How did all of you meet and come to form the band?
Jamie: We all met while studying music at University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. We all slowly met, started playing together, and found that we liked each other.
What’s the music scene like in Jacksonville?
Jamar: A lot of great bands come out of Jacksonville and there’s new bands being started every day. There’s some really great electronica groups there as well. The jam band scene does really well in Jacksonville, with venues like the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park nearby. When we started, there were many bands that helped us out, like Greenhouse Lounge, Chroma, and Saltwater Grass. The Jacksonville scene has grown since we left, and a lot of music has moved downtown to venues like 1904 Music Hall and The Underbelly. Even though the venues have changed, we love going back and seeing our same Duval crew.
It’s funny, you’re like the third or fourth band that has moved to Asheville, and everyone has different reasons for moving there, but why did you guys decide to move?
Jamie: We love Asheville and have always wanted to live here. Asheville has a lot to offer in a small town setting. It made sense as well, because we travel up and down the entire East Coast. It is centrally located, cheap to live here, and there’s always so much music passing through. It seemed like an obvious choice.
Yes, we love Asheville, too, we love to visit. We always eat at The Over Easy, they have, like the best breakfast ever.
Jamie: Yeah, we are sitting at a coffee shop just a couple blocks from The Over Easy right now.
What kind of music did you guys grow up listening to that you might attribute to your current sound?
Jamar: My dad was a huge P-Funk fan. We listened to a lot of P-Funk on the way to church. I also had free reign of my Dad’s record collection and CD collection. On my own, I discovered Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. So being a soul/funk front man, I grab a lot of influence from those groups.
Jamie: I grew up being a suburban kid listening to exactly what you would think I listened to. You know: Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, all that classics. Eventually, I got into jazz. But mostly, I listened to all that cliche stuff that a kid in the suburbs listens to.
When did you guys decide that you wanted to play music, and started playing instruments?
Jamie: I think every person in the band always played since they were young, before they even thought “I want to play music.” I played drum set. I always had one growing up, even though I play guitar now. My parents had me in music lessons. Jamar was playing in church when he was 8 years old. Everyone was playing at a very young age.
How did you think your sound as a band has evolved over the years since you’ve been together?
Jamar: Having so many different personalities between the five of us, everyone had their distinct preferences as far as genres go. In the very beginning, we were all over the place, because we each had our own style that we wanted to contribute to the band. Over the past six years, we’ve really worked to listen to input from other bands, and to hone our sound to something that is more cohesive. We still experiment in different directions, but not as much as when we first started.
So it’s a little more focused now.
Jamie: Definitely. You have to put in the time to find out what your band is supposed to sound like. The only way you can that is by playing shows, rehearsing, writing, and finding your strong points as far as what works and what doesn’t. We are a totally different band in our first album than we are now going into our third album. We only play one song off of the first album. That was a good time for us five years ago when we made it, but it’s drastically different from the band we are now. You have to evolve, and we continue to spend a lot of time working on it.
So how would you describe your music now, like what genre?
Jamie: We are definitely a rock band. Everything is aggressive and intense, but with a funk edge. Everything has to be danceable. It’s a dance party, but still rocking music.
Jamar: We also leave room for improvisation. We like to stretch out on stage and feed off of the audience. While we are a rock band and do have funk elements, I think we do fall into the jam band genre, which is probably why you are interviewing us (laughter).
(Laughter) True, true. I had a great time watching you guys at Catskill Chill, we were all dancing and getting down. And it was funny, Allen Roper was telling me that your catch phrase is “Fritz Your Pants”, I love that! It’s so catchy. Who came up with that phrase?
Jamie: We didn’t come up with it. People just started jokingly yelling it years ago. And we laughed. It just stuck around.
Yes I am a proud owner of a “Fritz Your Pants” sticker now (Laughter). So I heard you guys are working on a new album currently, how has that been going?
Jamie: It’s going great, actually. We’re hoping it will be done and out in Spring 2015. We are picking all the songs we want for it and deciding on all of the details. We have a couple of ideas, but it’s all very much still in the works.
Jamar: It’s a writing process as well. We’ve added three songs in just the past month. It’s a lot of hard work, and it’s really great to see these songs go on stage for the first time. A song really develops after being on stage in a live setting.
How do you think this album sounds different from your last album, Bootstrap?
The last album was a excellent example of us in a transition period: five guys coming together with different styles, and turning it into what it is now. You can see where we were headed, though we were not quite there yet. With this one, I feel that we are getting even closer to be how we actually sound: It’s all a process: Putting all the good songs out there, getting rid of some of the songs we have tried in the past, and boiling it down to the essence of what our band is supposed to sound like.
So we’re pretty much out of festival season now and moving into show season, what’s one of your favorite venues that you’re looking forward to playing this fall or winter?
Jamie: I’m biased because I live here, but one of my favorites is the Asheville Music Hall. It’s a really great venues and has smart people running it. I also get to sleep in my own bed when we’re done playing, and that is always a plus. We’ll be doing New Years Eve here in Asheville at the Asheville Music Hall. I’m pretty excited for that one. We did it two years ago and had an amazing show.
Jamar: As far as of our favorite festival venues go, we always love coming back to The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. Starting in Jacksonville, FL, we had been to a lot of Florida festivals even before we were a band. It has been host to many great times and great memories. We have played there three times as a band; the first time was Bear Creek Music Festival 2010. We are particularly excited to be coming back this year in November for Bear Creek 2014. The campgrounds really are one-of-a-kind, and the crew runs a tight ship down there. We’ll also be back n March for AURA Music & Arts Festival.
Very cool, I’ve heard great things about Spirit of the Suwannee Park and I need to make it down there. So what do you think you guys like better, playing festivals or venues?
Jamie: They’re all great. Festivals are nice, because we get to see a lot of other good bands and run into more friends. Being on the road often means that we miss some of our favorite bands when they come through Asheville. But playing a venue is much more intimate, and that is a lot of fun too.
Yeah they both have their differences. Now what is a dream collaboration of yours? Who would you want to play with?
Jamar and Jamie: Prince!
That would be amazing, I would like to see that.
Jamar: I would definitely say Prince. But there are so many amazing bands in the scene too, that we get to play with and that have become family. Many of our peers are some of our dream collaborations. Like Dopapod, Jahman Brahman, and my new favorite band, The Nth Power. All of the bands in our scene are absolutely fantastic, and fortunately in our six years as a band, we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with many of them.
Awesome, definitely. I love all of those guys, everyone’s doing great things. Do you have anything cool coming up?
We’re heading down to Florida in November to do some shows with TAUK on the week leading up to Bear Creek. Besides that, we’re working on recording this album, and getting ready for our New Years Eve run. It’s going to be a busy next couple of months coming up! We’re excited for what is to come in 2015.