Interview: FayRoy

Florida rockers, FayRoy, just released their debut LP, Heaven at Twenty Seven, March 10th of this year. The record is a highly diverse collection of songs inspired by the rich musical mood of St. Petersburg, FL. Below, we chat about the concept of the record, difficulties in writing and recording and much more!

MFL: I am unfamiliar with the Florida rock scene that has inspired FayRoy. Can you explain this and why you took this musical avenue?

Zach Hoag of FayRoy (ZH): We ended up moving into this 100 year old house just outside of downtown St. Pete. Between that house and the house next door there’s about 16 tenants who are all musicians or artists of some sort. There’s been so many bands and musical projects to come out of the two houses and they all put on crazy high energy live shows. It’s been really inspiring to be surrounded by the productivity of other bands and to be able to walk downtown and see great live music on almost any night. 

MFL: Heaven at Twenty Seven, should listeners take this literally? What is the concept behind this record?

ZH: Heaven at Twenty Seven is a reference to basically all of our music idols who died at 27 and how much of an impression they left behind. We wrote the majority of these songs during our 27th year so it was definitely an existential evaluation at the time. Those mid to late 20’s years are really when you start seeing your friends get careers and start families, it’s easy to compare that to yourself and question why the hell you’re in a crowded smelly van playing bars every night.

MFL: How did the four of you come together and what do each of you offer to FayRoy that is unique?

ZH: Zack, Greyson, and I have known each other since high school. We all used to surf and skate together. Our buddy Drew touring with us right now was introduced through other St. Pete friends. I think all four us have our own weird sense of humor. It keeps everyone amused. Plus all the guys really shred their instruments and keep the stoke level high.

MFL: It seems like you all had fun creating Heaven at Twenty Seven. It’s such a diverse record! Do each of you have a different favorite track on the record? If so, what is it?

ZH: I like the title track. I think it’s the most diverse song within itself, which is a good representation of the album as a whole. Zack likes “Napoli Bay” the most, that was the first one written on the record. 

MFL: What was the most challenging aspect of creating Heaven at Twenty Seven?

ZH: This is our first studio album, so working with more people during the recording and mixing process was new and occasionally challenging. Zack and I are pretty hands on so it was a new experience just letting it go a bit. Luckily, the engineer/studio owner, Steve Rosicky and the mixer, Chris Irving are pretty weird people too so all of our styles really matched up. Also, we bartered yard work for our studio time, so I think pulling weeds and laying mulch in the heat of summer may have been the toughest part.

MFL: Looks like you’re playing at SXSW! Is this the first time for all of you at this event? These questions will probably get answered after the event since it’s March 14th as I’m writing them! Summarize your experience at SXSW.

ZH: It was all of our first times at SXSW, and it was equally exhausting as it was continually exciting. We were walking about 10 miles a day all over Austin, often aimlessly,  but we kept stumbling upon these amazing shows. It was really great for us to get to play for a bunch of new eyes and ears and really inspiring to see countless performances from other bands that blew us away. 

MFL: Do your individual musical inspirations differ than those of FayRoy?

ZH: Greyson and Drew have bands of their own called Someday River and Sonic Graffitti respectively. Someday river has a lot of funk and folk aspects in it, and Sonic Graffiti is straight up shredding rock n’ roll. Both bands are seriously so sick and we’re really lucky and appreciative to have them playing with us.

MFL: What do each of you never leave town without (for example, on tour)?

ZH: A rice cooker, beef jerky, and our TM, Alex. 

MFL: What happens once the tour wraps up at the end of March?

ZH: We have quite a few dates in Florida booked and are working on an east coast tour for the fall!

MFL: Finally, name a few dream venues to play at and a few musicians you’d love to tour with.

ZH: I think for the sake of a self fulfilling prophecy, playing some of the venues I’ve seen my favorite bands and shows in would be the dream. Jannus Landing in St Pete, the Filmore and Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, then a big stage in Golden Gate Park. Haven’t made it for a tour out of the country yet so that would be sick. As far as musicians go, the list is too long, but we basically just want to tour with our best friends and all of their awesome bands.

Thank you to Rich Nardo of 24West and for Zack Hoag and the guys (Kyle Fournier, Greyson Charnock, ) for doing the interview! Follow FayRoy on Facebook, their official website  , Instagram and Bandcamp.

The soundtrack for your summer: “Sleeping Sideways EP” from Someday River

If you’re ready for the clouds to part, a break in the spring rain and summer sunshine to spill into your life, Someday River’s Sleeping Sideways EP is the soundtrack for you. The band takes their interpretation of indie pysch rock and infuses it with the ocean tides and sunshine of their hometown, Orlando, FL. This truly uplifting EP echos the pushing and pulling of the tides, the sound of an ocean breeze and that feeling you get when your eyes are closed and the summer sun warms you in a way the sunlight of other seasons cannot.

Sleeping Sidways is a full EP bursting with beachy vibes while simultaneously offering a sense of calm. The way “Day Changer” builds is enough to give the track life and a bit of substance but it’s not overwhelming. This sense of breath and subtlety holds throughout the EP. The five tracks share these common themes but are still distinct from one another. The two singles released “Sleeping Sideways” and “Day Changer” are both excellent representations of the kind of sound that encapsulates Someday River. However, you’ll be short changing yourself if you don’t give the rest of the EP a listen. There are some beautiful moments of simplicity on this record but also bits of complexity. My personal favorite track on the EP for this reason is “Window.” You never truly figure it out because it changes in volume and energy multiple times while also changing rhythmically constantly, just like the weather patterns of the ocean near the band’s locale.

This brilliantly bright and beach-worthy EP is available now on iTunes and Bandcamp.

Interview: Ex Norwegian

Ex Norwegian is an Art-pop-indie-rock-shoegaze fusion band from Florida that has been cranking out quirky, unique, and dance-inducing sounds since 2007. Roger Houdaille, founding member, was the brainchild for Ex Norwegian and even survived the band’s days as Father Bloopy. Today, Ex Norwegian is made up of Roger Houdaille, Michelle Grand, Lucas Queiroz, Giuseppe Rodriguez and Andres Bedoya. Roger answered some questions about the ever-evolving project that is Ex Norwegian and their adventures along the way!

Music For Lunch(MFL): It seems like Ex Norwegian has experienced many phases as a band. Members coming in and out, releasing records with or without a label, and experimenting with new sounds depending on the composition of the band! How have these phases shaped what Ex Norwegian is in 2016?

Ex Norwegian (Roger Houdaille ): That’s a great way to sum up our history! It’s true; there has been an ever-evolving Ex Norwegian…that much has been constant. Right now, things are back to operating more as a straightforward band. It’s hard to say exactly how all the previous phases have shaped us today. There’s been a lot of learning, growing, and experiences that finds its way, especially on stage, onto the band. At the end of the day it’s always a work in progress to me.

MFL: Looking back at the ups and downs of the band prior to 2016, what was the highest high and the lowest low for Ex Norwegian?

EN: Wow, let’s see…let me start with the lows. There have been many lows, unfortunately. Most of which are down to personal problems. For example, we had a drummer bail on us a few times. The same guy! Fired him a couple times. The third time he just left for New York without even telling us…now that was a serious low! Didn’t bother to fire him that time. Getting stuck touring without a drummer. But at the end of the day, I think the band just comes out stronger after getting out of those dire situations. Ex Norwegian has survived a lot. It keeps going, even when I try to stop it. The highest highs for me were at the very beginning just because it was all so fresh and exciting. It was the first time I really had my own band, and the material was good and getting attention. I do miss that, even though I think things are overall better now. Those initial days were good and innocent times.

MFL: I’m dying to know why Father Bloopy and later Ex Norwegian were the chosen names. Please explain!

EN: Oh man, Father Bloopy! That was the name I gave myself when working with the BJ Experience group. It was meant to be ridiculous and I just kept using it as I was starting to take my music seriously. It wasn’t until I started getting reviews that criticized the name that I realized, “WTF am I still using this name for!” However, Ex Norwegian can be and has been argued for not being much of an improvement. However, back to your questions, both monikers come from the magical world of British comedy. Father Bloopy is blatantly taken from a series called Maid Marian & Her Merry Men. It’s basically a spin on Father Christmas. And Ex Norwegian has its roots from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

MFL: What are the biggest crowd-pleasing tracks at live shows these days?

EN: A couple of our new tunes, “Life” and “Ice” are getting great responses.  I knew it would happen, people asking us about those songs after the show and having to say that out of our 6 albums available, sorry…those are non-album tracks! Well, at least for now. Our new versions of “Something Unreal” and “I’m A Fighter, Not A Lover” also seem to be liked a lot. It depends too on night and crowd. We find ourselves doing all types of shows. We just played at a Jewish temple for mostly 70-80 year olds. They loved us! However, we avoided some of our quirkier, harder stuff like “Not A Mouse” and “Jet Lag”. But those get a good response when playing the indie rock clubs. Oh, and actually whenever we cover “Who Loves The Sun” – that never fails to get an awesome response!

MFL: What are your favorites as a band or personally when playing live?

EN: I like the songs that I’m on autopilot for. That way I can just rock out and not focus on getting the stupid words right. Songs we’ve done million times like “Aventura” or “Something Unreal”. I do enjoy “Not A Mouse” which we’ve recently put back in the set. There are so many songs we aren’t playing though, and that makes me sad. We’ve got over 50 tunes! Not too mention all the covers. It’s tricky, because not all of it works live. I don’t think most of the new album works live. I really didn’t imagine us doing any touring for it, so I didn’t care about that. The next album will be different, much more live friendly.

MFL: If Ex Norwegian were to do a cover album, what would it be and why?

EN: Funny you ask that because our new album, Pure Gold, is actually mostly covers. But they are very obscure tracks so unless someone really digs into it, it might not be obvious. Also, the songs don’t sound much like their originals once given the Ex Norwegian treatment. I’m not sure I’d want to do a full covers album, although there are plenty more covers I’d like to record. We have a cool version of “International Feel” by Todd Rundgren we’re working on now. I don’t like the idea of recording a cover that’s mimicking the original. We were commissioned to do a cover of the Kinks “Apeman” many years ago but there was no inspiration and it ended up sounding boring and pointless, so I’d like us to avoid doing stuff like that.

MFL: Have Ex Norwegian’s influences or musical inspirations changed over the years of its existence? What/who are the current musical inspirations?

EN: Now that’s something that remains pretty consistent. There is new music (to me, at least) that creeps in. For example, I spent most of 2013 listening only to Lucio Battisti, no joke! And that influenced my writing at that time. In general though, my inspiration draws from 60s and 70s music. A good example of the variety of influences could be found on the new album Pure Gold. As I mentioned, it is mostly covers of songs I like but also felt could use a different arrangement…take them someplace new. So if you look at the artists chosen, it’s quite an eclectic bunch. You’ve got the 60’s British psychedelic group Tintern Abbey, hippyish singer-songwriter Melanie Safka, Beatle Paul, another underappreciated Liverpudlian Jimmy Campbell, a very obscure late 60s act New York Rock And Roll Ensemble, quirky progressive 70s group String Driven Thing and the CBGB staples the Shirts. All completely different artists brought together by us. I am very proud of that!

MFL: What are some highlights from your March tour and which was your favorite show?

EN: We had a blast of a time. It was short, but jammed packed. I think doing a couple sessions; one for Daytrotter and another for THRD Coast were definitely highlights. Getting to try out the new material and arrangements was also a treat. And just being able to rock out, out of Miami, that felt good. I particularly enjoyed playing with drummer Andres who just joined us. I don’t think we played the same way every night. As for favorite show, I believe we all had different favorites. For Michelle it was New York. For Andres it was Chapel Hill. For Giuseppe it was Chicago. For Lucas it was Dayton and for me, I’d say Rock Island.

MFL: Finally, what’s in store for Ex Norwegian for 2016 and beyond?

EN: I wish I knew exactly what to expect but then again, that’ll lose the fun of it all. I would like to see a new album come out towards the end of year on a decent label. Work with new people. More touring, more traction, bigger exposure, generating more money… Ultimately, let’s just say I’m prepared for the unexpected!

Thank you to Sneak Attach Media for connecting Roger and I and thank you to Roger for being part of Music For Lunch! Their latest album, Pure Gold, is available now! Check out their website for all the Ex Norwegian info you could ever need.


New single from Florida experimental folkers, Someday River:”Day Changer”

Someday River is an experimental psych-folk group based out of Florida. The band was created by member, Greyson Charnock (Guitar, Vocals, Synth) just last year and together with Sean Boyle (Percussion) and Kyle Fournier (Bass) they find beauty in the “salty coasts and swampy centers” of their home state, Florida.

In anticipation of their upcoming EP, Someday River has released the sun-soaked single, “Day Changer.” The track begins with simply delicious guitar lines that bring forth images of beaches, sand and crashing waves. And from there, it gently rolls on. This is some serious, easy listening and it’s guaranteed to bring the sun out.