The Long Beach quartet Fathers & Suns recently announced the release date of the follow up to their acclaimed 2012 debut album “Mama Provides.” Their new album titled “&” (pronounced “Ampersand”) is set to be released on September 9th. We had a great pleasure of interviewing the band about all the details of the new album as well as their new single “The End is the Beginning” which drops July 7th.
LBI: Your new album is titled “&” (pronounced “Ampersand”). Can you tell us a little about where the title came from? Does it have any kind of a special meaning for you guys?
Arturo (guitar, lead vocals): Early on, when we deciding on a band name, it boiled down to just “Fathers And Suns” or “Fathers & Suns.” We all were obviously, in the end, more attracted to the ampersand as a part to our name. Now it is, in my eyes, the correct way to write our band’s name. As we were halfway through recording this album without an album name, it just came to me. I thought it would help to finally make a sort of statement with “&”. It is, after all, the correct way to write our band’s name and we have dealt with many friends and fans still spelling it as “Fathers And Suns.” I hope it simply sheds some light on this subject. Jay was the first one that I told about the album title, he really dug it, so them I started to share with Luis and Jesus. The more I learn about history and the meaning of the logogram “&” and its usage, the more it brings a special meaning to me. Did you know that in film and credits for stories, screen plays etc., it indicates a closer collaboration than “and”?
Luis (drums): I just saw the album art placeholder that Jay put up on our private Bandcamp page, where he’s been uploading our current mixes, and I just fell in love with the simplicity of it – a black fancy ampersand, on a white background.
Jesus (guitar, lead vocals): To me, the significance of “&” is the constant evolution and the change that brings us together.
Jay (bass, vocals): Most obviously, the ampersand solidifies the stylization of our band’s name, with the “&” rather than with “and.” I think it’s up to every individual to make sense of what it means to be them, as the ampersand also carries the undercurrents of our band’s music, lyrics, ideas and intentions with itself. I like the idea that since the symbol represents the word “and”, for this record, it also signifies inclusiveness and openness. Openness to the world, to alternative ideas, to always seeking and striving to grow and be better.
The first single from the album “The End is the Beginning” is being released on July 7th. Can you tell us a little about the song and what made you guys choose it as the lead single?
Arturo: I enjoy playing the song and always see positive reactions when we play it. It’s the first song Jesus and I wrote together. It has become a favorite for many of my friends and so it just was a natural for it to be first on the list when we thought of releasing it as a single.
Jay: The song just has a very spiritual feel that makes it pretty epic. It’s a highlight of the Jesus-Arturo chemistry: the unison vocals, the interlocking guitar parts. It puts you in a trance and it’s such a beautiful piece of music, yet so simple. I think it’s a great first representation, sonically and lyrically, of what people should expect from this album.
Luis: I think this is the first song I heard the guys perform, when I was thinking of joining the band (Program Love). I thought it was so cute, sitting at The Ultramegazone indie book store, oh so many years ago, listening to the Art and Jesus’ dynamic. Yes, a simple, but effective song. And, lyrically, it beckons the “don’t be scared of change” theme I felt at the time, whenever I hung out at the Chestnut House with those guys.
Jesus: As the title says, “The End is the Beginning” is just the point where the ultimate truth of the end will ultimately reveal a true beginning into something mysteriously beautiful and frightening.
You have also announced that a second single called “The Beat” will be released on August 8th, about a month before the album is released. What was the thought process behind releasing two singles before the album drops? Is it to build a steady buzz? We’ve noticed that many bands have been having a lot of success with this release pattern lately.
Jesus: When it comes to other bands and their methods of accumulating their successes, we’re not really focused on the patterns of what makes someone else successful. We’re genuinely trying to improve and commit ourselves to the love of the craft.
Jay: As Jesus said, I don’t think we paid particular attention to any pattern. The play on numbers just came out of thin air. There was talk to release two singles and we voted and decided on these two. Given that we have about three months before the album release, we figured we’ll release one single a month for the first two months and then the complete album.
Arturo: I guess it was about creating a buzz, I like the idea that you can send singles out into the world and give people a taste for what is cooking.
Luis: At the time we decided to release the singles, I was enthralled with the way way Lana Del Rey had been releasing her singles. So, I was pushing quite a bit. It wasn’t calculated, per se. But, I did want to create the same kind of excitement I was feeling, in anticipation to her “Ultraviolence” album.
In our last interview we talked a little about the evolution of the band’s sound since your first album. Now that the new album “&” is just about finished can you tell us a little more about how the sound has evolved?
Arturo: The album is not 100% finished. New guitars, amps and recording equipment has really helped our sound evolve.
Jesus: In general, most artists don’t want to be condemned to their past works, but embrace the faults and successes of our previous record. So we build upon it to further develop the fundamental layers and grow from our past experiences.
Luis: Something we didn’t touch on before, either, is acquiring our rehearsal space (Fat Sun Studio). When we put together the songs for the last album, we were at the Chestnut House trying to be quiet for the neighbors – bongos and acoustic guitars, mostly. Now with our own rehearsal space, we can rock out quite a bit. That’s definitely had an effect on the feel of the songs. Also, the album is a bit darker, musically and lyrically. I think it’s important to acknowledge that side of life; hopefully we’re not dwelling.
Jay: Rather than just focusing on the sound evolution, I think it’s worth mentioning that we have become an even tighter, better-communicating and more cohesive unit. To me, that’s the evolution taking place. Yes, the sound is definitely evolving due to the aforementioned reasons as well, but the true evolving lies in how the individuals, their present psychological, emotional and spiritual states, and their instruments all come together to become the sound of Fathers & Suns.
We know that you have been playing several songs from the new record at your live shows. How have the fans been reacting to the new songs? Do you guys have a favorite song from the new album that you like to play?
Arturo: Reactions to our new songs have been positive, I’ve had several people come to me after shows and ask for song titles as they sing the melodies to them. It seems they are catching on. Nothing but positive reactions, no tomatoes on stage. I really enjoy playing “Don’t Let Me Slide.”
Jesus: Well, the audiences are certainly not throwing bottles or tomatoes, they enjoy the songs and remember them and sing along. My favorite song to play is “The Beat”. It’s still pretty fresh to the audience and I love to play it ’cause I always wanna dance to it. It livens me up and then I don’t wanna stop.
Luis: When we premiered “Abstract Bear” at the inaugural night for The Getdown at the Federal Bar in Long Beach, the crowd had a genuine reaction to it.
That song is my favorite to play, for sure. It’s weird, it’s quirky, it’s dark. People have been requesting “Shimmering On” quite a bit, too.
On what formats will the new album be released? Where will the album be available?
Arturo: Digital and CD. There is talk of doing a vinyl too, but we have yet to see if we can cost it out according to our budget.
Jay: The album will mainly be available through our website, http://fathersandsuns.com/, and also several independent music stores, namely Fingerprints. As far as a vinyl release, we will have to decide whether the vinyl version will contain all the songs, because as is, the album will have to be pressed on two separate vinyls because of logistical issues, such as play time and a higher fidelity. That’s aside from having to re-master it separately and specifically for the physical restrictions of vinyl. And since it’s all a little more complicated, it’ll likely take longer to see “&” on vinyl.
Luis: We’re also pressing skin-implantable RFID versions, for the lull before The Kurzweilian Singularity.
What are you plans after the album is released? Any more thought given to a local record release party or a tour?
Jay: There is already something in the works for a local record release, but we cannot share any details yet. But we will make an announcement once it’s finalized.
Jesus: There are no plans for a tour, however we’re open to the possibility of it.
Luis: We’ve talked about doing a local record store “tour” and possibly doing some local book shops, in and around: Long Beach, L.A., the Inland Empire and Ventura County, perhaps.[adrotate banner=”4″]