Today’s Feature, July 6-7: Fools & Horses

January 18, 2008 at 6:27 pm (Today's Feature)

It seems like Fools & Horses has been around forever, but only recently (as the music world goes) they have literally come out of nowhere…quickly. Making a name for themselves, doing more in the past year than most artists do in ten. They have a dedicated following born from the Mid Atlantic college scene. Even their own dedicated street team, the FAHternity. Lead singer, Matt Hutchison jokes that his friends and family think the band is more successful then they really are, which I find it quite funny. Their new CD, Pop Filter has been getting regular radio play and has become an underground indie hit (labels, WAKE UP!), they’ve had song placement on A&E as well as MTV and recently voted “Best Modern Rock Band”, “Best Album” and “Most Likely to Succeed” in Music Monthly Magazine’s annual Reader’s Poll. They even took home a Wammie Award for “Video of the Year”. Now, granted I don’t play music so maybe I can’t put myself in their shoes, when this doesn’t register as “success”. However, when a pretty well known coffee shop out Seattle by the name of Starbucks decides to put Fools & Horses’ hit song “Therapy” on their latest CD, I think the guys can finally face the fact that they are quite successful. You can also ask Bon Jovi, when Fools & Horses recently opened for at MCI Center in Washington, DC. With original lyrics and strong guitar, held together by unreal percussions, Pop Filter makes a strong argument for calling them one of the best bands in America. Pop Filter has a “punkier” Counting Crows vibe, a more upbeat Radiohead style, draped over some Arctic Monkeys to round it out. A bold statement? Maybe, but when you have so much success so early on, you can easily say that Fools & Horses are on to something long lasting. Don’t worry fellas, the big tour bus with a hot tub and a dozen wide screens, may seem a little out of reach right now but it defiantly isn’t far off. Read their XXQs to find out more.

XXQs: Fools & Horses

PensEyeView.com (PEV) How and when did Fools & Horses begin?

Fools & Horses (FH): F&H started in 2002 when Tim and Kent hooked up with Matt and another guy from college. Matt was in a band called Random Order that Tim would often fill in for (Tim and Matt incidentally are brothers). They all met in high school and banded together shortly after. Steve joined the group in 2006, responding to an ad the band left at Towson University. And it seems like they’ve only just started.

PEV: What was it like the first time you stepped into a studio to record your own music?

FH: Humbling, frustrating, very eye opening. It was really thrilling to be recording properly though, with a guy who knew what he was doing and knew what to get out of us.

PEV: What can people expect from you latest release, “POP FILTER” and how is it different from other music out right now?

FH: Listeners are going to get a unique experience, in that each song is its own entity. There is a common thread that binds each one together, but it is very dynamic and takes the listener on a cool little journey. It’s most different from other music out there for that very reason. Most albums today milk the style for all its worth and then some. Take the new Maroon 5 for example. While each song could be a single, it takes one vibe and runs many a mile with it. That probably sells millions of records : ) We might learn something from that.

PEV: Tell us about how your song, “The Therapy” became an official selection on the first Starbucks Entertainment Partner Music CD; “Off the Clock Vol:1”. How does it feel to be a part of such a large platform?

FH: The Therapy was one of three songs we submitted to Starbucks. Frera and In Becky’s Car were the other two. We gave them the most Starbucks friendly songs, or what we thought would sound the best coming out of the speakers in the store. Some of our songs might be a little too heavy for your typical Soy Latte drinker. The Content department at the company liked the Therapy the best and slapped it on the CD. We’re honored to be out there nationally on such a cool project. The other bands on the compilation are outstanding, and we’re doubly flattered to be among them. Plus, we’re talking about free promotion. And that costs a lot these days.

PEV: Fools & Horses have become a favorite on the college scene. Which college has the best fans and why?

FH: Loyola College (Maryland) is full fantastic fans. It’s a Catholic College, but these chicas and fellas know how to get down, and they often choose to with Fools & Horses. They’re always out en masse at our big shows and whenever we’re on campus, we feel like super stars. Seeing them move in and out of time to our music the way they do makes it all worth it.

PEV: Fools & Horses have played all over, which city offers the best environment/appreciation for music?

FH: Home. The clubs here are great, the variety of life here is excellent, and we feel very appreciated. We’ve traveled quite a bit, but nothing gets us off like a hometown crowd.

PEV: Is there a certain atmosphere you surround yourself in when you write music?

FH: If it’s on our own, isolation. I think that’s key. We could be in the john, on the bed, at the computer, in front of the TV, or wherever. As long as we’re alone I think the creative juices flow better. But when we write together, it’s always just the four of us, and maybe a few beers. Sometimes, Tim and I will just make stuff up on the tops of our heads. The Therapy, and Fly Me to the Moon came out that way.

PEV: What do all your friends and family think about your success?

FH: They think we’re more successful than we think we are : ) Guess they don’t see the frustration and exhaustion this life can bring sometimes. It keeps us going, cause they see all the good stuff that’s happening, and we can lose sense of that sometimes being in the thick of it.

PEV: How has life on the road been for you? And what is the best and worst part about “road-life”.

FH: Life on the road hasn’t been too bad. We’ve recently just done the longest stretch away from home last week. We were tired, but weren’t tired of each other, which is key. The best part is meeting new people who like the music. Partying down in foreign lands is great too, cause it’s like a constant vacation. The worst bit is not having your own room, your own bed, or your own shower. Plus we drive a beat up granny van and some of the doors don’t open. It smells of only what 4 guys smell like, living in it for weeks at a time. We even have a pair of Ice Skates that we’ve found at the bottom of a pile of stuff.

PEV: If I were to walk into your house/and studio right now, what is one thing I would be surprised to find?

FH: It’s clean. We were expecting you

PEV: When you are not traveling or performing, what do you like to do?

FH: Go to the pictures with our ladies, write, read, and believe it or not, hang out together. We usually couple that with some promoting, so we feel like we’re working too.

PEV: People can download your music (and even video) from your website. What is your opinion on the heated debate over downloading music off line?

FH: I think we all come from a different angle on this. At this point, money is not crucial to me (Matt), but I know it should be. People who download our music from the site are generally getting demos anyway, so we don’t feel stiffed from giving them away. But they’re usually our biggest supporters and will totally play the tracks for friends and promote the band.

There will come a time when I’ll have to change my tune, because a label wouldn’t share my sentiments and I understand that. But right now, I’m for building the biggest buzz we can.

PEV: What can someone expect from a live Fools & Horses show?

FH: ENERGY! Not contrived. We’re not choreographed or anything. But we have a lot of natural energy, and be prepared to have as much fun as we’ll have playing for you.

PEV: What is the best part about playing live?

FH: Seeing people move to our songs and singing along. The absolute best is seeing drunken individuals singing along to our songs that I know they’ve never heard before. Which is great, because they think it’s a cover. And that makes us smile.

PEV: If you could collaborate with one artist, living or passed, who would it be and why?

FH: We’re not really sure…We’ve never really collaborated on our own with anybody outside of F&H, but to play with Paul McCartney, Radiohead or Travis would be stellar.

PEV: Who do you think is an artist to watch for on the scene right now?

FH: My Morning Jacket hasn’t had a record out in a while, but they’re a very organic band that loads on the reverb on the vocals.

They’re almost like a jam band, but they’ve got such terrific songs that you don’t notice. Not a lot of improvisation one would expect from Jammers.

PEV: Saturday Night Live asks you to be the musical guest, who would be your dream host?

FH: Ali G

PEV: What’s one thing the fans would be surprised to hear about the guys of Fools & Horses?

FH: We have no phobias of any kind.

PEV: Finish this sentence, “The most embarrassing time for Fools and Horses was when…”

FH: We were booed off the stage at Fatty J’s in Fredericksburg. It was Hip Hop night, but they managed to hire us as the band. We played only two songs to jeers and boos from the Hippity Hoppers, and the manager had to come over and tell us we were done for the night. We had people there to see us and everything. It was very humiliating. But not as humiliating as our Free Bar tab was to the manager. We sucked him dry after that.

PEV: So, what is next for Fools and Horses?

FH: Recording, and negotiating with labels. That’s a carnival in itself, we’ve learned.

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