MWN: I want to start off by saying that the approach you guys take with your band in regards to touring nonstop is super cool. I love that because that shows the ultimate dedication you have as musicians and performers. What ignited this idea to tour so heavily? Thank you so much for saying that!
Edison: The catalyst for touring so heavily came from the band coming together and not having any releases out there aside from the Ghosts EP which was done before Maxwell was in the band. We knew that we needed to write more, connect with an audience and meet industry. We crafted a year long plan that consisted of touring the country, showcasing and attending festivals, in addition to writing along the way. That plan led us to CMJ Music Marathon in NYC, Folk Alliance International in Kansas City and South by Southwest in Austin. Throughout that year we wrote at a cabin in the Rocky Mountains, a house on the Chesapeake Bar, and also spent a week writing at Arcosanti in the Arizona desert. Those songs became a big chunk of Familiar Spirit and we met our label (Rhyme & Reason) and a lot of our team at the conferences.
MWN: I know touring can get a little hectic and you must see a lot of crazy things on the road. What’s the most memorable thing you’ve seen on tour?
Edison: It’s funny how a flashback of a million things pop into your head with this question. It’s hard to pin down just one. Each day you enter different worlds and ecosystems with such varying personalities and experiences depending on where you are. One really memorable night we played under the stars in Montana opening for Young The Giant at a festival. We had a really fun set and spent the evening dancing to the other bands. We ended the night in the “Ghetto Gypsy” converted school bus that had become the artist lounge. It was one of those nights when you’re chatting with bands you admire and surrounded by people with good energy. We obviously had to close the night covering Fleetwood Mac with new musician friends. It’s the type of night you try to hold onto a little more as it’s happening.
MWN: It’s so impressive that you all play multiple instruments when writing your own music. With that in mind how do you guys go about making your music, because a lot of your songs sound like they come so naturally. What is the writing process like?
Edison: There’s not a specific process since each song comes to fruition in its own way. Sarah may begin the foundation of a song with an acoustic guitar and bring the lyrics and initial melody to the band. Other times Dustin and Maxwell will be jamming and a song begins to write itself during soundcheck or an intended writing session. Dustin brings great ideas forward on various instruments. The song “The Good Fight” came from an old instrumental guitar piece of Maxwell’s. “Tie Me Down” was Sarah doing a voice memo of some random thoughts and the entire song as it is now came out in that first improv.
MWN: I love the folk roots in your songs. One of my favorite songs from the record Familiar Spirit is “New York.” Can you guys tell me a little bit more about this song specifically? How did it come together creatively? (Just wanted to throw this out there that I also love “Idea 5” – it’s such a beautiful instrumental piece).
Edison: New York was a song that Sarah played solo before the band. It was written years ago when she almost moved to NYC due to a partner having a job opportunity. The song stems from a daydream of what it would be like to fall in love with the city as you’re falling more in love with the person you’re with. The song really came together when Edison began to play it and it sonically evolved into what it is now.
MWN: Your songs are so heartfelt. What would you guys say your favorite love song is?
Edison: Maxwell: Northern Hustle – “Alma” / Sarah : City & Colour – “As Much As I Ever Could”/ Dustin:Jeff Buckley – “Lover You Should Have Come Over.”
MWN: What type of music did you guys grow up listening to?
Edison: Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, The Eagles, Counting Crows, Dashboard Confessional, Copeland, Tommy Emmanuel, Kaki King, Radiohead, Arcade Fire.
MWN: Did that in any way influence the band’s sound?
Edison: You can hear the Tommy Emmanuel and Kaki King influences in Maxwell’s guitar work. There’s a transparency in songwriting that stems from Adam Duritz and Chris Carraba. As a whole Fleetwood and some earlier music really infused a love of vocal harmonies.
MWN: Where does the inspiration for your songs come from? Is it based on your personal lives, or maybe social issues, or someone else’s life?
Edison: A lot of it comes from our personal lives. The Ghosts EP and part of Familiar Spirit connect with grief and loss. Grief over the death of a parent and grieving what felt like the loss of youth and a place to call home (Ghosts, San Jose). There’s reflection over lost love and missing someone while on the road (Water In The Well, Tie Me Down, Back & Forth) . There’s also hope with making a new home (Open Road).
MWN: Now you guys all come from different backgrounds in music. How and when did you guys decide to get together and start making these tunes?
Edison: The band fittingly formed on the road. In 2013 Sarah opened as a solo act for Dustin’s old project on the way to SXSW. After jamming on that tour Dustin started playing in on Sarah’s sets. By July 2014 they adopted the moniker, Edison, and did a couple regional tours to close out the year. In March of 2015, Maxwell was the solo co-headliner on the Edison tour to SXSW. We decided to be a trio at the end of that tour after playing together on the road and most importantly forming such a strong friendship throughout those travels.
Edison: What do you hope people take away from your music?
MWN: We hope that people find ownership in the music because the songs belong to the listener. Music has the ability to connect with a person and help them make more sense of themselves. Hopefully themes within our music can resonate in that way with someone.
Edison: Lastly, thank you once more answering our questions. So, is there anything you would like to say to people who have supported your music?
MWN: THANK YOU could never be enough to describe the gratitude we feel for having a chance to do what we love. Our tribe of friends has grown across the country and we could not do this at all without each and every one of them. So, thank you to everyone who has come to a show, given us a place to rest our heads and encouraged us along this journey.