Saturday, September 17, 2011

Interview - Ticket Giveaway - Felice Brothers w/ The Dodos - 9.21.11 - Mr Smalls - Show Preview - Concert Preview

The Felice Brothers will play along with The Dodos at Mr Smalls this Wednesday 9.21. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. Just email us at with your name to enter.

The Felice Brothers are touring behind their latest album Celebration, Florida released on their new home of Fat Possum Records. We were able to catch up with drummer Dave Turbeville to talk about the new album, recording in a High School and how Poison's "Nothin but a Good Time" made him dedicate his life to music. 

How did this album become produced on Fat Possum Records? You had previously been on Team Love. Why the switch? What has Fat Possum offered you?

Team Love are good friends and a great label, but our contract with them was up and we wanted to try something new. We were in Mississippi and Matthew Johnson from Fat Possum offered us 100 dollars worth of fried chicken and a stack of Junior Kimbrough CDs. It was an offer we couldn't really refuse.

 The Felice Brothers "Ponzi" by fatpossum 

Your new album “Celebration, Florida” was recorded in an old High School in upstate New York. How did that come about? Why this type of venue instead of a professional studio?

We've never really had the money to record in a proper studio, nor the desire. We've always been more inspired by creating our own space and working our own hours; not feeling like we're on the clock, or on someone else's time. We heard about the high school through a friend at the right time, and moved in immediately. We had tons of space to make as much noise as we wanted, day or night. A lot of the percussion was made with slamming lockers and chairs and dishes being thrown. It was like Rock 'N Roll High School, but much colder. And lonelier. Or like Lord of the Flies, but none of us died. or like Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, but without the dead babysitter.

Could you tell us about the name, “Celebration, Florida” and why it became your album title (I am from that area originally and am really curious)? Is there a theme behind it that intertwines with the town? Or?

Celebration, FL is a planned community created by the Walt Disney Corporation. A lot of the songs dealt with alienation and disillusionment, and the idea of constructing your own paradise. We sort of took the title and ran with it. 

A lot has been made of the change of sound on this album. Descriptions include acid jazz, dance beats, tribal sounds, etc. Were you all attempting a new sound to redefine the band? Or did this come about naturally?

We didn't really premeditate any of that. We'd been touring for a long time since our last record, and had been experimenting with new sounds for quite awhile. By the time we started recording Celebration, we were really excited to push ourselves and try new things. There were no real rules or guidelines, except to be as expressive as possible. Since most of the songs tell stories, we crafted a lot of the instrumentation and arrangements around trying to compliment or embellish the lyrics, or around a general theme or feeling. We weren't too concerned with genre or anything like that, just making the songs as honest as effective as possible.

How did your creative process work on the new album? Were you trying to flesh these out in the old HS? Did you have a set of songs ready when you entered the recording process?

We had the sketches for about 40 songs when we went into the studio. Some were just sketches, and some were mostly completed and then dismantled and reconstructed. We toiled over arrangements pretty intensely. It was really exhausting, but completely rewarding.

In the beginning of your career I read you started out busking. Do you ever do this for nostalgia? Do you do things different than in a club environment (besides the obvious)?

I think everyone feels a little nostalgic for the busking days every now and then, but mostly we're just excited to be doing what we're doing. There have been a couple times when we've needed some cash and busked, and there will probably be a few more. I doubt that ghost will ever leave us.

How do you go about creating your music? Do you all contribute to the lyrics and music?

One person typically comes with a sketch and we all work together fleshing it out musically. Usually whoever sings a song is the lyricist, though there is sometimes collaboration.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?

When I was five, I was sitting in a hotel room with my brother and saw Poison's "Nothin but a Good Time" video. A kid at his dish washing job is getting yelled at by his boss, who is a real dick, and walks through a secret door into a Poison concert. He never goes back to his job. At the end of the video the sink is overflowing and the boss is yelling and I thought it was the best thing I'd ever seen. After the second chorus, Cee Cee Deville rips a guitar solo on top of the light scaffold, and at that moment it all changed for me. I completely knew. 

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?


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