Hey guys, hope you had a very merry Christmas! For anyone that is unfamiliar with your music, please describe what Fort Lean is about.
Hey thanks! Same to you. Simply put, Fort Lean is about drinking too much at the formal Holiday party that you’re hosting in your parents’ lavishly decorated home. Your significant other is probably disappointed in you, but at least you had a good time. In terms of sound, I’d say our music is direct and familiar. We tend to shy away from smoke-and-mirrors recording techniques, and present our songs in a way that’s clear and up front.
Your self-titled EP was released in April 2011, what do you most enjoy about the recording process?
Recording a song is kind of like giving birth to it. The process of writing and rehearsing is like conception and pregnancy, but once you’ve actually committed to a recorded version, the song takes on a life of its own. It becomes something that other people can engage with and build relationships with on their own terms. So its really fun to shepherd it along until that point, and then once the recording is finished you get to let go and move on to the next thing.
What are you working on as a band at the moment? Are you planning to release an album in the new year?
At the moment we’re in the process of writing a lot of new songs. We’ve had a break for the past couple weeks while people are home with their families for the holidays, and our assignment was that each of us has to come back with 5 new song ideas. Assuming this actually comes to fruition, we’ll have 25 new song ideas to work with. So it should be fun to start the new year with a whole load of new songs.In terms of an album, we’re hoping to record in the spring and release it in the fall. Nothing is set in stone at the moment, and we haven’t signed with a label yet, but that’s the general timeline we’ve been planning to work around. We’ve got enough songs to move forward with it now, but for the next few months we’re just going to keep writing and hopefully keep coming up with more material we’re excited about.
What was the first record you ever bought and who are you influenced by?
The first record I ever bought was the Smashing Pumpkins’ Pisces Iscariot when I was 8 years old. I knew I liked the band, and I liked the album art, so I bought it. It turned out to be something of a misstep, because the album isn’t actually very good, but I was on the right track.In terms of who we’re influenced by, some of the main names that come to mind are John Lennon, Neil Young, and Sam Cooke. These are all guys with extremely strong and unique perspectives. In terms of contemporary music I really love Kurt Vile’s record Smoke Ring for My Halo. The guitars on that record sound unbelievably good.
How did you come up with the band name Fort Lean?
We came up with the name as a conceptual “place” that mirrors the sound and experience of the music. Fort Lean is a place that you can go. Once we become wealthy people, we plan to purchase land an hour north of NYC and build a compound/retreat/recording studio known only as Fort Lean.
Describe your live gigs, visually and musically. Do you have a favourite venue to play in?
Our live shows tend to be pretty spirited and energetic. We’re still at a point where we’re performing for lots of people who have never heard us before, so there’s a definite focus on bringing people in and converting them. Visually there’s a lot of bouncing around the stage, and our singer Keenan does a lot of flailing and headbanging. We write our songs with performance in mind, so generally we can pretty faithfully recreate the recordings with an added level of energy and electricity.Our favorite venue to play is probably Glasslands, which is kind of like our home turf, I think we’ve played there 7 times. It’s a really unconventional and magical space. When people come in for the first time the reaction is usually something like “whoa, this is crazy!” It’s fun. Another great place to play is Music Hall of Williamsburg. We played there for the first time recently, and it’s an extremely pro venue with an unbelievable sound system.
What can us Brits look forward to from you in 2012? Any tours planned?
The first thing you can look forward to is a 7″ single we have coming out on Neon Gold on February 28th. The song is called “Sunsick” and we’re really excited about it. It’s a step up in terms of recording quality and it definitely shows a different side of the band. In terms of tours, we don’t have anything lined up right now. We’ve been talking to a bunch of folks in the UK, so we’re hoping to get over there as soon as we can, but nothing is set in stone right now. Hopefully this single will help get our name out there more, and people will demand that we show up and play some shows!