Howls are an LA-based duo that write subversive, synth-heavy pop songs… but less in an ‘80s, Depeche-Mode-driven-realm, and more of a style that would find its way onto the soundtrack of The Crow or to a spot supporting Garbage in 1996… I could also picture them sharing a stage with Thrill Kill Kult at a fetish ball… Howls are comprised of Annalee Fery and Christian Stone, two musicians who have known each other for more than a decade and collaborated on various projects, but Howls represents the first time the two truly concentrated their talents and passions. Their self-titled debut album is out May 13th on Buddyhead Records. It is playfully dark, flirtatious, and danceable to the nth degree… It may be the sexiest record of 2014… I recently got a chance to chat with Annalee Fery, who tells me that Howls are currently quite anxious to take the band on the road…
Izzy Cihak: So the two of you have each been doing music for a while now, but what is it, specifically, that brought you together for Howls? What were you hoping to get out of the project?
Annalee Fery: No specific reason except we both, of course, love writing songs and playing shows. I think we were just excited to record a record and share it.
Izzy: What do you feel is most important for fans and potential fans to know about you as a band… or is it all in the music?
Annalee: It’s about the music. We’d like to think that the record will speak more to people than anything.
Izzy: And what would you consider to be the band’s most significant influences and inspirations?
Annalee: It’s hard for me to say what music has inspired me personally because I listen to the most bizarre collection, from early Prince to Waylon Jennings and Donna Summer. I really love Blonde Redhead and AC/DC (only Bon Scott days, though). I try be very open minded, and not to be a music snob, but to find the humor in artists. By being snobby and super selective about the music you can consume you can miss some gems.
Izzy: Your self-titled debut is about to drop. Is there anything that you might tell those unfamiliar with you to get them to give it a listen?
Annalee: I would say it’s an easy listen. I’m a ‘lil pissed off these days how bands don’t put out records anymore. I miss record stores and the charm of going and looking at the art on the covers and feeling excited to listen to the whole thing. As a society we’ve become lazy (me as well). Technology is a great thing but also the taker of the thrill I think a lot of us still crave. I’m happy with this record. It feels good.
Izzy: Do you have a particular favorite album track? I’m especially partial to “Hold Yr Head” and, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure why.
Annalee: Hmm, that’s funny. “Hold Yr Head” is my fav, too.
Izzy: You’re based out of LA, so I’m curious as to your thoughts on the city’s music and arts scene. I interview a lot of really different acts out of LA and they all sort of have a different take on it.
Annalee: The scene in LA is fine I think. It depends on how you look at it and how diverse it is. I see art and music as a sign of expression and for me it comes down to respect and compassion for everyone trying to do that.
Izzy: I see you recently played a show with Free Dominguez. How was that? I’m assuming you’re friends or acquaintances? I’m a big fan of hers.
Annalee: I had never played The Mint before. It’s definitely a different sort of fit for us but it was interesting and a lot of fun. Christian and I are getting ready for our record release party/show, most likely at The Echo.
Izzy: And what are your hopes and plans for the rest of 2014? Any chance of a full-scale US tour, or perhaps just a batch of East Coast dates? (You get a lot of bang for your buck between Boston, NYC, Philly, Baltimore, DC, etc.) If so, what can be expected of the live experience?
Annalee: We are working on an initial West Coast tour that will hopefully take us through my home town of Portland, then head East to tour the East Coast: New York, Boston and of course to come and see you in Philadelphia. Playing is my favorite part to this crazy show biz adventure. I like to change into a different person onstage and the songs turn a ‘lil more raw. Christian sings the shit out of the songs and I try not to take it so seriously.