Calliope Musicals hit the accelerator in 2016 and embarked on a magical voyage. The first stop for the Austin-based, psychedelic folk septet was the Austin Music Awards where they picked up ‘Best New Band’ honors during SXSW. They followed the AMAs up with a Black Fret grant nomination. The band’s next scheduled stop will be Austin’s Central Presbyterian Church for the album release party of their debut studio album, Time Owes You Nothing.
Fans will have the opportunity to celebrate with Calliope Musicals at the April 15 album release for a once in a lifetime experience. The band will perform Time Owes You Nothing in its entirety from start to finish sharing the stage with a three-piece choir and three-piece orchestra.
As the party winds down at the Central Presbyterian Church the Yes Ma’am Brass Band will join Calliope Musicals on stage and then lead the crowd in a parade to Cheer Up Charlies. There, the party continues with performances by Riders Against the Storm (RAS), Sphynx, Hikes, Trouble in The Streets, Zettajoule, Tinnarose, Michael Parallax, Terror Pigeon, Plasma Icicle Soul and more.
Calliope Musicals began as an acoustic outfit in 2009 when Carrie Fussell (singer) and Matt Roth (guitar) met at a hookah bar. Since then, they have added Craig Finkelstein (vibraphone), Josh Bickley (drums), Andrew Vizzone (bass) and Chris Webb (lead guitar), and the band has morphed into “one freaky Frankenstein of a sound.” The adventurous, high-energy live shows and crazy stage antics the band has become known for are thanks to the addition of ‘confetti cat,’ Jerry Sparkman.
In late 2015, Calliope Musicals hooked up with producer Kevin Augunas (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Cold War Kids), and spent three weeks in Los Angeles at the legendary Sound City Studios putting together Time Owes You Nothing, their first full-length studio album.
TMI was fortunate enough to catch Calliope Musicals rummaging the vast racks of S. Congress costume shop Lucy in Disguise in search of some snazzy new stage digs. Here’s what the band had to say.
TMI: How did Calliope Musicals evolve from its folksy roots to create its own genre of psychedelic party-folk?
CM: When we started, we were a lot more tame and heavy on the folk. We’ve kind of moved away from that with our performances now. The songwriting still has folk roots. However, we evolve our songs a lot more now with the whole band whereas before our music fit more into the singer-songwriter style.
TMI: How did you get the opportunity to record Time Owes You Nothing with Kevin Augunas at Sound City Studios?
CM: It was the power of positivity. We had a very short list of producers we hoped to work with and just thought, ‘why not? Let’s reach out to this specific producer who recorded Up from Below for Edward Sharpe and see what happens.’ He responded and then came down to see a show…and we just worked it out from there. He just so happened to work at Sound City.
TMI: How does a large band collaboratively write songs?
CM: We live by a process of fleshing everything out. When anybody has ideas, we all come together and try to flesh them out. We also have a thing called “firefly” which means we have to try everything at least once. If an idea sounds weird, we will “firefly” it…give it our best shot and then if it doesn’t work we can move on. But, we at least have to try it.
TMI: You’ve stated that you write music for a live audience. Does the songwriting process change once you go into the studio?
CM: I think our [songwriting] has changed “from” going into the studio. Beforehand, our mind was set on ‘how is this going to affect people emotionally in a live setting? How are people going to react to this? How can we get people to join us for this crazy idea?’ But, when we were in the studio it was simply an auditory experience. So, when we came out we had sort of a new look on all of our music. We still write for a live audience. However, there is a lot of thought put into arranging our songs now.
TMI: Will Calliope Musicals be performing any festivals in the near future?
CM: Our album release is April 15th and that’s where all of our energy is going right now. However, the day after the album release, we are playing Easter Island Music Festival. So, we’re pretty much going to sleep for two hours and then drive straight to Oklahoma and play that fest which we are super excited about. Then, we’re playing Electric Forest in Michigan at the end of June and we are crazy excited about that. Andrew and Chris caravanned up there three years ago and it was one of the wildest weekends of their lives. It really shaped them musically a lot since then. So, for them to get to return and play Electric Forest again…that’s kind of a dream-come-true.
Album release party will be at Central Presbyterian Church located at 200 E 8th St., Austin, Texas 78701
Doors are at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Written by: Doug Leach (Doug@themusicissuemagazine.com)
Photos by: Phillip Leach (email@example.com)
Location: Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds (http://www.lucyindisguise.com/)
1506 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704