The Majestic Ventura Theater Presents
Houndmouth - Golden Age Tour
Family Of The Year
Thu, September 27, 2018
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm (event ends at 11:30 pm)Ventura Theater
This event is all ages
Every ticket purchase comes with a digital copy of Houndmouths newest album GOLDEN AGE. These digital codes will be emailed out once a week.https://www.venturatheater.net/event/1738975/
Houndmouth signed with legendary indie label Rough Trade Records in 2012. From The Hills Below The City landed them on several world-famous platforms such as fellow lovable Hoosier, David Letterman's stage. When vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Matt Myers first spoke with big-name producer Dave Cobb prior to working together on their sophomore LP Little Neon Limelight, the two laughingly agreed to “not make another fucking boring Americana record.” A natural sounding album captured in a familiar fashion came together, except this time with a #1 adult alternative radio single in “Sedona.” “I never once thought of us as an Americana band,” says drummer Shane Cody. “The four of us were just a rock band, but some of us had Southern accents,” he laughs.
The group find themselves on their third full length album, Golden Age, set for an August 3, 2018 release via Reprise Records, now with four new touring band members (Caleb Hickman, Drew Miller, Graeme Gardiner, and Aaron Craker - after Katie Toupin’s departure). Although there is no doubt that their perceived public identity is founded on roots and Americana, Houndmouth nevertheless created a concept album around a nostalgic future - and the sound will certainly reflect its message. The credits for Golden Age only begin to hint at the lengths they went to in order to find the sound of their nostalgic future — vintage Voxes, Vocoders and Moogs, modern programming, strings, tympani, baritone sax, live drums, Linn drums, unvarnished pianos and very distorted guitars. “What's happening with humans and technology right now was on my mind really heavily,” says Myers, “and we naturally went that way with the music too. Using synthesizers and drum pads just kind of felt right. I feel like we went into it being like, ‘Yeah, let’s do a Bruce Springsteen/Daft Punk record’.” Myers goes on to explain, “I think the human aspects are still paramount, even though it may sound a bit more bizarre. There's some part of Tom Petty, Randy Newman and the Band that I can’t get away from, and I wanted to keep that untouched, I guess. It’s not about trying to emulate what’s on the radio, it’s combining and messing with sounds to try to make something that seems very familiar but doesn't actually sound like anything you've ever heard before."
Houndmouth knew they wanted to work with producers who would be open to embracing a restless inventor’s spirit, but they had no idea just how inventive things would get until they hooked up with the team of Jonathan Rado, best known as a member of the celebrated indie band Foxygen, and Shawn Everett, who as a producer, engineer and mixer has been a primary collaborator on records from artists as diverse as Alabama Shakes, The Killers, The War on Drugs, Kesha, Kacey Musgraves and John Legend. In fact, the first single, “This Party,” bears a credit for “bucket and rubber band bass,” which turns out to be a literal rendering of just how they got the critical ingredient: by putting actual rubber bands around a bucket and pitching the plucking up or down in tone until they had the faux boomy bass-synth sound of everyone’s dreams. For another song, they cut up an analog tape loop and dragged it behind a truck in the desert outside of El Paso; when they ran it back through the machine, somehow the abuse had caused a spooky hi-hat sound to appear on the tape, which turned out to be just perfect for “World Leader.” As for the jaguars credited on “Black Jaguar”? They’re real — both the car and the animal. “There’s no denying that with the previous records, we weren't hip to all the stuff at our fingertips,” says bassist, vocalist, and songwriter Zak Appleby. “This time it was a completely different vibe — like, ‘Okay so we've got the skeleton for the song, now let's put the meat on it.’ I think experimental is exactly the right word. We still had boundaries to draw; they just didn’t have to do with how we got to the sounds. Shawn and Jonathan said, ‘Hey, any sound that you hear in your head — that you can hum, that you can imagine — we can create that here.’ That was day one, and that led the album in this awesome direction of anything being possible.”
On “Coast to Coast,” Myers sings, “Do you ever feel like a ghost when you’re staring into your phone?” Despite the holy-shit-far-outside-the-box recording style, the songs on this concept album touch more on the prison many humans find themselves in daily - one based around staring into the little electronic box we carry, or our “digital comfort zones” as the band describes them.
Knee-jerk reactions may define Golden Age as a metamorphosis, but it is in actuality a catharsis. Uploading one’s thoughts on life is easier than ever, but Houndmouth took a painstakingly unique route to creatively craft their purge of emotions. This album tackles the issues of identity and self in the digital epoch of romance.
Perhaps the perceived 'escape' or break in time provided by Houndmouth's initial sound was enough to fight off the modern plight for some time, but members and listeners are awarded now with true sight and perspective into the world as it currently stands. In the words of an author you probably quoted to some girl in college to sound interesting, "I think novels that leave out technology misrepresent life as badly as Victorians misrepresented life by leaving out sex," via Vonnegut.
Like Cape Cod’s answer to The Hamptons, all of the shine goes to The Kennedys, The Clintons, David Letterman, or whatever other magazine-covering celebrity spent his or her summer vacation there. A stone’s throw, yet leagues away from the ritzy cocktail parties and Hollywood glitz and glamour, you can find the cozy working-class home where Family Of The Year’s brotherly core—Joe [vocals, guitar] and Sebastian Keefe [drums, vocals]—spent their formative years after moving from Wrexham, Wales. Long before the brothers linked up with bandmates James Buckey [guitar, vocals] and Christina Schroeter [keyboards, vocals], earned a massive hit in the form of “Hero,” generated nearly 200 million cumulative streams, garnered countless syncs, and toured worldwide, they can recall life-shaping moments on “the other side” of the Vineyard.
Many of those memories bubble to the surface on their 2018 fourth full-length album and Warner Bros. Records debut.
“One of the byproducts of living in a place like that is it’s a crossroads and a melting pot,” explains Sebastian. “You get exposed to a lot of incredible, talented, and worldly people. On the one hand, it’s inspirational to mow the lawn of a movie star. On the other hand, it’s a bit of a bummer. We lived in this tiny house. Joe and I shared a room and my drum set was crammed between our beds.”
“Music was an escape,” adds Joe. “It’s how we bonded with some of our best friends to this day.”
“If you didn’t have anywhere to be after school, you spent those unaccountable hours learning how to fucking play Nirvana and Led Zeppelin songs and smoking weed at 12,” laughs Sebastian. “Because you’re parents weren’t around or working all night, that’s what you did.”
It laid the groundwork for the group’s quiet rise. Following 2009’s Songbook, they toured relentlessly and organically attracted a devout fan base. 2012 saw them release Loma Vista. In the aftermath, the musicians earned praise from the likes of USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, Interview Magazine, and Paste in addition to performing on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Conan, and more. Its breakout single “Hero” would figure prominently in the trailer and soundtrack for the Academy® Award-nominated and Golden Globe® Award-winning drama Boyhood and surpass 170 million Spotify streams. Coming off the road in late 2015 in support of the self-titled Family of the Year, they began crafting new music. The quartet first retreated to a rental house in Mount Washington during January 2016 before holing up in Bear Valley Springs throughout the spring.
“For this record, we decided to start from scratch,” Joe recalls. “While making the last album, we were on tour, and we just put together pieces of other ideas. This was a blank slate. In Bear Valley Springs, we spent two months waking up and trying to write personal songs all day. It was quite a fucking emotional rollercoaster.”
At the same time, interpersonal relationships started to fray under the weight of too much time together on the road and intense creative pressure.
“We were drinking and taking lots of drugs,” admits Sebastian. “We thought we were going to create magic, but we were just fucked up. We went crazy. I know I was drinking and doing too much, so I stopped. The band went through a fucking identity crisis. We wanted to write something deeper, but we weren’t going to get there due to the partying. I made changes for myself. We all made changes. It was about being more thoughtful and introspective and showing respect to those around me. It was a philosophical shift. That had to happen for us to reach our potential for honesty, vulnerability, satisfaction, and creativity.”
During this period, the brothers endured the loss of their mom, and the concept of “home” came into focus for Joe. That brings us to the new album and one of its standouts “Latchkey Kids.” Awash in dreamy hummable harmonies, robust percussion, and pristine guitars, the song paints a picture of how “mom worked overtime and dad was gone,” but “I could be whatever I wanted.”
“I think it’s weak when people complain about growing up in broken homes or poor,” says Joe. “I wanted to write about how great it was to have the freedom to do whatever we wanted when we were young. I love the fact that our parents weren’t rich and strict. That made me who I am. I hung out with the bad kids and did dangerous and stupid things. I was exposed to scary shit and forced to feel the value of what I did have. I don’t know what the fuck I would be like if I didn’t experience that.”
“It’s a very accurate depiction of how life was,” agrees Sebastian. “At the same time, Joe wouldn’t have minded some of the other stuff, but that’s part of his personality. He finds the bright side, while I’m the depressive one,” the drummer laughs.
The album’s infectious lead single, “Hold Me Down” tempers danceable synths, keys, and production with a propulsive handclap-driven chant. “That’s about wanting someone to help you settle down and become who you want to be,” Joe continues. “It’s a crazy world out there, and you need help to turn a corner and feel safe.”
Then, there’s the follow-up “Let Her Go.” Over sparse piano chords, the opening line sets the tone for a new beginning—“Do you want to know how far I’ve come?”
“It’s a breakup song,” says Christina. “You’re trying to prove, ‘No, I’m different now, so let’s give it another shot.’ It’s so hard to accept when someone is gone.”
Throughout this journey, Family Of The Year got closer than ever. In the end, their name has taken on a new meaning.
“We’re just trying to create the family we never had,” Sebastian leaves off.
Joe continues, “I started a band so I’d never be alone again. The name came from a family in Newport Beach who won the ‘Family Of The Year’ award. On the outside, they looked perfect. A few years later, everyone found out they were seriously fucked up. I had this running joke in my head that we were a dysfunctional family — but we are a family together, nevertheless. None of us feel alone.”
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