In an exclusive video performance and interview, Traverse City’s hottest trio talks about being on the road as minors, an upcoming new studio album and being ‘socially awkward.’ And check out in-studio performances of brand new unreleased songs.
JAN. 10, 2017 UPDATE: In January 2017, The Accidentals announced they had signed with the Sony Music Masterworks label for worldwide distribution of a forthcoming album. The label’s senior vice president cited this Local Spins Live at River City Studios session for helping convince him to sign the Traverse City band. Scroll down for full video/podcast. And read about the contract and new album in this Local Spins story: https://localspins.com/accidentals-sign-sony-music-masterworks-label-look-forward-national-international-distribution-new-album/
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It was magic.
That’s how Katie Larson recalls the early collaborations with bandmate Savannah Buist in Traverse City, an unexpected, artistic spark between two young multi-instrumentalists and singers with an astonishingly deep catalog of musical interests and a seemingly boundless enthusiasm for performing.
Over three years and through more 700 performances, that magic has morphed into something even more extraordinary and almost unimaginable for two teenage musicians, with The Accidentals poised to take the country by storm after adding percussionist Michael Dause to the fold.
The genre-blending folk-rock trio already has crisscrossed the United States on tour, played 12 showcases in five days at the prestigious South By Southwest music conference, landed a recording deal with a Grammy-winning producer and renowned recording artist, and earned acclaim from the likes of Billboard magazine and countless critics.
‘EVOLVING FROM THE VERY START’
“We’ve always been evolving from the very start. We’re a totally different band than what we used to be,” Buist says, noting that Dause gives them another musician with whom to share ideas. “Now that we have Michael, I think we’re able to lean back more in the rhythm section and be able to relax and improv, which is really cool.”
That’s just a small part of The Accidentals’ riveting story, told during the latest session in the HopCat presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios series – a question-and-answer session interspersed with exclusive live performances of several new songs.
Check out the full podcast here, with a video of the in-studio interview and performances below.
The young band – Buist and Larson are just 19, Dause is 20 – covered lots of territory in that hour in Grand Rapids, from chatting about their varied musical influences (Death Cab for Cutie, Andrew Bird, The White Stripes, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Django Reinhardt) to the number of instruments they play between them (13) to the improvisation and songwriting skills that Buist and Larson acquired while students at Interlochen Arts Academy.
On first playing together as a duo: “It was an accidental start that we got together,” says Larson. “An accidental in music theory is a note that doesn’t really belong in the key signature but makes it sound interesting anyway, and that’s just how we’ve evolved – incorporating any genres that we can.”
On adjusting to the media attention and audience adulation: “Personally, I hate the attention. (But) it’s challenged us in a good way,” says Larson. “I like talking to people after a show. … We’re lucky. We kind of take music from everywhere and I think that means everyone can understand where we come from.”
“I feel like once you’re born feeling awkward, you’ll always feel awkward,” adds Buist, noting the band connects with people through its lively music. “Music is the best way to be able to channel that and to express it to people. We’re able to relate to people without even having a conversation. Music speaks for itself which is really, really nice.”
On putting off college after Buist and Larson were accepted at the prestigious Berklee College of Music: “That was really hard for us. School’s been incredibly important to us,” Buist says, noting Larson actually was offered a four-year scholarship to Berklee right at the time when the band was picking up steam and touring regularly. “We’re only 19, so we don’t really know how the world works yet, but I think going on the road will teach us that a little bit and then we can go back to college when we’re ready.”
On the “ridiculously amazing” Michigan music scene: “We feel like the little sisters of a lot of Michigan bands,” says Larson.
On joining Buist and Larson in The Accidentals, after meeting them at Blissfest: “I was a fan of the band before I joined,” says Dause, who was thrilled to add “all the little parts that I wanted to put into the songs I could now do and have my fun with it. I was also just to be able to play with people who themselves were fantastic musicians.”
Indeed, that magical musical spark that started it all has turned into a roaring fire, with the band hoping to release its long-awaited follow-up to 2013’s “Bittersweet” later this year and ramping up an already-hectic touring schedule in 2015.
Check out the entire Local Spins Live interview and in-studio performances here, along with a photo gallery by Anna Sink.
VIDEO: THE ACCIDENTALS AT RIVER CITY STUDIOS
PHOTO GALLERY: THE ACCIDENTALS AT RIVER CITY STUDIOS
Watch last month’s HopCat presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios video with The Outer Vibe.
Copyright 2015, Spins on Music LLC