Monday, 7 October 2013

SHINE: Our interview with American singer-songwriter The Barefoot Band!

Photo: Interview with The Barefoot Band will be posted later tonight! AB Records

1 - What was your first musical memory and what pushed you towards pursuing a career in the record industry?

“My first musical memory is either my mother playing Spanish folk songs to me or listening to Hank Williams and Willie Nelson on the radio with my father while he worked on our home. I'm not sure which one was earlier, but both influenced me a great deal when I was young. While I've been playing music my whole life (keys at six, cello at seven, etc.), I never actually thought about a career in the record industry. I picked up the guitar at age twenty-four after several years of dancing in the mud at hippie festivals in the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere, and once I didn't sound like the worst guitar player in the world, I started dreaming of playing live. Several years later, my reality caught up to my dreams. Sometime after that, reluctantly, I started making records.”

2 - Had you been involved with any other bands prior to becoming a solo artist as The Barefoot Band?

“I was in a blues/funk duo that later morphed into a pseudo-band, The Blue Routes, with a very talented guitarist that few outside Wyoming have heard of, Jascha Herdt.  Jascha is currently the drummer for a great Americana act from Centennial, Wyoming, J Shogren & the Shanghai'd. I was also the rhythm guitarist and vocalist for a Celtic-style band in Sheridan, Wyoming named Celtic Sage.  The Blue Routes disbanded prior to my becoming a solo artist, when I moved from Laramie, Wyoming to Sheridan, Wyoming, but I played in Celtic Sage simultaneously.  I'm also currently a guitarist in a bluegrass trio called Shot in the Foot. I recently relocated to Seattle, Washington, however, and although I'm writing bluegrass with Shot in the Foot, we may not be able to perform as regularly as we'd like.  Therefore, The Barefoot Band is at the forefront.”

3 - Why did you choose to become a solo artists instead of forming a band?

“When I moved away from Laramie, The Blue Routes tried to stay together, but 300 miles separated us from one another.  Despite the internet and our desires, Wyoming just refused to get any smaller.  When I moved to Sheridan, all the decent musicians without steady jobs or too much family were already in several bands.  Blindly and stupidly determined, I struck out on my own. I've found that I'm both in love with and hating being a solo act, after two and a half years of doing it.  It's wonderful to be able to book virtually anything and not have to worry about other people's schedules, but at the same time, it gets old to hear from venues, over and over, "Meh....we just don't book solo acts." But trust me, I'm not whining.  I love being what I am.”

4 - How would you describe the sound of The Barefoot Band?

“Dancey, joyous, and raucously dark, all at the same time.”

5 - Where did the name The Barefoot Band come from?

“Well at one point, I began playing without any shoes on so that I could unfetter my toes (they are key in keeping rhythm...)  After a number of shows, I took a look down in the middle of a song I'd written that involved a loop pedal (so I sounded like three or four instruments at once) and thought, 'wow, a barefoot band'.”

6 - Why do you go under the name The Barefoot Band instead of your own name?

“Somewhat for childish reasons, I guess.  When I first started this, I'd wanted for so long to be in a working band that I figured I'd name it "band" even if it was just me.  Technology like loop pedals and my own beatboxing skills really do make it possible to be a band by oneself.  The other reason was to stand out in a field of solo performers. I'm still happy I did it. I also regret the decision. Typical Libra.”

7 - Your song "Shine" is a groovy folk song. What is this song about and what influenced this sound?

“Thanks!  I wrote this song on my first independently-booked tour after spending weeks on the road in amongst skyscrapers and hipsters (neither of which I was truly familiar with, living as I did in backwoods Wyoming).  In general, I have nothing against hipsters or skyscrapers, but the song was a reaction to coming back to my home after all the noise and being able to shout my songs from the woods to no one in particular.”

8 - Any new songs in the pipeline?

“Constantly.  This winter I'm working on some indie pop-influenced folk material and composing several house/trance style loops for live performance.”

9 - Do you have any 'rituals' before going on stage?

“I often am left doing my own PA setup and lights setup for gigs, and I often hit the stage after a full day's work or after a day's travel, so it's rare that I actually get any time for rituals.  I do take the time before going on, though, for five minutes of silence and stretching my fret board hand.  Sometimes, when I'm immersed in silence, I whisper zen things to myself like, 'what if I threw a show and no one came'?”

10 - Any live dates coming up?

“In October, I'm embarking on "The Comedy and Blues Tour" with my dear friend Josia Elliott from Los Angeles.  We're playing 8-12 dates (some still to be confirmed) in Wyoming and Montana.  After the tour, however, I'm going to be facing the uphill battle of getting booked in Seattle and surrounding environments.”

11 - When can fans expect the next official release?

“In October, as well!  I record with an independent label in Missoula and finished a full album this summer.  I have to raise my own funds for production/merchandise, so it's taken awhile to get the label guy the money for copyright and for the pressing of CDs.  These are the realities of self-doing, though.  Therefore the release date for "Broken Things" will be sometime between October 1st and October 31st, 2013.”

12 - Who would be your dream collaboration?

“Leo Kottke, without a doubt.  I'd love to sing with him while his fingers made mincemeat of a fretboard.  The other person I'd love to play with at some point in time is Ani DiFranco.”

13 - Who would be in your dream supergroup?

“Keller Williams, Phil Lesh, Steve Kimock, and Tony Williams, I suppose.  We'd play hours of nonsense jams.”
1 - Favourite Beatle?
2 - Favourite band?
“Of all time - Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.”
3 - Fabourite new band?
4 - Favourite song?
“Love Bizarre - Prince & Sheena E.”
5 - Favourite album?
“American Beauty - The Grateful Dead.”
6 - Vinyl, CD or download?
“CD, but who even owns those, anymore?”
7 - Style icon?
“Whoever came up with the thrift store line of clothing.”
8 - Favourite clothing brand?
“I'm not a brand person.”
9 - Favourite film?
“Children of Men.”
10 - Favourite TV show?
“NOVA on PBS.”
11 - Who would play you in a film of your life?
“Seth Rogen.”
12 - Favourite food?
“Anything curry.”
13 - Football team?
“Manchester United (if we're talking real football - if we're talking American football, I don't watch that schlock.)”
Hope you enjoyed this feature on The Barefoot Band! Check out our previous feature on LowLife!
Check out The Barefoot Band here -
Check out J Shogren & the Shanghai'd here -
Check out Josia Elliott here -
You can also like our Facebook page to keep up to date with all future interviews at the following link -
AB Records

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