It’s not every day that a band introduces you to another band…
…but that’s precisely how I discovered Feather-Bright!
I was pinging emails back and forth with Danny from “Way Jose” and he told me that their band was already covered on press releases, but that he wanted to introduce me to the band fronted by the love of his life for a possible feature on Music Row Girl 🙂
Feather-Bright is not your typical band in the fact that their sound is so unique and unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. It’s always incredible to find a new sound in music and that’s what this band introduced me to.
The whimsical, gentle-natured vibe of their music is what makes it so delightful and enjoyable to listen to. The band is formed of four singer/songwriters and I’m sure y’all know what a big fan I am of the ever-expanding Singer/Songwriter genre!
So you get a feel for their music, take a listen to “The Selkie Song”:
I like when music is raw & emotional…and such is the music of Feather-Bright!
Without further ado, check out my interview with Carly, the lead singer:
(Front row): James Shaff & Daniel DeMento / (Back row): Carly Patterson & Anne Healey
1) When did you first find yourselves interested in music?
“All of us played music as kids. Anne played piano and cello in her school orchestra. James started playing bass when he was 12 in jazz band and played violin before that. Danny picked up drumsticks when he was 8. And I played piano as a kid and got into guitar in my early teens. I went to music school for a little bit but never quite fit in. All the sopranos would look at me sideways. And the music I like to write never really fit in to the classical/jazz box that most schools try to fit you in.”
The consensus is: Start young! 😀
2) How did you all meet?
“Anne, the cellist, and I met in a songwriters group in Berkeley, CA. We were both at a pivotal moment where we were ready to take writing and developing our songs to the next level. We bonded over that and the fact that our musical taste was grounded in rock music more than the folk everyone else in the group was writing. Before Feather-Bright, we were actually in another musical project together, a trio of three songwriters, but that group spontaneously combusted before it even began. A little while later, I started Feather-Bright to get my own songs up and running.”
“I was in the middle of recording my first demos when I met Daniel DeMento at a warehouse party. He offered his sound engineer services if I needed them, which I didn’t because I already had an engineer I was working with. In a twist of fate, that engineer didn’t work out. I called Danny two months later to see if he could help me finish my demos and that first day of recording- WHAM!- we fell in love. And I’m not joking you. Danny always says it was like a ‘cosmic frying pan’ hitting him over the head. It felt like that. One day, I was writing songs on my own and the next, the love of my life was sitting right in front of me. I consider myself a lucky girl that my main squeeze is also a sound engineer and a songwriter AND a drummer- OUR DRUMMER! His own project, “Way Jose”, has been massively influential in the development of Feather-Bright.”
“James and Danny met playing together in another San Francisco band called “Website”, the most unsearchable band name in the history of band names.”
3) How did the band form?
“I had been going through a hard time. There was a death in my close family and a little after that, my partner of seven years and I broke up. My life was leveled to the ground. There were a couple of challenging years where I had to sit with my sadness- cuddle up real close to it and listen until I knew what step to take. Finally, I heard a little voice and it said: ‘music’.”
“Most people are afraid of being sad and do anything to squirm away from it. But hard times are a gift if you use them to grow. To find the thing you really want to do and no matter how scary, do it. Now looking around I see that tenacity in almost all of my contemporaries. You better be a tenacious, resilient person if you’re going to put your soul to a tune and let strangers talk about it. And from ash, rises beauty. It really does. I feel like a lot of our songs are a map of how I moved through my own grief and ended up finding the path that led me to music and to love.”
4) Where is your hometown?
“We’re from almost every corner of the US. Anne and Danny are from the East Coast, upstate New York and Philadelphia. James hails from the great state of Minnesota. And I am from the temperate climate of San Diego, CA though I’ve lived in the Bay Area for all of my adult life so I’ve lost my tan but never my love of tacos.”
5) What do you wish to accomplish with your music?
“The beauty of this time in music is that there is so much out there. Instead of being everyone’s favorite, I’m excited to find those people who our music really speaks to and create unique one-of-a-kind events for them to come to and never forget. I’d like for our music to remind folks (and myself ’cause I’m always forgetting), of the preciousness of this life. We all have those brief glimpses in our lives- where the boundaries between each other disappear for a moment and we realize that we all want the same thing: love. There’s so much sarcasm and malaise in our generation. I’d like for our music and the culture around it to remind folks that it’s a beautiful thing to care about the world…and to be nice to each other gosh darnit.”
6) How would you describe your sound?
“In broadest of terms, indie rock, but we like to call it moon rock with a streak of folk in it. Our influences range from The Pixies and Nirvana to The Beatles and The Fleet Foxes. For singing, I take inspiration from PJ Harvey and Cat Power as well as from the duende of flamenco and the soulful longing of singers from West Africa like Salif Keita. I’ve been told my voice is haunting. I think girl singers are sometimes expected to ‘sing pretty.’ That’s not really my jam. Life is filled with all sorts of emotions – beautiful and painful. I sing to express what life feels like to me – a mixture of the two.”
7) Out of curiosity, how did you guys decide on the band name and what’s the reason for the hyphen (-) ?
“Our name comes from Tom Robbins’ book Jitterbug Perfume and an idea that comes out of Egyptian mythology. When a soul crosses to the underworld, its heart is weighed against a feather. If the heart is feather-light, the soul crosses into the paradise of afterlife. Those who love the world so much that they want to come back are feather-bright – their heart is lit from within. The feather-bright part is our own addition. We come from the Bay Area where everyone wants to be enlightened or transcend. We wanted to make a case for not going beyond, but enjoying our little planet while we’re on it. And the hyphen just feels right.”
The best thing about this interview/blog post is that it’s timely because Feather-Bright is releasing their first full-length album this Tuesday, November 11th! 😀
In regards to their debut album, Carly told me: “Once Feather-Bright started, I was clear that I didn’t just want it to be all about me. I wanted other people to add their ideas. I didn’t want to hire studio musicians to lay down something flawless that I wrote. I wanted creative folks to add their own voice, their own touches to the songs and make them better. And I’m really happy with how the songs have come out. One thing that also makes this work is that no one in the band is a ‘yes man’. Though there’s definitely a lot of overlap in our musical tastes, we each have strong preferences and opinions. Essentially, they let me pretend I’m the boss lady but after making this album, it’s hilarious how hard it is for me to make decisions without them.”
Like their Facebook page to follow them on the regular! (facebook.com/FeatherBright)
Congratulations Feather-Bright and give me a shout when you come to Nashville!