The LA-Based Trio, FAIRGROUND SAINTS, Discuss Their Self-Titled Debut Album, Touring With Marc Broussard and Much More!
Posted On 21 Oct 2015
The Los Angeles-based trio, Fairground Saints consists of Mason Van Valin (vocals and guitar), Elijah Edwards (vocals, guitar, mandolin, keyboards, Dobro, accordion) and Megan McAllister (vocals, guitar, dulcimer).
“We gelled quickly and started making music together right away,” says McAllister, “it was almost like we were already family.”
The trio began getting songs together for their debut album and in 2014 landed a deal with The Verve Music Group/Universal Records to release it.
In making their album, “Fairground Saints”, the band shook off all inhibitions in their creativity, taking a playful approach in writing and recording. This allowed them to hold true to their vision of creating what McAllister calls a “very love-driven album.”
“There’s no filter on the emotion coming through in our songs,” notes Edwards, “they’re all based in visceral feeling, and the lyrics are as real as a conversation you could be having with an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend.”
For instance, “‘Ain’t Much for Lyin’ is a song about being with somebody else while you’re dating somebody,” says Van Valin, “it was my lack of bravery to have that conversation with my girlfriend at the time so I put it in a song.” However, in “Turn This Car Around,” where all three members wrote the lyrics, you get both sides of the story. “It’s kind of that back and forth story where you get it from his perspective and then her perspective,” McCallister explains.
The band recently performed at the Kaboo Festival and will be touring across the U.S. this fall with both Marc Broussard and Striking Matches to celebrate the release of their self-titled debut.
Learn more about this trio in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time! How’s your summer been going?
It’s been a fantastic and exciting summer! We released our first album and have been able to tour to some really cool places! -Megan
Growing up, did you always want to be in a band? How did you all meet each other? Why do you think you work so well together?
We all started young. My first memories of writing music are from when I was seven years old. I would record songs on my tape recorder. I even have recordings of myself saying, “when I grow up I’m going to live in California and be in a band” so when the guys contacted me about joining their band, I knew it was the fruition of that dream. They had been performing as a duo, and decided it might add a cool element to bring a female to the mix. They stumbled upon me on YouTube and the rest is history. I think we all work really well together because we all respect each other so much as musicians & from the first jam session we felt something kinda cosmic with the three of us coming together. We immediately felt like family. -Megan
What was it like finally released your debut album?
It was really surreal! We didn’t even realize what had happened until we started hearing people’s responses. It’s strange and beautiful and exciting all at the same time. -Eli
What was it like working with producer, Matthew Wilder on your record? How did that relationship come to be?
It was a very awesome experience. He knows how to make a record and he was so open to our creative ideas and directions. We met him through Mason’s sister’s friend. Through a strange turn of events, Mason’s sister introduced us to Matthew’s friend Glenn, who in turn introduced us to Matthew. -Eli
How has it been touring with Marc Broussard?
It has been a blast. Marc is such a wonderful person and has made us feel completely welcome. His fans have been so kind & fun! It seems to be a great fit and we’ve met some really cool people! We are so grateful and happy to have this experience. -Megan
How has your experience been like with the Verve Music Group?
It’s been really incredible. I think the coolest part about Verve is that we feel so completely like it’s a home away from home. You can walk in there and shoot the breeze with anyone even if it doesn’t necessarily have to do with the advancement of a career. It fully equipped with every professional aspect that you need to make a career successful but without the slightest shred of pretension that often comes along with that kind of prestige. – Mason
What artists have consistently inspired you and the band? Who would you love to work with in the future?
We are all really enthralled with Blake Mills. He is the definition of authentic and it would be really sweet to work with him someday in some capacity, whether it’s writing or producing. We also are huge Ben Howard fans and would over the moon to create something with him. -Megan
What has been the most surprising thing to you about the music industry?
I think the session players have been the most stunning thing. Being able to witness the highest level of professionalism possible is so incredibly humbling and completely stunning to witness. You walk into the studio, play a song once, and these guys have the whole thing logged in their brains. That blew me away. -Mason
What do you hope is the message of your music?
Our debut album is very love driven and most of the music we write is motivated by the love or lack there of in our lives. Love is something we all experience in some way and some point in our lives, so hope that people can find a connection to the stories in our music. Something that they can relate to. We hope that it will help people through the beautiful and sometimes tragic aspects of being in love. -Megan
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your music or the band?
I think one thing that’s really important to us is not ever being perceived as unobtainable or unreachable. When we are playing a show our greatest hope is that people would forget about the stage and the proverbial elevation that it creates.
We want people to listen to the music, watch the videos and think ” I feel likes could/I want to hang out with those guys” If we accomplish that and can touch people’s hearts empathetically with our music then we will have accomplished our goals as entertainers. – Mason