Rock Cellar Independent Artist Spotlight: Faultlines

Mike HillCategories:Artist SpotlightLatest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

The Independent Artist Spotlight is a new branch of Rock Cellar aimed at presenting under-the-radar musical acts that deserve your immediate attention. As artists and bands are added to the program, Rock Cellar will spotlight some with Q&A-style interviews, allowing the artists themselves to tell their story as they’d want it told. Next up is Los Angeles-based group Faultlines, whose album Bittersweet Revival is available at this link

How did you get together and write music?

John Flanagan:  I work with co-writers from all over the world, and my philosophy when I sit down to create music is: write the best song in the room.  So often, it’s tempting to chase radio or rely on who’s-looking-lists to shape a session.  A great song today, a song that relies not on its production, but just melodies, lyrics, and chord structure, will be a great song in two years or five years, so I just try to write great songs (which is easier said than done).  Look at “I Will Always Love You.”  It was a hit for Dolly in the 70s and an even bigger hit for Whitney in the 90s.  A great song is a great song.  Just write the best song in the room.

You all are session, professional, full-time musicians. How do you balance being an artist and being a hired gun?

Ashley Morgan: The balance definitely has its challenges. Most indie clubs require a minimum ticket sale, in which you only get 50 percent of the door sale to then split between your band, which doesn’t end up adding to very much. It’s hard to give up an evening Top 40 or session gig that could pay your bills. We were lucky enough to find some cool restaurant venues that paid us a good amount to play four hours of cover music and allow us to mix in our originals. We’d make a whole night out of it and invite fans to come dine and listen to music all night. It was fun!

What’s your process on writing a song?  Tell us about your single “Rain.”

John Flanagan:  In the nights following the 2016 election, I was having trouble making it a full eight hours until morning.  I’d wake up at 2 am, 3:30 am, jolted by what felt like nightmares, but what was, in fact, reality.  One night that November, I shot up in bed and wrote down what would be the verses of “Rain.” Women’s rights, gay rights, immigrant rights, and voter rights; all of these would come to be issues in our lives again over the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency.  

What are you trying to achieve with your music/message? 

John Flanagan: At the very least, a song is always a window to the soul, an artistic self-expression of the writer’s emotion.  If nobody ever listened to a note we sang, we’d still be creating art, and that’s beautiful and fulfilling. Of course, if we can achieve impact that taps into the collective cultural conscience like we’ve seen with “Rain,” all the better.  The greatest compliment we receive is when someone comes up to us at a show and says, “Those lyrics, that song expresses a feeling I didn’t know how to articulate until you put it into words.”

Do you have new music coming out?

Ashley Morgan: Our single “Rain” is now available on all streaming platforms today, along with a music video directed by John Mediana. We’re  also excited to finally digitally release our album, Bittersweet Revival, on November 13th. 

You have a show coming in November. Tell us about it!

Ashley Morgan: We’re working on something really special with a full band concert of Bittersweet Revival that fans will be able to stream on November 13. We’ll definitely be posting more info on that in the coming weeks and how fans can be a part of making this show a reality!

What advice would you give to musicians / bands in this tough time?

John Flanagan: It’s tempting to gripe.  With the total loss of touring and income from live performance, times are tight.  I would tempt any struggling musicians to consider that the pandemic has leveled the playing field for independent artists.  We’re as engaging as our socials, as seen as our videos, and as accessible now as the major label artists.  Create good art and then make so much noise that people have to pay attention.  

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