Band: 92ZEW presents Houndmouth, Seratones
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 6 with doors at 7 p.m.
Venue: Soul Kitchen, 219 Dauphin St.,
Tickets: $17 advance/$20 day-of/$30 reserved risers; available at Soul Kitchen, its website, Mellow Mushroom (both locations) and by calling 1-866-468-7630
In 2013, Houndmouth released its breakout debut, “From the Hills Below the City.” Its style of Americana-based rock ‘n’ roll expanded the band’s audience beyond its Louisville, Kentucky, base and earned Houndmouth spots at major music festivals such as Lollapalooza, Hangout Fest and Bonnaroo.
Houndmouth also took time to play Callaghan’s at last year’s SouthSounds Music and Arts Festival. The band’s set at this intimate venue made it one of the festival’s most memorable. Houndmouth’s sophomore effort, “Little Neon Limelight,” is earning the band more praise, with the initial single, “Sedona,” receiving an impressive amount of radio play.
In a recent conversation with Lagniappe, lead vocalist/guitarist Matt Myers discussed the new album and the band’s growing popularity.
Stephen Centanni: Houndmouth’s Mobile performances have sort of reflected the band’s career over the past year. You gathered up some new fans at Callaghan’s, which is one of Mobile’s smaller venues. Now, y’all are playing Soul Kitchen, which is one of the city’s biggest. How would you describe the past year for Houndmouth?
Matt Myers: Things have definitely picked up. We’re getting more radio play, and things kind of revolve around that a little bit. Word gets out, and people start showing up.
Centanni: I’ve been losing more and more faith in the labels the industry puts on music. They consider your band Americana/folk-rock, and I just can’t see that. What do you think about that label to describe your music?
Myers: I don’t know. I just did an interview with a guy, and he was like, ‘How does it feel to be an emerging folk-rock artist?’ What is that? I don’t know, I guess. We just live in a vacuum and don’t really consider it too much. You know, is it rock ‘n’ roll, maybe? I would just say that we play rock ‘n’ roll music. We just incorporate rhythm and blues, soul, funk and folk into it. It’s a bit of a melting pot.
Centanni: I’m starting to wonder why we have to label music in the fashion we do.
Myers: Oh, totally! It’s the human condition to categorize everything.
Centanni: Your album “Little Neon Limelight” is still blowing up. Where did the title come from?
Myers: It’s kind of a play on two of the songs, “My Cousin Greg” and “Sedona.” We’re bad at naming things, which is clear from our band name. We needed a name for the record and that was one all four of us could settle on.
Centanni: I keep talking to more and more bands who write their albums on the road, and the songs on this one were born on tour. What is it about being on the road that inspires songwriting? Is it experience or just having the time to do it?
Myers: It’s a reflection or gathering period when you’re on the road. I don’t do as much writing as I collect things. Usually, it’s quick one-liners. When we get home and get our comfort back, everything comes together as something. I would say that it’s hard to actually write on the road, but it’s a great place to gather inspiration.
Centanni: As far as studio work in Nashville, Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Shooter Jennings, Sturgill Simpson) has become a go-to guy. What made you decide to go with him?
Myers: Well, he was in the same boat as we were. He had just recorded Isbell and Sturgill. He wanted to break out of that. He wanted to do something new. He didn’t want to make another Americana record, and we also came up in that folk scene and didn’t want to make another Americana record. It was the perfect situation. We got to experiment and learn a new world together.
Centanni: “Sedona” has been the breakout single of this album. What’s the story behind that song?
Myers: It all goes back to being on the road and gathering information. I was reading about Sedona Arabella and her husband and how the town came to be. They started filming Spaghetti Westerns in Sedona. Eventually, there were was this big rise and fall after everybody started moving to Hollywood to make the movies. It boomed for a little while and then collapsed.
Centanni: I checked out the video for “Say It” the other day, and I love the description of it being like a “Wes Anderson horror film.” How did this video come about?
Myers: A guy named Matt Faulks from Louisville. All we contributed was the jockeys, and then, Matt was like, “Yeah, let’s give it a Louisville vibe and a little bit David Lychian and Wes Anderson, and roll.” That guy was so awesome. We had such a long experience with the “Sedona” video. It was our first time on a real set and all professional. It was exhausting. For the “Say It” video, we were like, “Let’s just have a concept and have some guy roll with it.”
Centanni: You guys are on the road again. Any songs being written or information gathered?
Myers: Yeah, Zach actually has a song, and we’ve been playing it a little bit. We’ve got a few songs. We don’t hammer things out until we need to, so they won’t get old. When you have all these ideas, you play with them a little bit to stay motivated. It’s always fun to play music, but we purposefully try not to play it too much to stay fresh.