We sat down (virtually) for a chat with Robbie Connolly of Provo, Utah band Fictionist. The band released their third, eponymous full length in October of last year.
First, congratulations on the new album! It’s a blast to listen to – each track is so unique. Can you talk about some of the musical and artistic role models that influence your range of sound on Fictionist?
Thanks! We definitely have a long list of influences between all the members of the band. This is album started out with us making a pile of instruments in the middle of a room and making songs with them, so a lot of it we discovered as we were going along. There were references to some 80’s favorites along the way, like Sting or Peter Gabriel, but we certainly tried to make our own mark with these recordings.
I know in the past, Stuart’s been the primary singer-songwriter on your work, but this latest album features a lot of Robbie’s handiwork and vocals. What spurred that transition and how do you think your sound changed (if it changed at all) because of it?
Yeah, I have always sang in my own bands since I was in junior high, and when Fictionist first started, I was invited more as a guitarist than a singer. So for years we ran that way, but I brought a lot of songs to the table for this album, and we decided to embrace the fact that there are two writers and singers in the group.
It must feel great to have Fictionist out to critical acclaim – but the work is far from over as you look towards your summer tour schedule! I’ve always wondered what bands look forward to more: the album-creation process or the live tour component of showmanship. What’s your favorite part of the musical process? And what are you most looking forward to on your upcoming tour?
I really enjoy the different phases for different reasons. The recording process really satisfies my creative side, because watching something come into existence that didn’t exist before, and watch it take shape is really fulfilling. There are certain stresses that also accompany recording, and I think while we are touring, we forget about those a little bit more, and have fun with each other. We also get to get out and meet so many great people when we are touring.
I’m sure your travels are always exciting (if, at the same time, exhausting) but I imagine, at the end of the day, there’s no place like home. Your home-state, Utah, definitely showed you major love with your well-deserved Salt Lake City Weekly’s Band of The Year Award. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with the fan-base and music community in Utah and how it felt to win the award?
We were definitely honored to win the award. City Weekly is Utah’s most artistic publication, and it felt good to know that they enjoyed the stuff we were making. Utah has a really great music scene. We started the band in a city called Provo that has been the starting grounds for a lot of great bands, and we are happy to be a part of it in that way.
Your band’s origins go back, by some counts, over a decade. What has changed most about the music industry in that time? What is the most frustrating thing about being in the music industry right now? What is the most rewarding thing?
Hmmm, I think the biggest changes definitely involve the number of albums that people buy. In some ways the convenience of Spotify and online music services helps because it’s an easy way for new people to hear you, but I think we would have an easier time touring and surviving if people bought albums the way they used to.
If you could choose any question to be asked in this interview, what would it be and what would your reply be?
Who is your favorite band member? Haha, I can’t answer that ;)
July 9 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
July 10 – Orlando, FL @ Beacham Theatre
July 11 – St. Petersburg, FL @ State Theatre
July 13 – Atlanta, GA @ Center State Theatre
July 14 – Nashville, TN @ The Cannery
July 16 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
July 17 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
July 18 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
July 20 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
July 21 – Philadelphia, PA @ TLA
July 22 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
July 26 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club