Published Jun 06, 2014Now in their eighth year together, Northern New York state folk rockers the Felice Brothers have developed steadfast recording habits: they stick close to home and rarely record in proper studios. Yet as the band prepare to release their upcoming full-length, Favorite Waitress, on June 17, multi-instrumentalist James Felice tells Exclaim! that getting a little uncomfortable was vital for the completion of the record.
"We wanted to get out of our comfort zone; we didn't want the option to go home every night. We wanted to be immersed in the songs," he explains. "We also knew we weren't going to be able to be in the studio for very long and we just wanted to nail it. We wanted to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible. If we were going to go home every night, we wouldn't be working as hard."
Felice notes that after 2011's synth-heavy Celebration, Florida, relocating to Conor Oberst's Arc Studios in Omaha, NE, helped the band rediscover their folk roots. It was the first time the group recorded in a proper studio, which Felice says was "the least difficult" part of the process. After sifting through 100 songs they'd written, being able to escape their homes for a place with a "Middle-of-nowhere feel" served the 13 tracks on Favorite Waitress well.
"We'd been doing this for so long that it was such a release to be able to get out to work on songs for once," he says.
Though the record was completed in a just a week, Felice insists the band's vision for Favorite Waitress "mostly took shape in the studio." Not surprisingly, Favorite Waitress deals mostly with escaping the terrifying realities of modern life. As such, setting up shop thousands of kilometres away from home in Omaha was a satisfying experience for the band.
"For us it felt like it was as far away from home as we could get," says Felice, adding that working in Omaha was "really exciting."
The Felice Brothers will soon take to the road, where they'll debut Favorite Waitress in a live setting. It will be an easy transition, notes Felice, as the band's intentions from day one in Omaha were to record an album that would translate easily into a live setting.
"That was one of the things we were most excited about. As soon as we got into the studio we decided we wanted this record to be, more or less, a representation of what we do live. We wanted songs that felt good and easy to play live."
Favorite Waitress arrives courtesy of Dualtone Records on June 9 in the UK/Europe and on June 17 in North America. Find their forthcoming touring schedule below.
06/10 Manchester, UK - Gorilla
06/12 Dublin, IE - Whelans
06/14 London, UK - Bush Hall (Bushstock Festival)
06/19 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel #
06/20 Rochester, NY - Water Street Music Hall #
06/21 Toronto, ON - The Horseshoe Tavern (NXNE)
06/23 Ferndale, MI - Loving Touch #
06/25 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall #
06/26 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock #
06/28 Omaha, NE - Slowdown #
06/30 St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway #
07/01 Louisville, KY - Zanzabar #
07/02 Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
07/05 Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree Café #
07/09 New York, NY - Webster Hall #
07/10 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer #
07/11 Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair #
08/30 Moseley, UK - Moseley Folk Festival
* with Langhorne Slim & The Law
# with Robert Ellis