Live at the KFOG PlaySpace: RomeoJuly 30, 2012
We were so excited to be given the opportunity to play a show at the legendary KFOG PlaySpace, and luckily, Matthew Washburn captured it on video for you all. Enjoy!
Watch this: the official 'North' video is here!April 17, 2012
Last December, we climbed what felt like hundreds of steps, our gear in tow, to the top of Grand View Park in San Francisco to shoot a music video for North. After many discussions about how we wanted to tackle doing a video for such an emotional and large-scale song, we decided that the best way to do the music justice would be to keep the idea simple and make the location epic. Filmed in one shot by Matthew Washburn, this video features two beloved extended family members Ravenna Lipchik and Ivo Bokulić as well as the beautiful city of San Francisco.
Collaboration with The Lighthouse and the WhalerApril 16, 2012
While we were at SXSW, we met up with our friends The Lighthouse and the Whaler, and decided to film a mashup of two of our songs – our own ‘Falling off the Wagon’ and their song (off their upcoming record) ‘The Adriatic.’ These guys are all wonderful people, and we had an awesome time collaborating with them. Here’s the final project, shot by Matthew Washburn of Washburn Imagery.
Sell Yourself Lightly, live at SXSWMarch 30, 2012
Here’s a video of us performing at the Quantum Collective showcase at SXSW 2012, atop Whole Foods!
VIDEO: Google Music Magnified Artist SpotlightMarch 9, 2012
Last month, we were informed that we’d been chosen as one of Google Music’s Magnified Artists and that we’d be performing at the Red Light Management GRAMMY post-party. In addition to playing the party, our upcoming LP, The Village, was featured on the Android Market. The opportunity was an incredible whirlwind of activity, but it was also caught on tape for posterity. To get a feel for our experience, check out the video below.
Imogen Heap/Frou Frou cover (just because)March 1, 2012
While we were in SF on a mini-break from our tour a few weeks ago, we decided to have some fun and record another cover with our friends (check that one out here). All of us are huge Imogen Heap and Frou Frou fans, so we though we’d combine them both. This is what came of it:
Special thanks to Matthew Washburn for filming, and to Ari, Cleo, Hailey, Kristin, and Shelbey for lending us their enormous talents!
'The Village' is being pre-released TODAY on the Android MarketFebruary 14, 2012
We are extremely excited to announce that our upcoming LP, The Village, is being pre-released today through Google Music and the Android Market as a result of our participation in the Google Music Magnified Artist Program. Furthermore, we’re releasing the first track off of the record, Before Your Father Hears Us, as a free download for a limited time. To download The Village, either click here or visit g.co/thefamilycrest. Our music is also being featured on the Magnified Playlist.
Over the weekend, we traveled to Los Angeles to play at the Red Light Management GRAMMY post-party as a part of the Magnified Artist program. The day was incredible from beginning to end, and we feel so grateful for the opportunity and to be a part of such an amazing night. Many, many thanks to Google Music, T-Mobile, and Red Light Management for having us.
More photos, videos, and other goodies coming soon – until then, we hope you enjoy The Village.
From Liam, regarding our final shows in SeattleJanuary 28, 2012
I’m devastated to have to inform you, the wonderful people of Seattle, that with 5 days left until our big 31st show marker, we have been forced to cancel four of our final five shows. During a performance at the Conor Byrne Pub on Sunday (show #23) I reached for a high note and was surprised when I was unable to pluck it from my register without cracking. After the show my voice felt odd… like it had a veil over it, and my center of pitch seemed a bit off. Still, I thought it was just a fluke and went to sleep early to prepare for Monday. The next morning we made our way to do show #24, a spot on an amazing local TV program, Art Zone with Nancy Guppy. To make a long story short, my voice again was not in the best form and felt strange. I was extremely worried, as I appeared to be showing signs of vocal nodules; small bumps that form on vocal chords when they are overworked or misused. If I had developed them, it would mean a 6-12 month break from singing and speaking, in addition to removal surgery.
On Wednesday morning, I headed into an ear, nose and throat specialist to get the problem checked out. Luckily after 45 minutes of in-throat camera work from an amazing doctor (and much silent debate on his part) he informed me that I did not have nodules. I did, however, have extremely swollen vocal chords that if left untreated could easily begin to form nodules. The doctor stated that if I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get them, I would need to take an immediate break from both singing and talking for at least a week to make sure that my voice could heal up. After much discussion, he assured me that though risky, it would most likely be possible for me to at least play our final show in Seattle on the 31st at the Tractor Tavern. So yes, my new friends, we will be doing one last show here! Also, this is my written IOU to the city and people of Seattle. After SXSW we’re planning on coming back to up for another show, and we will repay the 4 shows we owe you during that time. I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you and apology to the wonderful house show hosts who have taken our forced cancellations in stride. When we return to Seattle, we promise to make up the shows of yours that we missed. To everyone else, thank you so much for all of your love and support, and thank you for being so understanding during this time.
Be well, and see you all at the Tractor!
From Laura: Citation Success, Beautiful PeopleJanuary 23, 2012
I woke up in a crazy mood this morning, despite the welcome sunlight that was streaming into the house. We have a lot going on in our last week here: five house shows, we’re playing on TV, rehearsals, and we have a lot of days coming up that include multiple shows. Plus, we have a dysfunctional tour vehicle (meaning it doesn’t start) and last week we were slapped with a massive citation, courtesy of the King County Sheriff’s Department. In a Type-A frenzy, I made a to-do list during my morning tea that included things like “Fix The Duke For Real This Time” and “Contest Massive Ticket And Win.” Well, I’m happy to report that we have a mechanic coming to look at The Duke (if that doesn’t work our next move is to call a priest) and our entire citation was dismissed today, which is good because if it hadn’t been, we would have been living on Top Ramen for the next six months. I’m working on the rest of the list…
On to the beautiful people mentioned in my headline. Obviously, I’m talking about our Extended Family. Our friend and creative director, Matt Washburn, spent countless hours working on this photograph, which captures a small percentage of our beloved Extended Family:
All I have to say is that nobody cleans up like our Extended Family members. The only funny looking person in this photo is that brunette girl standing in the front on the right-hand side. What’s she even doing there?
I should mention that we’re up for The Deli SF’s Best Emerging Artist Fan Poll. Will you please vote for us?
I’ll leave you with this question: what is it with dudes not putting the toilet paper on the toilet paper holder? Please discuss.
From Liam: Snowy ShowsJanuary 20, 2012
When this band started, John and I had two mottos that we referenced to keep help us cope with challenges and to help us to try to keep a good head on our shoulders. The first: keep it classy… which basically means to do our best to remain respectful, kind and thankful to anyone and everyone we work with. The second… everything that can go wrong will go wrong. When we began recording The Village we ran into our fare share (understatement of the year) of road blocks. We figured that if we were prepared for these untimely situations we’d be more apt to deal with them. Still, at the time we did not realize that from ashes one can begin to rebuild… and sometimes the worst situations bring on the best situations. This tour has really forced us to revive our old mottos.
As Owen wrote about, after a pretty horrendous stay at our original residence for the tour, last week we decided to leave. The amazing Adam and Eve took us in. Originally, we were set to be at their place for one night… but the next morning Seattle was under an insane snow storm watch. Supposedly, the biggest storm to hit the Seattle region in 70 years was about to strike. Without hesitation, our wonderful hosts told us that we were more than welcome to stay however long we wanted. What’s even more crazy wonderful is that Eve is an amazing cook… and has been cooking for us every morning and night. What I’m getting at regarding our original mottos is that we were in a terrible situation that just kept getting worse… and because of that we are now in an amazing, warm home with equally amazing and warm people… if it wasn’t for the horror that we originally experienced, we wouldn’t have made these wonderful new friends. So I guess… the horror was totally worth it. Yes. Thank you so much Adam and Eve. We love you so much.
So, as for the last few days. Due to the storm we’ve been forced to find alternate ways to bring our music to Seattle, as we’ve been snowed out of all of the venues that we originally set up in our calendar. After about 20 minutes of discussion we realized that we didn’t live in 1952 and that technology was our best friend so… we decided to stream our shows. First, we made flyers…
Then we walked across the city passing out the flyers for a show that you could watch from the comfort of your own home. Talk about frozen grass roots marketing right? It was a blast though… we don’t get any snow in San Francisco and as John has never seen snow, it was really fun to walk around with him passing out flyers. It was kinda like being a little kid again. People were sledding down main streets, skiing down the sidewalk, building snowmen and chucking snowballs at each other. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes for an awesome story. So yes, after about 3 hours of traipsing around the city, I think between the entire band we covered about 6 miles. Yes. It was awesome. Anyway, we came home, set up in the living room, hooked up a mixer and played to the snowed in masses. To those who tuned in, we hope you had good time. I know we had a blast.
After a 45 minute show, Laura and I made Laura’s grandmothers chili recipe, a vegetarian pasta carbonara for Lucas, and Eve made some home made corn bread… the absolute perfect meal for a snowy day. Oh yes, and I can’t forget to mention that Owen’s lovely sister Lucy stopped in for a visit… from San Francisco. Yes, that’s right… Lucy wanted to get away, so she decided to fly up to Seattle…in a snow storm. I guess being a bad ass runs in the Sutter family. So yes, it’s great to see a familiar face from home. Anyway, it’s still snowing and I’m sitting in my new favorite coffee shop, Milstead. So. Awesome. I mean… where else do you get to choose from two to three different kinds of espresso? Yup… fantastic. Anyway, to bring this entry to a close I’ll leave you with this sentiment. Don’t worry about us… though it’s cold the wonderful people of Seattle are keeping us warm.
From Owen: First Seattle House Show - at Adam and Eve'sJanuary 16, 2012
Well, these past few days have been interesting. We continued our trend of doing really well in the music aspect of our tour and really badly in the housing and transportation bits. Our bus broke down very thoroughly, and the wondrously generous Garage Voice rented us their band van, which then also broke down. We’ve also begun relocating into Seattle proper after our Kenmore housing situation became rather volatile (note: understatement). More on that in a bit.
On Friday we played a house concert for Adam and Eve (real names), and their charming five year old Donovan. We had a mix of their friends and some people who heard us on KEXP and came to check it out. The show went really well, and I think everyone had a great time, including the band. Adam and Eve continued the Seattle trend of being just about the nicest people you could possibly imagine. After things got crazy in the other house we called them and told them we needed a new place to stay, without a pause they invited us into their home and hosted us for two days, and helped us find a more permanent place to live. I continue to be dumbfounded at how generous people are here, and how willing they are to open up their home to a band they just met. Eve put us in contact with a marvelous woman named Rachel who decided to let us stay there for the remaining two weeks, despite not knowing us at all, and seemed also amused at how taken aback we were with her generosity. I guess it’s just a giving type of community.
So, on the bright side, we now get to stay with wonderful people, IN SEATTLE, near the Fremont district which is pretty much exactly where you want to be. Sometimes things just work out well.
On the bus front, I will be going out to do battle with the Duke again tomorrow morning, that thing is going to start, damn it.
From Lucas: A little bit of exploring, meeting new people, and fixing carsJanuary 13, 2012
Hey friends,May I continue John’s broken record and start out by saying that the boys of Garage Voice are some of the most amazing people ever? You’ve helped us so much on this tour and we owe you tons! So thanks very much guys!Liam, Charlie, and I got up very early this morning and drove our rented van, which we nicknamed “The Voice” in honor of our Seattle band friends, to Bruce’s house for him to drive to work. We thought we were pretty clever coming up with that name, but then he then informed us that the car’s nickname was actually “Van Morrison.” Genius. Pure genius. After being dropped off at a cafe, the three of us had some coffee and computer time before setting off for a bit of exploring. The following are some of the places we stumbled upon in order:1) A violin shop where we tested out a cello and admired all the lovely instrument stands and instruments2) An incredible chocolate shop called Chocolat Vitale, where they generously had us sample some dark chocolate, drinking chocolate (which was PERFECT for the cold weather), and some Chipotle, yes Chipotle chocolate caramels. YUM. We’re actually playing a show there on January 21 at 2pm.3) The Dray, a cool bar that served a variety of beers (including my personal favorite, Gulden Draak, on tap!) as well as coffee4) The Buffalo Exchange, where the three of us got 3 quality jackets for $60 combined!5) Finally, Bop Street Records, an amazing and slightly overwhelming vinyl record store where the owner, Dave, treated us to stories of some of his patrons/visitors including Radiohead, members of the Fleet Foxes, Questlove of the Roots, and, hopefully one day, The Family Crest! He also asked us to sign the wall among all the other artists who visited, so I’ll post that picture next time!After that it was off to our open mic at The Gypsy Cafe. We ran into a bit more trouble where we believe the car ran out of gas, so we had to go to the gas station and fill up an extra canister to bring back, which I can say is definitely a first for me. After a well-received open mic at the Gypsy, we ran into another problem: the car wouldn’t start. At this point it was almost amusing how many car issues the band was having in the week and a half we’ve been up here. After waiting as patiently as we could and trying different things, though, we finally got it started and headed home, exhausted but relieved. As the saying goes, I guess, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.Call me cheesy, but as dire as our predicaments over the past few days may seem, I believe that in retrospect we will one day look back and see how much this experience helped us grow stronger as individuals but more importantly as a band. I think that it’s best for a group to meet these adversities and roadblocks head-on and keep our gaze firmly and unwavering towards our goal. For me personally, running into these issues has made me realize how much I value the people I share these experiences with and how lucky and fortunate I am to have them as friends and not just band mates. I think that counts for everything.Well, that’s it for now. I just made and ate my first ever box of Rice-A-Roni. Apparently, it’s the San Francisco treat. After eating two helpings, I can’t really understand how. Good night friends. Talk to you next week!
From John: The Kindness of Friends and StrangersJanuary 12, 2012
I have to say, while getting close to the halfway point of our Seattle excursion, we’ve definitely have had our fair share of adventures (see Laura’s post for the skinny).
After waking up from our emotionally exhausting night, we spent the morning and some of the afternoon coming up with a game plan to fix the Duke and all of its problems. This included the possibility of renting a vehicle for the time being. Enter Bruce from Garage Voice. This awesome dude, as well as the other awesome guys in this band, graciously came to our rescue, letting us use their tour vehicle for the next week, until things get sorted out with the Duke. I think I’m going to sound like a broken record by the end of this month talking about how awesome the guys in Garage Voice are.
I can’t say enough about how people in Seattle have been so amazing and helpful when it comes to the situations we find ourselves in both good and bad. It gives me a fresh perspective, and how we should strive to be more helpful and understanding of each other trying to pay it forward, when we can. I know it sounds really preachy and cliche, but these last two weeks in Seattle have definitely made me reflect. The kindness of friends and strangers have made me strive to be a better person.
But I digress. Tonight’s show was at the Mosaic Cafe. The Mosaic Cafe is an interesting place because they are a non profit cafe. The don’t charge for drinks, but rather have suggested donations for all their food and beverages. This is awesome, because if you are short a few bucks, you can still get a coffee and food item for a small amount or less. I’m sure this really benefits people that are homeless or who are being hit hard in these trying economic times.
The show went well. We played a few songs and watched the local talent; particularly an awesome piano player who finished the night off with some great tunes.
After that we all tried Seattle’s famous Dick’s for some cheap burgers. Dick’s is awesome because it has some pretty tasty burgers for a reasonable price. The burger tasted along the lines of a McDonald’s Big Mac to me.
All in all, it was a pretty non-hectic day. Definitely needed after a hefty day of pulling double duty (playing two shows) and car troubles (both mechanical and legal).
I will end this entry with a word of advice. One less preachy and more practical: Putting clothes on that just came out of the dryer is quite possibly one of the most awesome things ever, when you’re living in a climate that is colder then you’re used to. But hey. At least it’s not snowing.
Until Next Time,
From Laura: the good, the bad, and The DukeJanuary 11, 2012
Yesterday was probably the most eventful days of our tour thus far, for both good and bad reasons. Just to build suspense (I know you’re sitting on the edge of your seat right now, filled with anticipation and foreboding) I’ll begin with the good.
Tuesday, January 10, we woke up at 5:30am to get to our in-studio performance at KEXP. I’m confident that the last time at least half of us saw 5:30am we weren’t waking up, if you catch my drift, but miraculously, by 6:45, we were out the door, in The Duke, and not really moving, thanks to The Screech (see Liam’s blog for more details). After an hour of being stuck in traffic with our tour vehicle screaming at us, and concurrent panicking on my part, we made it to the studios fifteen minutes early and ready to go.
I could devote an entire blog to how much I love KEXP. This is a radio station that reaches millions of listeners worldwide, and those listeners tune in because KEXP plays really great music that will probably never make it on to mainstream airwaves even though it should. Everything at KEXP is a shrine to indie music. Even their bathrooms are covered in signed posters. Their dedication to providing listeners with awesome music is unbelievable.
Needless to say, it was a total honor to be able to play a live show in the same room as musicians like Fleet Foxes, Death Cab, and Iron and Wine, to name a few (of hundreds). As a band, KEXP is a mecca of sorts; playing on it is an arrival. And I have to say, it was an absolutely pleasure to be there. From the second we walked in the door, everyone was incredibly warm and helpful. Their enthusiasm for music, and for what we’re doing, was so reassuring to us as we prepared to play. All of us get nervous about our own stuff, but we were universally anxious to hear how Liam’s voice sounded. Since he got sick his voice has tired easily and playing early in the morning didn’t bode well. Luckily he’s a champ and completely pulled it off! See for yourself – click here to listed to the archived recording of our live performance. And here’s a video of us adorning The Duke with it’s first bumper sticker – a KEXP sticker, of course.
After we played at KEXP, we stopped by my new favorite place, Top Pot Donuts, and being indecisive, of course I had to buy 6 of them to sample the flavors. My choices: the Bulls Eye (glazed donut filled with raspberry), pumpkin old-fashioned (I know, amazing), maple bar (standard and excellent), chocolate peppermint, powdered cake (classic), and blueberry cinnamon-sugar (honestly, this was like a fried bagel and I should have gone for the sprinkled and frosted cake donut). Excuse the tangential donut report; I’m enthusiastic about fried foods.
Post-donut run we headed to Fremont because we were to play The Round at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center. Our set lasted about 40 minutes, and like most of our experiences in Seattle, the crowd was incredibly warm and welcoming, particularly as more people trickled in. We ended the night at the Abbey with mulled cider and chocolate-peanut butter whoopie pies (yesterday was a healthy day).
Here’s when things went downhill: when we got outside, we realized that our beloved but fickle tour vehicle, The Duke, wasn’t starting. A good Samaritan tried to help us jump it, it didn’t take, so we thanked him profusely and gave him a CD for his trouble. Then, five minutes after he left, he came back, new battery in hand! Despite our best efforts, The Duke wasn’t having any of it, so we waited for AAA. An hour later, we were on our way.
It just wasn’t our night. We’ve been having what we thought were annoying electrical complications with The Duke but it turns out that unbeknownst to us, our taillights weren’t working. So we got pulled over.
I’m not one to go on a rant so I’ll keep it simple: the results of our run-in with the King’s County Sherriff’s Department weren’t pretty. Another hour and a citation later, we arrived at home and are now unable to drive The Duke until we work some stuff out.
On that note… do any of you know any Seattle-area mechanics? I’ll leave you with a happy image – of donuts.
Until next time! lb
From Liam: Weekend recapJanuary 9, 2012
Oh Seattle… in the last week you’ve managed to steal my heart. Not only have the people of Seattle been amazing, but there is good coffee… all over the place. My sister came here her junior year of high school and fell in love with the city… enough to move here and tattoo the space needle on her left wrist. I didn’t understand why until now. This place is fantastic.
So this past weekend has been pretty crazy… much like the rest of the trip. I’m still trying to get over this cold… which is really annoying. We got scheduled to play a feature on KEXP radio tomorrow, a local/international gem of a radio station and not being able to kick this cold sucks. I feel like a fighter going into the ring with a broken hand. Still, go time comes in the morning… so I’ll bring it.
Anyway… to bring you up to date, Sunday was full of good will from Seattleites. We’ve been having a few issues with our lovely tour vehicle, The Duke. It’s making a terrible screeching, wailing, howling noise… sounds like a ring wraith (Laura and John call it ‘The Screech’). Yeah. No fun. Anyway, our good friends in Garage Voice once again came to the rescue with a mechanic to look the beast over. Owen, Charlie and Lucas (knowing the most about cars) dropped Laura, John and I off at Herkimer Coffee on Greenlake Avenue… which I found out is maybe my favorite areas of the city so far. I mean, two fantastic coffee shops and a homemade ice cream joint within one city block of each other. Win.
After doing a bit of writing for my upcoming coffee blog (stay tuned) I received a call from Owen. Not only were they not able to isolate what the noise was… but the entire electrical center console shut down. To make matters worse, because of this, the doors would not open… which basically meant that we needed to find a new way to get our gear out of The Duke. Blehk. So yes… after about 5 hours of sitting, waiting for a ride to the joint that we were set to play, the Conor Byrne Pub, we decided in order to make the sign up we’d need to walk… 2 miles… In the cold. I decided to grab a quick bite from a local store before the journey, and randomly decided to stop into the other coffee shop. While in line I hear this guy in front of me explain to the barista that he’s living in San Francisco, and a bass player. So I was like, “Oh hey! My band and I are up here on tour from the city…” It turns out that he’s a bass player from the San Francisco Conservatory and not only knows who we are, but is friends with a TON of our SF Extended Family. Crazy. Anyway, his name is Schuylar (pronounced Skyler), and he totally came to the rescue. He offered to drive us to our show, and the best part… he’ll be joining The Family up here in his hometown before he departs back to San Francisco. So awesome. On the drive over Owen called me and as I said before… so much good will from the people of Seattle. A guy at a local O’Reily auto parts store not only came out to try to help figure out what was wrong with our vehicle, but took another 2 hours after his shift ended to lend a hand to repairs on our electrical system. So damn nice.
So yes… to the venue. The Conor Byrne Pub is an awesomely hip joint in the Ballard district. A lot of old wood, a lot of whiskey and a great old piano. Very saloon-y. We had no idea how to sign up for the event and soon found out that the Byrne is the most popular open mic in the city. We locked in the opening slot and the rest of the band arrived right on time. We unloaded, sound checked and played. Such a great reception. I think one of the things I love most about this city is that there are a ton of insanely talented musicians and they are all so supportive of each other. Sometimes these two elements don’t go hand in hand… so it’s nice to be in a place where they do. After our set we stuck around for a few hours, saw some great acts and met some more fantastic people. I think the best part about doing open mics like this is that you begin to develop friendships with a lot of the local talent, as you see them at each event. So yes… it was good to see some familiar faces.
Anyway, onto today, Monday. This morning after Charlie and Owen managed to pretty much fix The Duke’s electrical problems, we decided that we’d do something a bit different. We loaded up our gear into the Duke and made our way to the downtown region. Upon arriving we unpacked and loaded back up… on a Monorail. To give you an idea the Seattle Monorail system was built for the Seattle World Fair in the sixties. I remember seeing an old Elvis movie where he sang in one… so the idea was kind of surreal to me. I’ve played a show on a BART train before, but this was a whole new city and a whole new beast. We asked the conductor if he was okay with it and he was amazing. “Of course!” Yes. So, we played Romeo for a bunch of local Seattlites, video cameras a blaring. So much fun. We’ll have some footage up later, so stay tuned.
After the show we headed out of the city and into Bellevue, a city a bit northeast of Seattle, to do some rehearsing for our show at KEXP. Evolution Studios is a really clean, nice space that is perfect for a touring band. For $15 an hour you can’t go wrong… and again, super nice guys. So after about 2 hours of solid rehearsing, we headed home and to bed. It’s now 11pm and far later than is responsible for me to be up, seeing as I have to wake up at 6am for our radio show tomorrow morning. Until next week, be well and oh yes… tune into KEXP 90.3FM tomorrow morning at 9:30am to hear us break into the Seattle airwaves!
From Charlie:January 7, 2012
Hey Internet Family,
We’re finishing up our first week in Seattle, and so far the tour has been running along swimmingly. Cool clubs, great music and local coffee roasters have been keeping us busy every moment we’ve been here.
Yesterday, we met our friends, and local jazz organ trio, Garage Voice for an incredible brunch in their Greenwood house. They showed us the best local clubs, as well as the best breakfast potatoes, Seattle has to offer. I’m currently writing this in a house belonging to their friend Tim, another local musician that has generously donated his basement rehearsal space to us for a couple hours. We needed a space to practice before our performance on KEXP (Tuesday, 9:30 am, PST) and Tim stepped up to the plate for us. They’re just two examples of the warmth and hospitality that we’ve found in a city famous for its gray and rainy winters. Every café, bar or house we’ve played in has introduced us to some amazing people, all receptive and helpful to a group of strangers from San Francisco. They say there’s no place like home, but Seattle is a pretty awesome getaway.
I’m about to jump back on my drums. We’ll be sure to keep you all updated every step of the way. Thanks for following us on the journey.
From Laura: daily roundup, ode to The DukeJanuary 6, 2012
The our first week here in Seattle is coming to an end and I have to say, I’m surprised at how easily all of us have adapted to the environment up here. It was a little at tricky at first, since the six of us are sharing a basement rec room (coordinating showers is still proving to be a challenge) and are used to getting much less alone time, but now we’ve found our rhythm and everything’s going smoothly. We’re really excited to be playing on KEXP next Tuesday and for all of our upcoming concerts here in the city.
Last night we played a pretty incredible open mic at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center. Our friend Serena (who writes Grassroots Travel guides) recommended we check it out, so when we found out they had an open mic, we were anxious to participate. Upon our arrival, we discovered two things: not only was the open mic an all arts open mic, but there was also a bake sale coinciding with it. Many bands have issues with drug and alcohol abuse. Our band struggles with a severe addiction to sugar. So we kicked off the open mic with a hefty sampler of the bake sale confections. Three words: cinnamon roll cookies.
One great thing about an all arts open mic is that it provides a very diverse experience for those of us (read: me) who have focus issues. Last night, we saw poets, dancers, musicians, and puppeteers. Both attendees and participants were very supportive and welcoming to everyone, so the atmosphere was inspiring and infectious.
One performer in particular stood out to me: a poet who faced her stage fright head on before reciting her poem. She described everything she was feeling to the audience; butterflies in her stomach, sweaty palms, shaky voice. As someone who has battled stage fright, I really admired her courage and how she chose to confront her fear. Once she began reciting her poem, her words seemed to empower her as she went along, so much so that by the end of the poem, it seemed as though all of her jitters had been left behind. It was a really wonderful thing to experience as an audience member.
John and Liam are watching the first episode of Portlandia right now and every two minutes the room erupts in laughter. I’m intrigued, so I’ll leave you with this haiku in honor of our tour vehicle, The Duke:
Red, white, and blue champion
Behold now, The Duke!
Be well, and be happy!
From Lucas: Warm welcomes from the SeattlitesJanuary 5, 2012
They certainly weren’t kidding when they told me it rains a lot here. While moving into our month-long sublet in Kenmore, we were told that the weather patterns here does get a little tedious after a while and today I had an idea as to why. We were passing by an absolutely charming little park in Capitol Hill and the gang and I were noting how beautiful it was. I feel that rainy days wear down on people especially hard when you’re in a city as beautiful as Seattle. There are so many wonderful outdoor places here to explore yet only a limited time during the year to explore them, unless you don’t mind getting wet, that is. Despite the rain and the cold, however, I find myself irresistably charmed by this city and all it has to offer.
I think things are starting to gather a bit of steam in terms of attaining new shows and contacts here. We received some exciting news that we still be playing this Tuesday morning on KEPX, a well-known station in the area that will hopefully be a great way to share out music with listeners. It should be a great experience, made particularly memorable because we’ll have an 8 am call time for the show at 9:30 am. So … TFC bright eyed and bushy tailed!
Tonight’s show (#4) was at the Hopvine in Capitol Hill. It’s a really fun bar with a great crowd and great atmosphere. Owen, Charlie, and I did a little bit of pre-show reconnaissance in the afternoon and upon entering we saw that the stage would prove to be one of the smallest spaces that we will have played in. We spent the afternoon at a cozy cafe called Victrola about one block away from Hopvine where we did some computer work, ordered coffee and tea, and ran errands. So began our flyer-ing. While we took turns flying different parts of the city, Owen, Charlie, and my adventure took us to some really awesome records stores, bars, restaurants, and a frozen custard store where Charlie introduced me to the deliciousness that is frozen custard. Win.
We had a great time playing a few songs tonight and we were well received by an already welcoming Seattle audience! Afterwards, Liam and I were apparently recognized by a fellow performer, the barista at Victrola. Apparently the reason he remembered us, as he explained, was because “Gibraltars are only ordered by Californians.” Tonight was a good night, a welcome end to a long but productive day. We all came home in high spirits, looking forward to tomorrow where we get to do this all over again
Until next week for me, good night all and I hope you are well!
From John: Q Cafe, our cozy living situationJanuary 4, 2012
We’ve been in Seattle almost a week now and It feels like we’ve all finally hit a rhythm in terms of our living situation. For me personally, it has been hard adjusting to the almost no privacy set up that we will have to endure for the next month. Imagine fives dudes and one girl all sharing a downstairs living room with one bathroom. Add 6 camping pads and sleeping bags, and you got The Family Crest living in Seattle. I can’t complain though. We’re on the road doing what we want to do and I can’t be more excited about that.
Today we started our day in Uptown Espresso in Queen Anne (starting to seem like a normal routine). I chatted with the barista there about barista stuff (until now I had been employed by Starbucks), and when he asked me what I was doing now, I told him about the band and our Seattle project. I gave him a card and sat down thinking nothing of it. About a minute later, I noticed that Sell Yourself Lightly was being played on their in-house sound system. Needless to say I was super excited to hear our music being played in a cafe.
After that we headed to Q-Cafe in North Queen Anne to play their open mic. This is a very beautiful cafe with a great vibe. Not too many people showed up since it’s the beginning of the year, but the acts that were there were top notch. Most of them knew each other and all jammed out playing blues hits and original tunes. We had a great time playing, hanging out and drinking coffee (they served Stumptown, Liam’s favorite).
Who knows what tomorrow’s show will bring, but all I know is that I’m excited to play, getting an opportunity to share our music with the people of Seattle.
Until Next Time,
From Owen: Classical Revolution SeattleJanuary 3, 2012
Day 3 in Seattle. The rain has graciously stopped, and it’s actually decently warm, albeit overcast. We played last night at Classical Revolution Seattle’s 1 year anniversary and had a blast. The venue was the Faire Gallery Café, which is a hip spot; it was very cozy and we didn’t have a ton of people there but we made some friends and had a good time. Liam is thankfully getting over his sickness, although his voice still sounds more baritone than usual. Last night felt like the first time we had actually played fully together in a while, and I think everyone had a great time, judging by the grins from the band. I feel like we’ve all been caught up in tour logistics a little bit, and it served as a nice reminder to all of us why we are up here in the first place. I feel like we are getting a bit more into a rhythm here, and I’m getting excited.
Today we are going to put up some flyers and then we are playing at Q Café tonight, which I have heard great things about. I am very excited to play for the Seattlites and see what the music scene up here feels like.
From Liam: New Year, New TourJanuary 2, 2012
First off… Happy New Year!!! Yes. So… we’re finally here. Seattle. Gorgeous.
After 2 days on the road, John, Owen, Lucas and I met up with Charlie and Laura in Sea-Tac, and now… Seattle. I swear, after all the planning you’d think that the trip up would be the easy part, but of course I (after a year of absolutely no illness), the singer of the group, would get a seriously terrible throat cold the day I left for a tour that would have me sing every day for a month straight. Mer. Still, it’s gorgeous up here and I’m on the mend.
I’m really looking forward to this month, especially after the success of our September series that we did in SF back in September. We met a ton of amazing people, gained some awesome new fans and to our surprise, became a much tighter group musically and emotionally. In an acoustic setting you really get a chance to hear every nook and cranny of the individual instruments and their players… so by essentially rehearsing with the group every day (sometimes twice)… we became much more solid as a group. So yes… so many reasons to be excited. Did I mention my sister Lin lives here?! Yeah. I never get to see her, so it’s going to be really cool to spend a bit of time with her in her neck of the woods. She had a pretty profound effect on my musical taste, so it’ll also be awesome to see what she’s listening too these days.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand… Seattle. After a night drive to Redding, we did a brief stint in Portland with an Extended Family member (Britney Kaplan!) and some Stumptown coffee. Fantastic. After spending my New Year’s Eve sick in bed, the boys had a blast at the local Denny’s bar (yup), and then we were finally in the thick of things here in Seattle. We met up with Lin in the Queen Anne District and grabbed a bite at a local breakfast haunt, Citizen. Amazing crepes. Due to me being sick I wasn’t able to try out any coffee… but still, great food. You can’t really go wrong with goat cheese, asparagus and bacon, right? Afterwards we made our way out into the heart of Queen Anne to do some work at a local coffee shop, Uptown Coffee. I broke off to see the doctor while the rest of the bunch did a bit of research on local record stores… It’s amazing, the few record stores we’ve checked out as of yet are HUGE and run by really nice people. Actually, come to think of it everyone in Seattle so far has been pretty damn nice. Go Seattle. Boom. Yes, so after the doctor told me to take some medicine for my throat and rest (duh), I met up with TFC and we headed off to our first show in Seattle. As much as playing an actual venue would seem to be the obvious choice for a series kick off we decided to do something similar to what we did in our September series. We chose an outdoor location. Kerry Park is a bad ass park on a hill overlooking the entire city. It was freezing and dark, but due to the randomly amazing weather, it was surprisingly clear. We ran through a few tunes and played to a small group of people that stayed to watch at the top of the hill. Perfect way to start the month.
Featured Extended Family Member: Sophie HuetDecember 6, 2011
All of us in The Family Crest are lucky to work with so many talented musicians. In light of that, we’ve decided to start featuring our wonderful Extended Family members every other week, so that you can get to know them as well as we have. First up is clarinetist Sophie Huet. To learn more about Sophie’s new music collective, Wild Rumpus, her expert insider advice on where to go in Paris, and what’s playing on her iPod, read on!
TFC: What is your earliest musical memory?
SH: When my sister and I were little, we would put on Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and dance to it in the living room. When I say dance, I really mean we had a choreographed depiction of the story. We each had our assigned characters and would act out the story with the music.
TFC: When did you start playing music and why did you choose to play the clarinet?
SH: I started playing the piano when I was around 5 or 6. When I was starting 5th grade, I joined the after-school band program and had to pick an instrument. I didn’t want to play a brass instrument because that was for boys, and I didn’t want to play the flute because all the girls played that, so the clarinet was a good middle ground! And that was that.
TFC: What is your proudest musical moment?
SH: That’s tough- there are a lot to choose from! I think one of my favorites is still playing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time at the Cafe Revolution in the Mission. The venue is really casual- you’re playing in a bar- and generally fairly noisy. That we got everyone to shut up and listen was really incredible; there were points in that piece where you could have heard a pin drop. The piece itself is also simply incredible and really powerful, and having the opportunity to perform it with the great musicians I did was an amazing experience.
TFC: How did you get involved with The Family Crest?
SH: I met Liam and John on my birthday, two years ago. I was friends with Owen and Evan and others on the record through the Conservatory, and we all ended up at this bar on my birthday, just hanging out. I met Liam, and at one point he asked me, oh what do you play? And when I said the clarinet, he got super excited and told me, We’ve been looking for a clarinetist to record on our album! You want to play with us? I said sure, and that was that!
TFC: What kind of music are you listening to right now?
SH: Right now, I’m wading through a ton of new music composers. I’m in a new music group, Wild Rumpus, and part of what we’re doing is picking a couple young and emerging composers to commission for our spring concert. We had an open call for composers to submit works, and we ended up with 213 submissions! Now, of course, we have to sort through all of them to find a few we really like. It’s been really really interesting, just to hear the huge variety of music that people are writing nowadays. Other than that, I listen to a lot of different kinds of music- anything that really grabs me.
TFC: If you had to pick one artist to recommend that everyone listen to, who would it be?
SH: You mean other than The Family Crest? At this moment, it would probably be this great alt-bluegrass group, Crooked Still. Super fun group, with banjo, cello, bass, fiddle, and voice. I wish I could sing like the lead singer. They have a great dynamic and this infectious, toe-tapping, get-up-and-dance music that’s irresistible.
TFC: Is there anything about you that people are surprised to find out about?
SH: People are generally surprised to find out that I speak French fluently and have since childhood. My father’s French and I have a lot of family over there. I also lived in Paris for a year after finishing graduate school.
TFC: Since you lived in Paris for a while, we have to ask: If you were to go back and could only visit one place (a restaurant, museum, etc) where would you go and why?
SH: Only one place? That’s really hard! I’d go to the bakery by my apartment, just for these ridiculously intense chocolate cake things, or retrace the walks I took from my apartment to the Seine and back, or revisit the American Library in Paris. However, if I really had to pick only one, I’d probably go back to this amazing Laotian restaurant, Lao Lane Xang 2, in the 13th Arondissement (I’d cheat and walk there, so I could see more). I befriended the owner while I was there, and every time my friends and I would go, we’d end up with free sake and great tips on other restaurants to eat at. And the food is simply amazing.
TFC: Do you have any upcoming shows?
SH: My next show, which I am super excited about, is Wild Rumpus‘s first concert on December 10 at the ODC in San Francisco. This group, which is a new music composer collective, has commissioned 4 young and emerging composers to write for us, as well as 3 other pieces that have previously been performed. There’s a good amount of variety on the program, and all the pieces are really awesome. If you’re interested in new music, you really should come!
TFC: If you were a color, what color would you be?
SH: I think I’d be some sort of dark lavender purple color. Or something in the vicinity of wine-red.
'North' live at the Rickshaw StopSeptember 4, 2011
Electric FeelAugust 14, 2011
This is what happens when we take an almost completely electronic song and make it completely acoustic. Click here to check out our Vimeo Channel. More videos coming soon.
'Sell Yourself Lightly'August 8, 2011
New and improved blog coming soon.July 1, 2011
Check out this blog section in the near future for daily micro updates straight from Liam (and maybe others every once in a while).
Rodent to RodentFebruary 22, 2011
So this is a few days too late… but better late than never right?
On Saturday night John, Sarah and I had the pleasure of seeing our Extended Family member, Matthew Joseph Payne, share the stage with his father, Sparky, for a once in a lifetime concert experience called Rodent to Rodent. The story leading up to this event is literally one of the most awesomely touching things I’ve ever heard. I’ve included a video beneath that will give you the whole story, but to summarize… Matt didn’t meet his father until about 8 months ago. When his mother passed away, one of her friends thought that it’d be nice for him to be able to contact his father… and passed on the information. They communicated over a few weeks and decided to meet up. Upon meeting they were shocked to find out that not only did they look eerily similar, but both of them shared an insanely huge love of music. After a few meetings Sparky gave Matt some copies of his records including an album that he never released called Rodent to Rodent. Matt quickly found inspiration in Rodent and quickly took it upon himself to rewrite and record a few new versions of some of the tracks. Sparky was thrilled upon his first listen through and from this he and Matt decided to put on a concert. So yes… the concert that we watched was the end result of this collaboration. I think the most moving part of the whole thing was the fact that Sparky wrote his album in 1984, the year Matt was born… and though he had plenty of chances to release it, he never felt like it was time. In his own words it was like he, “had to meet his son to finish his record.”
- To listen to Rodent to Rodent by Sparky Grinstead Click Here – To listen to Rodent to Rodent by Matthew Joseph Payne Click Here -
Interview with Hear it LocalFebruary 18, 2011
So This morning John and I woke up bright and early after an 8 hour recording session to meet up with Jamie Freedman and Matt Lombardi of hearitlocal.com. Hear it local is an awesome online publication that focuses on what’s new in local music… really cool site and really cool staff writers. Anyway, we were completely honored that they asked us to be a part of a new video podcast interview series. Jamie Freedman basically picked our brains for a good 30 minutes… and they have to drop that down to 10 minutes… I’m sorry for being so long winded guys. Anyway, as soon as that’s available I’ll throw a link up and toss it into our videos section. Until then check out the extremely kind write up Jamie did on us a few weeks back by clicking… here.
Lucas is everywhere.February 17, 2011