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Vinyl Ghost - Manzanita Falls


RELEASE DATE: April 17, 2013
FORMATS: Physical, Digital

Band Members

Jeremy McCarten: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Stuart Markham: Lead Guitar
Matt Coit: Drums
Matt Robinson: Bass


Manzanita Falls is a four-piece indie-rock group from San Francisco Bay Area that formed in the Fall of 2011. Manzanita Falls spent the next year playing shows locally, creating a sound that is familiar, yet wholly their own. They have elements of bands such as The National, Wilco, and The Frames, but in a way that is uniquely Manzanita Falls.

Manzanita Falls' first album Vinyl Ghost is out in April of 2013, and the band will be embarking on their second tour to support it. The album was originally slated to be released in November of 2012, but the band went through a near-fatal car accident in Abilene, TX that left the drummer, Matt Coit, with a fractured neck. After months of healing, the band is ready to go and excited to be bringing their dynamic tunes and captivating performances to a national audience.

Interview (Q&A)

November 16th 2012. punkindiealternativeandwhatnot

I recently spoke to indie band, Manzanita Falls about their album Vinyl Ghost, their favourite bands and their recent accident. Extra special thanks to the guys taking the time out to do the interview despite the accident and we wish them the best recovery possible!

Hi there, Manzanita Falls!
For the record, and for the unacquainted, who is Manzanita Falls and how did you get together?
Manzanita Falls is a four-piece indie rock band from Sonoma County, California.  The band originally formed when Jeremy McCarten the singer/songwriter decided he wanted to record some of his songs and began looking for a band.  Jeremy met Matt Robinson through his work and he became the bass player, holding down the low end.  A local musician named Stu Markham, who was playing guitar in a few local bands at the time, joined soon after.  We went through a few drummer change ups before we finally landed Matt Coit, who had just moved back to North Bay Area, and it was then that the Manzanita sound was fully fleshed out.

Where did the band’s name come from?
The band became Manzanita Falls because in Northern California there is an abundance of Manzanita trees and it reminds of our earthy roots, and the Falls represents our ability to diverge from that folky feel.

How would you describe Manzanita Falls music for someone who has never heard you before?
Ah, the dreaded question! It's always easy for us to say we are a folk-based indie rock band, but, the reality is, because all of us come from very different musical backgrounds, our style is very hard to pin down. We still have our singer-songwriter moments (like, our album's title song, "Vinyl Ghost" and "Crabgrass"), but as a band we tend to start with simple folk structures and build on them from there, adding effected guitars and driving rhythms.  We often get compared to such bands as Okkervil River, The Frames, Wilco, and The National.

What are you guys up to at the moment?
Well, we were on tour through the Southwest in support for the new album. However, we were involved in a near fatal car accident two hours west of Dallas, Texas. Our drummer, Matt Coit, suffered a major concussion and a fractured vertebra in his neck. Matt was admitted to a hospital in Abilene, Texas for three days before he flew home to recover. He is expected to make a full recovery. Our singer, Jeremy McCarten, continued the tour solo on the way back to California. So, right now we are all healing up and Jeremy is writing some new material, for what we hope will lead to recording a new EP by the summer of 2013. Here is a link to a news article that was about our accident.  

You released Vinyl Ghost early last month, how was the recording/writing process for you?

The strange part with this album is that most of it was recorded twice. We had originally recorded the album with a slightly different lineup, but after Manzanita Falls solidified into it's current lineup, it was clear that the songs had become drastically different, and it was time to head back into the studio. Only the song "Crabgrass" remained from the original recordings. For the most part, though, the writing process really depended on the song. Jeremy spent 3 years writing the song "Vinyl Ghost," while it only took a week for the band to write the song "Fortnight."Most of our songs start with Jeremy bringing in lyrics and song structures to the practices. It is there that the songs are fully fleshed out. We are huge believers in recording our practices. Listening back to different takes of a song and analyzing what we feel works and doesn't work became a huge part of writing this album. Also, playing the songs live in front of crowds and feeling what works live was a major part for us. The goal with our album was to be able to create a solid at-home listening experience, while also allowing us to translate these songs live.

What were the lyrical inspirations on the album?
Jeremy: When I was a kid, my mother used to play a lot of Harry Chapin. So, when I started writing songs I always wanted to write songs like him, with a strong storyline. I think that was the main inspiration for Vinyl Ghost and Crabgrass. Most of the other songs were inspired by a mixture of soured relationships and a personal struggle I've had with deciding to commit fully into music and to move away from a more traditional career.  

What’s been the reaction to the album?
The reaction to the album has been largely positive. This is our first album as a group, and, for some of our fans, it has been almost three years in the making, so it was really rewarding to see how enthusiastic everyone was about the album. It was also great to see the reaction as we took it on the road. Seeing people from outside of our hometown who had downloaded the album and then come to the show to hear the music live was a real treat for us. We feel like the momentum has just been getting started with the album because we had a bit of a soft release locally, and the end-goal was to come back after the tour to play some big shows in support of it (that all being on hold a bit as Matt recovers from the accident), but so far the reaction has been quite good.

What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
We are looking to lay low a bit for the rest of the year. Matt has a few months to go before he'll be out of a neck brace and ready to play the drums again, so we're going to use this time to start writing some lyrics for the next album. Jeremy will be doing some shows up and down the West Coast as a solo act, and hopefully we'll come back kicking by the first of the year!

What bands influence Manzanita Falls? Who do you guys personally listen to?
We are all influenced by bands like Wilco, The National, Okkervil River, and The Swell Season. Our personal tastes tend to be all over the board, we listen to Artists such us Paul Simon, Andrew Bird, Josh Ritter, Aesop Rock, Mars Volta, Appleseed Cast, Cold War Kids, The Cure, Dir en grey, Nick Cave, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and Cursive.  

If Manzanita Falls was a colour, what would it be?
If Manzanita Falls was a color we would probably be a dark green because... that feels about right.

Final words?
Thank you so much Kelly and The Alternative Tone for giving us a chance to interview, and I hope you have a great New Years.

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