Ok, I know I’ve been saying this a lot, but that’s because it’s true; live music is back in effect in Fayetteville.
To me, you can gauge the health of a music scene by how many good new bands are popping up in it that can inject new blood, and new life into the live music community. All of a sudden, I continue to hear new bands on almost a weekly basis that make me say “I can’t believe these guys are from Fayetteville,” and Christmas Fuller Project is one of those bands.
I’m not even sure how we came across them. Maybe from writing one of our to-do’s a while back, but I was blown away when I heard a few of these guys songs on their myspace page a few weeks ago, and I continue to hear good things about their live performances.
Christmas Fuller is self-described as “melodic pop music with a few wrinkles of experimentation.” They are young, extremely talented multi-instrumentalists and songwriters, and they grew up just down the road in Springdale. We got in touch with the band, and Cameron Heger, the drummer/percussionist, and one of the songwriters for the band was nice enough to answer some questions for us.
Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Christmas Fuller Project: Some of our individual recent favorites have been recent albums from The Walkmen, Sigur Ros, Wolf Parade, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, The National, The Thrills, Coldplay, David Gray, She & Him, Department of Eagles, and Cut Copy. Radiohead, Wilco, and Sufjan Stevens are usually always in all of our rotations. The internet video series Yacht Rock has recently gotten me into Steely Dan—Aja is a fantastic album. Some classic soul is always sneaking its way in, as well. Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Four Tops, Sam Cooke. Also, it seems like everyone has been mashing up Jay-Z with somebody lately—usually to pretty good results.
FF: Where are you guys from?
CFP: We are all graduates of Springdale High School. The band was formed there in 2004, but we didn’t play our first show until our freshman year at the U of A. So we’re either from Springdale or Fayetteville. Maybe both?
FF: There are some pretty sweet videos on your myspace page. Do you guys do those yourself?
CFP: Thanks a lot! Yea, we shot and edited all of those videos ourselves. It’s a lot of fun, but sometimes it’s hard not to feel like self-important idiots whenever we’re constantly filming ourselves, if that makes any sense. Hopefully they don’t come off as self-indulgent or anything like that.
FF: How do you perceive the music scene in Fayetteville right now?
CFP: I think it’s definitely on an upswing right now. Obviously, George’s has been a great music venue for a really long time, but there are some other really cool places popping up. Froggy’s is a lot of fun. There are several houses stepping up and putting together some great shows. I kind of get the sense that the community is really starting to support local music more than it has in the past and in some new and interesting ways. We have met a ton of really cool people and have been blessed with some great opportunities. All that to say we are very excited to be a part of it right now.
FF: You guys have a full length and an EP available, correct? Where can someone find those?
CFP: Correct. We have The Milkhouse EP, which was essentially our first demo recording. We only play one or two songs from that one these days, but it’s a trip to go back and listen to it. The Philosophy of Time Travel was our first full-length that we released in 2007, which we also took a very DIY approach on. It is available on iTunes, CDBaby, and such. We will be releasing our first studio recording titled Green & Lonely here in the next month or two. It’s a 5-song EP we recorded with Adam Putman at Insomniac Studios. We are very, very excited about it. It, too, will be available on iTunes. Everything is available at shows, as well.
FF: Are you guys working on anything new?
CFP: We finished tracking Green & Lonely in December, and have been working with Adam to get finalized mixes since then. We are very close. We will have a CD release party somewhere on Dickson Street once we get the discs pressed. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out the making of the EP here.
FF: All of you are full time students. What are your majors?
CFP: Aaron (bass) is a creative writing/marketing double major. Brandon (vocals/guitar) is a general business major. Tyler (keys) is a psychology major. Cameron is an organizational leadership major.
FF: You guys have some crazy percussion instruments in some of your recordings. What are some of the weirder things you’ve shaken, thrown, or knocked together on a recording?
CFP: Let’s see. I’m not sure if we’ve really banged on anything that crazy on any of our recordings. We do use a lot of different shakers, maracas, bells, tambourines, etc., though. Actually, when we recorded the new EP, Adam had this homemade shaker he called the “perfect shaker” that was basically 15 different shaker-type things stuck inside two halves of a coconut shell which were then duct taped together. It had a pretty interesting sound, but it was kind of unwieldy. I think we ended up using it on 2 or 3 songs.
FF: What are some Fayetteville bands playing right now, new or otherwise that we should check out?
CFP: I don’t know if any of us know of any secret incredible bands, but we have our favorites. We’re all pretty big on Apartment 5 and Memphis Pencils. Benjamin Del Shreve can make for a pretty good time, too. The Good Fear are great if you can catch them. Mar was fantastic.
FF: I’m always interested to hear what bands’ aspirations are. What’s next for Christmas Fuller Project? What do you guys hope comes out of the music that you make?
CFP: I don’t know if we’re really sure. We will all likely still be in Northwest Arkansas through the summer of 2010, so we will definitely keep playing through then. After that, it will probably depend on where our individual lives take us and whether or not there is a big enough audience for the band to keep playing to. CFP started out as a joke among friends, so the end goal has never been to get signed or anything like that. More than anything, we just enjoy having a forum to get all of our songs heard (3 of the 4 of us write songs for the band). The four of us probably don’t have any more fun than when we are playing music. And hopefully our songs resonate with some people and effectively communicate the things that are important to us. I can’t think of any greater function for the band. Being able to do that for a living would just be icing on the cake.
FF: When are you guys playing again?
CFP: We don’t have anything scheduled at the moment, but it will likely be our CD release party sometime in late April. We’ll keep you posted. Thanks so much for your time and interest. We really do appreciate it.
Click below to hear “Airport” by Christmas Fuller Project