Heirlooms was one of the featured performers at the BOMB Festival in Hartford, CT this weekend. I sat down with them after their set to learn a little more about this up and coming Connecticut band. This six piece new americana band has a lot to offer and I expect to see and hear great things out of them. Their current line up is as follows and during the interview I refer to each member by their initials.
Jesse Stanford – Lead singer, guitar
Thomas Servidone- Lead guitar
Neal Spencer- Drums and percussion
Ciara Cohen- Violin, Vocals
Justin Kearney -guitar and keys
Brendan Cox- Bass
MVRemix: How long have you been together as a band and how long have you been performing together?
JS: We’ve been making music together for about an year and a half ago. And we started together by making a little record together and when the record was done we were really proud of it and we decided to stick together. We started practicing as a performing band for the first time. We started booking shows and it went from there.
MVRemix: I read that you are working on a full length. Do you have a projected release date for that?
JS: Nope. We’re doing it all ourselves so we have the liberty to take our time. We’re in an interesting place because we want to really enjoy playing show and in the summer there a lot of festivals like Bomb Fest and we want to participate in these types of shows. To make the record we want to make we have to go into hibernation a bit and stop playing shows for the most part. It’s been hard for us to cut off live shows but once the summer ends and it gets a bit colder, it seems like a more nature time for us to buckle down and go into the studio and really start working. We always working on our recordings but we’re going to really buckle down this winter. We’re hoping 2012, before the world ends and everything..
NS: In the meantime we just recorded and released a live EP that is going to be available online for free for download. It captures our live energy and we wanted to showcase that before we started recording the LP. It also helps us shape our songs. Check it out.
MVRemix: What else you have planned for the summer?
JS: June 7th we are playing the Wadsworth Anthemum with Amanda Shires. It’s a Manic Productions show. She’s from Texas and she’s going to be coming up to play here. We have a couple of other things in the works but check out website for more information.
MVRemix: How do you balance having full time work and your obligations to the band? I know that can be a challenge?
CC: We try to plan and look ahead at our schedule to see when we can get together. We try to get together a couple of times a week and we try use our time efficiently.
MVRemix: Cool. Let’s talk about Bomb Fest! Who have you liked so far and who are you looking forward to seeing?
JS: We haven’t seen a lot of shows so far because we’ve been preparing but some of our members just went an saw The Cool Kids and they really enjoyed that show. EmJae was another hip hop group from Hartford, who put on a great show.Real Estate is another really great band who is playing and I’m excited to see a band called Woods and to see Best Coast. I’m also really excited to see Tom eat all of the mix nuts.
NS: In regards to all of Bomb Fest, we are so thrilled to even be a part of this in any way shape or form. Everything is happening so quickly for us and things have really been coming together for us. People have really been jumping on board and our friends and family have been so supportive. We just feel really blessed to be a part of this event.
MVRemix: You guys have a really great street team who were handing out promotional zines. Is that a new promotional idea or is this a common event at your shows?
NS: This is a first one. Our friend Constanza put it together for us and she did all the art work. And what we did was have a huge street team meeting with, something like 20 of our friends and all of us together did the stapling and we burned a ton of live albums and putting things together. This is the kind of support we were talking about. It’s across the board and it’s incredible.
MVRemix: Do you have any shows that you are looking forward to seeing this summer in the CT area?
CC: Bon Iver at Mountain Park in MA.
JS: Dave Bazan at the Space on June 18th. Titus Andronicus, Okkerivill River at Toads Place.
CC: Josh Ritter is playing.
TS: Also, we have to just give a shout out to Mark Nussbaum at Manic Productions, he’s been doing a great job in CT and he’s really helped us out and getting us into Bomb Fest.
MVRemix: I’ve had people tell me that this is the best time to be an unsigned artist and I’ve had people tell me it’s the worst. Do you have a take on that?
TS: Let me just finish crewing these salty cashews..
JS: You chew like a sloth!
TS: I am a sloth… It’s a really great time to be recording independently but the catch is everyone is doing it. The ability to record yourself is becoming easier and easier so there’s a lot more out there. It becomes harder and harder to pick through the weeds. For us, recording by ourselves is a process that we can take our time with and we try to emphasize content rather than rushing for a release date. We want to put out something that lasts rather than rush to put just anything out.
JS: Just to piggy tail… I mean piggy back on that point. Sorry, I just had a ham sandwich… Tom was mentioning that there are so many band; everyone is in a band; which is awesome. It gives us the opportunity to play with a lot of awesome musicians and to watch and motivate other great musicians. But you really do have to go above and beyond to stand out and that’s what we are trying to do. Things like the zine we put together and other little things. Like, I’m really into putting together music and visual arts and just different kinds of media. I think that’s a it’s important to incorporate visual media and to include our friends and the community. Like, Brian Cook makes posters for us and our friend John Rosati makes our films and we have a lot of other friends who are great artists and help us out.
MVRemix: Yeah, you’re graphics are excellent. In comparison to some other unsigned artists your website and your promotional artwork is really well done.
JS: Yeah, we’ve put alot of thought into it and it’s really helped us out. I was just talking to a fan who found out about us because of one of our posters which is really cool. It’s hard to make people listen through just a poster but it’s really awesome when a poster or artwork brings a fan in.
MVRemix: I agree. How do you feel about building a fan base in Hartford? With such a small community, do you think it limits your prospects?
TS: We as a band are not going to succeed on our own. The big idea is to build a community of musician in Hartford because I think for the genre we’re in….[aside: a chair was knocked over and there was some discussion of pterodactyls]…The main idea is that all us musicians and artists need to come together to build a scene instead of doing it all on our own.
MVRemix: As, I’m sure you know, Connecticut is located right in the middle of two polarizing cities; two meccas for modern music. This can cause a bit of musician brain drain, if you will.. so let’s say, Heirlooms takes off, would you want to relocate or would it be important to keep your project grounded in Connecticut?
JS: Well, we always want to recognize our roots.
MVRemix: What kind of genre would you place yourselves into?
JS: That’s a tough questions. I don’t really know what New AMericana mean but I kind of gravitate towards that sort of genre. I think there’s a part of it that does it us, in a sense that we combine a traditional kind of folk but thats not the end of the process. The songs start as a kind of folk music but then they get put through a number of filters or channels. There’s electronic influences, indie… you name it. We bring so many tastes to it. So in the end we end up creating something new but also old. You can even tie that into our name. It was purposeful but it really connects.
MVRemix: Where did the name come from?
JS: It just was a name.
TS: We just go tired of trying to find a name
JS: We just got really sick of trying to figure out a name and I think someone was talking about going to an antiquing. We enjoy antiquing together
MVRemix: How New England-y of you?
JS: I know. Or you it could have been someone talking about gardening … heirloom tomatoes.. I don’t know it just seemed to fit aesthetically and it stuck.