The Features lead singer, Matt Pelham, took a moment to tell us about getting booed by kids, being featured on The Twilight: Breaking Dawn Soundtrack and that the ideal music career would be to follow in Tom Petty’s footsteps.
IRR and Big Hassle have a pair of tickets to The Features show in Los Angeles at The Bootleg Theater on February 2. Want in? Comment or tweet (@IRRmusic) your favorite Features song!
Are there any specific dates on the tour that you are looking forward to?
Matt Pelham: Eureka, I’m kind of excited about that. We’ll be in northern California again. Last time we went through there we got a chance to go through some of the redwood forests, which was pretty awesome. Hopefully we’ll have time to do that again.
How do you like being with your label, Serpents & Snakes?
We like it a lot. It’s been a very good experience, they’re extremely hands-off and we’ve been pretty much able to call all the shots.
Did they seek you out?
Well, it’s sort of a joint thing between Kings Of Leon and Bug Music. We were hoping to release a new record and they said that they would like to put it out. It sounded like a good idea so we just did it. We had already released Some Kind Of Salvation on our own but we didn’t have any sort of distribution or label behind it so they said we should be on their label, get distribution and some press going. It’s been good.
Are you working on anything new?
Just before we released Wilderness in July, we finished another record so we’re just kind of sitting on it until we’re finished touring and promoting Wilderness, then we’ll release the new one.
Are you planning on going back to the new record and making changes?
We’re trying not to listen to it too much. There are loose ends and still some vocals to be done, little things here and there. I imagine in the end if there are some ideas, we will add stuff but for the most part we’re trying not to over think or second-guess it. We’re excited about it, we’ve already started playing some of the stuff live.
Do you have a name for it yet?
No. No name or any idea of art or anything like that. We just have the music done and that’s about it.
What would you consider to be the best thing about being from Tennessee?
When we started out in ’93-’94, if we talked to anyone they would be surprised that there was a rock band out of Nashville. Even in the early 2000′s, we would do interviews and people were just shocked that there were bands other than country coming out of Nashville. Now, things are very different. People are aware of this and I think a lot of that is because of Kings Of Leon, they shed a lot of light on the music scene. It’s always been really good, people just aren’t aware of it, they just assumed that if its from Nashville, its country.
Do you find that weird?
It used to be more frustrating than weird. Now I think its just weird because it seems like Nashville has almost turned into the third place that people talk about – there’s always been LA, New York and now its Nashville. There are just way more conversations about music in Nashville. That just wasn’t the case 5 or 6 years ago. Now Jack White lives in Nashville, The Black Keys live in Nashville, its completely different and it’s changed a whole lot.
Would you consider yourselves to be a part of the birth of rock in Nashville?
I don’t know. I would definitely consider us the dinosaurs of the Nashville rock scene. We’ve been together for so long that we’ve been a part of the Nashville scene for a long time.
Where exactly are you from?
Roger and I grew up in Sparta, Tennessee, which is about an hour east of Nashville. Then we moved to Murphysboro for college, which is only about 30 minutes out of Nashville. There’s another band called Those Darlins that are also from Murphysboro!
What is the best thing about coming from a small town?
One of the reasons we started playing music was because there just wasn’t a lot to do. Right before I started high school, I got a guitar and a couple friends I knew got guitars the same year so before we even knew how to play our instruments, we were going to start a band. It just became this goal that we had. We would learn a couple chords here and there and turn those into songs, that’s really how the band started…just by saying we were a band before we knew how to play our instruments. We kept playing through high school, I guess, instead of getting into the trouble that most kids get into in high school – drinking beer, riding around going to Sonic and Hardy’s. That was a big part of it; being in a small town there wasn’t a lot to do so we started playing music.
We actually played our first show in Sparta – the very first show we ever played as a band was for a 4th, 5th and 6th grade Valentines Dance. We called ourselves the 4 Elvis’, each dressed up as Elvis from a different era. We ended up getting booed by all the kids! We didn’t have a lot of our own material so we ended up just playing a lot of Elvis and Beatles covers and it just didn’t go over too well with those kids who just wanted to hear modern songs. I remember hearing Mariah Carey specifically requested and we were the farthest thing from that.
Where did your idea for the Behind-The-Song videos come from?
We were doing the video and I think our manager said we need more content but we’re really bad at stuff like that. None of us really enjoy doing stuff like that so I feel like it comes across really awkward, but it is what it is. I feel that collectively we’re decent at being musicians but our personalities are just not interesting at all. We’re not extremely confident or comfortable with interviews. Even when we’re performing live, to speak between songs is very rare, it’s just, “lets not talk about anything and play music.”
How did you get a song on The Twilight: Breaking Dawn soundtrack?
We recorded that song for the record and weren’t really happy how it came out so it was going to end up just being a B-side or something but our management heard that they needed songs for the Twilight soundtrack that was exclusive for the soundtrack so we submitted and they ended up picking it. It was just an extra song that we recorded that didn’t make the record.
What would you classify your music as?
We’ve always considered it rock. Honestly, I think collectively, it has always been a goal to try and write music that has a timeless quality to it. Bands I grew up listening to don’t really get old to me or sound so dated that I wouldn’t be able to listen to it 20 years from now. I don’t know that we have accomplished that yet but that’s what we’re trying to do – create music that even if you listen to it 20 years from now, you don’t think “oh, that’s awful, I cant believe they made music like that in 2010.” I consider it rock music, I hope it has some amount of quality to it so it will hold up with time.
What is a song that you consider timeless?
Zeppelin to me, as a band is timeless. I can’t think of anything of theirs that doesn’t hold up. Tom Petty is timeless to me, for the most part his stuff holds up really well. I think the ideal career would be like, Tom Petty. He’s not doing so much now but I would say in the mid to late 90′s that he would appeal to so many people, whether your young or old, into metal or indie rock, everyone liked Petty, he was a common ground. That’s a really good place to be, if we could be in a spot like that, it would be really nice. But its really hard place to be, its hard to appeal to a lot of different audiences. It’s a lot easier to pick a genre or style of music that isolates you to a particular crowd. That’s a lot easier than it is to play music that appeals to a really large audience.