Nada Mucho

Fey Ray: Politically Minded, but not a “Political Band”

Posted by November 2nd, 2004 No Comments » Interview – Fey Ray
Q & A with Matt Duss, Seth Howard & Stacey Lester
By Rich Green, Noise for the Needy Hey guys. Please start by giving us the Fey ray story.

Stacey: Matt (Duss, guitar & lead vox) and I (Stacey Lester, bass) used to play together in a band called the Visitors. We recorded an album but never released it. A while later, I was on vacation with a friend who used to drum in that band and I pulled out the old album and listened to it. I felt there was still a lot of potential in the songs, so I emailed Matt and asked him if we wanted to do a new project. Matt recruited Seth Howard, who we both knew from the SIL2K improv group, and it went from there. Sean joined us a year later after his band The Guest Stars split up.

NM: How were you approached about playing Noise for the Needy?

Stacey: We’d been talking to the Nada Mucho guys about playing one of their showcase gigs. While we were going back and forth about that, this opportunity presented itself and we went from there.

NM: Your guitarist, Sean Uberoi Kelly, recently moved to New York. How do you think this will affect the band and your music?

Stacey: Well, Sean was a good friend of the band before he joined up. His musicianship and studio savvy will be missed. We were just getting ready to concentrate on writing new material and perhaps recording sometime next year. However, we’ve had some decent guys come in to jam with us. I think whoever gets the spot will have some big shoes to fill, but then we’re looking forward to creating new material. We have no preconceived notions of what that might sound like (though Matt may beg to differ), but whatever we do, it will be the product of four musician’s creativity and vision and of course, our influences.

Seth: Sean engineered our first EP and our album, so the recorded sound of Fey Ray is definitely going to change somewhat. Like Stacey said, the sound of the band is the sound of us collaborating, so with a new collaborator, the sound will be different.

NM: What are the most embarrassing CDs you guys own?

Stacey: I own a couple of Brenda Carlisle albums that someone gave me. I can’t throw them out…but I can’t listen to them either.

Matt: Slippery When Wet. Side A rocks, Side B is a piece of shit.

Seth: I don’t have any CDs I’m embarrassed to own; just a stack that used CD stores won’t give me any money for.

NM: Red Sox or Yankees?

Stacey: (Laughing) That’s baseball innit?

Matt: Sox, definitely. And I’m hoping some of the residual Boston goodwill carries over to Kerry.

Seth: Kerry’s a cyclist. That’s more “my speed” if you’ll pardon the pun.

NM: Politics influence your lyrics. Has the election had an effect on the song writing process?

Stacey: Matt writes the lyrics. I can’t speak for him, but I think that even though he writes about politics that we’re not really a “political band.” Some of our songs deal with the wars within us. All of us have a keen interest in current events, history, media and so forth. We discuss these things with each other, our friends and read and research things that interest us. So while this election is something we’re aware of, I don’t think it specifically influences what we write.

Matt: I think Stacey has it right. I’m a very politically oriented person, so those themes show up frequently in my lyrics. I try not to be too overt about it, because it’s very easy for political art to become preachy or pedantic, but at the same time I don’t want to suppress anything. I think Leonard Cohen is one of the best lyricists in this respect, because he occasionally carries broad political themes, often with the turn of a single devastating phrase, into his otherwise very personal, intimate songs, to great effect.

Seth: We learned “Paradise City” for one of the No Vote Left Behind benefits, so if we sound more like G N’ R now, the blame lies squarely with Bush.

NM: Duly noted. If you guys could elect two Seattle rockers (alive or dead) into office which ones would you pick?

Stacey: Ron Nine and Kim Thayil. Nine ’cause he has the patience and tenacity to persevere, even though he didn’t get the big paycheck some of his peers did. And Thayil, ’cause he’s got that big ass brain!

Matt: Stacey Lester and Stuart McLeod (from SIL2K and Transpacific) for Prez and VP, respectively.

Seth: I would hate to saddle any musician I admire with a political office.

NM: What can we expect from Fey Ray in the future?

Stacey: Hopefully we can build on what we’ve accomplished so far. I’d like to write an album so good that if I lost both hands in a freak accident, I could get on with my life satisfied that I helped make a masterpiece. One of the things that gives us, as people, value, is our potential and I think this band has a lot of potential. There are lots of places to go musically – each member has his own tastes and desires as to what they’d like to do. If we can provide ourselves and our audience with the best and most satisfying listening experiences, then that would be great.

Seth: We’re always trying to push the boundaries of our own skills, provided doing so benefits the songs. Therefore, I predict many more years of being accused of being a prog rock band.

Matt: Yeah, we’re hoping to add a choir and dueling timpanists for the next record.

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