What? You don’t have your own copy of Funky Was the State of Affairs yet? What are you waiting for? It’s one of the most interesting listens of the year, and the band makes their way into Austin at Beerland on Friday night, ready to share their talents with us all. We caught up with the band trying to get the story on their life and their latest release.
ATH: On Funky Was the State of Affairs you seemingly steer clear of the folk art rock spectrum you were lumped into on the first release. Was the progression natural or did you actively seek to distance yourself from your past?
F&G: Interesting, because I also saw the folk rock comparison being drawn. I don’t get it. But to answer your question, it’s both. This band started as friends making music pretty randomly; without too much thought given to cohesion or style. Our first output was really just a collection of songs that didn’t fit with our bands at the time. Both of us are fairly prolific songwriters. When it came time to do the first Lp we had the opportunity to define the bands identity a bit. We were already tired of being lumped into the indie/garage/lo-fi labels that were popular at the time. Music is so much more fun when you stop trying to please others and just do what you’re gonna do. Fergus & Geronimo is a good outlet for me to be a bit more daring than I am in my other bands.
ATH: Thematically speaking, what’s the most important aspect of the new record you hope people take away after listening? Do you feel that message is being well received by the regular earthlings such as myself, or have we missed the point?
F&G: I don’t really want to make any suggestions about what the audience should take away from the record. Let them glean what they will, because at this point I’m not sure if I even intended any narrative for it. I definitely don’t think its a record for everybody. I mean, there is a reason that this band isn’t headlining festivals, we can only survive in the very small margins of independent rock music that we do. Music is not a universal language, thank god.
ATH: I think I unjustly lumped you in with bands like White Denim when you first burst onto the Texas scene. Who do you guys see as your musical contemporaries, be them past or present?
F&G: I identify with bands that are fiercely individualistic. Funkadelic, Sparks, Devo, Quintron, Beck. I’ve never heard White Denim.
ATH: When bands create a piece of work like Funky…. I always wonder whether or not the group is taking a jab at listeners. Do you guys feel like there’s any relevance to that comment, or did you set out just to create a record where you could have the most fun in the studio?
F&G: Yeah I think by nature we Are slightly confrontational. But, most of the art I enjoy is cut with a healthy dose of aggression. I can feel how somebody might feel alienated by this record and deem it as being tedious. But, that happens all the time, people ask that artists understand them rather than seeking to understand their art.
ATH: Do you guys feel like you’re appreciated in Texas, or do you have a bigger response from audiences outside of your home state? I always feel like Texans have a tendency to look the other way until their bands make a bigger name for themselves.
F&G: As much there as anywhere else I suppose, I haven’t noticed any place that has more F&G fans than others really. I would say our biggest fans are our close friends, many of which are in Texas.
ATH: If there’s a statement song on Funky Was the State of Affairs, one where you establish the mood/theme/etc for the whole record, which track do you think that is?
F&G: I think it would be the titular track.
ATH: You guys are obviously in the midst of a good long tour. What’s the one thing you miss the most about being in the comfort of your own home?
F&G: Well it’s only day three so I haven’t really started missing anything yet. I’m sure the answer for me is alone time.
ATH: What advice do you have for all the young upstart bands in Texas? What should their goals be?
F&G: Just do your thing And have fun. Freak life is a beautiful thing, embrace it.
If you like what you hear, you can catch Fergus and Geronimo rocking things out Friday night at Beerland. Thanks to J. Baxter for help setting up the interview! Pick up Funky Was the State of Affairs now at Hardly Art.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Fergus+Geronimo_RomanTick.mp3]
Download:Fergus & Geronimo – RomanTick [MP3]