Celebrating its 12th anniversary, the OC Music Awards kicks off on January 8th with eight weeks of free showcases at different venues across the county. 35 local artists will compete for the titles of Best Live Band and a performance slot at the 2013 OC Music Awards, March 9th at the City National Grove of Anaheim.
Orange County’s Fellow Bohemians Alex Bostelman ( vocals, guitar, piano, percussion), Jeremy Brock (vocals, guitar, percussion), Dave Pelusi (vocals, bass, percussion), Adrian Sanchez (guitar), and Greg Anderson (drums, percussion) are an indie folk-pop five-piece that heralds the sun, or at least that’s what their warmly-wistful “Stones In A River” prophesies.
Astride a solar chariot of vibrant sound that blazes brightly across the brain, the song is a study in lush, carefully-crafted melodies with a slight Shins-esque quality, but with an empowered percussive stride that turns the free-spirited jingle-jangle into something universally catchy; vividly emotional lyrics act as a soulful counterpoint to the sonic sol.
Over e-mail, Fellow Bohemian talked about their uplifting, unique sound, their inception, and what songs they like to make-out to. Because when you bring around a friendly fire and a bit of happy hippie joy mixed with a soul-grinding rhythm like Fellow Bohemian does, it’s only natural clothes are shed.
How did the band start? ( How did you meet each other? How long have you been playing together?, etc.)
ALEX: Most of us have known each other since high school or earlier – with the exception of Greg – who Adrian and I had met through mutual friends. I brought all the guys together in May 2012, and the timing seemed to work perfectly. I had been writing a lot and experimenting with recording while I was at UC Santa Barbara; Jeremy had just finished a long stretch of shows with his band, I Hate You Just Kidding; Dave had recently moved back from Philly (where he is originally from); Adrian was playing with a few different local bands, while studying music at Cal State Long Beach; Greg had been doing percussion for a few local bands and was looking for a more committed project.
JEREMY: After our first practice together, Alex decided to book our first show with roughly 30 days notice… so we moved pretty quickly to learn enough of his songs for a full set. We’ve been working on writing new material as a group, though… incorporating new elements from each member’s musical tastes. We’ve got a handful of new songs that we’re super excited about and I think they’re going to help define the future sound of Fellow Bohemian.
What albums/eps do you currently have out right now? Have you toured?
ALEX: We just released our first single “Stones In A River” in October. We had made plans to do a lot of recording in November and December, but Adrian had an accident and tore the AC Ligament in his shoulder, so we decided to postpone that until after the new year. At the moment, we have a stretch of shows in January, and we’re probably going to do a little tour up the California coast closer to Summer.
Describe the songwriting process. Please also describe the meaning of one of the songs in detail. (What does the song mean to you? Who wrote it?, etc.)
ALEX: I wrote “Stones In A River” in 2010 while I was at UC Santa Barbara. It was kind of an interesting transformation, because I originally wrote it on the mandolin, set to a swingy, delta-blues stomp. But with the collaboration of the full band, and a little change in musical perspective, the song took on a whole new energy.
ADRIAN: So far Alex has come up with the majority of complete songs, but we have a few now that have been a total band effort and the whole process is very collaborative and comes from the chemistry we have with each other.
DAVE: It’s pretty much what Adrian and Jeremy said. Alex has definitely put his foot forward with a lot of song ideas and we have made them our own and continue to progress with the songwriting as a cohesive unit. It all mixes really well together. A basic song idea can branch out into many things whether we’re sitting and talking about it or coming up with a bit for a song through jamming. It’s always a rewarding experience. There’s pretty much 100% communication between all of us before we completely decide on a part for a song.
JEREMY: We honestly don’t get together as much as we’d like to, but when we do, someone’s always playing something new… whether we want them to or not. haha
Name one of your craziest moment on tour or during a show?
ALEX: I’d say the craziest moment (so far) was when we played at La Cave in June. The stage is super small, and we had forgotten a mic stand, so we already felt a little off our game. Well, we ended up being short a few outlets, and accidentally created a circular current, so when we touched our strings and the microphone, we got electrocuted. I was definitely aware of what was happening, but despite my best interests, I was getting electrocuted during every song. It felt like someone was slapping me in the face. The only song I DIDN’T get shocked on, was our song “Tired”, where I play piano. But during THAT song, the mic stand broke, and I ended up having to put the mic in the front pocket of my shirt while I played piano. I spent the rest of the song singing into my pocket.
Labels are cliche these days, but what have people described your music as? What’s the weirdest description you’ve heard? How would you describe yourself?
ALEX: We get a few “progressive rock” comments, but we definitely don’t consider ourselves to be some crazy prog-rock band. We like that people kinda have a hard time describing our music. So do we. The weirdest ones for us, are when people compare us to BIG bands like: The Eagles, The Band, or The Beatles. But you take it with a grain of salt, because those usually come from older people. On the one hand, we do have obvious similarities like: multiple people singing, long songs with different parts, multiple guitarists. But those are also groups who have super extensive catalogues of music, that cover a wide range of styles. In the end you smile and say “thank you!” My favorite left-field comparison has been to the 80s band, Haircut 100.
DAVE: From what I’ve been told, people compare us to a lot of popular indie bands out right now making their way around the world as well as telling us that our music is simply pure fun and very energetic. Whenever people ask me what we sound like or what type of music we are, I go with the obvious indie label but I like to throw in that we’re very rhythmic and full of fun, jangly guitar melodies. For me the rhythm aspect of it is pretty substantial. We’re rhythmically conscious on pretty much all levels and I have more fun each time we play.
Going off that, what are some of your collective influences?
JEREMY: Individually, I think our influences tend to be a bit different from each other. The guitar style I bring to the band kinda comes from a Joey Santiago or Johnny Greenwood point of view. Simple, textured rhythm and leads and noise.
DAVE: Overall I listen to mostly British alternative rock/electronica, but stylistically my influence for bass playing comes pretty much from John Taylor of Duran Duran.
GREG: The Clash
ADRIAN: David Gilmour, Scott Henderson, George Harrison and Tom Verlaine.
ALEX: “Africa” by Toto….. and ONLY “Africa” by Toto
Favorite song to make out to.
ALEX: “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye??? Probably “Everything In Its Right Place” by Radiohead.
JEREMY: “Weird Era” by Deerhunter.
GREG: “Walk On The Wild Side” by Lou Reed
DAVE: “Kid For Today” by Boards of Canada
ADRIAN: “Hey” by The Pixies
Favorite food (or drink) that keeps the band going.
ADRIAN: Pizza and beer as a whole. Seven and sevens for me.
GREG: Also, Thai food.
GREG: Stephen Hawking.
ADRIAN: Mike Khalil.
ALEX: Hulk Hogan in the movie “Thunder In Paradise.”
What’s in the future for the band–real or fantastical?
ALEX: We’re excited about the new stuff we’re writing. I think we’re a band that will always look forward to the next songs we’re working on.
JEREMY: I can’t wait to take this band on the road, and maybe do a little tour up the coast this Spring/Summer after we release some new music.
GREG: Opening up for the Rolling Stones on their 50th Anniversary Tour.
DAVE: I agree with Jeremy. I wanna travel and play music with as many different personalities as possible. Also recording an EP within the next few months would be grand.
What does it mean for you to play for the OC Music Awards?
ALEX: It feels good to be recognized in our home town. Especially as a band that is so new. We’re just excited to play for more people and get our music out there, and play with some great bands.
DAVE: Alex pretty much stole the words out of my mouth. I also am excited because it’s going to be a great big gathering of friends and music. Two of my favorite things.
–Nadia Noir, KROQ Los Angeles
The 2013 Showcase Series runs every Tuesday night, January 8th-February 26th with stops at:
Jan 8 – Detroit Bar
Jan 15 – The District at Tustin Legacy
Jan 22 – The Slide Bar
Jan 29 – Constellation Room
Feb 5 – Tiki Bar
Feb 12 – Founders Hall
Feb 19 – Yost Theater
Feb 26 – House of Blues-Anaheim
LEARN MORE AT: OCMUSICAWARDS.COM