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INTERVIEW: Father Mountain

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

Austin: We’ve been great. Feeling really proud to have the record finished and excited to hit the road again with these new songs now that we’ve had some time at home to build relationships and internalize the music.

Zane: Amen.

-Can you talk to us more about your new single “Friends”?

Austin: To my memory, this was one of the easiest songs on the album to write. Knowing we would have 10 or more songs on the final release, I think we were a little more comfortable to explore in the songwriting. Going in we knew we wanted to write something shorter and very much in the classic pop song structure. The kitschy guitar solo slipped in somehow.

-Did any event inspire you to write this song?

Zane: Multiple for me. While the whole record has a story going on underneath it, the summer in which we wrote it was a trial for all of us. We had just moved to a new city, we were writing with just two of us full time and all of our income was going to pursue what we believed in. Between our anxieties and fears, it was easy to focus on our failures and be left in a place of loneliness. Those moments really challenged us, and eventually resolved with us growing closer  together.

-What was it like filming the video for the single? 

Austin: The shoot was a lot of fun. We were able to work with some old friends, and it was a very laid back day. It was our first video with an outside director, so there was a lot of minor personal anxiety for me about the dumb superficial things. At the end of the day, it felt a lot like the finished product feels.

Zane: Hot. So hot. So. Freaking. Hot.

-“Friends” comes off your new album Apartment Living – what’s the story behind the title?

Austin: The title is something that came to us during the recording process. We were sleeping on couches for the month, and I hadn’t really felt at home since I moved to Nashville from Kentucky a few months prior. I was thinking a lot about the way your surroundings affect your outlook on life. I like the way Apartment Living sounds almost like a cheap magazine you’d read to kill time or a tv show you’d watch when you can’t sleep. It’s glossy and aspirational to some, but vapid and illusory to others.

-Describe the writing and recording process.

Austin: We wrote this song in Zane’s old house, just a few of us in a room with an idea to build from. It flowed relatively easily from there. Travis, who plays bass with us now, was driving four hours each practice to write the drum parts with us and develop the songs. In fact, most of this record was written in weird time crunches, where we’d have maybe 3 hours a week on Saturday to be together in the same room. That sense of urgency, combined with the general state of desperation we felt as individuals at that point in life, really helped shape the record for better or worse.

Most of the time, it was only myself, Zane and Matt in the studio. Our friend Elias Armao from the band Overslept played drums on the record. After that, we’d all three be in the room for every part. It was very collaborative and definitely a learning experience.

I was able to track the guitar solo for Friends on this rad old Japanese guitar that Matt had handy. You can hear the feedback when I lift my fingers, which I think works really well.

-What role would you say where you’re from plays in your music?

Austin: I think it plays a big role. Growing up in a small town has a way of making the unimportant things about life seem huge and hiding the more fulfilling possibilities. It also had a way of making me really respect and appreciate the small bands that would come through our town even though it was far from a major market. When touring became a possibility, I think the desire to travel and see the east coast and the mountains and other countries was really a driving factor that kept us motivated and excited to be on the road when times got hard. I don’t think we’d be the same band had we come of age in Philly or Atlanta or anywhere else.

Zane: This is something I find really interesting. Travis, Austin and Jesse are from a rural city in Middle America, while I spent my formative jumping countries as a military brat. There’s a cohesion between the two that translates well in the band I think, the Midwest feeling of being isolated in a big country juxtaposed with the feeling that you’re always leaving (even when you’ve just arrived).

-What bands were you listening to while you were working on the record?

Austin: I remember being really into Sorority Noise and meWithoutyou at the time. Microwave’s second album came out while we were down there, and that was in heavy rotation. Those were probably the big ones for me. We were passing around bands a lot, trying to take inspiration from here or there. There was a lot of hip hop, and a decent amount of experimental music tossed around.

Zane: I was really in to Anathallo’s “Canopy Glow” and Noname’s “Telefone”. Both challenged me and helped me question my own musical integrity.

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

Zane: All of the songs come most directly out of my life, but always reflect something we all feel by the end. The ten songs on Apartment Living are a quick glance in to the fragile relationships of my early 20s , directly centered around one in particular.

-Any plans to hit the road?

Austin: Absolutely. Touring has always been one of our favorite aspects of this experience, and we’re so excited to have new music to introduce to people. We’ll be all over the place in the next year.

Zane: We’ll be in Indianapolis on October 27th, and have full runs coming up in November, December and January. You can see an updated list at fathermountain.com as they are announced.

-What else is happening next in Father Mountain’s world?

Austin: Touring our hearts out. Always writing. Trying to put the work in and stay open to wherever this takes us.

Zane: Like Austin said when we started, I’m just really excited for people to finally get to hear this and for us to play these songs for you guys.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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