This week our featured artist are hometown heroes The Fishermen Band, who are powering through with a unique spin on the release of their future record, The River. With a new album on the horizon, they continue to dazzle their fans with their soulful live shows at venues all over DC. On the brink of releasing their newest single, “Explode” (due out January 21st), we spoke with Fishermen brother Lindsay Hough to learn more about what influences their sound, new music, favorite venues, and much more.
Who are The Fishermen Band?
Linds and Flip Hough at the core. We grew up together singing and writing songs…moved from DC to LA, to DC, to Austin, and back to DC. In those travels we’ve picked up bands and recruited the best talent we could possibly find in those areas. Been really lucky to have met and learned from some amazing people along the way. Right now, The Fishermen Band is as solid member wise as its ever been. We got Chris Compton playing the drums, but Chris also plays keys/trumpets, and sings with us(Chris plays with the Second Hand Ramblers, Pebble to Pearl, and BT). Brian Waitzman on Bass/ Lead Guitar(plays with Flo Anito, and the Music Men). Mike Vitale on the Saxophone( plays with Crowded Streets), Danny Davis on Trumpet( plays with Yellow Dubmarine), and recently we added Grammy winner Andre Leonard on Keys!
The Fishermen Band has a tremendous sound, full of soul and funk. Can you tell us who a few of your musical influences are?
Well, first, thank you VERY much! I hope we live up to that….
I think we are influenced by absolutely everything…you go through fazes, you have guilty pleasures, but at your core is what you were raised on. At our house, it was Mozart and Motown. Our mother Jolynne has been teaching piano from her living room our entire lives. She is a singer, an artist, and a music enthusiast. She’d play us records every day…stuff like Lionel Ritchie, the Jackson 5 (and Michael Jackson), and mostly Stevie Wonder. Our stepfather Louis was an accomplished concert pianist (one of the best in the world) who toured Europe and studied at Oxford. He was constantly playing Mozart, Bach, Beethoven…Mom and Lou are hands down our biggest influences. But also, we listened to a lot of: The Beatles, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Indigo Girls, and a lot of old school Jazz like Milt Jackson, Oscar Peterson, Bird, Dizzy, etc..and newer jazz like Herbie Hancock, Pat Lee, and Paul Bollenback.
Your band has played over 200 shows in the DC area and have many more lined up for 2012. How do you keep it fresh with every set and venue you play here?
Honestly, I have no idea. I think we’ve just been doing it so long that 3+ hours of music on consecutive dates is the norm. Its hard to imagine a life where you just go play an hour and a half, and you’re done for the night. Most places we play, we play all night long so we have to plan for each room. We have a large repertoire so we pick songs for the room and switch it up so things don’t get flat.
In terms of performance? We’re professionals. We hold ourselves at a higher standard, block out the outside world, and get it on 100% no matter what is going on. We practice hard, and we represent ourselves and our music well. We want people to get their time and moneys worth …We want you to leave the show feeling like you’ve just had the best night of your life. And, if you’re gonna be among the best- you have to be the best version of yourself always.
Does the familiarity with your hometown and its crowds make playing the shows that much fun and easier each night?
Totally. DC has been so good to us. Old friends, new friends…..our shows have become an excuse to gather. To connect with one another…we love being the reason people are interacting. DC is so compartmentalized, its hard to feel real community here. At our shows, we are all family and its just getting better!
Seeing as though you guys play multiple venues in the area, you’ve got to have some you love more than others. Any favorites?
Right now, it’s easy to favor Acre 121…It’s cute, it’s metro access, the sound is really decent, the foods great, and our people raved about it after the first show. Each place we play has been hand selected for different reasons… The management has to be behind original music. We do play some covers for fun, but we are 90% original. That, as you can imagine has made it hard to book paying shows in the past for us. But our friends and fans show up for us big. They are super supportive and that gives us bargaining room with venues. We have a great reputation because of it. Our people are changing the culture in DC and it’s amazing to be a part of it.
I think Acre 121 is going to become well known for supporting DC musicians, and that makes it an important place for us to play.
Your new album “The River” is due out September 2012. How is the progress coming along so far with the album?
Well, the whole idea behind “the River” is that we are going to be releasing a song a month for the next 12 months instead just doing one big disc. A river of flowing music…We thought it would be cool to just keep coming out with new material so that every month you can have a new Fishermen Band song. The songs are all plotted out, and “Explode” is the first song on the album. We had the idea and scrapped any plans of releasing it all at once.
Where is the band recording the album and what producer are you working with on “The River”?
The Fishermen Band records with Ambiance Recording Studios in Germantown, MD with Producer Josh Insel. Josh has been a close friend for several years, and has recorded some of the biggest names to come out of DC. He took us on in 2009 for Vision, and it was such an amazing experience, we all had to do another project together. Recording with the highest level of equipment with someone that knows what they are doing makes all the difference. We’ve seen Josh’s business grow over the last ten years, from a small home studio in Gaithersburg to a giant studio home in Germantown. His Recording capabilities are absolutely unmatched around here. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent beefing up his studio. Truly an inspiring place to work on music. He actually just got props in the Washington Post for producing millionaire Jim Kimsey (Verlin Jack” of which several Fishermen Band members guest starred)
How does your songwriting and recording process differ this time around in comparison to when you worked on “Vision”?
Well, we are far more efficient this time around. I think we just realized that we have to be blunt. There is no getting your feelings hurt. It’s “do what’s best for the song” when we are in studio. If someone is playing a part a certain way that doesn’t sound right, we just say “that’s not it, try playing this” and on to the next, etc…..we also come in organized, and with a game plan. That has helped us stay on task and get some really great stuff. Josh has been pretty instrumental in organizing our workload so that we can get stuff done faster.
January 21st is going to be a special day. You guys are playing Acre 121 in DC, coinciding with the release of your new single “Explode.” How excited is the band for the release?
3 words: We. Are. PUMPED! We got Jerome Maffeo of Jimis Chicken Shack playing the drums like a madman. Its one of our fastest songs, so we are curious to see how people react to it. I also think its more representative of our sound than our previous recordings. This is The Fishermen Band, and we cant wait for you to hear it!
Thanks for your time, guys. We’re very excited to hear the new album! Any last shout outs?
Yes! Just wanted to say THANK YOU to our fans. In over 10 years in this business we have thought about hanging it up several times. Through being poor, to losing our loved ones, to horrible business decisions……there has been set back after set back, year in and year out. The only constant has been support from our friends and fans. When we wanted to quit, you wouldn’t let us. You are the only reason we are still here and we promise to keep making music if you promise to keep dancing! Also, a special thanks to Sean Gaiser for getting us into Acre 121!
To find out more information about The Fishermen Band, including any upcoming shows, visit their website: www.thefishermenband.com