"Straight up, mom, I love you and cherish our newly forming adult relationship, but right now I gotta snack."
After teasing us with a handful of singles and EPs over the past couple years, Field Mouse are finally getting ready to drop their debut full-length, Hold Still Life. If the record’s lead single, “Two Ships," is anything to go by though, then we’re in for a literal and figurative treat. The track washes out of the speakers with chill melodies that are sugary sweet yet subtlety dark; not unlike, say, chocolate-covered coffee beans. It’s damn good, is what we’re getting at.
We talked to Field Mouse’s Rachel Browne (vocals, guitar) and Andrew Futral (guitar, production) to learn a little more about Hold Still Life, and the snacks that helped make it possible.
Noisey: Can you elaborate a little bit on the inspiration behind the lyrical content on “Two Ships?" The general vibe I get from it is a just a touch darker and more grown-up than your previous EPs.
Browne: I'm glad we could help you experience some dark vibes. It's definitely about feeling isolated and looking for purpose in a city, specifically New York in this case. The point is, I ended up moving to Philly.
How indicative do you feel “Two Ships” is of what we can expect from the rest of Hold Still Life?
Browne: It's one of the slower songs, and definitely most different of all the songs on the album. I think it's funny that it's the first single for this reason. It kind of treads into disco territory, which is something I am into, but the rest of the album is much more straight ahead and cohesive. Genres kind of freak me out and I try not to think too much in those terms, but it's all loud and fuzzy and melodic. If you felt like “Two Ships” was kind of dark, then I guess the rest of the album is pretty much on that wavelength, too.
This will be your debut full-length. Do you feel that writing for a cohesive full-length is different in any way to how you’d approach songwriting for an EP or seven-inch, and if so, in what ways?
Browne: Yeah, absolutely. We really wanted to make it cohesive, and each song was written with every other song/sound/tone/etcetera in mind. To me, singles are more like ideas—sort of a glimpse into what a band is working on and what they're writing like at that moment.
I saw you tweeted a little while back, “Love it when blogs say something like ‘the band wasted no time getting to the studio.' If you only knew how many snacks & naps happened.” The next question I have then, logically, is exactly how many snacks did it take to record the album, and what were your preferred studio snacks when you were recording? Oreos? Nachos? Please provide insight.
Futral: The honest answer is—and I don't mean to put down traditional snacks at all—but we are at this emotional level where anything can be a snack. When you are kinda young, you need these kinds of chips and sugary or salty foods to really snack, but those are like training wheels. Snacking is a way of eating that combines sloth, avarice, and gluttony into a beautiful symphony.
There isn't really a way to properly describe it, but when you hit that point you could be in a tuxedo at a five-star restaurant and everyone is eating the same food, but you are snacking. Your mom will lean over to you and be like, "Stop snacking in front of my boss, I am trying to get the big Rothchild account!" and you will say, "Straight up, mom, I love you and cherish our newly forming adult relationship, but right now I gotta snack." She will give you a thumbs up because she raised a miracle child. Your mom is the real hero of that story.
I know that initially, Field Mouse was formed as a two-piece between yourselves. Are Saysha and Tim now permanent members of the band? And how did their addition influence your writing process?
Browne: Yes, they are. Right, you guys? I think it's forever. I mean, everything is impermanent, though. Two hundred years from now the overwhelming majority of the things currently alive will be gone. There will be a few tortoises, whales, and that kind of jellyfish that doesn't age, and very few of those things will be into music from our time. Whatever, I'm going to go into an existential wormhole. We've played with a lot of people, so many friends that I love, and we always wanted to have a solid permanent lineup in the end. It's great to have that.
Getting back to the topic of snacks: those new fruit punch-flavored Oreos, you guys. Can I get a "hell yeah" or a "hell no" on that one?
Futral: I believe in my heart that anyone trying to make new snacks is involved in an act of positive social change, and so while that particular snack does not appeal to me I would never disparage someone for trying something bold. H. Phillip Oreo, the very real head of Nabisco, could have easily just made the Oreos a wacky color, or have some offshoot company make yet another restaurant-style tortilla chip. But he didn't! He stuck his neck out. Or maybe he just threw darts at different flavors and picked one to make new Oreos taste like. Either way, it's a snack.
Hold Still Life is out on July 22 from Topshelf Records.Pre-order it here.
Ben Sailer is that guy who likes Werther's Originals. Follow him on Twitter - @bensailer