Northern Transmissions chatted with James from Family Of The Year about everything from geography to Steven Tyler. Kudos to James for having a great sense of humour.
NT: The background story of the band is quite interesting. The Keefe Brothers were born in Wales and ended up in Martha’s Vineyard, while James came from Florida and Christina came from California. How did you guys come together?
JB: I moved to MA in 1998 and met Joe and Seb in MA in 2002-ish through their sister Hannah.I was working as a recording engineer and recorded an EP for Joe’s band at the time, Unbusted.Thus began an everlasting friendship with the Keefe family. We were all in different bands at the time and after those had gone the way most bands go we all decided a change of scene would be good. So before we knew it we found ourselves in Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles we met new friends which is how we met Christina. Joe had been working on a lot of songs but with a different feel than the hard rock route that we’d all been on previously. We just started playing… we’d all done this for many years so it was very innocent and fun, no “let’s form a band” kind of thing… very natural. But then again, here we are.
NT: Tell me about the new record “Loma Vista” was it a bit of an easier task? I know in the past you have done everything on your own. This time around you worked with Nettwerk.
JB: Loma Vista is our first full length that we’ve all collaborated on as well as working with an outside producer. It’s a step up from our previous production efforts and just tried to do the best work we could. It was a great learning experience and we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished.
NT: You guys were picked out of seven hundred bands to open up for Ben Folds, how did this come about.
JB: It was put on by Sonic Bids, and luckily we were chosen. Believe me we were shocked to say the least and on top it was our 3rd show as FOTY. It was a great experience to say the least and such an honour.
NT: Can we expect more of the same folk style male/female harmonies on the new album?
JB: Yes… It’s a different kind of sound and from a different experience for everyone. The first record was from a certain feel and point of view. But ‘Loma Vista’ represents a particular time and place for us.
NT: One of your songs “ChugJug” was chosen for an Advil commercial, have you had the chance to see it?
JB: We first saw it during the 2010 world series which was pretty funny and awesome for us! We’re all big sports fans if you can believe it…
NT: What’s the story behind the song?
JB: The story behind that song could probably fill a Cliff notes book! but basically it’s just a song that we wrote during the hard times about wishing for the good times or times remembered. But the name came from the huge bottles of ‘Carlos Rosie’ wine we’d buy during practices and the recording sessions that we’d do at the time. Hench the name… which we’ve always felt was a little funny… an Advil ad after a really cheap jug of wine. Perfect…
NT: There’s quite a bit of influence from Fleetwood Mac and The Mamas And Papas going on in your music. Have you guys always been into these groups, or is it something you discovered in the last few years?
JB: FM and TMAP are influences for a lot of musicians these days and carry over many genres. Being from So Cal just kind of points it out a little more. We’ve all come form many different back rounds from reggae, ska, rock, metal, classical, shoe gaze, hip hop, hard core, punk, noise, r&b, soul, Brit pop, yada yada. we love anything that moves us.
NT: I’ve read that Steven Tyler is a big fan of the band, have you ever had the chance to meet him?
JB: Joe and Seb did… they can tell you about it:-) He’s a lovely person… as well as being an amazing musician, he serves as a role model of how to have and manage a long career in this cray cray biz.
NT: Which five records mean the most to you?
JB: uuuuuuummmmmmmmmm……… this is just one person answering but, since you’re asking…
1. My Bloody Valentine=Loveless
2. Bob Dylan=Blood on the tracks
3. Beach Boys=pet sounds (obviously:)
4. Supergrass=I should coco
5. Fleetwood Mac =rumors (don’t tell:-))