by Chris Delente
If you haven’t heard of Stray Fossa yet, you’re missing out.
Stray Fossa is a band that started out in Sewanee, Tennessee. They took a bit of a break for some years, and met up in Richmond, VA and they have slowly becoming one of our favorite bands in the DMV area as of recent. They are made up of brothers Nick and Will Evans, and Zach Blount, who combine retro-synths and reverb layered guitar chords to create a sound that relaxes the listener while also leaving them wanting more.
Instead of hearing it from us, why don’t you check out the song above, and take a gander at our interview with them below.
What first got you into music?
Nick: Will and I have our parents and early exposure to the Beatles, Bowie, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and many others to thank for that. There was this one vinyl insert that had the Beatles kinda dispersed in a big crowd of fans – I think it was for the Blue or Red Album. I remember dad quizzing us on who was George, who was John. Back when you got Netflix in the mail he would order old concert videos and narrate them for us. Then he bought himself an electric guitar one year, which ended up becoming my first guitar.
Zach: Similarly my parents always had music playing in the house and in the car. My family would sing along to this Best Of The 70s CD on road trips and alternate that with the Beatles on repeat. I also at a young age discovered Led Zeppelin since my mom was a big fan. I got a concert DVD and watched it over and over again and I knew I wanted to play live. The first song I learned with these guys was a Zeppelin song, after they convinced me to bring over a bass to their house.
How did you first start developing your career?
Nick: We were in a band together in high school and then things got on the back burner for five or six years before we regrouped in 2018. I guess we always knew we’d start making music together again, but when it came down to it we really did just kinda drop everything and move to Charlottesville.
Can you take us through what your creative process is like? What is the most challenging part?
Nick: It depends on the song. Sometimes it is collaborative from the start and other times it is really a bedroom project that morphs into a Stray Fossa song. I think we all have very different writing processes, which hopefully makes for an interesting record. We’ve talked about this and we all know pretty quickly whether what we are working on individually is for the band or should be shelved for the time being to revisit later.
Will: I think it can get difficult at times when any one of us becomes especially attached to something we’re working on but others are more like… mmm not feeling it. So it’s become a productive exercise on both ends, learning how to remain open to critique while also dialing back one’s own criticism to avoid discouraging any one from being creative.
Zach: We’ve gotten pretty good with open communication about what works and what doesn’t and how we should approach different songs. I think that dialogue leads to a final product that better reflects each of us as musicians and people.
Who would you most like to collaborate with/what music artist do you most admire?
Nick: Maybe Hamilton Leithauser or Sam Beam – both just seem like such genuine people and I appreciate how observant their writing is. Also, anyone who is lucky enough to collaborate with Phoebe Bridgers leaves the experience a better songwriter.
Zach: I’d love to team up in the studio with Glen Hansard. In my opinion he’s an amazing songwriter and brings unique energy to his recordings.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?
Will: I think finishing an album of material we feel generally good about is a big one for us. Doing it once makes it feel more likely that we can do it again and better.
Nick: Absolutely agree – submitting this album to our distributor. Will produces everything and is meticulous in his approach to mixing and arrangement. Artists who self-produce know that the final touches aren’t as glamorous as when you first hit the studio and recording but they are still so important.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Zach: To work on prioritizing self-care and to approach challenges, inner and outer, with a curious mindset.
Will: Most recently I’ve been reminded to drink more water. I definitely need to do that.
Do you sing in the shower? If so what songs?
Nick: I do not.
Will: Sometimes I mumble-sing melody ideas I’ve been working on, or random pop songs like “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce.
Zach: That’s funny, I’m always singing “Love on Top”.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
Zach: I was doing psychology research but pushed pause on that when I moved to Charlottesville to pursue music. I’d probably still be doing that and considering moves toward grad school maybe?
Will: I think I would have also stayed in uni for human geography and environment.
Nick: Environmental advocacy work.
How would you describe Charlottesville, VA? Has the area played any role in influencing your music?
Will: For sure. I think proportionally for such a small town (and probably attributable to the Dave Matthews wave of the 90s) there’s a huge focus on live music. We quickly felt we needed to get our chops up. But overall it’s a very inclusive community of diverse talent. It’s not uncommon to see bills shared by totally different acts, from blues/jam-rock and hip-hop to folk/Americana. We’ve made a lot of friends in bands that sound nothing like us and regularly share the stage with them. It’s always a good time.
What’s next for you?
Nick: Sharing this record. We’d love to tour on it but we’ll see.
Zach: Agreed. We can’t wait to share these new songs with everyone and what keeps us excited is always looking forward. I can’t wait to play live again when it’s safe to do so, and start tracking the next batch of songs.
Chris Delente is a freelance writer, audio engineer/producer, and overall music obsessor who has lived in the Washington D.C. area since birth. He is also a huge Washington Redskins fan, and an equally enthusiastic supporter of all D.C. sports.
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