Unlike many other genres and music communities, the indie/alt culture appreciates new and rising artists that create diversity and new insights within the genre.
We constantly feature notable rising artists in the alternative scene on the verge of success. Meet this week’s artist: the Brooklyn psych-rockers Inner Outlaws
With 2 TODAY's REPLAYs (The Mark and Suzanna) and the inclusion on Permababy on the fan-favorite Obsession Mixtape, these guys have sort of become our partners-in-crime. Find out more about them and their take on all things alternative culture in our interview below.
Because it would be impossible to agree on three albums, we’ve each picked one album that inspired us to make music:
Ian - The Beatles Abbey Road
Emily - Spice Girls Spice
Duke - Slayer Seasons in the Abyss
Michael - Yo La Tengo Electr-O-Pura
Jake - Beck Odelay
What are your fondest musical memories?
As a band, playing a show on the rooftop of our studio last summer. As listeners: Pantera live, Fleetwood Mac live, and hearing Pink Floyd for the first time.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
The consensus is the seventies but Inner Outlaws is an eternal being with eternal tastes.
Can you tell us about each of your musical backgrounds before starting Inner Outlaws? How did those projects and groups help you form the Inner Outlaws sound? How did Inner Outlaws come together?
We all come from different places. Emily’s been a solo singer-songwriter for a while. Ian led an experimental folk group with a million different names and a million different members. Jake has been in a shit ton of bands. Michael was making unlistenable bedroom music. Duke had a post-rock project called Spaces--Jake and Ian played in their live band. Somewhere around three years ago we all came together and all of that just mushed together to create Inner Outlaws.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process?
Ian brings in an idea; the band builds a frame; we record the frame; we tear down the frame; we put it back together again.
Both your music and your Inner Outlaws aesthetic in general is very stylized and reflective of your psychedelic nature. This is especially true of your singles artwork. Tell us about the visual aspect of the group. How does this artwork come about? What makes it uniquely Inner Outlaws?
Ian makes all of the artwork for our singles. There’s no formula, but something usually pops in his head during the process of writing and recording and it all comes together the night before we release the track.
I’m a firm believer that the cities that artists are based in helps craft their sound. Can you describe to use the New York, specifically Brooklyn music scene? Is the city still supportive of indie and rising artists? How has New York inspired your sound, compared to where some of you are originally from (Florida and Colorado)?
New York City definitely inspires our music in ways that we probably don’t entirely understand, but we can’t say there’s much of a scene here. When you’re out in the middle of nowhere, going to see music and meeting like-minded musicians is all you've got--in the city, you’re basically just another nameless commodity to be shuffled around by venues.
In another interview you said about your Subterranean music studio, “the entire project would be impossible without it.” Tell us about this recording space? What was the recording process for your monthly releases like? How has this studio help craft your sound and aesthetic?
We rent out a room in a leaky Brooklyn basement that we share with some friends. We've all amassed varying amounts of equipment over the years, so we have a lot of stuff to choose from and mess around with. This is our practice space too, so it’s always been influential on our sound, but it’s a lot more noticeable now that we’re recording there too. And for the amount of time we spend dissecting and reassembling each song every month we’d spend a fortune on studio time.
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
Anything that gets our music in people’s hands is a good thing--you can stream and download all of our material for free. That being said, we’re still far from the Utopian future of democratized music.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
Juicy J because we get trippy.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
This year, we’re writing, recording, and releasing one song per month. The first few songs have been varied and bizarre--hopefully in a good way.
You’re releasing a new song every month for the rest of the year. I have spoken with other artists who are going this route, and it seems to be an effective trend. What motivated you to release your new material this way? Do you think this will be the future release process for indie artists?
Albums just don’t seem to make sense anymore, so we decided to try something different. But we really like working this way too: starting a new song from scratch each month (usually days after finishing the previous month’s song) forces us to experiment in a way that’s impossible when we’re scrambling to put together an album. We learned those lessons the hard way on I/O.
We’re coming up on festival season. Are you attending any as fans? What would your ideal festival lineup be?
We can neither confirm nor deny whether Inner Outlaws will evaporate if coming in contact with the sun. That being said, our ideal festival lineup would consist of seven Inner Outlaws sets.
Finally, a question we have been asking all of artists lately: which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?
Jake recommends Vesuvio Solo and Jacco Gardner. Ian still hasn't gotten over his obsession with Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love.
We'll be sure to keep you up to date with their Year of the Outlaw initiative every month this year, so stick with us for more. We should be getting the Month 5 track soon, so stay tuned. For now, listen to a track we haven't covered on the blog yet. Stream their first single off the Year of the Outlaw below, the January track Just Like Moonlight.