Friday, January 15, 2010

Local q&a : Final Club

It must be refreshing for Brendon and Austin, one half of Denton's latest musical upstarts Final Club, to play a show that is not in their basement. Now this may seem like a simple deduction, but my friends, this is no ordinary basement. That is unless for the past couple of months your basement has been bleeping brightly on the radar of both the indie cultural elite and, unfortunately, the Denton County Sheriff's dept. In case you are not in the know, I am speaking of The Lion's Den, one of Denton's latest and most notorious house venues, and also the place Brendon and Austin's call home. Along with buds and band mates Bryan and Anthony, Denton's latest DIY impresarios are making a stab at the other side of the microphone.

The band is called Final Club and they have recently been featured on some bills which have produced some pretty large draws-- both shows played this past week saw around 150 people. Undoubtedly a great way to get the feet wet. But is the water too deep? I had a chance to see Final Club last night at Rubber Gloves and I'll throw out some thoughts later. But for now let's get to the interview.

Frank Phosphate: How did the show Wednesday come about?

Final Club: I know the guys from Weekly Tape Deck pretty well, so I've sent them demos of the songs from the EP, some shitty demos of us practicing in my basement. But the guys really liked it and they had this date set for Rubber Gloves. We're also good friends with Wild Harem, the band from Austin that is also on the bill. So it'll be a fun night.

How was the show at Dan's?

The show at Dan's couldn't have gone better. I know Joey (Yeahdef) and he knew I was starting a band, so he asked us to play a show at Dan's. We really lucked out by getting to play our first shows at the best venues in town (with some great bands too). Anyway, Joey had promoted the show as a show for new acts around Denton, and I guess that's how most people found out about it. So we opened the show at about 10:40 and by 10:45 it was sold out. Most of us were really nervous about playing to a 150 person crowd the very first time we went on stage, but the set went fine and earned us compliments from a lot of people whom I respect as musicians.

Are members involved in any other projects?

Brendon, who sings and plays guitar, also plays in the local party-punk band Dark Forces. They're a lot of fun. And our drummer Anthony plays in the River Mouth, also great. We're playing a show with the River Mouth at Hailey's next month, so Anthony gets to pull double duty that night.

Is the EP all songs you have played live?

The Hot Gaze EP is everything we've played live up to this point. Six songs, runs about 20 minutes. We're working on some new stuff, but we all wanted the live show to really catch people's attention. There are some other people who we'd like to record some new songs with.

How long have you been "together"?

Well, Brendon and I started playing together right about when we moved into the Lions Den together. I think he came up to my room and saw I had a guitar and a keyboard and realized that I could play music. So we jammed a couple times and it clicked. I guess you could say we've been together for about five months.

The demos we have heard so far have all been instrumentals. How are the vocals being handled on the EP?

There are vocals on the EP, yes. Brendon sang at the shows too. The lyrics and vocals are usually one of the last things written in our songs, just kind of happens that way.

What kind of guitars/equipment are you using?

We really don't have that much gear, which makes hauling our shit from place to place a lot easier. We all play Fender guitars. I use quite a bit of delay on my guitar, and Bryan uses a fuzz pedal on his bass sometimes. Other than that, no effects are used other than how weird we can make our amps sound naturally.

Do you guys smoke weed?

Yes. We also encourage it.

What demographic are you reaching for here?

See the question above.

You claim the Lion Den as your home. Show there soon maybe?

Brendon and I live at the Lions Den, and the band uses the basement as its practice space. We actually recorded the Hot Gaze EP on the ground floor of my house. So it's definitely home for us. We'd love to have more shows here, but the Denton Police Department (namely one very rude officer) crippled us financially after the last two shows we had. Such a sad thing because the place is honestly the ideal spot for having a house show. Maybe a daytime show in the spring, we've talked about that.

How is it being a new band in the area?

It really feels fantastic to be in a new band, at least for me. I played in bands in high school, but quit playing music a couple years ago. So it's a lot of fun to be doing something I enjoy. And it also helps that people are liking it. I love playing with these guys and this band sounds exactly how we all wanted it to.

Nobody in the area sound like you guys, where does your influences come from and how did your music become what it is?

As for influences, it's really hard to pinpoint one particular artist or group or album that all four of us totally geek out on. Bryan and Anthony listen to a lot harder stuff than I do, but anything that is loud we all usually loud. Personally in my guitar playing, I'm influenced a lot by stuff like My Bloody Valentine, Deerhunter, the Pains of Being Pure At Heart. Like I said: loud. The sound pretty much came about naturally. I'm not a very technical guitar player, so I've always used delay to beef up my tone. But yeah, this is just the way we wanted to sound.

How do you think said sound fits in with other acts in the area?

We don't really sound like any other bands I know of around here. But the shows we've played and the ones we have lined up next month are with a lot of very different bands, so hopefully we'll kind of find our niche in Denton.

Your set last night was very tight and well rehearsed. Have you just been focusing strictly on these six songs or is there other material you are working on that you scrapped or intended for polish later?

We've played the six songs from the EP a shit ton, so the sets have gone really well. And recording also helped us solidify the songs. We're working on some new stuff, but we wanted to make sure the first two shows were on point.

There was a decent size crowd last night. What has been the general reactions from people hearing your music for the first time?

Everyone I've played the music for or I've seen at one of our shows seems to like our sound. At the first show, I looked to my left and two of the guys from Record Hop were maybe five feet away from me. And those guys know their shit on guitar. They approached me after our set and liked it. Best compliment ever. And the crowds have been nice too, we've got a lot of friends in Denton who would come to our shows even if we weren't any good.

How do you feel about being photographed on stage?

Being photographed on stage...they're usually not great photos. But whatever, publicity is publicity.

What is the best and worst thing you can see happening to the band right now?

Best thing that could happen for us would be to join Young Money after Lil Wayne gets out of jail. Odds are against us. Worst case scenario, our gear starts falling apart and we can't play anymore. Weird question.

As I mentioned in the interview, FC's sound is rather unique in the current wave of guitar centered music being made. The music has a hazy feel to it, but the drums and guitars are very structured and direct despite the apparent haze they might have been created in. Their sound is familiar and the roots can be found in the bands they mentioned. Unlike certain acts such as Pains of Being Pure of Heart, Final Club seem to be exploring new ground as opposed to polishing the established diamonds. At the moment the music can be a bit one note, but the hints of directions to come can be found underneath the mighty distortion. The result is a breath of fresh air in the local music scene. But as I am sure the guys know, the air isn't stagnant here.

I was hesitant opening the interview with the Lion's Den anecdote, fearful of being that person at the party who believes preferences must come prefaced with a credibility rap sheet. Given that this is a tight knit community, one could be led to believe that this group has a pre-installed fan based which they would in turn cater to, hungry for a taste of life on the other side. But after seeing the performance last night, any misgivings I may have had about why these guys are in the game were quickly dispelled.

The band had a great chemistry on stage, not just amongst the band members but with the friendly audience in attendance that night as well. It was obvious that these guys have some fans already, and you would have needed two butterfly nets to catch all the in jokes that were flying around the room. Not all audiences are going to be as friendly, but I think Final Club will easily win any patron over with their heavy but easy to digest brand of indie rock. All four are natural performers, each one bringing something unique, and what they have brought to the table so far, especially this early on, is pretty impressive. I am excited to see what the future has in store.

Thanks to Final Club for taking the time to answer my questions and giving us the music to share. And thanks for making me feel a little better about getting high before writing this.

Final Club - Last World

Final Club - Wizard Wells



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