Photo by Anahita Bradberry (Edited by Dave Urbanic)
Dan Peluso Band. Walawalawala. freexchange. Ribbons. Haywire Deluxe. Now, children, what do these bands have in common? Answer: They’ve all played host to a member of Falling Andes, a hodgepodge of acclaimed musicians who decided that it was time to bring old-school substance back to the forefront of the indie music scene. And “San Francisco,” the single from Dan Peluso, Jordan Wood, Peter-Michel Natishan and Mike Boyer, does just that, mixing an addictive beat with a laid-back sound and nostalgic lyrics. It seems that, this time, they’ve finally got the right combination. Read on to see how they feel about grammar, chicken, David Bowie … and their debut album.
1. What’s the meaning of the band name, Falling Andes?
Dan: I was reading a poem by Pablo Neruda, "The Heights of Macchu Picchu," which is about the fall of the Inca Empire. In the poem he mentioned the Andes mountains and I thought Falling Andes. What it means at least to me is that nothing in this life lasts forever. Even mountains are either growing or dying off. The physical things die, but virtues and good things like love, hope, and good memories last forever.
2. How did you all meet/decide to be a part of Falling Andes?
Falling Andes: We all got sentenced to community service together. We're fulfilling some of our time right now, as a matter of fact.
3. A lot of people have been questioning the meaning of the “independent” label. You identify yourself as independent on your website so what does “indie” mean to you?
Falling Andes: Independent isn't a genre of music, it's a lifestyle. "Indie" bands on record labels, with endorsements and giant budgets... let's just say it isn't very "indie" to have extensive financial and professional support. So we'd say we're independent in the fashion that we're currently funding and doing everything ourselves, very hard work.
4. What’s it like operating out of Pittsburgh, which isn’t as well known for its music scene as New York or LA?
Falling Andes: Pittsburgh is actually full of great musicians and has exported more famous names than you'd believe. Google it sometime, you'll be surprised. Pittsburgh's best features are economy and geography: the dollar stretches further here than any other Mid-Atlantic or east coast city; we can be anywhere from New York, Nashville, Baltimore/DC, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Hartford, Philadelphia - all the major east coast and midwest markets - in eight hours or less, driving; about an hour by air. That's pretty cool.
5. Why did you choose to release an EP as your first album?
Falling Andes: Finances; it's much cheaper to release a five cut record than a ten cut one, and since we're "independent" it was really our only option if we wanted to release something so soon. It's also easier to sell, because they can be priced to move.
6. What’s been the best/worst part of forming a new group?
Falling Andes: Same for both: getting started, tightening up and getting that momentum rolling.
7. How did you come up with the cover art?
Peter: Actually, the concept and design was David Urbanic's; he's an independent multimedia artist and filmmaker living in Phoenix and working internationally. He also conceptualized, edited and did all the post-production on the San Francisco video. He's a huge talent.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Dan: Indiana Jones, enough said.
Jordan: Are you kidding?! David Bowie! Have you seen Labyrinth?
Peter: For me that's easy: no one. Music is a very personal thing and, for my own music, I don't want to work with anyone else when I'm expressing my voice. In a band format, the dynamic is different. But there's no one who stands out.
Mike: I don't know anyone else.
9. Dan and Jordan: You seem to be the songwriters of the group. Do you write together or do you each contribute individual songs; how does the process work?
Falling Andes: By my perspective, I see that every member of this band is an accomplished, talented, professional musician so everyone writes, has a style, approach and vision. Ultimately, it always works the same: regardless of where an idea, demo, whatever comes from, the song tells you what it wants to be. You just have to listen. That sounds hokey, but it's true. Music is a spiritual thing.
10. What are you most excited about with the new album and what’s your hope for it?
Falling Andes: Supporting the record, really getting behind and pushing it. Our most sincere hope is that, even though the music on the record is good - very good, it doesn't tank, stall or get critically panned. Truly, even knowing it's a solid offering.
11. What’s your favorite song on the album?
Jordan: I like Frantic.
Dan: I also like Frantic as my favorite.
Mike: I Don't Love You is probably my favorite.
Peter: Break Me is my favorite song overall because of its live energy, but that really just makes it my favorite song to play. As far as recorded versions go, I'd have to say Start Again. It's very lush and rich... but, amusingly enough, it's my least favorite song to play live.
12. Why did you choose to release “San Francisco” as the single?
Dan: It was the first song we wrote for the band. It encompasses what we wanted our sound and vision for the band to be. The idea was to release that as a single and only song we had out there, and then while that was gaining momentum we would record and write the other songs. So it's starting to come together as planned!
13. Who’s the coolest musician you’ve ever met? Who’s your idol?
Peter: Mike Boyer. I'm not kidding. I got no idols. Neither does Juliana Hatfield, if you get the reference.
Mike: Peter-Michel Natishan.
Jordan: Are you kidding?! David Bowie! Have you seen Labyrinth?
Dan: Jordan never met David Bowie, he's an asshole. I really did meet Robert Plant, which was really cool! It was a few years ago when I worked in the industry. I was so nervous when I met him I felt like a school girl on her first date. I remember putting my arms around him for a photo and I got to touch his long curly hair. The next day I still felt the greasiness of his hair on my hands. I wish I could see him again...
14. What’s something people don’t know about you?
Peter: My grammar is exponentially better than you would think.
Jordan: My grammar is exponentially better than Peter's.
Dan: My grammar is good.
Mike: I'm currently learning how to speak Russian.
15. Why do you play music in the first place?
Falling Andes: There are only two kinds of people who play music: it's either something you do, or something you are. We make music because we have to - that's who we are. It's what our life is, not a job or a hobby. It's breathing.
16. Anything else you’d like to add?
Falling Andes: We think chicken is very tasty. Peter lives with a cat named LBC who is Kato to his Clouseau, if you're hip. That's probably it.
Falling Andes’ debut album, “Frantic,” will be pre-released by groopease.com on Aug. 8 and is set to hit iTunes Aug. 9. They play at Thunderbird Café in Pittsburgh Aug. 18 and Elbo Room in Chicago Sept. 10.
Check out the band's single, San Francisco:
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