Audiophiles: Freak Owls

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Freak Owls were introduced to me by Eric Sanderson of We Are Augustines. I had always heard rumours that he was a fantastic producer, but with the exception of his work with his own band I was unaware of anything else Eric had ever worked on.

This is why as soon as I saw him mention he produced an EP with New York based Freak Owls two things became instantly inevitable.

First off, I knew I would seriously enjoy their “Orchestrates” EP. Secondly, that I would no doubt try and get the band featured on Choosemymusic.org. What I didn’t know at the time was that there was also a Choosemymusic.org SXSW show in the pipeline, so thirdly I am exceptionally happy that Freak Owls are heading down to Austin to play

Rather nicely, Freak Owls remind me a little of Australian group The Salvadors, who were one of my first ever Audiophiles band almost a year ago . They also have hints of Tahiti 80, a breezy French indie outfit who I used to listen to way back in the early 2000′s

Have a listen to their teaser trailer for and find out all about the band below via their main man Josh Ricchhio.

CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I find the best place to always start is who are Freak Owls and where on this planet would we find you?

Freak Owls, out of Brooklyn, NY, consist of Josh Ricchio (vocs, guitar), Cody Geil (violin, vocs, percussion), and Kolby Wade (drums, samples).

CMM: How long has Freak Owls been together and how did it all start?

I started Freak Owls back in the fall of 2009 as a side project and licensing venture while in the band, Pela, who are now We Are Augustines. While on tour, I had a ton of free time and a ton of ideas to do some catchy poppy stuff that would be good for film and t.v., so I could make some extra money on the side. After Pela disbanded, the Freak Owls music started to garner a lot of attention and I missed playing live, so I thought, “What the hell?”. We’ve been touring ever since.

CMM: We came together though our mutual friend Eric Sanderson of We Are Augustines who helped out with production on your rather brilliant Orchestrates album. How did Eric become involved in the project and what did he bring to the table?

Eric was crucial from the get-go. His side project and passion is recording and producing, and we had been talking about doing something together while we were still in Pela. He had a good amount of time on his hands after the break-up, and we worked for a few months getting the songs recorded for the debut album, “Taxidermy”. The songs for “Orchestrates” were actually written right after the debut came out; it just took awhile to release it, since we constantly had conflicting schedules. I started “Orchestrates” with Eric, and I intended to finish it with him. I think it’s ultimately for the best, because the songs weren’t rushed and really came into their own after having time to grow.

CMM: Looking though your website I noticed you played in the UK last year, was that your first time over here and how was the experience of playing live in England?

I LOVE playing the UK. I toured over there a few years ago in the band, Ladycop, and not only were the crowds amazingly cool, but the bands we played with were (more often, than not) great. That’s not always the case, as anyone in a band reading this can attest. The fans at your festivals are especially great, because they’re actually there for the music and not for pints or to look cool.

CMM: Obviously you play quite a lot in the US, did you spot any differences between the American and English audiences and their reaction to live music?

I appreciate anyone who comes out to see a show. For Freak Owls, it’s probably someone’s first time coming to check us out, so we always give it our all to make sure they come back the next time we’re in town and, hopefully, bring their friends. As for playing the UK, I feel like we have to impress even more, since it’ll be a longer amount of time until we get back there. I love how the English are so responsive to music and how much know-how they seem to have. I definitely think there’s more “true” music coming out of there than in the U.S. at the moment. I mean, we’re still producing boy bands. For fuck’s sake.

CMM: I am currently involved in a project called The State Of Music where I am discovering bands from every State in the US – with the exception of your home state New York, where are your favourite states and venues to play?

I lived in Minneapolis, MN, for a few years and always love playing shows there. The crowds are great and I always end up getting pretty shitty. Seattle is another that I feel kind of spoiled about. The last show Pela played together was opening up for Sonic Youth in front of 6,000 people at the Block Party Fest there a few years back. The time before that was a sold out gig at Neumo’s, which was amazing. One of the first times I felt like a rock star. Minus the big lips and scarves tied on the mic stand.

CMM: You’ve been writing and recording music for some years in various different outfits and guises, do you feel with the evolution of how music is distributed online makes it easier for band like Freak Owls or are you competing in an increasingly crowded marketplace?

This is a perfect time for an independent band like Freak Owls to thrive in the music business (well, thrive is a grandiose term…), because of the interconnectedness of the net and the ease at which any band can reach out to any fan, and vice-versa. Getting your music distributed online is, literally, as easy as the click of a button. With so many outlets selling, distributing, and streaming your music, it’s so easy to get it out there. At the moment, our new EP, “Orchestrates”, is available for free on our site. I just wanted to get the music into the hands of everyone. Who doesn’t like free music?

CMM: What is next in the pipeline for Freak Owls?

We’re actually in the studio right now recording the next album. Since it took so long to get “Orchestrates” out, I have lots and lots of new material to work with. Expect changes and evolution to the sound, but I promise you’ll love the new stuff if you like the old. We’ll be touring in March, April, and May, followed by the festival season this summer. Help us get back to the UK! We miss you guys…

CMM: And finally, where can the good people at home reach out to you on-line?

The best place for all things Freak Owls (and free goodies) is at:

About the author

Written by

I have a lot of music. This is mainly due to me spending a fair few years of my early working life in record shops (remember them). I absolutely adore music, I always have done and since as long as I can remember and I have always felt passionate about helping new and unsigned bands. You can follow this me and this site on Twitter @Choosemymusic

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