Friday, June 30, 2017

FLATFOOT 56 interview

by marcs77

Are you into Celtic/Irish punk hardcore and folk tinged tunes and you only know the likes of Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly’s The Real McKenzies, perhaps The Tosser, The Mahones and a few others? Well, write down this name, FLATFOOT 56. The Chicago homed five-piece isn’t really a newbie among the punk rock scene and last April, on the 28th, the bagpiped punks released their record no# 8 –their very first release being a demo EP out in 2001- entitled “Odd Boat” via Sailor’s Grave records. Read on what Tobin answered to our questions and go listen to anthemic and powerful songs like “Penny”, “The Trap”,  “Ty Cobb” and the album title-track “Odd Boat”, or the heartfelt and Bruce Springsteen-ballad-esque “A Voice”.

gan: Okay, let’s start introducing your band to that chunk of the world that haven’t heard yet of you guys over these first 17 years. How did your band get formed, who currently make it up and how many releases do you have out?

Flatfoot 56 is made up 5 guys; Tobin Bawinkel (Lead Singer/rhythm guitar), Kyle Bawinke (Bass Guitar/BGV), Brandon Good (Guitar/mandolin/singer), Eric Mcmahon (Bagpipes/guitar/BGV) and Conrad Allsworth (drums/BGV). The band began back in 2000 and has released 7 albums. Two of these records are no longer in print. The band was started when I (Tobin) grabbed my two brothers and decided that they were going to play punk rock with me.

gan: How did you guys got into Celtic and folk music in the first place? Did your father used to take you to some watering-hole where Celtic-Irish folk musicians gigged there?

We actually grew up playing and hearing folk and bluegrass music being played in our house by our parents. Many a night was spent just jamming old spirituals and goofy bluegrass tunes.

gan: And what about playing yourselves a mix of Celtic folk and punk rock? Did you want to walk along the footsteps of your homey The Tossers or become as big as the mighty Dropkick Murphys?

When we first introduced the pipes into our music, we had never heard of any of the Celtic punk bands that are so common now. The idea was to just add pipes to one of our songs and do an AC/DC thing. Then our friend who was a bagpiper said that he played guitar as well. We told him to just join the band and we were headed toward our eventual sound. After our second record we picked up a used mandolin at a swap meet and the mandolin was introduced to the band’s sound within 30 minutes. Knuckles up was the first song that Josh (Our old piper and Mandolin player) wrote.

gan: Do you have a new record out titled “Odd Boat”. Wanna talk about it?

"Odd Boat" is an exciting release for us because we finally captured the intensity and passion of our live show. We recorded it live instead of with a click track. This process gives the albums sound, much more of a punk feel and allows the listener to feel the passion a bit more. It’s the next step in the Flatfoot evolution and we are liking where our sound is heading.

gan: Do you guys used Pledge music to found the recording and release of your last born. How did it come? And what are your feelings about using this kind of tool internet is offering to a variety of artists?

Pledgemusic was really good for us in that, it really made us up our social media game and taught us a ton about marketing a record. I think we are closer to our fans as a result. Plus our fans were able to see a bit more into our lives. The people at the site are professional and it’s a great platform for its purpose.

Do you have plans for touring Europe in the near future?

We are currently planning on doing a trip in December to Germany and maybe to Russia. It’s all still in process. We have also been talking to a German label and we are excited to have our stuff available to our European fans.

gan: How’s your fanbase here and how they are like?

Our fanbase in Europe is always very energetic. We have a bunch of people that are very much lifers with us. Our turnouts have also been growing very well and its exciting.

gan: Do you have anything you can call a scene in Chicago?

Hahahahaha… the scene in Chicago is amazing! It has been our home for so long time and we are very fortunate to call it home. With Chicago being the home of Riotfest as well as it being the homes of some of Americas best punk bands, it’s a wonderful city to be from.

gan: Tobin, that’s really all for me, thanks so much for taking the time to answer.

Watch here the official video for the song "Stutter" off "Old Boat"

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