Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Our Interview with England in 1819: "We're raising french horn awareness one city at a time. Soon it will seem weird if you don't have a french horn in your band."

Readers, England in 1819 may sound like a dull-ass history documentary but don't panic:  it's actually a band.  A cool one.   In fact, it's two brothers based in Baton Rouge who will make you dance with their "grandwave" sound that mixes synths and french horn.  Give their new album Fireball Electric Tomorrow a listen via Bandcamp, give them a "like" on Facebook, and see them at the Record Bar on Sunday night.  We chatted with the Callaway boys, Andrew and Dan, about recording in cabins, "southern bands," Duck Dynasty, and (of course) french horns.  Enjoy. 

Chip:  Your band name is interesting, but it also sounds like the title of a history textbook.  It doesn't exactly scream: "Let' rock!!"  Tell us a bit about the origin of the name and how it might reflect your sound and/ or sensibility.

England in 1819:   When the band was formed in LA a few years ago, it was atmospheric post-rock. There was a lot of slow builds and swells and the songs were drawn out. The name 'England in 1819' fit really well because it's a far away plac, and a far away time - so there was a built in sense of large space and time. The sound has changed as the band has grown, but we still really like the name, and we've held on to the atmosphere and crescendos. It has underlying electronics now, but it still fits really well.

Richard:  Recording stuff in a cabin is so hot right now (I call it "the Bon Iver syndrome.").  Tell us about the recording of Fireball Electric Tomorrow...and maybe tell us about that odd title too.
England in 1819: There's a certain level of focus that you get when you're isolated. There really wasn't anything to do up there except work on the music. No TV, no internet, just a couple couches and some tables.  We just set everything up and started making noise. We’d get bored and go back to writing. We’d get bored of writing the way we were writing and change up the whole process. On one song, you can hear Dan slamming the fridge in the background, because I was in my “record everything through the laptop mic” phase

Fireball Electric Tomorrow is actually the name of one of our Dad's songs he wrote a long time ago. We just felt it fit perfectly with the sound we were making. 

Chip:  You guys seem to LOVE the french horn. Why? Also: do you think your work will start a trend of french horns in the indie-rock world?

England in 1819: We do love the french horn! It's a beautiful instrument. Dan studied french horn in school, so it was natural to include that talent when it came to making our music as well. I hope we start some trend. Or add to it. We see them out there every now and then. We're raising french horn awareness one city at a time. Soon it will seem weird if you don't have a french horn in your band. 

Richard:  You guys have southern roots, as do I.  Do you think of yourselves as a "southern band" at all?
England in 1819: We do. I suppose there is the textbook "southern band" image that we don't really fit. But times are changin'! There's a ton of incredible bands coming out of the south that aren't country or traditional southern rock. There's so many talented musicians, artists and producers who are down here working together. It's a tight-knit scene that's developing really nicely and we're very happy to be a part of it.

Chip:  If I were in a band with just me and my brother, at least fifteen minutes of each show would consist of us calling each other assholes and maybe throwing a punch or two.  How well do you get along on tour and on stage?  Any major sibling rivalry?
England in 1819: We actually get along great. Everyone has their ups and downs, but for the most part it's really positive. Touring can be really stressful, so I think it's good that we know each other well. We know what we need to get along and how to work things out when we don't. On stage is a breeze. Once the music starts we both get swept up and it takes over.

Richard:  Leave our readers with a blurb that convinces them they absolutely MUST skip Downton Abbey and Sherlock on a Sunday night and head to the Record Bar to see England in 1819?
England in 1819: To quote my good friend Walter Lewellyn "England in 1819 strike an accessible balance between formless ambience and melodic song structure" (read more here).  That sounds pretty good to me. Plus, you can always watch your TV shows later, but this performance on this day, at this space, will only happen once in your lifetime.

Chip: Oh, one more thing, since you're based in Louisiana. Are you fans of Duck Dynasty? And, if so, who's your favorite character? 

England in 1819: Sadly, neither of us have actually ever seen Duck Dynasty. Don't worry though, it's on our bucket list so we'll get back to you with our favorite character!,h_700,c_fit,c_limit,q_80,dn_72,f_auto/v6/uploads/flyers2/339cf375006d17858404f0447e0380c7.jpg

 Fireball Electric Tomorrow cover art

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