Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brooklyn indie-rock newcomers, Animal Years. Their debut album, Sun Will Rise, will be released worldwide on May 6th via The Orchard. It will be a Deluxe Edition with four never heard bonus tracks.
The Animal Years members include Mike McFadden (lead vocals, guitar, and banjo), Anthony Saladino (bass), Anthony Spinnato (drums) and Matt Indellicati (guitar). McFadden released 3 solo albums while living in Baltimore, MD, before moving to New York in October 2012. When McFadden moved to Brooklyn, he recruited former bandmate Saladino, and newcomers Spinnato and Indellicati to flesh out his sound at live shows. Thus creating, Animal Years.
Their first single out now just so happens to be “Leah” so I really had to jump at the opportunity to chat with the guys. In fact, that was the first question that I asked the front-man, Mike McFadden.
1. First, of all, since my name just so happens to be Leah, who exactly is the inspiration behind your song, “Leah”?
Great question! The song is about a one time encounter I had with someone years ago. Their name sounded a lot like Leah, but since some of the lyrics are kind of intense, I changed the name so that they wouldn’t find out I had wrote it about them.
2. There are 4 of you in the band. Do you always get along? How did you all first meet?
We do get along really well. Being a part of this band isn’t just about how great you can play an instrument. It’s important that we all mesh well since we spend a lot of our time together. Each of us has a completely different personality and it works really well. We are constantly laughing. I met Anthony Saladino down in North Carolina after a mutual friend was trying to put a band together. After Anthony graduated, he moved to New York and I followed soon after. Anthony Spinnato and Matt were both brought in to the band in New York through some mutual friends.
3. I see that this summer, you guys are headed to the East Coast for a short tour. Will you be extending this to go all over the US soon?
Right now we’re focusing on areas relatively close to our home base. Baltimore, DC, Boston, VA. Extending beyond that is definitely in the near future.
4. When and why did you start playing instruments?
I started playing music seriously in high school. I was never a good student and didn’t do well with sports. Music just seemed like the next thing to try. It came easy to me, unlike some of the other things I’d picked up in the past.
5. What is the hardest and best part about being in an unsigned band now?
Record labels certainly have their perks. The high profile gigs, tours, and press that come from them can be the momentum you need to get out there and be successful. Of course that can come at a cost, financially and creatively.
6. What musicians are you loving right now? Who are some newcomers that you think are going to be HUGE?
Off the top of my head: Sam Smith, The new Tokyo Police Club record, Jon Batiste, just to name a few.
7. How does your songwriting process work? Who is the poet in the group?
I wrote all of the words and music for this record while living in Baltimore. I brought it up here when I moved and built the band around it and together we developed our live sound and performance.
8. How do you balance your music with other obligations like family?
None of us are married or have kids. Our families know that to do what we do sacrifices need to made and they all support us.
9. Describe the music business today. Would you agree that the need for major labels is dwindling?
I believe that everyone’s situation is different. I think it’s important to do as much as you can to build your team and if you still think you need a label to make that final step, then do it. We’ve built an amazing supportive team around us, but we still wouldn’t rule out a label.
Free-wheeling, feel-good melodies and smooth ringing guitars shine on their debut album, Sun Will Rise and I for one cannot wait to hear Animal Years play live here in Los Angeles. For now, their tour remains on the East Coast. They will be hitting up the Black Cat in DC on May 7th and the Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) in New York City on May 10th. Be sure to check these talented musicians out if you have the chance!