Every week we feature a notable rising artist on the verge of success. This week we’re shining the spotlight on an independent band, with a conservative name, who actually take a liberal stance.
"We 100% support equality and diversity through our lives, music, and applicable legislation."
Rashie Rosenfarb and Matt Francis are Feral Conservatives.
Feral Conservatives have quite a diverse range on their 2012 debut album, Breaks and Mends.
The Replacements - Tim. This is probably my favorite album (and collectively, for the band) and in my opinion, the best side B in rock history. Like a lot of the Replacements discography, it boasts an eclectic blends of tunes—rockers, introspective numbers, ballad-types, even swing beat and shuffle—but it has some of the best college rock anthems between “Bastards of Young” and “Left of the Dial” to keep bands like us covering them for years. It’s rock and heart and world-play and still holds surprises with repeated listens.
MxPx - Life In General. This was a landmark album for me because it got me into aggressive music (while not sacrificing melody). Sure, my punk phase my have been sanitized through the fairly tame, unpolitical railings of a Christian-label band, but they instilled a love of fast music. Dissecting every note of this, my favorite album through high school, really turned my ears onto some basic production techniques like layered vocal harmonies and the bass as a melodic instrument. Not bad for a strictly guitar-drums-bass band. And I’m not sure if it is sad or appropriately un-cultured that “Chick Magnet” taught me the jazz triplet beat.
Motion City Soundtrack - Commit This To Memory. I really connected with it. Being a depressed teenager, the lyrics really stood out for making me not feel alone anymore. His voice really grabbed me, in genre where vocal talent isn’t necessarily a strong point—a really unique tone and pushed farther than their peers. Their energy live was unparalleled for me at the time.
What are your fondest musical memories?
I’ll give one for our band and one for a concert we experienced.
Before the Replacements ever reunited, in 2011, their original bassist (now a touring member of Guns ‘N’ Roses) Played this super intimate acoustic show in Alexandria, Virginia. It was incredible seeing such a scene figurehead, someone whose playing we’ve admired for so long (and with a super solid and under-the-radar post-Replacements solo career to boot). For his encore, he stood up on the bar, unplugged, and led the packed crowd in a sing-a-long to the Partridge Family. It was such an amazing moment, a connection between artist and audience with one of the coolest, most accomplished musicians.
As for us, on our last tour, we played this little dive in Philadelphia. The turn out was minimal to say the least, and the booze was flowing before the show. It was one of those shows where half the crowd are the other bands just being supportive and enjoying the tunes and atmosphere, and we just ended up having a blast. For our set, the entire audience came on stage with us and were just dancing and jumping, grabbing extra drum sticks and pounding on any surface they could find. I felt like I played both my worst and best set of the whole tour that night, maybe the whole year. It was transcendent; you want moments like that for the rest of your life.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
We’re really impacted by the 90’s. It seems really easy to kind of date yourself and go off on that tangent of “back in my day…” but it was this wholly different beast. People talk about connecting with the disposable pop music of their day (in other words the radio), and it’s nuts to think how that would describe Third Eye Blind, REM, the Cranberries, hell, even Nirvana. I think it was a great time for female fronted bands, featuring some great and unique vocalists but still fully encapsulating the band dynamic, not overshadowing it. The Sundays and Belly are big influences for us—there seemed to be this real mix of beauty and melancholy and darkness, while still being rocking and accessible, and that mix intrigues us to this day. We’re a band who fully embraces dualities and find they generate the most interest for us—the push and pull, the light and dark, the noise and melody—and that era seemed to really spark it. Even the idea that you could be a radio band, a mass-appeal band, without having to sand your rough edges off is appealing.
What is Feral Conservatives currently working on? Any new projects?
Our sophomore album is about 90% written. We’re demoing now and have a producer lined up and the general time frame booked. It definitely builds on what we started on the first record but I think we are even more so our own band, having found our sound. It’s strange to say because we’ve always been a band of influences—noise-rock here, garage here, and folk and piano here—but I think this one will be even more cohesive while being more eclectic, if that makes sense. Or it’ll make more sense. We’re really going to push the noise-folk, mandolin-indie thing and as a female-fronted garage band. It’s wholly exciting.
We’re playing a lot of shows and a lot more regional shows. We’re committed to taking care of our coast, even if it’s on weekends and one-offs, and are already planning to head back to DC, New York, Philly and get to Baltimore next year. Of course, we’ll playing around our hometown in Virginia Beach/Norfolk.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
Probably Mac McCaughan from Superchunk. It’s unprecedented to say he’s released some of the best music over the past 20 years — with Superchunk putting Chapel Hill on the map as a hub of indie music in the 90’s; solo and as Portatastic—his experimental side project; and of course his label, Merge Records, home to Arcade Fire, Spoon, Neutral Milk Hotel, and more. He’s definitely a huge influence for us for his indie charge and experimental sonics—and hell, maybe he’d sign us to Merge as part of the deal.
We love Feral Conservatives and we’re anxiously awaiting their next album, and potentially a more widespread American tour. We’re glad to have had the chance to talk to these two, and we expect great things from them in the future.