An Interview With Matt Fazzi from TAKING BACK SUNDAY and ATLAS GENIUS About His Newest Groove Rock Band, RARE FUTURES!
Posted On 30 Mar 2016
Tag: All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Atlas Genius, Beatles, Casey Crescenzo, Dave Grohl, Dreams of Water, Foo Fighters, Gavin Castleton, Happy Body Slow Brain, Hope, Jellyfish, Justin Burgos, Matt Fazzi, Matt Rubano, O'Brother, Oregon, Paul McCartney, Portland, Radiohead, Rare Futures, Roland Orzabal, Rough N'Tumble Productions, Taking Back Sunday, Tears For Fears, The Dear Hunter, The Nerdist, The Pressure, This is your brain on love
Rare Futures is the latest groove rock band fronted by Matt Fazzi, who you may know from his time with Taking Back Sunday and Atlas Genius. The band just released their debut album, “This Is Your Brain On Love” last week.
The group, formerly known as Happy Body Slow Brain, began as a side-project attempting to combine Fazzi’s love of heavy rock rhythm, Motown soul, and 80′s synthesizers but soon evolved into something with even greater creative purpose. “Life had led me down a path where I felt that it was time for an artistic “rebirth” of sorts, to shed old expectations and old layers and start fresh with a clean slate,” explains Fazzi. “And so Rare Futures was born out of the desire to use knowledge from all my previous experiences to forge a new path.”
After two years with Taking Back Sunday, Fazzi immediately turned his full attention to his former project, self-releasing a full-length album, 2010′s Dreams Of Water, a mellow acoustic/B-sides EP (2012) and a charming LIVE EP (2014). The band has kept fans on their toes for years with hopes for a new album, and the time is finally right.
Learn more about Rare Futures in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So, now that we are 2 months into 2016, how’s the year been treating the band? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you all?
Thanks for having me! You know, we’re only just getting up and running really but so far, so good. We’ve had a video premiere for our first single “The Pressure” over with the people at The Nerdist which was really exciting and a great start for us to get the video and the new band name out into the ether. My good friend, Justin Burgos and his production team, Rough N’ Tumble Productions, spent a year and a half on the stop-motion space adventure that we cooked up together so it means a lot that the video has been embraced so positively. Another piece of news to be excited about is that we just announced tour-dates with The Dear Hunter in the spring which will be a blast.
Can you about how Rare Futures was first created? What made you want to start another band? How exactly did it start as an artistic rebirth?
I was finishing up a year where I had given a ton of my time and energy and creativity to other bands so I felt like I needed to take this year to refocus on my own music. The intention with changing the name was trying to update the whole thing and make it feel fresh again. I had been sitting on an album (This Is Your Brain On Love) for a long while that I was very proud of and that I thought deserved to see the light of day but it needed a new lease on life. I eventually was encouraged by some close friends to consider that maybe it was time for a name and message that spiritually resonated with the 2016 version of me, and when considering all my options, Rare Futures had the right hopeful tinge to it that empowered me to want to start again. New year, new me!
You just released your long-awaited album, “This Is Your Brain On Love.” Can you elaborate on the songs and the collection? How is this album different than anything you’ve previously released?
I spent a long time on writing and recording this album because I wanted to make sure I was making something that was a real growth from the last full-length, Dreams Of Water. I wanted to approach it similarly but attempt to chop some of the fat in certain areas and make certain elements stronger. With this album, I feel like it’s the purest representation of my musical personality and how eclectic my tastes and influences are. It’s the first album I’ve made that I truly grasped the importance of the production side and how much that enhances not only the emotions and moods of the songs, but also the listener’s overall experience.
I wanted this album to be a headphone record that takes the listener on a journey that they could repeat several times over and always uncover a new sprinkle of sound within. That’s what my favorite albums by bands like the Beatles, Tears For Fears, Radiohead, or Jellyfish did for me, they always kept me coming back to seek out something new because those albums were so rich with layers and details.
How do you think your experience as part of Taking Back Sunday and Atlas Genius helped you explore and be a part of Rare Futures? How is Rare Futures’ sound different then these two groups?
I think playing with TBS and Atlas and dealing with the major label side of being in a band has undoubtedly changed my outlook and approach when it comes to how I deal with my own music. At that level, there’s a whole lot to hands in the pie taking part in the business and artistic decisions so when it comes to RARE FUTURES, I’ve opted to try going the independent route to avoid that and maintain full creative control. With every band I’ve played in I’ve definitely learned invaluable lessons about myself as an artist and about the business of the music industry that I would never in a million years replace, and naturally along the way I’ve absorbed some small qualities of those bands that have bled into my music.
I think what makes RARE FUTURES different from previous bands like TBS and Atlas Genius is that we’re pushing the listener’s boundaries a little further in lots of different directions and not just sticking to one particular sonic lane.
What was it like working with fellow Taking Back Sunday alum, Matt Rubano on a few tracks on this album? Do you hope to continue working with alum from these bands?
Matt Rubano and I have so much fun when we’re playing music or creating so the whole time in the studio it’s always a barrel of laughs. It’s really a wonderful musical marriage when we get together because we have very similar tastes and sensibilities and I have great trust in him as a musician. Gavin Castleton, who’s another peer musician that I admire, guested on a song called “Hope” that changed a lot for the better when he added his parts to the track. So I most definitely plan on more collaborations with my favorite musicians on upcoming records because they bring different flavors to the mix that can really transform a tune.
Can you talk about the inspiration for your newly released stop-motion video for “The Pressure”? How creatively involved with all of it were you? This video took a long time to make, right?
As I mentioned briefly before, “The Pressure” music video took about a year and a half to complete in collaboration with the guys over at Rough N’ Tumble Productions who film in a garage near Portland, Oregon, using recycled and donated materials to build all of the sets, props and characters. Originally, I had come up with the pillars of the story based on visuals that I got from the song and then Justin Burgos from Rough N’ Tumble and I refined the story and details together from there. We really wanted a story that supported the weight of the lyrics and had meaning and so we connected it to real world with a global warming tilt to it. Justin and company really did such an amazing job bringing the story to life with so little budget to work with and also considering it was their first long-form project. They are doing magical things over there in that workshop and are going to be a big deal very soon.
Who are some musicians that continue to inspire you through the years? Who would you love to work with in the future?
I’m inspired by so many different musicians, but the ones I tend to model myself after most often are the jack-of-all-trades, nice-guy type musicians like Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney and Roland Orzabal (of Tears For Fears). On the indie level, the same thing goes for guys like Gavin Castleton and Casey Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter) who are huge inspirations because they are insanely prolific songwriters and make such incredibly rich and diverse music that’s from the soul. There’s just too many talented people to name!
Do you plan on touring a lot this year to support “This Is Your Brain On Love”? Where do you hope to go play at?
In a perfect world, we’d tour a bunch this year and really get out and organically grow the band from the ground up. Playing live is possibly my favorite thing to do as a musician so the more shows we can play, the better. As of now, beyond The Dear Hunter & O’Brother tour we’re doing in May and early June, I’m planning some West and East coast album release dates in July which will be our first headlining shows. I haven’t done a hometown gig in San Francisco in a long time so it will be nice to return with this new project.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of Rare Futures’ music? Is there anything that you hope listeners take away from these songs?
The music and lyrics are about reflecting inward, finding your spiritual self and your soul’s purpose and ultimately emanating love. The songs are meant to inspire finding your passion and chasing after it because life is extremely precious and short. In other words, do what you really love and f*ck all the rest!