Family Band just posted today the third music video from 2012's Grace & Lies for the track "Lace." It was directed by Sam Macon, who is also responsible for creating the beautifully touching video for their song "Moonbeams."
We had a chance to interview Family Band’s Kim Krans about the band’s evolution and her role as the director for the video of the group’s lead single “Night Song” from their latest LP Grace and Lies, which you can check out HERE. With the new music video for “Moonbeams” (below), Krans passes the reins to director Sam Macon, who successfully captures the beauty and eeriness found on the band’s album in a strangely touching love story.
For Family Band bandmates, Kim Krans and Jonny Ollsin, who are also married, collaborating came naturally. They first met around a campfire in upstate New York, which is actually near a cabin that they own and use as a “creative refuge.” The couple had originally started a band together called Stonehenge, and after the breakup of Jonny’s metal outfit, Children, the duo’s focus switched to their current project. Family Band was invited last year to come to Philly to record an episode of Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through by guest curator Daniel Rossen from Grizzly Bear. The band later returned to Shaking Through’s headquarters Miner Street Recordings to lay down most of what would be their latest LP Grace & Lies (No Quarter), which eventually led to the couple moving from Brooklyn to “a huge loft in an old church” near the Fishtown studio. (Ha…try finding an affordable apartment like that in New York - good luck!) We recently had chance to ask Kim Krans questions about their meeting, songwriting process, mesmerizing music video for the track “Night Song,” and any other topics that struck our fancy. You can read our interview and what she had to say HERE.
For Family Band bandmates, Kim Krans and Jonny Ollsin, who are also married, collaborating came naturally. They first met around a campfire in upstate New York, which is actually near a cabin that they own and use as a “creative refuge.” The couple had originally started a band together called Stonehenge, and after the breakup of Jonny’s metal outfit, Children, the duo’s focus switched to their current project. Family Band was invited last year to come to Philly to record an episode of Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through by guest curator Daniel Rossen from Grizzly Bear. The band later returned to Shaking Through’s headquarters Miner Street Recordings to lay down most of what would be their latest LP Grace & Lies (No Quarter), which eventually led to the couple moving from Brooklyn to “a huge loft in an old church” near the Fishtown studio. (Ha…try finding an affordable apartment like that in New York - good luck!) We recently had chance to ask Kim Krans questions about their meeting, songwriting process, mesmerizing music video for the track “Night Song,” and any other topics that struck our fancy. You can read our interview and what she had to say below.
The Deli: When and how did you first meet Jonny?
Kim Krans: We met around a campfire in upstate New York - not too far from where we now own property. People were passing around the guitar, and I played a cover of a Pavement song. Jonny was pretty smitten with that, but he didn’t admit it until months later.
TD: What inspired you to start working on writing and recording songs together?
KK: It happened naturally. We started a band called Stonehenge when we were first hanging out. It was just for fun, but the interest in collaborating on songs was there from the start.
TD: Was there a time or moment when you realized that you wanted to really move forward as a band?
KK: It was around the time Jonny’s metal band Children was breaking up. We had a record’s worth of new songs together, so it made sense to start focusing on Family Band.
TD: How does the songwriting process usually work between you?
KK: Sometimes I write songs by myself, they turn out like “Moonbeams.” Other times Jonny writes a guitar riff, and I come up with a vocal melody overtop. Those are usually heavier, like “Lace” or “Night Song.”
TD: Is it more difficult or easier to be in a band with your husband, and why?
KK: The marriage doesn’t necessarily change the creative process. Any band is going to be an intense relationship that either works or doesn’t. However, the logistics of a band are easier being married.
TD: Do you plan on continuing to do most of your writing and recording at your cabin in upstate New York?
KK: The cabin is always a creative refuge.
TD: What is it about the cabin that inspires your songwriting?
KK: The quiet nights… plus no internet. It’s embarrassing to admit this, but we get so many cool projects done there because there is no Wi-Fi and no computer. You can’t even post on Instagram there. There’s not enough reception. So you find yourself actually doing things - writing, cooking, chopping wood, playing guitar. If we stayed there for a whole year, I bet I’d be stitching quilts…yikes…
TD: A lot of your songs have a nocturnal, contemplative feel to them. Do you actually do most of your songwriting at night or in the daytime?
KK: The actual time of day doesn’t have an influence on the songs. I just think that the landscape I write about has a nocturnal feeling.
TD: You directed the music video for “Night Songs.” What is the most difficult part of being the director as well as the songwriter/performer?
KK: Well, in this case, it was that I literally could not see. I had fake eyes glued over my eyelids and they held my eyes shut. So I couldn’t watch any of the footage, I had to trust the cameraman and Jonny to know if we got “the take.” It was very awkward.
TD: You are a visual artist, and you did the drawings for the projections in the video. What were your inspirations for them?
KK: My original idea was to draw different patterns of black and white to create optical effects… but once I started playing around with the facial features and different characters there was no going back. We tested out the Minnie Mouse projection, and from that point on, it was anything goes.
TD: What did you want the viewers to take away from the video after seeing it? Were the drawings meant to tell some type of story, or are they just random doodles?
KK: I tried not to latch onto one single narrative. I let the storylines and characters come and go much like they do in our day-to-day-thoughts. One minute, we are on Facebook and the next minute watching a YouTube of a cute cat chasing a ball and then worrying about the monthly bills and who is going to win the election this fall. The drawings are meant to accumulate like life on the internet does – it’s frantic, funny, comparative, overwhelming, and desperately lonely.
TD: What do you find more difficult to do - making visual art or music, and why?
KK: The difficult part about the music business is that it’s achingly slow. You write a song and you’re very lucky if it’s recorded and released within that year. Then you tour those old songs because the world thinks they’re new. With visual arts, you make things, put them out there, get responses, and make more new things. Waiting around for an album to drop can be stifling for the creative spirit.
TD: How does being a visual artist influence your songwriting?
KK: When I write I’m usually thinking of a place, a setting… almost like a set to a movie. I think this gives the songs more moodiness and atmosphere.
TD: You recorded a song for Shaking Through. What was the experience like in comparison to writing and recording in your cabin?
KK: We ended up making most of Grace & Lies at Miner Street (the studio that hosts ShakingThrough) if that tells you anything. As much as we love recording in the woods, it was really nice to have an engineer handle the gear, and we could just be artists and know the sounds would be captured well.
TD: Did coming to record at Shaking Through inspire you to move to Philly? If not, what did?
KK: Coming back to make the rest of the record in Philly inspired the move, we were hanging around in Fishtown for a couple weeks while we were tracking at Miner Street, and we thought it was a great neighborhood. A couple months later Jonny was just trolling on Craigslist looking at apartments, and he found a huge loft in an old church two blocks from the studio. We went to look at it, and it was so insane that we just up and left Brooklyn that month. We both love NY, but needed a break. At the very least, Philly has acted like an arts residency.
TD: What are the positives and negatives of moving from Brooklyn to Philly?
KK: As an artist your currency is time and space - and Philly has plenty of it. Besides our friends in Brooklyn, the only things I miss are pretty superficial like the perfect cup of coffee or a burger that is just right, or a 24 hr bodega that has everything you need.
TD: What is your favorite thing to get at the deli?
“And I told you there was nothing I have to hide…” Kim Krans declares in the bewitchingly insomniatic track “Night Song,” the opener to Grace & Lies (No Quarter), the collaboration with her husband Jonny Ollsin aptly named Family Band. Its crushing static and hypnotic guitar line serves as a bone-chilling invitation inside the group’s second full-length album, and is an obvious standout to the collection. In “Ride,” an acoustic finger-picked guitar opens the songs, while Krans’ words “let a story be told in full, boy you write the ending kind, the prettiest words you can find” play out like a letter. The interplay between the acoustic and electric guitar develop an interesting dynamic - the acoustic pattern playing off the electric which resonates with ever increasing ferocity as it progresses ultimately reaching a climax where the drums make a late appearance pushing the torment over the edge causing the musical unit to burst with epic force.
The album has the ability to shift gears while also remaining on a steady course. For “Again,” the track produced by Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen for and episode of Shaking Through, a steady backbeat of percussion opens the door for Krans latest narrative. While the percussion is always present in its background serving as a foundation in the song, the guitar contributes in a prominent fashion. The music morphs to accompany her vocals. At each lyrical turn, a new or augmented element emerges adding anticipation to each line, and on the following song and the album’s title track, a simple throbbing bass and harmonized backing vocals elevate as if a communal sacrifice is being made. Krans has the listener’s complete attention as the guitar stirs and her voice pushes the boundaries of the powerful mantra-like words.
Overall, the album is moody with its sparse instrumentation that lays as a backdrop for Krans’ meditative, siren-esque vocals. It’s introverted, but longs to be heard. And it should be.
Family Band will be performing songs from Grace & Lies live in its rightful setting tonight at their Philly album release show in the Side Chapel of The First Unitarian Church. You can also purchase the album HERE. - Michael Colavita
Check out Graces & Lies, the new album from Brooklyn-to-Philly transplants Family Band. The record is streaming in its entirety (below) via Aquarium Drunkard. Grace & Lies (No Quarter Records) drops July 24, and they’ll be celebrating its release on July 31 at the First Unitarian Side Chapel.
Below is a rad new music video from Family Band for their hauntingly meditative track “Night Song,” which appears on the group's forthcoming album Graces & Lies due out July 24. It premiered earlier today via NPR’s First Watch. Enjoy!
Below is another nocturnal, contemplative track called “Moonbeams” from Brooklyn/Philly indie-folk outfit Family Band. Their forthcoming album Graces and Lies will be released on July 24 via No Quarter.
From moody folk and gospel, to unexpected marches and screaming fireworks, Kim Krans & Family Band moves its way through some heavy material in new EP 'Cold Songs.' Though she could reasonably be accused of the kind of drawl singing usually associated with folksy singers like Chan Marshall, Kim Krans is no direct descendant of Cat Power either. She uses her powers in quite different ways. In track "Beg" for instance, there are plenty of twists and turns reminiscent of Radiohead's moodier journeys. Likewise, album opener 'Cold Song' begins innocently enough, before knocking you over the head with its drumlins midway through. For this band, it's the unexpected unfolding of these songs that makes it really come together.
This is a record that abandons you in the middle of the forest for an evening, and comes to find you joyous in the morning, after experiencing the full range of that journey. See Family Band live at Brooklyn Bowl on June 4 within the Levon Helm celebration party, and check back in July for a full length.- Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets)
Family Band recently premiered the opening track from their forthcoming sophomore album Graces & Lies called “Night Song” via The Fader. It might very well be the perfect soundtrack for all insomniacs out there. You can take a listen to and download it for free below. Graces & Lies will be available on June 24 via No Quarter Records.