This Saturday, November 23rd, chamber poppers San Fermin will have a homecoming of sorts when they once again headline Union Transfer. Although the group (which has had numerous formations and an extensive list of members, at times including our good friend Charlene Kaye and the ladies of Lucius) has been based out of Brooklyn since their inception, a little more than half a decade ago, composer and mainperson Ellis Ludwig-Leone and vocalist Allen Tate (who we spoke to earlier this year) both have roots in the area. Last month I got a chance to chat with Ellis, who tells me, “I love Philly. My mom’s family’s from Philly and Union Transfer is one of my five or six favorite venues in the country. There’ll be a really robust family energy there… and by then we’ll really know the songs [laughs].”
San Fermin are currently nearing the end of more than a month of dates behind The Cormorant I, their fourth LP and the first of a two-part album. The LP plays along the lines of a classical literary narrative, exploring the experience of growing and maturing, while struggling to let go of innocence. And while the record does ring of an exceptionally whimsical, and relatively epic, narrative, it actually clocks in at under half-an-hour. Ellis tells me, “I really like writing larger, sweeping records. The arrangements are really big and thick. I did it in two parts because I wanted to give people time to process it and not make them sit through an hour of it all at once [laughs].” He also notes the departure in sound from San Fermin’s most recent music.
“It was a different approach from our last few records. It’s the most similar approach to the first record. This one was very conceptual, which was not the case for our last record, Belong… Some of the songs on this one are a little more intimate, like ‘Cerulean Gardens’ and ‘The Myth,’ and, when we play live, we tend to mix them in with the bigger bangers, but people are already seeming to really like them.”
In terms of what can be expected of San Fermin’s live show this Saturday, Ellis tells me that, for those who are yet to see them perform, it might not be exactly what they would expect: “Our records are a certain way and our live shows are another way. Our records are very ornate, but our live shows are very muscular, with three lead singers across the front; it’s like a rock show. For the people who have just heard the records, now they’re in for something a little harder.”