Interview With: Farewell Fighter
Interview By: Caitlin Smith
Can you introduce yourself and what you do in the band?
Lee: Guitar/ Vocals
David: Bass/ Vocals
You guys are from all over the place correct? How did you all come together?
Lee: We actually all came together online, for the most part. Kenny moved to Nashville, TN from Missoula, MT in 2008 and made a post on Craigslist.org about starting a new band. I made a similar post and we just crossed paths. About a week later, we met up and just started writing and it all just worked out.
Kenny: We met Hooper on Craigslist, as well. He lived in Dallas at the time and was looking for a band outside of Texas. He found us. We met David through mutual friends. It all just worked out.
What got you into music?
Lee: Well, personally, I really fell in love with the idea of music when I was about four or five years old and I heard Michael Jackson for the first time. Him and Lionel Richie actually set it up for me.
Hooper: I think it was from just hanging out with my dad all the time. He got me into classic rock and that got me into newer stuff. He listens to all sorts of music. I saw all of his band shirts and wanted to know all about it.
David: I was at the Zumiez Couch Tour in 2003 and the guitarist of Allister came out to check his guitar and played a sweet riff during sound check and right then I knew that I wanted to play guitar and play in a band.
Kenny: When I was ten years old, I saw a Garth Brooks concert on HBO and his stage performance and attitude made me want to pursue a career in the musical realm.
For someone that has never heard your music before, how would you best describe it?
David: I would just say “pop rock”…like Fall Out Boy. That seems to get the point across the best.
Fast forward to a couple years from now, where would you like to see the band at?
Hooper: Touring full-time. On the road, playing shows, not working day jobs at home. That’s the goal.
What is the writing process like for you guys?
Lee: It really all depends. We approach almost every song differently. Some songs start with an idea that Kenny writes with just acoustic guitar and vocals, and then we all finish it out and write our parts and finalize it. Some songs start with a simple little riff of mine that just develops, and some songs just start by us jamming in the same room for a little while.
Kenny: We wrote the song “Golden” in the studio, actually. That song would sound completely different if we had written it live as opposed to in the studio. It wouldn’t feel the same. I think writing songs in the studio makes for a much more comprehensive approach to songs. It allows you to really feel the songs so you can develop them and layer them the right way.
Your new CD, The Way We Learn, just came out. How has the fan reaction been so far?
Hooper: So far it has been all positive, from what we’ve heard. People can relate to it a little more than the first EP. We’ve even seen a few people get tattoos of some of the lyrics from the new EP. It’s wild!
What do you think is the biggest change from your first EP to this new album?
Lee: Our sound is a lot more mature now than it was then. I love our first EP, but there are just some spots where we sound a little young and naive in our songwriting and structures. This new EP was much more thought-out and crafted. We had a lot of expectations for this EP and I believe that we met those expectations. At least I HOPE we did.
What is your favorite song off the album and why?
Lee: Mine would definitely have to be “Golden.” It is the most honest and heartfelt song we have ever written. I get a little emotional every time we play it.
Kenny: “Where I Belong” is my favorite song because it’s a straight-forward, upbeat, positive song with a good message and a good vibe. Plus, it’s really fun to play live.
Hooper: I kinda have two answers. I like “Where I Belong” because of the technicality of it, but it’s a lot harder to play so I don’t get to rock out as much. As far as performance goes, “Growing Pains” is my favorite because it’s hard-hitting and driving, so I get to just go all out and hit hard. That one is the most fun to play.
David: “Golden” because it is the most musically dynamic and I really like the message in the lyrics.
Who produced the album?
Kenny: His name is Sol Philcox. He plays in another Nashville band called Have You Heard, and he’s a good friend of ours, so he helped us out with the record.
Did you have any specific musical influences while writing this CD?
Kenny: I tried not to let a lot of my musical influences get in the way of the writing process this time, but between the last record and this one, I listened to a lot of Say Anything and Motion City Soundtrack. They both released albums since we finished our first EP, and I loved both of them. I feel like they influenced a lot of the lyrical content and styling of the words, as well as some of the music. It’s a good thing, I think, for our influences to shine through in our music.
What are the pros and cons of being an unsigned band?
David: I couldn’t tell you fully because we aren’t signed, ha. But I would think, since we do everything ourselves, we don’t have as much time to perfect our craft and our song writing since we’re always booking tours, taking care of merchandise, and just generally worrying about all of the other aspects of being a band. That’s one con to being unsigned. We always have our hands full. Not to mention, we have no financial support aside from our jobs and credit cards. It gets tough. However, being unsigned and seeing our work prove to be successful is awesome. We have a lot of pride in what we do knowing that we have built this band from the ground up all by ourselves and with the help of our fans.
You have received a lot of hype recently and the Farewell Fighter name is getting bigger. Has there been any talk of signing to a label?
Hooper: Not yet, but we will see how 2011 goes.
What was it like being Alternative Press magazine’s #1 “Hometown Hero” of 2010?
Lee: The feeling was and still is pretty amazing. AP informed us that we would be one of the top ten “Hometown Heroes” of 2010 about a month before the issue hit the shelves, but they didn’t tell us where we placed, so we were left to find out when everyone else did. Well, that day was on Christmas Eve. We were all in our respective cities when we found out, but that moment was so impactful and meaningful that we felt like we were all in the same room together, celebrating this success and everything it took to achieve it. It was an amazing day.
Do you have any pre-show rituals or good luck charms?
Hooper: We’re pretty much always late. That seems to be a pre-show tradition for us. Aside from that, I always like to stretch and loosen up before we play. I also like to walk around and talk to people at the show. It makes me feel more comfortable when we play knowing that I have become closer with those people.
What songs are your favorites to perform live?
Lee: Mine would probably be “Square State Syndrome” or “Growing Pains.” They are both very high-energy and fun, plus I get to show off a little.
Kenny: I like performing “Where I Belong,” “Growing Pains,” and “Square State Syndrome” the most.
David: “Growing Pains” is my favorite, hands down.
Hooper: Definitely “Growing Pains” and “Love, Lust, or Losing It?” “Growing Pains” because it’s an aggressive song, and “Love, Lust, or Losing It?” because it’s an anthemic, energetic tune.
Have you had any embarrassing moments on stage?
Kenny: Actually, I recently had an embarrassing moment in Indianapolis. I recently broke my leg and was forced to wear a soft boot for a few weeks, and that meant I had to play with that boot on. During one song, I was just rocking out too hard and I got my boot caught on one of the monitor speakers and fell flat on my face. It hurt a little bit and took a little chunk out of my guitar, but now I can just laugh about it.
What are some of your top goals personally and as a band in 2011?
Lee: Like Hooper said, we would love to be on the road full-time by the end of the year. We have also talked about possibly making it over to the UK this year. We don’t know for sure if that will happen, but we would love to. We just want Farewell Fighter to be a self-fueled, well-oiled machine before the ball drops and 2012 hits.
Is there anything else you want the fans to know?
Kenny: We love you all. We wouldn’t be here without you. Everything we have is because you have made it possible. Thank you so much.