Fair To Midland

Fair To Midland Session - July 2011

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This Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: May 8, 2011
Posting Date: July 18, 2011
Artist Hometown: Sulphur Springs, TX
Links: FairToMidland.com, Facebook, Twitter
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Musical Chairs
A Loophole In Limbo
Amarillo Sleeps On My Pillow
We were very pleased to have Fair To Midland join us for a rare acoustic set with three excellent songs from their new album Arrows & Anchors. The first two songs feature Darroh, Cliff and Matt, while the third sees the whole band join in.

ONE: What was the writing and recording process like for the new album “Arrows and Anchors”, and what was it like recording with Joe Barresi?
Matt: Internally, it was pretty much the same as making any other record before, in that we fought over everything, and there were a lot of push and pull and arguments, and it took forever to get into positions. Because we all have such different tastes, and we’re all so bull-headed about what we want. So as far as us writing together, I’d say the process was very much the same. Now, with regard to Joe Barresi, I think Brett had the best description of that…
Brett: It’s like making a record with your high school football coach. [laughs]
Jon: Whether that’s good or not, depends on who you talk to.
Matt: I had a good time.
Darroh: Making an album with us is always difficult. It doesn’t matter who it is.
Matt: We tend to try the producer’s patience.
MB: Is it worth having a producer, rather than to self produce?
Brett: Absolutely. You need that outside third party to mediate a bit.
Jon: He wasn’t really that involved when it came to arrangement and writing, it was just about capturing performances and getting you pissed off just enough to where you played the hell out of a part.
Cliff: Yeah, the end result on that record is amazing – way more than I would have ever expected for us. Taking so long to make an album, it sounds so great and put-together well. It just took a long time to get there, but it sounds awesome. Joe Barresi just does a really good job with the tones and everything.
Jon: He made the record SOUND really good.
TWO: What has been the inspiration for lyrical content on this album, compared to previous records? Do the songs come from the same place?
Darroh: It’s a lot more cynical. A lot darker. I don’t know. I’m on the inside, somebody else is gonna have better opinion on that.
Jon: We probably had a bad taste in our mouth from the experience we had with the prior record. And that definitely showed in the newer songs, in the environment that we were writing in, and the people that were around us.
Darroh: It also reflected and affected where we were at in our personal lives as well. We had no sense of security. We were scared to death. We went through different management, different booking and a different label. Everything changed. I mean, that affects our personal lives. That affects how we write music. That affects whether we’re smiling or gritting our teeth, and we’re gritting our teeth much more than smiling. [laughs]
THREE: You have toured nonstop and played all over the globe. How does North Texas compare to other places, as far as people being into it or just the entire experience of the city?
Darroh: It seems the scene has been dead for a little while. Unfortunately, there’s a ton of great bands that no one’s giving an effort to go see.
Jon: That’s kind of a tough question, since we’ve been playing North Texas for so long. It’s not like we’ve really gained a lot of new North Texas fans. The original ones have just been so loyal and stuck around. They all know what to expect and still want to hear it again, so they keep coming. So a North Texas show is always good.
Darroh: But there’s a lot of expectations to meet as well. I mean, we’d rather play where there’s no pre-conceived notions, as far as what kind of band we are, and how we’re gonna act on stage, because then you can do different stuff every night. You don’t have a basis of comparison. There isn’t as much pressure.
MB: What city, or area, has been the most immediately receptive?
Group: Flint, Michigan!
MB: Why do you think that is?
Darroh: I don’t know. We played there ONCE and the next time we were headlining.
Brett: It’s definitely a big blue collar, working-man type of town. I don’t know if that has an effect on it. It’s just a rock and roll town.
Jon: There’s only one venue in Flint that we play at. So I think a big majority of it is that the venue is so cool, people keep coming back for any show.
Brett: Word.
Darroh: I wouldn’t even care who’s playing. It’s more about the people.
Cliff: It all comes down to the people. I mean, after the first show I literally remembered like fifty of the people by name, so when all of those people come back we get stopped every five seconds there because everyone knows our names and we know all their names. It isn’t like a fan basis where they’re saying “Hey, your band is awesome dude” you know, they’re like “How have you been doing in your life?” and we ask them the same questions.
Darroh: AND they keep coming back when they know I’m homosexual.
Cliff: That should’ve been a quote, right there, for a live show. Finding out that they all thought he was homosexual.
Brett: Probably not good for the interview, but funny story.
Cliff: That went on for like three shows in a row.
Brett: All the staff there thought that Darroh was gay!
MB: He’s not?! [laughs]
Darroh: I’m bi-curious! [everyone laughs]
Brett: So, we’re in the owner’s office and he’s showing us YouTube videos or something and somebody makes a gay joke, and Darroh by pure coincidence walks out of the room right then and he’s like “Ah shit, did I make him mad?!”, and we’re like “What are you talking about dude?” and he’s like “He’s gay right?!” …uhhh “NO! He’s NOT gay!” And the best part is, it’s two brothers who own the place, so the one brother’s like “Hey Craig!… He’s not gay!”
Matt: Everybody relax!
Darroh: I never got a hug from his brother until after that!
Group: Oh, Flint!
Jon: So, Andrew’s not gay! No, I mean Darroh. Oh, he’s not gay either.
Darroh: My other personality is a raging flamer!