In Conversation with Fierce Bad Rabbit, Part II

The Thing That Makes You Pick Up Your Guitar

Fierce Bad Rabbit is an indie folk-rock quartet comprised of Chris Anderson (lead vocals, guitar), Alana Rolfe (viola, vocals), Max Barcelow (drums/percussion/vocals), and Dayton Hicks (bass guitar), who’ve been playing together since 2009. Their latest album, Living Asleep (out September 23), is a spirited call-to-arms, the soundtrack for an examined young life ripe with initiative. Recently lead vocalist and guitarist Chris Anderson took the time to answer Wanda Waterman’s questions about the new album.

“The universe seems to be holding the cards these days, and for us that feels like the most efficient way to go.”
– Chris Anderson, lead vocalist and guitarist for Fierce Bad Rabbit

How is Living Asleep different from your other albums?
It has the most soul of anything we’ve done to date. I think the songs really came from all of us, and working on it together for the two weeks we stayed together at the studio really drew out a lot of dormant emotions and ideas we all had individually.

I think the fact that we don’t all live in the same town or see each other all the time kind of gave it a fresh “go with the flow” vibe, and we tend to work best with a lack of structure. There was very little to no pre-production; we just set up and hit record. Danny Kalb, our producer, really knew us well at that point and was able to guide us seamlessly along the line of progress without it feeling like work. We had a great time, and I feel it shows.

Stories Behind the Songs
Well, “Crystal Ball” was pretty much written on the spot. I wrote the guitar line while sound-checking that first day and had the first two lines I kept singing. I went into the control room and wrote them down and then Alana just scribbled out the rest of the verse lyrics.

I think she and I wrote very collectively without knowing we were doing that. I sing those verses she wrote and feel she was kind of telling this story about this character of a failing musician, dying to his own ideas. Max, Alana, and I all wrote the chorus sitting around drinking wine one night? singing about this character drowning in his own confused, deluded, self-absorbed character.

God, I hope she wasn’t writing it about me?but maybe she was?

Recent Listening
I’ve been listening to a lot of classical music; it is very calming and so different from what I’m around all day. Of things mainstream I always seem to listen to Wilco and Delta Spirit, and lately I’ve been on a Lamb Chop kick.

What was the most mesmerizing musical experience of your life?
I think getting to meet Robert Plant while working on songwriting in Nashville and also getting to be back stage with Arcade Fire at Red Rocks. When meeting musicians who are “it” and doing so amazingly well and making such incredible music, it just keeps you reaching to try to find how you can possibly get to that level.

The music industry is so mysterious, and meeting artists that have profoundly changed you and impacted so many people’s daily lives creates a desire to figure that out. Nothing makes you want to go home and pick up your guitar more than that.

What’s next for the group?
Who knows? After we release the record, we might head out for NYC for the CMJ Music Marathon. The universe seems to be holding the cards these days, and for us, that feels like the most efficient way to go.

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