The Farewell Drifters

31 Aug

“Being happy with what we’ve created is the greatest success for us.”

Some of my all time favorite songs happen to be considered “oldies” or what I like to call them “timeless classics,” so when I came upon Farewell Drifters, at first I actually thought that it was a great band that I never heard growing up. When I found out they were a current band composed of five young men, I was completely surprised. Listening to the band, you can easily hear that they’re inspired by the music from the 60’s, the great pop music that everyone seemed to love. Their new album, Echo Boom, brings such a unique styling to the table, it’s hard not to hit repeat. I interviewed singer, Zach Bevill, and learned much more about this poptastic band.

Q. How did the five of you meet to form your band?

A. Josh and I just met randomly in Nashville and we bonded over a love of a lot of the same music, specifically some of the 60’s groups like Simon & Garfunkel and the Beach Boys as well as rootsy musicians like John Hartford. We started jamming and writing together and immediately enlisted his brother Clayton on lead guitar. We met the other two guys in Nashville – we had all moved there to do the same thing – to play music for life.

Q. From listening to your album, I hear a lot of a 1960’s influence. How do you feel music has changed since then?

A. Pop music has definitely changed a ton since then. It’s become more and more processed, computerized, and more of a homogenized product sold by huge consolidated companies. But I see that there has been a slow burning growth in independent music for the past 10 years that is now exploding as the internet has enabled artists to get their music directly to the listeners, and people are realizing that they hunger for music made with real instruments and voices, without the creative constraints that can come with corporate labels. So I feel like right now is a great time to be making music because it feels like anything is possible and there are a lot of people eager to hear something new and go on an adventure. Also as a result of the internet, musicians are able to listen to any style they want from any era they want at the click of a mouse, so the lines between genres are getting more and more blurry every year which is also a very cool thing for us as musicians.

Q. It seems as if Nashville breathes new talent. What do you think is one of the best things Nashville has to offer to struggling artists?

A. In the same way that big corporate labels can limit creativity, smaller companies can empower creative artists, and that is a great thing that we have found in Nashville. There is a great community and network of artists and independent-minded industry folks who want this kind of music to succeed. Nashville has something for everyone – you can write songs with tons of people all day if you want, or you can go jam until 3 A.M. with some of the city’s best musicians on any given night. One of the best things is simply the great amount of talent and the abundance of support that we see from other musicians. It feels like people are rooting for us, which is a really cool thing.

Q. You’ve received a long list of people appreciating your music. What is one of the best compliments you’ve received and from who?

A. We’ve known Americana artist, Jim Lauderdale for a few years now and when we saw him last week he pulled us aside and told us just how impressed he was with our show and that he’s always liked us and that it seems like we have really come into our own now. That really meant a lot to us coming from a guy with his talent who’s been around and seen as much as he has.

Q. You guys just released your new album, Echo Boom. What was the recording process like?

A. We had an amazing time recording this album. Neilson Hubbard produced it, and that is one of the best decisions we have ever made. He really helped us let go in the studio – we played in one room all together so that really made a huge different in the mindset we had around the recording. We were looking for authenticity in the performances, and I think we achieved that. Neilson also really loves old vintage recording gear and techniques which fit perfectly with the kind of music we like to create.

Q. What do you feel has been your biggest success so far?

A. I am more proud of this record than anything we have ever done, so I feel like right now that’s our biggest success. Being happy with what we’ve created is the greatest success for us.

Q. Who does the majority of the songwriting and what sorts of things inspire you to put the pen to paper?

A. Josh and I do most of the writing, both together and separate. We work really well together, playing off of each other’s strengths. He is a super creative dude, to the extreme, and I can sometimes have a big-picture view or level-headedness about me, so those two things can really work well together. The same kinds of things inspire both of us, mostly just daily living – writing is a way of processing all the things we feel and experience. Traveling and touring especially gets me itching to write because I see so many people, hear so many things, and have so many different experiences. I don’t get to write much on the road, but when I get home from a tour I usually have 3 or 4 songs just waiting to be written.

Q. You all play many different instruments, which creates a unique blend of pop and folk. Are there any instruments you would like to add on in the future?

A. We are always open to new instruments – we have been messing around with different percussive instruments lately, so I’m sure we will keep doing that. We have also been using the 12-string acoustic guitar a lot, I think we used it on 4 songs on Echo Boom, and Christian has been messing around with cross-tuning his violin lately which sounds really cool.

Q. If you could open for any band or artist, who would it be and why?

A. It would be great for us to open for bands like Mumford & Sons or the Decemberists. There is an acoustic revival happening with those bands and others, which is inspiring. Then there are bands like She & Him, Grizzly Bear, or Fleet Foxes who are using some of those old 60’s sounds that we love so much. We feel like we may fit in with all those different bands, because we’re trying to take these acoustic instruments and combine them with old 60’s sounds and create our own new thing out of it.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. One of our songs?  I’d much rather take someone else’s song, but if it had to be one of ours – probably “You Were There” for a couple reasons. 1) the lyrics (Josh wrote almost all of them) really mean a lot to me, and I think they could continue to inspire me for a long time. 2) it’s epic and has a lot of different parts so I’d be less apt to get bored listening to it.

Here is their music video for “We Go Together” a song that will have you clapping along in no time.

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