Pic by Bob Sweeny

INTERVIEW: Thebandivory Talks (And Premieres) New Song “Factory Song (Hey-Oh Goodbye)”

Today we are teaming up with the folks at Thebandivory for the premiere of their new single “Factory Song (Hey Oh Goodbye),” a rather minimalistic song that does a great job blending perfect melodies comprised of very subtle drum lines and a catchy acoustic guitar and powerhouse vocals reminiscent of some great vocalists such as Brandon Boyd.

We get to sit with the band to talk more about the song and more!

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

Thanks so much for having us! We’re doing well, relative to current events anyways. We’re trying to make the most of the vast amount of time we now have. We’re trying to balance productivity and relaxation, working a lot on our album and also a lot of TV and movies and Mario Kart. There’s been a lot of sewing, baking, and planting going on in our house as well.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Factory Song (Hey Oh Goodbye)”?

This song has been part of our live set since we started playing live. We’ve had a few different iterations of our live band, but this is always consistently one of the most fun to play and sing. We had an earlier recording of this song which we ultimately pulled and decided to re-record it from scratch after we retooled the song working with our new live band. Jesse Griffith plays drums in our live band and this is our first recording with him. He plays so musically and we’re so lucky to have him as part of our team. Our friend TJ Harris spent a day in the studio with us recording trombone and singing the background vocals with us. Sarah Tudzin from illuminati hotties has mixed almost all our released music to date and she really understands how we hear the songs and makes the most out of every instrument – which when your songs include orchestras and choirs and stuff, is so difficult and important. 

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

Frankie: Factory stemmed from a disappointing moment in my life after attending music college. A lot of us are led to believe in school that sheer hard work and determination is what leads to success but no one ever paints the picture of the subtleties in the struggle. Right out of college I worked in a clam factory. It was every bit as smelly as you imagine. Taking myself out of the polished college environment and throwing myself into a very humbling experience was a harsh contrast. Factory was born from the rhythm of the canned clams trickling down the conveyor belts. It would always get stuck in my head, this kind of 3 groove that the factory naturally tuned to. I knew I didn’t belong there and creating a song from that disappointing moment in life was a way to process my journey. 

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

We don’t have any plans for a video for this song, but we do have video projects planned down the line. Unfortunately it’s hard to plan for video shoots right now. 

The single comes off your new album Anthropocene – what’s the story behind the title?

Frankie: Anthropocene literally means the current geological age, viewed as the period during human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. There is a song on the album called “Anthropocene,” but the album has a thread of common shared human perspective but through the eyes of a Hispanic queer millennial. We travel through self doubt, depression, owning your voice, dealing with the daily mundane, doubting the future of our species with ecological collapse at our doorstep and how the current political climate affects that. It’s something we’re all thinking about or trying to numb ourselves to but we wanted to find a way to hold truth and beauty in one space. 

How was the recording and writing process?

Robbie: It really varies a lot. Typically, Frankie will come to me with an idea he already has fairly polished. Usually it’s in the form of a demo, occasionally I am lucky enough to get a private performance of a song in its original state. A lot of the time his demos have orchestrations in them already. So I’ll usually take that out of Garageband and into Pro Tools and give what’s there a little bit of a rough mix so I can hear everything he has. We’ll go over the song together, add new sections, rework orchestrations, I’ll drop in guitar or bass or retool the drums if there are any. From there, we record live drums (I recorded drums for a few songs earlier in the process but we also have Jesse on at least 3 songs) and start rebuilding from the ground up. We do most of our recording at home, just about everything except drums is recorded in my studio at home. There’s no real set process, we’ve been working on this for 5 years so every song really had its own journey. 

What role does Philadelphia play in your music?

Robbie: We are so lucky to be surrounded by kind and talented musicians in Philly. Neither of us come from this area but we’ve been able to accomplish getting this album recorded because of the wonderful people in the Philly area that have given us their time and talent for our project. The nature of the project, delving into so many different styles of music and sounds, sometimes makes it hard for us to know exactly where we fit in Philly. But at the same time, Philly’s music scene is so diverse that the people we are surrounded with all make, truly, different styles of music and yet everyone supports everyone. We released a live music video earlier this year and almost every other person in our 6 piece band (not including us) has their own projects that sound nothing like what we sound like, but we all support each other. 

How would you say your Latin roots influences your writing?

Frankie: My Latin roots tend to bleed unintentionally at times in the grooves I gravitate to. I have a layered relationship with my Latin heritage being raised in an Italian household. Don’t get me wrong, I adore salsa and merengue having grown up in Miami but my relation to being Hispanic in a white world was shifted a lot in my life. I grew up somewhat ashamed of being “other” or being “too Hispanic”(whatever that means) that I white-washed myself at times. I always owned the quirky artsy side of myself but only in relation to white characters and role models I saw growing up. I also noticed that being ethnically androgenous I was able to connect with many walks of life.  Now as an adult I enjoy the colorful aspects of being Latin and queer. Lots of room for color in the world of ThebandIvory, whether it’s using Bolivian charango or having strings and flutes. We explore all our options because the world is beautiful so why not make music the same way? 

What aspect of your own personal life did you get to explore on this record?

Frankie: This entire album has been a way for me to explore the (sometimes scary) sides of my mind. In a way it’s like riding a roller coaster: I get to experience what it would be like to die without the consequences of actually dying. In this album I can face my depression in one song and  embrace hope in another, I can literally make the world end around me. That’s such power to give musicians. In a way, the songs act as a reminder to not take life too damn seriously.  

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

Frankie: Inspiration often comes to me when I see a good movie or binge the perfect show. Often I’ll be taken aback by the use of scoring or camera work. A good story being told by many moving parts like cameras, lighting, make-up etc make me think about what’s possible with just sonic space. We love using sound to create an environment and take the listener through a journey.

Any plans to hit the road?

Robbie: It’s hard to plan anything now. Obviously we’d like to play in some new cities. When the full picture of the album is finished we’re going to put together a more polished, consistent live show that will really feature the arrangements of the record. In an ideal world we’d love to take that show to New York and Boston this year with the release of the record, but because of the pandemic it’s hard to say whether we’ll be playing any shows with a live audience this year at all unfortunately. 

What else is happening next in Thebandivory’s world?

Robbie: Boy are we excited for summer! We both lived a lot of our lives in Florida so winter is tough. We’re about 75% done with our album, so putting the final touches on all the songs will be a big part of the next month or two. I have albums I produced with Daisy Royce and lylyly coming out this summer. 

Frankie: While we chip away at the album I’ll be sewing clothing for the band with the extra time – I’m planning awesome looks for our band with fabrics I dyed myself! I adore fashion and art in addition to music so I’m planning on making a lot of our merch in addition to collaboration with some wonderful artist such as Cult Class and Emily Mineo of lylyly. We’re merging our art, clothing and music into ThebandIvory universe very soon.

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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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