Our exclusive interview with San Francisco’s freshest band.

Fresh and onlys

Formed in 2008, the band The Fresh & Onlys has become a major force within San Francisco’s new garage rock movement. With earlier albums Play it Straight and Long Slow Dance, the band broke through with a unique combination of dreamy new wave sounds, often described as pastoral psychedelia. The band has just released their fifth title album House of Spirits which has all the fuzzy distorted sounds of their earlier albums but with a more personal feel worth hearing for yourself.

Freshandonlys tile wall

WHERE ARE EACH OF THE ARTISTS IN THE BAND FROM? HOW DID YOU GUYS COME TOGETHER TO FORM THE BAND?

A few of us worked at a record store in San Francisco, one night we were gathered at the Hemlock watching the great San Francisco band The Dry Spells and we came upon the idea to form a band. We went through two other drummers before landing Kyle. West Virginia, Virginia, Denver, and Washington DC. is where we are from.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR NEW ALBUM? WHAT WERE YOUR MUSICAL INFLUENCES?

I would describe it as fearful and paranoid, and melodic and warm. Like a baby with LSD in his milk, being cradled gently by his destiny.

WHERE DID YOU END UP RECORDING YOUR NEWEST ALBUM?

We recorded the record at Lucky Cat Studios, a state of the art recording facility in San Francisco.

freshandonly album

HOW DID THE TITLE HOUSE OF SPIRITS COME FROM? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? 

It’s named after a liquor store in Echo Park, LA.  It means we have a sense of humor.

DO YOU HAVE ANY STANDOUT FAVORITE LYRICS OFF THE NEW ALBUM?

Yes. My personal favorite is off Hummingbird, “Hangman, show me the weight of gold.” Its about a hangman using a human body to measure an amount of material wealth. it’s dark.

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU WROTE THE FIRST ALBUM TRACK BELLS OF PAONIA?

I wrote the third album track Bells of Paonia while living in my mother-in-laws basement in Colorado.

Tim cohen

THINKING BACK TO YOUR CHILDHOOD, WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH MUSIC? WHAT SONG DO YOU REMEMBER MOST AS A CHILD? 

I remember my mother playing piano, it was a song she composed as a child in a difficult household. The melody was very striking, dark yet uplifting somehow. I took it upon myself to learn her song (it has no title, I think) and play it repetitively in order to learn how to move my fingers correctly.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MUSIC? WHAT DID YOU DO FOR WORK BEFORE OR CURRENTLY?

Music just sort of came to me when I was about 18, I began to write songs and fell in love with the adventure. I’ve always had jobs that were meaningless to my life, just “jobs.” I worked at Little Caesars, Arby’s, a supermarket, I moved boulers, I was an electrical apprentice.  Music is pretty much a labor of love, it’s like a disease I live with now, and the only cure is to rid my body and brain of all these woeful melodies and lyrics.

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MUSICAL CONTEMPORARIES?

Kelley Stoltz, Jessica Pratt, The Mantles, Kevin Morby, Jarvis Taveniere, Anna Hillburg, Thee Oh Sees.

Freshandonlys blur

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE BAY AREA? ANY FAVORITE VENUES OR BARS?

My neighborhood is the best, Alamo Square Park. Favorite venue is the Great American Music Hall and for bars it would be Smugglers Cove.

ANY INTERESTING OR EMBARRASSING MOMENTS WHILE PERFORMING?

We’ve had a lot of those. Nothing too crazy though.  One time Shayde played the show lying down on stage. I had a broken hand for one tour so that was awkward. I had to play keys instead of guitar with my less dominant left hand. Hmm lets see. We got hit with hot dogs once in Cleveland.

 WHAT WAS THE LAST SHOW YOU WENT TO FOR FUN?

The Intelligence at a small bar in the Mission.

Listen to their new albums title track Bells of Paonia and a playlist of their favorite contemporary artists:

[images sourced via sharslo, theswollenfox, positivedestruction, lineoutthefreshandonlys.blogspot]

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