Howls: “An Easy Listen”

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...

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.

Band InterviewsMusic

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.