Treefort Fest 2018
March 21-25 in Boise, Idaho
Q&A with Ana Becker, Lyzi Wakefield and Caroline Yoder
By Gary Horn
Fruit & Flowers are one of the most active bands in the NYC are and have been deemed one of “NYC’s Hardest Working Bands” by Oh My Rockness.
The group’s performances are exuberant and electric. Ana Becker’s angular, expressive guitar style and Lyzi Wakefield’s gritty rhythmic backbone merge a post-punk heaviness with psychedelic warmth. Committed and charismatic front woman Caroline Yoder summons a fervent energy, surrounded by distinct, warm and refreshing three part harmonies, the bedrock of Fruit and Flowers’ sound.
I caught up with the trio this week in Boise during Treefort Fest.
NadaMucho.com: You’ve been around for three years but just released your first EP on Spotify in June. During that time you’ve made a pretty big splash, what’s that been like?
Ana Becker: It happened incrementally so it’s sort of hard to tell. It’s like having a birthday but you feel the same as the day before. It feels a lot different on the inside than it does on the outside. There are definitely exciting things that feel GREAT, like when we met Randy (our manager) and when we played our first show and when we decided to put our record out on vinyl. But then there’s tons of everyday stuff, and the grind of it. People probably don’t realize how much non-music time is spent on making the music happen. The unglamorous things like emails or social media. And there are those moments like when our bus breaks down. Or when someone misses a flight [which really happened just before the interview, Jose the drummer got stranded] or when things cost a lot of money.
NM: What’s the secret to your success?
AB: What success? (Laughter) Tarra Sharkmuffin [Thiessen] has been a huge inspiration. She showed us what it was like to be in a band. Like really, seriously be in a band and how to figure things out on our own. Side note: we don’t think of people by first name and last name. Half of my contacts are first name and band name… Tarra Sharkmuffin… Jose Drums. (Laughter)
NM: You’ve had a lot of influences and supporters, but who’s your biggest fan on earth?
AB: There are so many people who have been supportive and influential. There is a whole community that’s involved in the making of a band. It’s really everyone we’ve interacted with over time, both in New York City and elsewhere. There have also been “flower angels” who have helped us out. Ali. She knit us hats one time. Shane. He gave the band a Christmas present. Kenny. They’re all just really nice people. They all inspire us to keep playing. Everyone should have people like this in their lives.
NM: Do you ever get an East Coast/West Coast comparison?
AB: It’s really easy to pick up the energy of the city you’re playing in. Different sounds come out of whatever place and time that you’re in. NYC likes high energy and the audience can use it. But the West Coast surf is awesome. Maybe “East Coast Escapist Rock.” We used to call ourselves “Surf Noir”. (Laughter)
NM: Who would you be (musically) star struck by, dead or alive?
AB: [With no hesitation] Paul McCartney.
Caroline Yoder: Mozart.
AB: I met Patti Smith once and it was a beautiful, glowing and glorious moment.
CY: Ian MacKaye.
Lyzi Wakefield: Cindy Wilson.
NM: What would be your advice for young bands starting out?
AB: Play a lot of shows. Have fun. Don’t take yourself seriously, but also take yourself seriously. Give a shit about the people around you, because we all depend on each other. Support the local music scene. Save up money before you go on tours. Find a lot of house shows. Be as inclusive as possible.
NM: It’s your first time at Treefort, what are your expectations? How are you approaching your show?
AB: The same thing we do every night. (Laughter)
CY: Fucking make a LOT of noise and harmonies and run around and make people dance and stuff.
AB: We spent the day in transit so our goal is to get a decent night’s sleep and figure out the rest tomorrow. We also don’t really know where we’re staying because, you know, this whole “successful musician’s life” is so “lucrative.” Treefort has us covered with a hotel for one night but we’ll need to find other places to stay. So I guess our #1 goal is to play a super awesome show and goal #2 is to play such an awesome show that someone lets us sleep on their floor and possibly use their shampoo.