The Felice Brothers Discuss What it Takes to Tour Relentlessly
Nov 04 / Friday
James Felice from The Felice Brothers took some time to answer questions we had about his career. Based out of the Catskills in upstate NY, these guys have been touring like crazy and committing their lives to doing what they love. As a band that is fortunate enough to share the stage with acts such as The Killers, we're excited to see what they will bring to Garcia's! Don't wait to buy your ticket to see this one, it goes down on Thursday, November 10!
1. Last time you were here you opened for Guster next door at The Capitol Theatre, a venue that holds up to 2,000 people. This time around you’ll be at Garcia’s, which can hold 250. What do you find different about playing for a big crowd as opposed to a smaller crowd like at Garcia’s? Do you enjoy the vibe of an intimate venue more than that of a larger venue?
I prefer the more intimate venues generally, although the thrill of playing for 2000 people in a room as lovely as The Capitol cannot be overstated.
2. We read in an interview from a couple years ago that you toured nonstop in 2014. How does being on the road influence you as a band?
Relentlessly touring is the best thing for a band. Beyond the obvious joys of performing music, touring well requires a surprising amount of discipline, work ethic, and planning ahead. You have to learn to work and live with people in close quarters, on limited sleep, in occasionally stressful situations. You have to learn to put on a good show, even if you're exhausted or feeling ill. It may sound ironic, but touring has helped me become a responsible adult, and professionalizes our band.
3. Sharing the stage with bands such as The Killers, Mumford & Sons, and Dave Matthews Band is not something every band gets the opportunity to do. Which were you most excited for? Have any of these bands personally influenced you as a group?
I really enjoyed opening for The Killers. They are incredible performers and musicians. Seeing how relentlessly hard Brandon Flowers worked every day to put on a great show was inspiring.
4. You guys have a brand new album called Life in the Dark that just dropped on June 24. How long did this recording process take? What would you say is significant about this album compared to your other releases?
The process took only a couple months. I recorded us in a garage on a beautiful farm outside the city of Hudson. The music was recorded completely live, all of us in the same small room at the same time. It was a joyful process that I think yielded some of the best music we have yet made.
5. We read in your bio that you spent your early days writing hundreds of songs in a chicken coup. It also says that when you had to choose songs for your album Favorite Waitress, you had a list of a hundred. You guys clearly do a huge amount of writing. Can you describe the process for us? Is it usually as a band, or does one person bring an idea to the table?
That record was written more or less by all of us together. Life in the Dark was essentially totally written by my brother Ian. The writing process of each record is approached differently.
6. Since around 2009, you have had a couple member changes to your band. How was it that the current members of The Felice Brothers met and decided to play music together?
The current lineup, Ian, Josh, Greg and myself have been in this band since the beginning. It was then as it is now, we were friends and family that enjoyed playing music and each others company.
7. The Felice Brothers have now existed for double-digit years as a band. Do you have any goals for the year 2016? What about anything long-term?
I am more excited than ever to be in this band. As corny as it must sound, I just want us to continue to make good music and inspire people to come to our shows. The ability to make a living doing this is so profoundly amazing, I rarely feel the need to ask for more.
8. We read in an article that you guys used to perform in the subways of New York City, but never actually lived there. Looking back, would you say the trips from upstate to the subways was a good way for people to hear your music? Is there anything you would do differently?
Im not sure playing in the subway is a particularly efficient way to get people to actually hear the music or spread the word of the band, but it sure is an awesome place to learn how to project, perform and get people's attention. It is also a great way to learn to deal with utter disinterest, rejection, and disgust, things that every musician will face many times in a career.
9. Going into the production of your most recent album Life in the Dark, you weren’t even sure if it was going to be a demo or your next album. What do you think sounded special about it that made you guys decide to turn it into an album?
Listening back to the first song we recorded, Diamond Bell, it was instantly clear that we were making something good in that garage. The recording made us feel joyful and we thought other folks would feel the same way. It was warm, alive, imperfect and intimate. And that is the way good music sounds to us.