The Family Crest recently performed at Outside Lands.
And photographer Matt Benton caught up with the band to shoot some pics and ask bandleader Liam McCormick some questions.
As a band from San Francisco, what does performing at Outside Lands mean to you?
“Playing a festival like Outside Lands is always exciting. Playing one in your city is even more thrilling. When John [Seeterlin] and I formed the band, we had a short list of goals for our career with Outside Lands being one of the primary. We were extremely humbled and excited by the entire situation. Being placed up on bill with bands like Wilco, St. Vincent, and Mumford and Sons is just… there are no words. It makes you want to work harder, honestly. After that show, we’re going to do everything we can to come back. Who knows, maybe someday we can headline?”
What do you always want your audience to experience during your set?
“More than anything we want our fans to have a good time. We’re so lucky that we have people that want to come out and see us do what we do that it’s our goal to always play as hard as we can with as much energy as possible. I would say to anyone new to our show that they should expect to move, sing, and get sweaty. Our fans are amazing and really passionate about getting involved in the show and will make you feel extremely welcome.”
We’re very impressed with the music collective aspect of the band, but we’ve always wondered how do you choose who goes on tour?
“Honestly, it totally depends on who asks to play and what the stage setup is looking like. For small rooms and intimate settings, it can be hard to throw someone up on stage simply because they don’t fit. Usually people will send us a message and we’ll chat with them about what they play, how long they’ve been playing, what songs they really love, and then if we can make it work: I’ll get music ready for them and send it out. I encourage people that want to do it –but aren’t comfortable or confident enough to jump on stage right off the bat– to ask for music and then to practice it with the album until they are ready. That way they’ll be focusing less on the notes on the page and more on just having a good time. When someone gets up on stage with us we feed off of each other’s energy. It’s such a good time.”
Are you always actively recruiting new members?
“For the most part I’ve always just asked people if they play music right off the bat when I’m meeting them and tell them we’d love to find a place for them whatever they do. So in that sense, I guess we’re always recruiting. Collaborating with people is a great way to make new friends and learn about music on a very grass roots level. We have a lot of people come out and ask to play as well, so you get this awesome amalgamation of all sorts of different types of people. I love when someone that plays an instrument that I’ve never written for asks to join the group. I get to go explore and research a new instrument and usually I end up getting fairly close to whoever that person is as I try to pick their brain about their instrument quite a bit. It’s extremely fun to see what colors you can create from new sounds.”
Does The Family Crest have a lot of side projects?
“We actually don’t have any side projects. We’re all extremely invested in the success of our group so our focus really is just on The Family Crest. We do collaborate with a lot of groups though. I love to be involved in projects where all I have to do is come in and sing or play guitar for something. For me I feel so much less pressure when I’m a guest artist. Everyone in the group loves doing stuff like that.”
What are you the most proud of about your latest album Beneath the Brine?
“Personally, I’m really proud of the orchestral arrangements on that album. I began to learn how to compose music through this band and have been so fortunate to be able to sit in and learn so much about writing music through the amazing musicians involved in our group. The writing I did on Beneath the Brine was the first orchestrated music I was really proud of. I think the cool thing about music is that you’re always learning and therefore always getting better. The next album is going to be epic.”
What can you tell us about the next album?
“I’m pretty secretive about this upcoming project. All I’m going to say is that it is an album and a project. Theres a bunch of fun stuff going on right now. I can’t wait for y’all to hear it!”