Fireworks and Halloween Lights: A Conversation With Fang Island
Brooklyn-by-way-of-Providence band Fang Island's self-titled debut seemed to come out of left field earlier this year. At the very least, the aesthetic of the indie sites championing it didn't prepare listeners for what the record actually sounds like.
The 10 songs on Fang Island evoke power pop at its finest, with soaring guitar solos and sincere, wordless chants and the crackling energy of a packed arena. As the band's MySpace page aptly describes the music, it sounds like "everyone high-fiving everyone."
Needless to say, it was a bit strange when some of the more, shall we say, stuffy music critics began singing the band's praises this year. Perhaps those most surprised were the band members themselves.
"The music was made totally under the radar, it was made for a love of making songs, and it was made for the love of hanging out and playing music," says guitarist Nick Sadler. "Literally no one was watching and we didn't know what it was going to become."
The positive press comes several years after Fang Island began as part of a class project at the Rhode Island School of Design. Sadler wasn't in the band when it started: However, he did attend the Community College of Rhode Island as a fine arts student, vut dropped out to focus on grindcore noisemakers Daughters. Sadler's connection to Fang Island happened quite fortuitously.
"I ended up dating a close friend of theirs who brought me out to see them play and I made friends with these guys," he says. "One day they said they were looking for a third guitar player, and I really wanted that to be me. I pushed the issue quite a bit, and then that did happen."
The band members not only infuse their music with positive energy, but their personal lives as well. It's why Sadler wanted to be a part of Fang Island in the first place.
"I really wanted to hang out with these guys, because they were constantly having a good time all the time. They lived in this big house with all their friends, it was three stories and there were lots of parties," he says. "I was like, 'damn, I need to hang out with these guys, they have the right idea [of] how to have fun, and they all seem like really good friends. I just want to get involved with that idea.'"
Sadler & Co. have since taken that idea around the country and back again. Fang Island has been touring off-and-on since March, doing a fair number of solo shows and opening for groups like The Flaming Lips, Stone Temple Pilots, Matt & Kim, and Coheed & Cambria. The band is on the final leg of the tour—which will see them stop at the Rock & Roll Hotel tomorrow—tough the work won't stop when they get home: They'll be working on the next Fang Island album soon.
The group has been so engrossed in touring that its only recently found time to clean out the van. "It's kind of one of those things where we did not want to acknowledge how dirty it was," Sadler says. "We had a couple days off, and just sort of cleaned it out and got rid of all the crap that was in here. Food and cups of coffee, and just random things like fireworks and Halloween lights, who knows how many magazines and books, 20 pairs of shoes for no reason. Just weird shit."
Fang Island performs with Delicate Steve and The Black Girls tomorrow at 8 p.m. at the Rock & Roll Hotel.