WTTS & MOKB Present: Sun King Concert Series
Family of the Year, Pacific Air
1119 E. Prospect St.
Indianapolis, IN, 46203
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Watch & Listen
Family of the Year
Most bands function like a family, seeing how touring, writing, and studio time force them to share a lot of small spaces for extended periods of time. But Family of the Year has taken that familial feeling a step further, and not just with its moniker. The members of the Los Angeles outfit have formed unbreakable bonds amongst themselves that come from cohabitating in a run-down house and relying on each other for inspiration and support, which has led to the kind of camaraderie that allows members to finish each other's sentences. It also doesn't hurt that frontman Joe Keefe and drummer Sebastian Keefe are real-life siblings.
Not surprisingly, many of the group's songs feature numerous voices, and more than a few include a chorus of joyous handclaps. Some even sound like they should be sung by the tight-knit group around the campfire while the s'mores are melting and the wine is flowing, especially the ones that name-drop members of the band. Guitarist Jamesy Buckey, in particular, has received the lion's share of shout-outs in FOTY songs, to the point where it's become a Family tradition.
Family of the Year's story began in 2009, when Joe assembled a band around an album, Songbook, that he completed while decompressing from a five-year stint with Unbusted, the alt- rock trio he started in Boston with Sebastian that gained some notoriety for its inclusion on the soundtrack to the Farrelly brothers' film Stuck On You. Instead of relying on the distortion of his past, suddenly pianos, horns, acoustic guitars, and other assorted instrumentation were being used to display a more sophisticated—yet equally as playful—indie-rock sound that brings to mind classic pop bands like The Smiths, The Byrds, Fleetwood Mac, and The Go-Betweens.
To say that Family of the Year has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time would be an understatement. In addition to Songbook, the band has issued a pair of EPs on its own Washashore
Records imprint - 2009's Where's The Sun, 2010's Through The Trees – in addition to last year's 2011's St. Croix. Songs from all four discs have made their way onto various international releases. Media attention has come from various corners of the world, including heavy rotation on French radio as well as glowing reviews from NME, BBC, IFC, Rolling Stone and Spin.
There's nothing typical about Pacific Air. Even while growing up in Southern California, brothers Ryan and Taylor Lawhon didn't learn about music via the usual staples, but rather through their mother’s unconventional taste in music.
"For most people, classic rock is nostalgic since that's what their parents listened to," exclaims Ryan. "For us, it's Enya, Deep Forrest, Laurie Andersen, and Ray Lynch because that's what our mom played in the house. New Age was our primary music knowledge as kids, and it definitely left an imprint."
Yet, the brothers were influenced by more than just their New Age musical roots. Despite the fact that they are decedents of a rural Alaskan family, Ryan and Taylor were born and grew up in Southern California and have never experienced a winter. The wintertime vibe must be in their blood, however, as their music at times possesses moody and ambient elements while still managing to maintain the warmth of their environment. The two nearly identical brothers drew inspiration from their virtually nomadic lifestyle, moving annually from one town to the next around the West Coast, and finding permanence in their collaborative capabilities. By the age of 15, they were in bands together, and not much has changed since in terms of their process.
"It's a lot like any sibling bond," Ryan comments. "We don't always agree, but we're surprisingly in tune with what we want to do. Taylor writes many of the rhythms and underlying chord progressions, and I'll write many of the melodies and lyrics as well as filling in on the production side. We're a great team."
In March 2012, they uploaded three original songs to a Bandcamp page under their initial moniker KO KO, the name of a boat they considered buying in the Newport Harbor. They had tracked the music on a laptop in the bedroom of their home, utilizing everything from guitars and bass to keyboards, synths, and organ. The setup wasn't fancy or extravagant, but it captured their spirit organically.
Within merely 24 hours of uploading the tracks, a Vice blog contacted the musicians. After two days, their music hit number one on The Hype Machine. A flurry of acclaim began to mount with features by tastemakers including MTV Hive, Disco Naivete, My Old Kentucky Blog, Neon Gold, and many more. The next week, Ryan and Taylor found themselves in New York for the first time to showcase for major labels. Embracing the drastic shift in weather had an incredible payoff for the duo, as their trip culminated with securing a deal with Republic Records.
Sonically influenced by their environment, but emotionally and lyrically exploring profound themes of death and self-exploration, the brothers found a style that is uniquely their own. In many ways, the first single "Float" provides an apropos introduction to Pacific Air's shimmering dream pop. Sun-soaked melodies cascade with bright beats, finger snaps, faint guitar, and laidback whistling as Ryan asks, "If we both get old, will you let me float away?"
The singer reveals, "I was literally floating between different things, and there was a real uncertainty about the future. The lyrics were born out of depression from that, but the music has a summer vibe. It's an interesting juxtaposition. I feel like the song is a youthful perspective on transition."
However, that's only one facet of their forthcoming debut four-song EP for Universal Republic produced by Chris Zane [Passion Pit, Mumford & Sons, The Walkmen]. A majestic organ swells through "So Strange" as synths careen in tandem alongside Ryan's elegant hook.
About the track, he goes on, "It's one of my favorite songs lyrically. 'So Strange' is almost like a sequel to 'Float'. The song talks about what happens after you've decided where you're going in life and your direction. It examines the insecurities implicit in that."
To some degree, Pacific Air's identity remains encapsulated in their name itself. Ryan exclaims, "It's a good description of our music and who we are. We've always lived somewhere near an ocean. It's where we've been most of our lives, and it's fairly representative of most of our songs, but I don't know if I would consider it surfing music. "
The music’s otherworldly, sonic perspective really works well anywhere though. There's a universality in the brothers' bond that ultimately makes Pacific Air inviting, infectious, and intoxicating.
Formerly known as "crown" - PUBLIC is comprised of three friends that are on a magical journey doing what they know And love. nothing is better than what brings joy to the children and fills the soul with the sweet nectar of sound. They wish to always be allowed to dance, yell, and have fun with their music as long as inhumanly possible.