In my heart, Fat Night will always be an Orlando band. And I can’t wait until the next time they come to town to rip a dancefloor into funky pieces. Their latest is already a live staple that kicks erry time. If you’re in Chicago, you should consider yourself lucky.
For the past few years, Orlando has shared funk darlings Fat Night with The Windy City, Chicago. The situation is similar to that of a divorced couple with kids. We get them on weekends, while weekdays are spent with that cheating whore. Luck for us, tonight happens to be Orlando’s turn, as Fat Night will be one of the many acts playing Sweater Fest. Dave Hanson (Sweater Fest organizer) and I (sweater aficionado) had a few questions for our Second City sons, some pertaining to Christmas, their latest release (that we reviewed), and that cheating whore I spoke about earlier. Enjoy.
How did everyone end up in Chicago? What’s it been like relocating and have any new opportunities opened themselves up since the move? What are your hopes for having everyone together up there?
Gabe moved first, a couple years back, to pursue opportunities with The Second City Comedy School. Ted fell in love with the city while visiting Gabe and found a job (quite a few months) after college at a Chicago school. Daniel is still in the process of his move, so it’s still a bit of a work in progress. As of now, we’ve played here once while on tour and had a really great time. If Chicago becomes the place for us, the opportunities seem endless. There are so many outlets for the kind of music we play here, along with being in a more central part of the country, allowing us to explore places we’d love to tour more frequently.
What are the biggest differences in the music communities?
Orlando is so tight knit and centralized. Orlando definitely has a lot of killer musicians and great bands for a city of its size. Chicago has a population many times greater than Orlando, and with that, a staggering number of high caliber, session ready players, be they church musicians or kids that went to music school. There are many great shows and jams every single night and lots of cross pollination between musicians and bands. This can be both inspiring and intimidating as a musician, and both exciting and expensive as a fan of music.
You guys put out an album called Lazy Days over the summer, how’s the response been to that, and how happy are you guys about how it came out? How has your sound and process evolved since the first release?
We’ve had a strong, positive response to Lazy Days. It’s gotten more attention off the bat than our debut. We feel good about it too. It’s definitely a step forward from the first album, which had some songs written by us as 19 year olds. We were a little more meticulous this time around, as we were still writing some of the songs during the recording process. So we would do a bit of demoing up front to figure out not only where we wanted to take the structure of the songs, but how we wanted them to sound and feel along the way. With that being said, the vibes feel stronger and more like our own thing, which we’re super proud of.
I think more than most other music, R&B and soul relies heavily on a groove, a feeling, and that feeling is built into a song when the musicians mesh well together. How does this work in Fat Night? Is there some struggle to it? Do you guys give input to each other or kind of just let everyone do their thing?
Absolutely. Ted (bass) & Nik (drums) have been locked in from the beginning. They have really good chemistry and communication when it comes to establishing the back bone of our music. If ever there is a struggle, which isn’t very often, it’s worked out by just expanding upon the idea that someone brings in, or even trying hits on different beats or different parts of beats until a song or section is the grooviest and funkiest it could possibly be. Certain songs may have an instrument (including vocals) playing more of a lead role or being prominently featured, and we all know to stay in our lane and not step on any toes. We have a clear understanding of everyone’s style and usually go into the songwriting process keeping those factors in mind.
After building an audience in Orlando, do you feel like you have to start over again in a new town?
Naturally, but it’s different. We’re going into something new with the knowledge we have of the past few years of growth we’ve experienced there.
How often should we expect to see you guys back in Orlando? Any plans to do a big tour between the two cities?
We seem to be able to play in Orlando at least four or five weekends a year. One reason Ted took a job at a school was for frequent touring and shows at home! No plans as of right now, but that sounds like a good idea!
What do you hope to see happening in the Orlando music community when you come back? What do you think it needs to grow into something nationally regarded?
I hope that the right people will make it possible for establishing a wider variety of venues in Orlando. Right now there are only a handful, and some aren’t accessible to every kind of show. Although what’s available is great, I think if there are more options, it will be more inspiring for all different kinds of events to start happening.
Do any of you guys honor any strange Christmas traditions?
We often do an exchange with each other. The gifts have ranged from very thoughtful to very crappy. Sometimes during December shows, we will sneak Christmas lyrics and motifs into our songs, so keep your ears perked at Sweater Fest.
What are you looking forward to most about Sweater Fest?
The crowd! Last year, everyone who showed up threw down. Will there be egg nog? The TG Lee Factory is right across the street…
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
— Jesus (son of God)
SWEATER FEST 2014 was a landmark event. The night served as my introduction to incredible acts (and now, friends): Tiger Fawn, Someday River (at the time they were called Bellows), Fast Preacher, and ARK. On Saturday, December 19, I will again don my horrendous knitted outerwear and head to The Milk District for SWEATER FEST 2015. And this year’s lineup … oh yeah. Here’s a little taste test of the sweaty sweater goodness in-store, provided by your friends at Happy Camper Booking. Enjoy.
If you’re at all familiar with this shitty website, you should recognize at least one of the bands on the bill. For some tight, feel-good grooves with a track record of dance hall boogie-woogie, check out Fat Night and Thrift House. When speaking of Fat Night’s 2015 EP, Lazy Days, TVW staff writer Graham Johnson had this to say:
The organ and guitar carry you throughout the album on waves of reverb and pure groove, inviting you to experience the graceful dance of the two instruments, performed by talented hands.
(Note: Fat Night are relocating to Chicago very soon, so this may be one of your last opportunities to see them kick ass, at least in the near future.)
I, myself, can vouch for Thrift House. This six-piece has only been playing live since September, but don’t be mistaken, Thrift House’s members are no spring chickens — this talent has spread itself all over Whorelando and beyond.
Maybe you consider yourself more of a ““rocker.”” Don’t fret little one; Daytona Beach doom woppers, Harum Scarum, and silly psych space aliens, Timothy Eerie, have the dance vitamins you crave, but with a really big muff (not what you think, but they probably don’t even use that pedal).
Rounding out this cozy, yet itchy, evening are SWIMM, Someday River, and Die Tryins. SWIMM, who jump back-and-forth between Orlando and Los Angeles, are indie poppy rocky sweetness, not unlike SWEATER FEST vets Someday River, who express the same sugary melodies, but with a cool funk. Die Tryins, on the other hand, are in a toe-tapping, indie bluegrass lane all their own. This band, formerly known as Goodrich & The Die Tryins, features Happy Camper’s Dave Hanson. He could have chosen to play with any of numerous bands he’s a part of, but he chose this one. That should convince you.
As if that wasn’t enough for your greedy commercialist ass, Frankasaurus Fresh will be hosting a silent disco on an outdoor stage. All of this for only $10. Doors are at 7, music starts at 8, and by 9, we may end the war against Christmas. Who knows?
Picture yourself sitting on a front porch on a beautiful Florida day, smokin’ cigarettes and watching the cars go by. Fat Night’s Lazy Days puts you there. The primary contributor appears to be the band’s deep roots in R&B and Latin vibes. Right off, skins (drums) walk on in with a jaunty jive, turning heads. You’re treated to laid-back strings (guitar), cruisin’ double time piano, and mellow guitar solo-ettes. The ride is as perfect and elusive as our chilled afternoon.
The organ and guitar carry you throughout the album on waves of reverb and pure groove, inviting you to experience the graceful dance of the two instruments, performed by talented hands. These elements rap around each other, only to suddenly repel, finally separating to show one another a thing or two. This is especially apparent on the tasty “Long Shadow Short Temper,” a fresh mix of call-and-return, paired to silky harmonies. A trippy organ solo leads you to the end of the street with the promise of a six-pack.
Regardless of the beautifully orchestrated keys and strings, one mustn’t detract from the marvelous vocals of the EP. The vocal lines take you on a ride down the coast with the top out and a damn good cigar to burn. Masterful use of triplets lends itself to the frequent off beats and groovy, riding bass. As if precise rhythms and sultry tones weren’t enough to keep your ear glued to your speakers, the vocal runs are capable of melting the frostiest of loins.
Fat Night rounds off this lethargic afternoon with a conclusion, of sorts, with a drive into the sunset on “Thoughts.” As the sun comes down on Lazy Days, you receive a look-back, stylistically and emotionally, ending your journey as relaxed as you began it. ATTENTION SHOPPERS: Fat Night’s Lazy Days should go with you everywhere. It is fantastic for every occasion and will put you in the right mood every time. Keep it easy. Listen to Fat Night.
Fat Night – ‘Lazy Days’ (ep review) by Graham Johnson