This is yet another group I discovered thanks to the wide world of the internet. This post hardcore outfit hails from Philadelphia. They released a solid album in April of last year and are working on new material.
I caught up with their vocalist/guitarist Joe to talk a bit about the band’s origin and what the future holds.
Nick: How did Our Fair City originally form?
Joe: “Dave and I had been playing together since 10th grade, so for a while it felt like we did the same thing just under a different name every couple of years. We started this project while we were in college after our last band Crashing Monty had ended. I had a few ideas I had been messing around with and wanted to throw them Dave’s way since he’s always been the main one who records in the group. I brought them to him and we thought we might start a band out of it with a revolving cast of musicians depending on what each song needs. Good intentions, but we actually ended up changing our minds about it once we had everyone in a room together. We stuck with a solid lineup for good 6 or 7 years and just recently changed things up around the middle of last year.”
N: What artists are your biggest inspirations?
J: “We all pull from different influences but at least for me some of my biggest inspirations are Circa Survive, Kevin Devine, Colour Revolt, and Caspian. Collectively we all have our own individual influences but do share a lot of the same as well.”
N: What have been your favorite releases of 2016 so far?
J: “The new Tiny Moving Parts album “Celebrate” is really taking the cake for me so far in 2016. I know that’s a big favorite for a couple of the other guys in the band as well. A close second is our friends in Square Peg Round Hole. I can never say enough about that band. Their new album “Juniper” is phenomenal.”
N: What significance does the title of last year’s release, “The Animal Manual” have?
J: “It originally stems from a joke I had with my mom but I ended up taking it in a little more of an existential crisis route. Around the time that I was writing the lyrics a lot of people who were close to me left. It got me to wondering what happens when we leave and how we cope with it as people. So with the title, it’s referencing a theme that I’m talking about throughout the album that I’m lost in the wilderness that is loss and how do I do anything or even begin to understand what happened.”
N: What is your writing/recording process?
J: “A lot of it starts off on acoustic guitar with me just throwing around my own ideas and seeing what flows best. Once I’ve gotten it pretty much all laid out I’ll take it to the band and see where it goes from there. But more recently with this newer lineup we’ve actually started writing together a lot sooner in the process. For recording we’ll usually demo out each song ourselves at different stages in writing to get a feel for what it sounds like outside the practice space. When we did “The Animal Manual” we actually went as far as recording the whole thing ourselves. It was a huge challenge but it was definitely worth it. We end up holding ourselves up to a pretty high standard so it did take a while and knew it was going to be difficult but what we got out of it was something we are really proud of.”
N: Have you gotten the chance to play many shows? If so, which were your favorite places to play?
J: “We’ve played a lot regionally, especially considering we’ve been together as long as we have. We’ve had a few things that have prevented us from reaching out further in the past but now that we’ve got band members that all live relatively close to each other and have more predictable schedules we’re looking towards expanding that further in the near future.”
N: Any thoughts of signing to a label?
J: “We’ve been a big fan of doing everything DIY so far but would definitely like to consider a label if the opportunity presented itself. Since we’re a little older and all work full-time jobs it’s a bit tougher to go out and tour and get the word out ourselves. We’re trying to build our online presence more with some videos we’ve done recently and plan to do more in the future. Our goal is to get as many people to listen to our music as possible and we really believe in what we make. With that being said, I think a label would allow us to grow more in terms of reach as a band. We’ve also seen the brotherhood that comes along with being on a label (take Spartan Records for instance) and that’s a pretty nice part of it as well.”
N: What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Joe: “Well, we did win a baking competition a little while back! We made Irish Carbomb Cupcakes. That was pretty cool. But on the music side of things I think recording “The Animal Manual” on our own was probably our biggest hurdle to overcome to date. For being so involved in the process it really made us appreciate what work goes in to creating a certain sound and a cohesive record as a whole.”
N: What does Our Fair City have in store for 2016?
J: “Right now we’re writing some new material and hope to have that together to try it out at shows later on this year. We’re also planning to do some more weekend warrior type stuff in terms of touring to explore new cities and make some new friends. We’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to play with some really great bands like Hidden Hospitals, OWEL and Take One Car when they’ve toured in the area and have seen what it’s like to play to larger crowds. We’d ultimately like to take that to new areas and expand upon that even more.”
Be on the lookout for more from Our Fair City soon. In the meantime check out their album “The Animal Manual” below.