  It was one of those tunes that pretty much came together on its own in no time at all, to the point where I didn’t really have a chance to edit or filter any of the content. You know? As a result, it had this super raw and dangerously vulnerable lyrical content. I was a little hesitant to put it out there. Eventually, I listened to Amelia, we made a demo and next thing you know…it’s on the record.

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

Erik -Not really an event, but more a time period I guess. I was starting to lean toward not drinking (it’s been about 2 years or so now) and I was watching these two worlds of mine sort of orbit around each other, feeling the pull between them. On one side that romantic and very specific sense of freedom that comes with the unbridled, throw the cap away kind of drinking that I loved dearly… and on the other side, the ugliness, pain and pretty un-poetic destruction that I really just couldn’t ignore anymore. This little place that we sing about in the song seems to have a bit of both worlds and it exists with this sort of self-aware equanimity. At a certain point, the lyrics finally suggests that I’m also pretty aware of how everything is playing out, where it’s all headed and that maybe it’s time to let this little world go…

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Amelia– Matter of fact… Yes. We’re pretty excited about it. Our very talented friends Daniel Gibbs and Nathan Harlan shot us in this really vibey, old, haunted jail built in San Marcos, TX in the late 1800’s. We were really lucky to gain access to it. Linda Coker, who works with the city was cool enough to let us in for the shoot and told us story after story about all these people who were jailed there and most memorably about this woman, serial killer Annie Hauptrief, aka The Texas Black Widow! haha According to a few people who still won’t go in there, she haunts the place. We could not have made up a better story… We’re looking forward to sharing the video with you guys!

The single comes off your new album Nothing To Escape – what’s the story behind the title?

Erik -“Nothing to Escape” is the title track off the record. The song is basically about an epiphany that came through on one of those rare days when everything is clear and all is good. I think in our modern lives we spend a pretty good amount of time trying to rearrange the hands that we’re dealt in order to make life the way we want it, not the way it is. Constant uphill battles.There is almost always some degree of conflict or dissatisfaction with the world around us and even when we take breaks from the struggle we do it by trying to escape from reality somehow. Some methods more destructive than others for sure,  but all of them aimed in the wrong direction I think. One day I was walking along Echo Park Lake back in L.A. and it dawned on me that I wasn’t worried about a single thing at that moment. Not in any conflict. Totally present and satisfied. And you know, it could be said that the same shit show of a world was still happening all around me, but it’s how I was perceiving it, taking it for what it is and feeling a little bit of gratitude. No need to run away or hide. So I thought a worthwhile life effort might be to figure out how to make that moment be every moment, how to fashion your life in such a way that you always have nothing to escape. Easier said than done I guess, but worth the time right?

How was the recording and writing process?

Erik – We had a blast recording “Pieces”. It was one of the tunes where everybody had something fun and creative to add and all of it made it to the final mix. Really felt like a group effort, sonically.

Amelia – We had fun doing the vocals too. It’s a little looser vocally than the other songs but we really didn’t want to over do anything since it all had this kind of easy going, slightly experimental vibe.

What was it like to work with Raymond Richards and how did that relationship develop?

Amelia – Raymond was really good for us, he brought a lot to the table. It can be scary deciding to work with a producer. You put so much into the songwriting part of it…

Erik- Definitely. So much toiling, creating these little things out of thin air that carry so much of you and then you cautiously hand them over to someone who swiftly decides to gut, dismember and reanimate your perfect little creation! Haha. Not really. But you get the picture. You really have to feel out who you work with. There is so much trust involved. We lucked out. I’m really glad Raymond reached out to us. He showed a genuine initial interest in our material which seemed like a step in the right direction. After that, it just kept moving into these really cool areas that it definitely would not have without him. In addition to dialing up great sounds and weighing in on the arrangements, Raymond really saved me from myself much of the time. He’s great at stopping the process right before inspiration turns into stale perfectionism. He keeps things moving and we really needed that. I have a heavy hand in every process when we record so I’m sure I was a pain to work with from time to time, but I think that it was us meeting halfway on a lot of things that created something unique for both of us and in the end something we were all really proud of.

How much did he influence the album?

Amelia – The record would sound very different without Raymond’s touch and you can hear that for sure, but you can also hear Erik’s hand in there pretty clearly. They made a great team.

What things are you trying to escape on this record? Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Amelia – I can’t say that we’re trying to escape from anything with this record. If anything, maybe the opposite. Stopping, turning around and facing things head on.

Erik – I agree. As far as the writing, I think it comes from a few different places. All of our songs are basically documents of whatever reality is going on around us at that time. For this batch of tunes, I was definitely dealing with my drinking which was a huge, but we were also about to move out of L.A.

Amelia – Yeah.. leaving some very close friends behind, and we were starting a family. Pretty big moments in our little world. I think all those things found their way onto the record in some way or another.

How has Austin influenced your writing?

Amelia – Well, it’s our home town, so there are all kinds of interesting emotions and insights that go along with returning to a place that is so familiar and alien at the same time.

Erik – Yeah. Things have changed for sure but Austin still has a vibe to it. I’m interested to see how it affects the next group of songs. I know we’re pretty happy with the new stuff we’ve got working so far…

Any plans to hit the road?

Amelia – Yeah. We’re headed East right as the record comes out. It’s pretty cool because we’re playing in a lot of cities that we’ve both never been to. Asheville, Nashville, Knoxville, Charlottesville … wait, that’s a lot of places that end in “ville”. haha.

Erik- haha. Some old favorites too: New Orleans, Brooklyn. We’re looking forward to getting out there.

What is happening next in Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light’s world?

Amelia –  Well, if we’re lucky, a whole lot more of the same… Write more songs, log more miles…

Erik– We’ve been pretty lucky so far. We’ll keep you posted…

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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