Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Local Q & A: Fergus and Geronimo

As we mentioned a few weeks back in a post about their first live performance, Denton's Fergus and Geronimo have attracted a lot of attention very early on in their existence, but they aren't exactly newcomers to the local scene. Comprised of Andrew Savage and Jason Kelly (of Teenage Cool Kids and Wax Museums, respectively), the group serves as something of a stylistic departure for its members, with a sound that is more reminiscent of motown, various aspects of proto-punk and even C86 pop as opposed to the punk, hardcore and garage influences that can be heard in the duo's other projects.

The tracks they've shared with us are actually pretty phenomenal, and the fact that the group has studied and learned well from motown and 60's pop is quite evident-- instantly and almost infectiously catchy vocal parts are delivered with an unmistakeable enthusiasm and confidence as they dance on top of simple, jangly guitars and bright keyboards, all with a rough around the edges lo-fi charm that seems to be one of the only things that the group's sound has in common with that of many of their future labelmates, which we'll get to in a second. But first, download the excellent "Tell It (In My Ear)" to hear for yourself (or HERE if you hate ZShare). Then stop by their Myspace page to hear two other stand out tracks, and as you listen, read the following interview with the band (I'm just making suggestions, ok?):

1. I know you guys play in other bands around town and have been doing so for a while, so could you tell our readers who all of you are and what other musical projects you're involved with? And I see that only two of you are listed in the myspace with several others listed as "including." Are there only two primary members of Fergus and Geronimo?

Andrew- I'm in Teenage Cool Kids and I just started playing in Wiccans as well.

Jason- I play in the Wax Museums and Potential Johns, both of which are on sort of a hiatus. I recently starting playing with Big Blow as well.

Andrew- The band is just me and Jason. We have friends that help us out live, but we want to maintain the recording/songwriting core to just the two of us.

2. Could you tell us how you guys got together, and what inspired you to start this group as a serious endeavor?

Andrew- Jason recorded the Teenage Cool Kids full length, which was a four month process. We listened to a lot of music during that time and sort of worked out a list of influences for a band we wanted to start. I still question at what point something becomes a serious endeavor. Is it once something is on the internet? Is it when you have a record out? Is it when you go on tour? I don't know if this endeavor is at that point yet, the main goal of the band is to just write songs that we like and have fun.

Jason- Plus babes.

3. I've heard that you wanted to start this project because you wanted to play motown inspired music. What are some of the main musical influences for Fergus and Geronimo? Do you listen to a lot of motown, or to bands that were themselves inspired by motown, or both?

Andrew- Motown is definitely a love. The original idea for me was Four Tops by way of Mothers of Invention. I don't think the latter influence entirely manifested in the songs for the singles, but it should be more evident on the releases to come. Personally, I do listen to a lot of soul and 60's black pop.

Jason- My influences for this band are pretty scattered. I can appreciate and be influenced by anything that I feel has heart to it. I don't plan on limiting my song writing to anyone particular style though. I have a hard time picking favorites/specific influences, there are far to many.

4. Did you guys get the name Fergus and Geronimo from the two characters in that movie War of the Buttons? If so, what was it about that movie that you liked? If not, where did the name come from?

Andrew- The name is most definitely from War of the Buttons, the 1994 Irish film. It is a long time favorite of mine, and I made Jason watch it. I anticipate a cease and desist letter from Warner Bros. Pictures any day now. Anyway, the movie has grown on me over the years, and I like the strange relationship between the two characters and how it develops in the film. I thought it would be fitting for a two piece.

5. I see that despite the fact that you've played only one show, you've already agreed to record a full length for Troubleman Unlimited, a label that features releases from Vivian Girls, Glass Candy, Pocahuanted, Meneguar, etc. How did you guys get hooked up with Troubleman?

Jason- We aren't exactly sure how TMU found us. We put the songs on the internet with no real intentions, and TMU just contacted us out of the blue wanting to put out a record. We were flattered and excited, and we also feel lucky.

6. Another interesting label you'll be releasing music on is Woodsist, which features releases from Wavves, Sun Araw, Sic Alps and many other critically acclaimed and well known acts. How did this happen so fast?

Andrew- Yeah, Woodsist is doing the first single. I've known Jeremy (Woodsist) for a couple of years now, and I booked Meneguar and Woods' shows in Denton. I am excited to work with him because, personally, I know how sincere he is about underground music, and he doesn't really care whether or not a band is going to "blow up" (of course this has happened). And I respect his opinion on music-- he has a discerning taste, but also eclectic. I really like the variety and quality that Woodsist has been releasing.

7. Have you guys recorded much of the material for these releases yet? If so, when, where and with whom did you record?

Jason- We have recorded the first two singles and both of them should be out this summer. We are going to start recording a third single for Douchemaster Records along with the LP for TMU as soon as we get our tape machine back from repair. I do all the recordings in my house(bunker hill), It's haunted.

Andrew- Jason saw a ghost last night, it was being super negative.

8. What are your plans for the immediate future of the band? Do you have the dates set for the tour with Teenage Cool Kids this summer?

Jason - Our immediate plans are to record the third single and the LP before the end of this summer. I'm also going to be recording Fungi Girls, Wiccans, Uptown Bums and my new band Big Blow in the near future. We might play a couple of shows this summer but no more than a handful. In August we plan on doing a west coast tour with Teenage Cool Kids (the hipster rap group). We have tentative dates but how long we stay on the tour depends on whether or not I go to Europe to play drums on a Nobunny tour. We should have everything figured out soon.

9. Finally, Andrew, tell me about how you learned of the whole Cool Kids cease and desist, what your reaction was, and if you've had any contact with the band or its management since then.

Andrew- The letter came in my inbox via our label, to whom it was served. I think everyone's reaction seems to be that it is more or less poor judgement on their part. We tried to be civil and openly challenge them to an eating contest, but no response. Honestly, this is the exact reason I am ethically against copyrights/trademarks. It seems to hinder creativity more than it protects it. Oh well, we have an LP coming out in two weeks and all this free press.



Post a Comment

<< Home