Quinn and Evan, of harmonic folk crooners, Fanno Creek, actually met on the river their band is named after. They were three years old, and I imagine they were already singing together and doing funny dances to make each other laugh. Dane came into the picture at Pacific University around 2006, and completed the energetic trifecta that performs today. Rip City Review sat down with the band to talk about their upcoming records, figuring out how to tweet, and The Kinks. Photo by Todd Walberg
Rip City Review: Can you describe your music?
Quinn Mulligan: Lyrically based, driven by melodies…folky.
Evan Hailstone: We’ve gotten folk-punk before, or junk-folk, which is a nice way of saying that we need to practice.
What is your process for writing music?
QM: I usually start with a guitar part, and start making up lyrics on top of it, recording layer after layer. In about 2-4 hours I’ll finish a song and bring it to the band where Dane puts his stank on it, Evan does the same. If I don’t finish a song in one sitting, I never finish it. I can’t get myself back into the mood of a song.
EH: I write a song on acoustic guitar and hand-write lyrics, I never record when I’m writing. Sometimes a song will get finished right away, but usually I’m not happy with the lyrics and it’ll take these two encouraging or bugging me to keep going.
Dane Brist: Evan will start playing one of his songs, and I’ll make up a drum part, but he’ll claim it’s not ready. I have to be persistent. Quinn goes non-stop until it’s done. It might be 2am and he’s pulling parts of my drum kit into his room.
How did you get the band together and start performing?
EH: It took a while for me and Quinn to get comfortable singing in public. We used to work at the same job, and we would go back to my mom’s garage in our matching uniforms, and practice singing until we didn’t hate the song, and figured we could perform in front of people.
QM: A lot of our harmonies and being able to sing together come from knowing each other for so long. The same goes for Dane; when we’re playing music on stage, we can give a quick glance and immediately know where the song is going.
Do your songs have a recurring theme?
EH: Quinn definitely has more personal songs, but we have a good amount that are about discontent with the state of our lives, or life in general in our time. The Kinks did that a lot. They told a story about a working class character and struggling to come to terms with their role in society.
What are some challenges you’ve faced as a band?
EH: The business side of being a band– no one particularly likes emailing, promotions, or booking, and you end up paying so much attention to Facebook and Twitter. You find yourself wondering why no one likes your post, and I’d really like to never think about that again. But then again, we got our first Rontoms show from a Tweet.
DB: We were watching Animal Eyes and Theo [sound @ Rontoms] tweeted back at us. It was right when we set up Twitter and it took me so long to write that message…I was proofreading hashtags.
QM:We’re not very proactive when it comes to the business side, but social media is huge at staying connected; it can be very helpful.
What’s up next for Fanno Creek?
QM: We’re working on a record now, and want to release something new every 6 months.
EH: We definitely have enough material. This record will be more mellow, and show another side of our music, then want an album that will capture the vibe of our lives shows, like our Banana Stand release.
How has the Portland scene affected the band since you moved here?
DB:I don’t think we would be where we are today without the great bands and friends we’ve met. You can go to any show and there’s 5 or 6 other bands there; it’s so supportive.
EH: We’ve become really close friends with Animal Eyes, and they basically offered up their practice space and equipment. It’s unbelievably generous and welcoming. I can’t imagine that any other scene in the U.S. is like this…everyone is looking out for each other.
Check them out this Saturday 3/3 at Doug Fir!