Updated: Jul 18, 2018
Family and Friends are gearing up to release their full length record, titled, Felix Culpa, on June 8th. Mike MacDonald and JP McKenzie humored us and delved into their writing process, Georgia peaches and themes of the upcoming LP.
Photo via Chelsea Kornse
"I think any feelings of anxiousness has waned over time," said McKenzie. "When we first recorded it, there was more an excited, anxious feeling to get it out, but now that we've been sitting on it for so long, we just want to get it out-- full-blown excitement for sure."
MacDonald agreed with him, but admitted that during writing this album, he experienced the most anxiety than any music he had written in the past.
"This was the first time, we sat down and said we were going to write a full length," revealed MacDonald. "We had the two EPs out prior, and it was the first time writing that we somewhat had a following. When we first started writing this album, we were wondering are our listeners going to anticipate a certain sound? Do we write with that in mind, or do we just write true to ourselves? That took a little bit of time; that made me a little anxious to be honest. At a certain point, we realized we just had to be happy with what we're doing at the end of the day, and I think we were able to do that."
They were definitely able to do that and more. The first single, "Peaches," was released at the beginning of the year and had a positive reaction with their listeners, as in over 65,000 listens on Spotify.
"It kick-started the new sound and let us hone in on the new themes of the record, and how we wanted to take it. We're all from Georgia so we're all Georgia peaches," McKenzie joked. "I feel like it's a calling card for the new sound, showing the listeners what to expect. It felt perfect for the time of the year, go for a drive, put your windows down and enjoy it."
Earlier in May, they hit their listeners right in the heart with the nostalgic, second release, "Winding Roads."
"I think it might be our first traveling song, which you just need to have as a band. It's probably the second song we wrote, and it came from a long road-trip I was on. There's a line, 'I don't care where I'm going as long as I'm going with you,' and I just remember thinking I was just so happy to be on the road, going anywhere. It kind of manifested into that song," said MacKenzie.
Even better, if these two songs indicate the rest of the album, it's going to be ridiculously relatable. The guys told us that the main themes of Felix Culpa is growing up, something all 20-somethings struggle with.
"We started the band when most of us we're finishing or just out of college, and so, writing this, was the first time we were all completely out. It was navigating that process together and try to find meaning in all of this [let us know when you figure that out boys]."
Photo via Chelsea Kornse
There might be a little pressure on the musicians because their trying something new with their sound, but they assured us that it would be recognizable. MacDonald described it as "at the root of it, it's still Family and Friends." "There's a certain word that comes up in every interview about a new album-- that it feels more 'mature,' which before in reading album reviews, I always thought was such a cop-out. Like of course it's more mature, y'all matured.," McKenzie threw in his southern twang. "But, in writing this record, it kind of put in my mind what it actually meant to mature in songwriting or even within ourselves personally or within the scope of the band. I think that's a really fitting description. It feels more mature. With every single decision made with this record, there was an intentional thought behind it. "
With so many members in the band that all enjoy songwriting, I'd imagine the process to be a bit hectic. Surprisingly, the guys talked about it in a really calm, collaborative way. At the end of the day, everyone just wanted to do what was best for the band, even if it meant changing a part of a song that a member worked on for a few months.
"We all sat together and talked about our favorite records or the most inspiring records. It was a really personal conversation, to sit down and plan out about what you'd like to see and put it out there to five other people. We took that idea and made a little album listening group for ourselves where we would put out our album of the month, and everyone would listen and dissect it. But even more so, when we had all the songs written, we brought them all out. We were really able to hone into what themes we wanted musically and really hear all the parts."
MacDonald told us that the goal for the end of the year is to tour as much as possible. Until then, the band will be working out what works best live. Not to forget to mention that their on quite a few festival bills, so be sure to check it out.
Photo via Chelsea Kornse
"It opens up that world where you get to see a lot of bands that you might not necessarily know; it's sacred that you get to explore and might end up at someone's set and some cool new band that you might really love" McKenzie said of festivals.
In the mean time, be sure to stream their new music and buy Felix Culpa on June 8th.
"Our ultimate goal playing music is to ideally connect with others and to write music that other people can somehow resonate and relate to emotionally," confessed MacDonald. "At the end of the day, that's what I'd like to see the most. Just to know that someone feels the way we do, and if the album helps them to realize their not alone in those feelings or makes them happy-- to know that in some way we collectively help made that happen."
McKenzie added, "I would definitely want it to be described as Felix Culpa."