Hares On The Mountain

Hares On The Mountain - March 2012

Hares On The Mountain Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: March 1, 2012
Posting Date: March 19, 2012
Artist Hometown: Denton, TX
Free Audio Download
Links: Facebook, Bandcamp, ReverbNation
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Matty Groves
Matilda Jones
ONE: I heard that you don’t really practice, but prefer to improvise in front of an audience until you get a song down. Is that true?
George Neal: Yeah, mostly.
Tony Ferraro: Most of the time.
George: I mean, occasionally I’ll teach the song to one or two people in the band.
Tony: Two or three people get together, and we’ll just go, “Yeah, it’s in A.”
Ryan Thomas Becker: And that’s enough.
Tony: We just practice on stage.
George: But there have been several songs that we just played on the spot. Yeah, I mean, it’s folk music, it’s three chords.
Tony: Don’t let people be fooled! It’s very challenging! It’s an art form, really.
Ryan: Well, there’s so much freedom to it. You can reinvent the tune every time you play it. Every show you can kind of…as long as you have the form, you can— maybe not even then. You can kind of just—
Tony: You can spill juice on the blueprint.
George: That’s the whole folk tradition, really.
Tony: Borrowing, playing, reinterpreting.
George: Well, that, but for example “Mattie Groves” has probably 70 significant versions with totally different melodies. They all tell the same core story—
Justin Collins: But the lyrics aren’t really consistent.
George: No!
JC: Everyone kind of bends it into the way that they want.
George: Like, Ralph Stanley has this version that’s unlike any other version of “Mattie Groves” I’ve ever heard.
Ryan: Mattie turns into a cat!
George: At the end of that version, he cuts off her head and then kicks it down the hall.
JC: Cool!
Ryan: Why aren’t we doing that one?
Tony: Where’s Ralph’s number? We should call him.
Corey Coleman: When members are missing, there’s always a different feeling.
Tony: Yeah, there’s shows where one or two people can’t show up, and we just kind of rewrite the songs more viciously sometimes.
Corey: You have real rock shows whenever me and Petra aren’t available.
George: It’s been a real lesson in arranging songs on the fly, which has been actually a lot of fun, because the songs themselves aren’t challenging but…we’re challenged. I mean really, if the song is good enough, any arrangement will work no matter how you present it, if it’s a good fucking song. And that’s the whole point about doing these old folk tunes. They’ve stood the test of time. I mean, we play a song that has a 500 year pedigree. You look at that song and it’s still around.
JC: It’s still around, and it’s been played every which way. We could not possibly fuck this up.
George: I mean, if you have a good song, you’ve got a good song. It doesn’t really matter.
TWO: You have been playing at Dan’s Silverleaf every Sunday for some time now. Do you have a different mindset for your Happy Hour shows than you do for your shows in the usual format?
Tony: Well, our regular shows are constructed differently than our Sunday shows. You know, we play for two hours on Sunday, it’s kind of free form. When there’s a show and we have a 45-minute slot, we usually pick which songs and which order…there’s more thought but into it, but…
JC: You have to pick the hits, because at the end of those shows we get signed every time.
Ryan: That’s why we play them.
George: I mean, this band basically boils down to having fun. It’s just having a good time and singing good songs and hanging out with your friends, you know? Playing in a band with people that you like and you like musically. That’s really what it boils down to. There’s no ulterior motive, there’s no sort of grand artistic vision or anything. It’s just having a good time.
Corey: It almost is like church sometimes.
George: It is.
Corey: We get people that come every Sunday to see us. That’s the thing those people want to do on Sunday. Come to the Hares show, it’s good.
JC: I don’t know if there’s a conscious meditation of approaching the show than you would approach any other show. I think that everybody is showing up and wants to hit all of the right notes and do good at playing music, which is consistent with any other show I’ve played with any of these people.
DJ: There’s no grand artistic vision, but there are puppets…
Corey: Aren’t those lost right now?
George: I lost the puppets.
Tony: How are puppets a grand artistic vision?
JC: If you don’t lose puppets, the puppetmakers are out of a job!
George: I made most of those puppets! My roommate and I made all of those puppets. Except the animal ones, but all the band…
Ryan: The animal ones are so good.
George: I know! And the fox is gone!
DJ: I didn’t mean to touch a nerve…
George: They were getting really nasty though. In a way, it’s good that they’re gone.
JC: There should have been latex sleeves we gave to wear before you put your hands into one of those puppets.
George: I should have sprayed them down somehow. We need Febreeze on the stage.
Tony: We should have sprayed them with some kind of weatherproof coating that is immune to bar floors and human hands.
Corey: Puppet Guard.
JC: And spray all of the hands going into the puppets.
Ryan: Like bowling shoes?
Tony: Yeah! What’s that spray?
Ryan: Bowling shoe spray.
JC: Does anyone have an ultra-violet light?
Tony: Oh no! So we can see the semen on the puppets?
George: Internal puppet semen.
Petra Kelly: No! I never thought about people ejaculating on our puppets until now.
Ryan: Oh yeah!
Tony: The puppets were a fun, interactive thing to do with the crowd. But now, they’re gone.
DJ: Can we expect more puppets in the future?
George: There will probably be more puppets.
Tony: Once we recover from the loss of our previous cast.
THREE: You have a new album out called It Will Only Hurt Forever. Can you tell us about it? How is it different from your first album?
George: We’re all on it.
JC: It’s actually this band.
Ryan: It’s a band record, and the first one was more of a…
George: The first one was a project.
Ryan: Yeah. And we didn’t have the name Hares on the Mountain. We didn’t know what was going on with the first album.
George: It was Ryan and myself in my garage recording. I mean, that’s really what it was.
Ryan: But this band has been playing several shows Sundays and during the week, and then all of the songs that we…I don’t know. We made a band record.
George: And we tried to keep it, as much as possible, our live arrangements, our live sounds.
JC: Isn’t it just about all performed live?
George: Pretty much. I mean, there’s vocal overdubs, and a few of the melodic instruments, there’s overdubs there, and that’s it. It’s pretty much our show, you know, in the studio.
Corey: It was really easy to make.
George: It was a three day deal. Because the first one was fun and it was experimental and coming up with sounds and stuff like that, but this is such a fun band, and a great band, and the whole thing is like, “Let’s just capture it, live.”
Tony: Yeah, this record is going to be a much better representation of what you’re going to see when you come out.
Ryan: JC did a great job with it. I loved going to the Echo Lab when he was mixing and none of you guys were there, and I was just sleeping the whole time. I was sleeping and I’d wake up and he’d be on something else, and I wouldn’t even say “That’s great!” and he wouldn’t even play it for me.
George: And none of us were there?
Ryan: I was there a lot of the time. It was awesome.
George: I was teaching nights so I couldn’t make it.
Ryan: He worked really hard on it.
George: I mean, unless he did really weird, fucked up things…
JC: Well, I re-recorded everything that everyone played.
George: I mean, we just went in doing what we do…
JC: And re-recording that is a process.
George: It’s a process album.
– Interview and transcription by Dale Jones