By Stephanie Stevens
FALLING THROUGH APRIL is a 5-Piece female fronted alternative rock from Charlotte, NC. Making some major noise and moves up rock charts with the single “DESPERATE MEASURES” these guys are ready to make 2018 the year for them, when they release their newest album, “ZODIAC.”
I had the chance to chat with the band about how the music has evolved, music video making and where they find inspiration for lyrics.
OTHER THAN HAVING A FEMALE IN THE BAND, HOW HAS YOUR BAND EVOLVED AND CHANGED MUSICIALLY SINCE THE 2015 “RISK & REWARDS” EP?
Dan: I love you for this question! Our sound as a whole has matured into a more commercially friendly and broader reaching product. When we formed in 2011 we came from such different backgrounds that our songs ended up as more of a Picasso than a Rembrandt. By 2014 we had really become comfortable with each other and really knew what to expect so Risks & Rewards was the beginning of that transformation to a unified well-oiled machine. Even though that was a great record, it still felt like it was missing something for us. Dave, Taylor, and I have wanted a female lead for a long time but it wasn’t until we met Mikaela that we really knew this was the sound we’ve been after for a long time.
WHO ARE EACH OF THE BAND MEMBERS’ TOP ROLE MODELS, AND WHAT GOT YOU INTO MUSIC?
Mikaela: I love Gwen Stefani for her style in music and fashion. Hayley Williams inspires me in many ways as well, I love her for her creativity and spirit. She’s transparent and passionate which makes an amazing artist in my opinion. Then there are bands like Brand New, Taking Back Sunday and Underoath who influenced me in the way I write my music and sing. Everybody in my family is musical so naturally I fell in love with creating my own music. You could always find instruments and a karaoke machine in our house so I was always encouraged to participate. From there I went on to writing my own songs on my acoustic and playing at open mics. But it wasn’t enough, I needed a full band. Eventually after years of searching for the right people, I came across FTA’s ad on craigslist. Now here we are!
Dan: I always wanted to play guitar, I asked my parents for one every year from the time I was 6! I have a really diverse background in music but my Dad pushed me to listen to bands like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, etc. Every time I would learn a song he would say “You’re not a REAL guitar player until you can play [insert next song here]”. It was a creative way to get me to keep expanding my musical palette. I always just wanted to impress him so I kept trying. My older brother was really big into heavier bands like Metallica and Pantera. I got really into the guitar work on older Metallica records and taught myself how to play to their catalog. If I had to pick just one (or two) top role models in music though I would say Michael Jackson and Dave Grohl
Taylor: Jose from Incubus and my Dad are my biggest role models. My dad plays drums so I had a natural interest growing up with him playing in bands.
Dave: Honestly my mom is the reason I really got into music. She kept pushing for one of her children to be musically gifted and I was the one that followed the path. Fell in love with it and never looked back. As for Role models, I would have to say it would be my Parents. Sounds corny but I really don’t look up to anyone else. They have always supported what I do and that’s huge.
Jim: Alice Cooper, Music was magic to me. It tapped into feelings I could not experience anywhere. It was an outlet to create and explore.
YOU GUYS SEEM TO HAVE A LOT OF POSITIVE AND EMPOWERING LYRICS GOING ON IN THE “DESPERATE MEASURES” SONG YOU JUST RELEASED. HOW DID THIS SONG COME TOGETHER LYRICALLY?
Mikaela: ‘DESPERATE MEASURES’ is a song that I wrote after I was fed up with being brought down by everything life was throwing my way. But in the pain, I found strength and realized we were meant to live more than an average life and I need to take back control. If you’re feeling trapped and hopeless then I’d hope this song would come to mind as an inspiration to keep fighting for the life you desire. Don’t let anybody dictate your dreams. We are strong and destined for something great. At the end of the day we need each other, whether we are against ourselves or the world. Divided we fall & together we conquer. DM is our anthem leading us to a better life.
SONGWRITING WISE – HOW DOES THE BAND WRITE? IS IT A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT?
Mikaela: Sometimes when I’m driving or just alone I think of lyrics describing the moment I’m in. I write them in one of the many notebooks I have so that I can continue the song some late night when I have picked the perfect track that the guys have written already. Then we get together to make any adjustments. So yes, we all have put our hearts and mind into every track.
Dave: It really depends, each song is its own unique process, but we tend to start off with someone coming in with an idea and just jamming to it to see if something sticks. Usually if it doesn’t feel right pretty quickly we move on. This record we wrote over 40 songs though and some of them literally started with just a bare bones as simple as possible guitar riff and we would try to layer on top of it. Everyone contributes to everything though, if we hear something that could be fine tuned or changed around.
DO YOU HAVE MORE OF A PASSION TO BE IN THE STUDIO AND RECORDING – OR WOULD YOU RATHER BE PLAYING THE SONGS LIVE AND TOURING?
Mikaela: There’s so much pressure in the studio to do it as close to perfect as you can. I feel like I can bring out more of my personality and have fun on stage. I would much rather scream my heart out in front of a crowd.
Dan: Live Live Live!!! There is a very different feeling between studio and live. In the studio I feel like I have more of an emotional connection but the feeling and adrenaline of playing live is nothing I think I’ve experienced anywhere else. Feeding off of the crowd I get reminded of going to festivals and discovering new bands or seeing my favorite ones live and it’s a bit nostalgic in a way
WHEN YOU GUYS WRITE, IS IT MORE OF WHAT YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO LYRICALLY GET OUT, OR HAVE YOU TAKEN ELEMENTS OF WHAT YOU HEARD FROM FANS, IN ORDER TO WRITE SONGS TO INSPIRE AND HELP THEM?
Mikaela: Most of my songs come from personal experience, and when I’m running dry I put myself in other people’s shoes. I want all my music to be relatable and encourage our fans.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER SONGS YOU CAN TALK ABOUT ON THE FORTHCOMING ALBUM, THAT YOU ARE REALLY EXCITED FOR PEOPLE TO HEAR? AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE TITLE “ZODIAC”?
Mikaela: I don’t know if I can pick just one! I’d have to choose ‘WITH YOU IN MIND’ because I think it will be motivational for the younger generation to step out of the social norm and to experience the real world. I’ve noticed myself becoming less connected and social when I’m trapped jumping from app to app rather than looking out the window and walking out the door to see the world for myself. I’ve met so many wonderful people and have had countless unforgettable experiences after I stepped out of my comfort zone and I hope ‘WITH YOU IN MIND’ will influence the same to anyone who hides behind their screens.
Dan: I’ll almost completely copy what Mikaela said. This record is such a big step for us musically and we truly believe there is something for just about everybody on it. “WITH YOU IN MIND” was a song I wrote when I was in a really dark place in my own head. Depressed, angry, confused, remorseful, disingenuous, and just about every other ‘dark’ emotion you can think of. I was so thankful this song made the cut and I think the final version of it portrays everything I envisioned when I put together the original version.
HOW WAS THE VIDEO SHOOT FOR “DESPERATE MEASURES” – ANY FUNNY STORIES OR UNUSUAL THINGS YOU WANT TO SHARE ABOUT THE SHOOT?
Mikaela: It was an incredible team bonding experience. We built the whole set ourselves by foraging for just about everything you see in the video and we had about 4 days to make it happen. It took us 2 days to set it up, one full day of shooting, like no joke we were up for 20 hours 5 days in a row, then a full day to break down and put everything back where we found it. Dan stepped on a rusty nail that was sticking out of one of the boards we had found the very first day we started building, so that was unfortunate! We were short-handed while Dan and Jim took a trip to the hospital but we kept pushing forward at full speed. The hardest part was filming the story line before the sun set because of natural lighting we had limited time. Then once the sun set we were shooting the performance scenes in complete darkness. I can look back at laugh about it now feeling very proud of the outcome, but this video had us shedding literal blood, sweat and tears!
DO YOU FEEL ANOTHER SINGLE WILL BE RELEASED BEFORE THE ALBUM RELEASE? IF YOU DO, WHAT WILL BE THE 2ND SINGLE?
Jim: We have the next single lined up for release, but not releasing until after the holidays. We ended up doing an acoustic version, that we also did a music video for and included that on this album as well. The song is called “BETTER OFF ALONE”.
YOUR PLAYING A FEW UPCOMING SHOWS IN NORTH CAROLINA – HAVE YOU SET UP A FULL TOUR YET, OR WAITING FOR THE ALBUM TO COME OUT?
Mikaela: We are actually in the planning phase of our next tour to support the album release. We are adding new shows regularly in the meantime and filling up our schedules to be in a city near (you) sooner than later!
YOU’VE TOURED WITH SOME GOOD BANDS – WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE BAND TO TOUR WITH, AND FAVORITE CITY OR STATE TO PLAY AND WHY?
Dan: The best part about touring for an extended period of time is that you turn into more of a family on the road. For me personally, touring with Adelitas Way with The Pretty Reckless was my favorite. We got really close with those guys and love them. We also got to hop on board the Axes & Anchors international cruise with them and Breaking Benjamin last year. Every now and then I’ll shoot Rick a text to catch up with him and see what’s new. Favorite state to play is ANYWHERE TEXAS. Texas knows how to bring it when we tour through there. We’ve played 5 sold out shows all in different cities and on different tours. They come ready for a rock show and throw down like it’s frat party!
WHAT’S THE BEST FASHION ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO THE MUSIC COMMUNITY?
Mikaela: Don’t blend in. Layers and Accessories really make you stand out. I wouldn’t be concerned with what others think, because deep down everybody admires people who have the confidence to be themselves. I don’t know if I had bad taste as a teen but I had a friend who said I can pull off the ugliest shoes/outfits. I guess it’s all about how you carry yourself, just have fun with it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO WEAR ON STAGE AND WHY?
Mikaela: It gets really hot on stage so I try to dress lightly. But shoes will make or break an outfit and with all the jumping and spinning I’m doing on stage, I need to have cool and comfortable shoes.
Dan: My favorite two outfits were during both of our Halloween shows. I was Wonder Woman this year (video/photos to prove it!) and then one year, we were the Village People. Entertainment is more than just getting on stage and playing music. People love to laugh and we aim to please, haha!
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WANT TO SHOUT OUT ABOUT YOUR HOMETOWN MUSIC COMMUNITY? ONE LOCAL BAND YOU WANT TO GIVE A SHOUT OUT TOO?
Mikaela: I currently live in Columbia, SC so I just want to tell all of them to turn off the radio and explore the underground scene on Spotify! I know of so many great artists on there that deserve some recognition. One in particular being Glass Mansions, who are also from Columbia, SC. It’s just 3 Members, 2 of them are newlyweds (so freaking sweet, congrats!) who share the desire and passion to make their own style of music. Their tracks are flawless!
HOW CAN FANS STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOU AND ANY WORDS YOU WANNA LEAVE YOUR FANS WITH?
Jim: We are very active on our social media accounts. Our accounts are run by us, the band, no one else so feel free to reach out and interact with us. We love it!
Upcoming Tour dates:
10/28/17 – Crown Central Station – Charlotte, NC
12/3/17 – The Milestone – Charlotte, NC
12/9/17 – Keg & Cue – Charlotte, NC
10/28/2017 Crown Station Halloween Bash Charlotte, NC
11/23/2017 Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade (Live on-air performance on WBTV, CBS Channel 3 in Charlotte, NC)
11/26/2017 The Grey Eagle Asheville, NC
12/03/2017 The Milestone Charlotte, NC
12/09/2017 Keg & Cue Charlotte, NC
Connect with FTA
Official Website: http://www.fallingthroughapril.com
Bands in Town: Falling Through April