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Artist Spotlight - Forty Feet Tall

(Photo Credit - Billy Fortier)

We had an opportunity to interview indie up-and-comers Forty Feet Tall for an Artist Spotlight feature! Check out what they had to say on a wide range of topics including their recent release 'A Good Distraction'

1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?

"The band originally started in 2011 when Jack and Cole were in high school. It started, as so many groups do, as a bunch of friends playing music together and deciding we should put a name to it. Since adding Brett and Ian it, in many ways, feels like a different group altogether and as you get older and fine-tune what your goals and aspirations are (the ability to be full-time musicians, generally speaking) it’s easy to lose the playfulness of it. Luckily we’ve never felt like we’re in danger of misplacing that aspect."

2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?

"It’s a collaborative process. Someone will bring in a riff or something a little more fleshed out and we’ll just start jamming on it. We can read each other pretty well at this point, so if something seems to be clicking someone will grab their phone and start recording. The creation of new ideas is always the easiest, but it’s definitely the tightening and final touches of the form that are the hardest for us."

3. What artists have inspired you in your career?

"We listen to all kinds of music, but recently we’ve all gotten super into post-punk acts and some more psych rock groups. A big influence for this album was Parquet Courts and definitely Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Can’t get enough of ol’ Ruben Nielson. The Oh Sees, Omni and Ty Segall are big band favs, but we’re constantly showing each other new stuff and trying to expand what we listen to."

4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story?

"Jack and Cole both use other guitars, namely Cole’s Gibson 339 or Jack’s Harmony, but they grew up using Strats so that’d probably have to be the ride or die. Brett’s been ripping a P bass for a long time, so it’s a bit of a Fender theme in this family. Ian recently got pretty much his absolute dream set; a massive Noble and Cooley kit in white. It’s absolutely gorgeous."

5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?

"Live shows... What a concept. We always attempt to leave it all out on stage, but there’s a fine line between fully letting loose and keeping the songs tight. Sometimes you lose that thread, but we pride ourselves in being well rehearsed so it doesn’t happen too often. A lot of people seem to kind of just assume that a band gets up, plays some songs and it’s just natural, but any show you see that’s tight and smooth always has hours and hours of rehearsal time behind it. As we’ve gotten better and better at our instruments that can come more naturally, but there’s a big difference between tightly rehearsed songs and a tightly rehearsed show."

6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?

"We’re trying to do a combination of two things essentially. Create a space for people to let loose and allow themselves to feel whatever they need to feel, whether it’s relief, anger or joy. But at the same time, we want to challenge people to see and process the atrocities that are happening in this country and around the world. Whether it’s the march of climate change or the systematic murder of Black people at the hands of the police, there’s a lot of work to do and we hope that our music can speak to that in some type of way."

7. Tell us about the writing, recording, and promotion process for A Good Distraction.

"Musically, like stated, the writing is collaborative; everyone shaking their different spices into the cauldron. Then Cole writes the lyrics, often finishing them right before we hit the record button. (Stressful, but a process or sorts.) We had the pleasure of working with the amazing David Pollock for this record and he allowed us to experiment with a lot of sounds that weren’t just our normal instruments. Creating soundscapes and spaces outside of drums, bass and guitar is definitely something we’ll be doing more of for future recordings."

8. What’s next for you?

"It’s obviously a little hard to have a good idea of what the future holds in this day and age, but we’re just dying to get on the road and play these songs live again. We’ve also been writing our asses off throughout all of this, so definitely hoping to get into the studio as well. All in all, just ready to have some sense of normality. It’s been a brutal year and the best we can do is look out for each other and our community and just take it one day at a time."

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