ABOVE: FIELD MOUSE. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHERVIN LAINEZ
For Rachel Browne and Andrew Futral of Field Mouse, seeing the release of their debut album Hold Still Life has been years in the making. The pair first linked up more than five years ago for Browne’s college senior project at SUNY Purchase, and they have been musically inseparable ever since.
Over the past year, Browne and Futral have expanded their duo into a full-fledged band and scored enough fan support to fund their first full-length through Kickstarter by nearly doubling their goal, a feat that both of them still find “shocking.” Days before tonight’s album release party at Rough Trade NYC, we chatted with an excited Browne and Futral about Field Mouse’s evolution as a band, their attempt to hide their influences, and how feeling lost in New York City inspired their debut.
BAND MEMBERS: Rachel Browne (vocals/guitar), Andrew Futral (guitar), Saysha Heinzman (bass), Tim McCoy (drums)
CURRENT CITY: Brooklyn/Philadelphia
THE EARLY DAYS: Rachel Browne: We met in college at Purchase. We both went there, but we overlapped by a year.
Andrew Futral: It wasn’t really college; it was a music conservatory college. We didn’t have real work. We only had music work.
Browne: Right. We were both music students, which is annoying, but true. So, we met up and started collaborating with each other for my senior project, which is just an hour-long show you do, and you get a degree.
GOING FROM A DUO TO A FULL BAND: Browne: We kept playing together in front of friends, and over the years, we added a rhythm section. We just got a full band together over this past year. I found Saysha from living in Brooklyn and working a lot of different and funny jobs and I met her at one of them, when I was an office manager at a chiropractor and she was a client. She would come in and we would chat about music and stuff. I stopped working there but we kept in touch and she always talked about being a bass player and then we just jammed together eventually. And Tim is a friend of ours who is an awesome drummer. He’s in a couple of other bands, but we kind of stole him a little bit.
THE BIG DEBUT: Futral: I guess in the grand scheme of things, it’s a pop record in the same way Elvis Costello is pop or just in the broader sense of pop. It’s pretty aggressive. It’s dreamy.
Browne: It’s really loud. It’s melodic. But I would call it a rock record, with maybe two exceptions. It’s just a fun, uptempo rock record.
UNDER THE INFLUENCE: Browne: Basically, we do everything we can do to work backwards from our influences, because I feel like they’re so obvious that we have to cover up how influenced we are by the music we like. There’s definitely a lot of Pavement, old Smashing Pumpkins, The Breeders and stuff like that.
We all have our different, weird individual influences. Saysha really likes metal, like sludge metal. And then Andrew and I really like old pop-punk, and I love stuff like Deltron 3030. I feel like everything we like is on there in some way.
MEANING OF HOLD STILL LIFE: Browne: It was written about being frustrated and going through weird life changes in a place that is inherently uncomfortable for me. I lived in New York for six years, and it never really gelled with me. During the time that I was writing the album, a lot of things were going wrong with the backdrop of also living in a place that seems really unhelpful and unforgiving. It didn’t seem like there was a theme at the time because I was just all over the place, but in hindsight, it does seem thematic.
DOUBLING THE KICKSTARTER GOAL: Futral: It was really surprising. I think we set the bar a little low, so it felt like it was something we could feasibly do and not feel like we were bleeding fans for anything more than just a few dollars which they would spend on the album anyway.
Browne: Yeah, we set the goal to be lower than what we needed to make the actual album. I just expected a handful of people to preorder the album, basically. I can’t even tell you how shocking it was to get that kind of outcome from it. I definitely cried, I’m not gonna lie. We don’t even know who most of the people are, so it was really surprising. There were a lot of totally indecipherable names.
THE ALBUM RELEASE SHOW: Browne: Everyone playing is great. Weed Hounds is one of my absolute favorite bands ever, and my boyfriend’s band is playing, too. It’s great. I’m really just excited to have a full album to play.
MOONLIGHTING: Futral: I only do music related things. I produce a rapper/comedian named MC Chris. He did a lot of voices and writing for a lot of early Adult Swim TV shows, like Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I’ve also been doing lots of random weird music things, like for Bobbi Brown cosmetics and weird dance music things. It’s totally cool, I love it.
Browne: I just spent the last two years heavily waitressing and barista-ing in New York. It’s not my favorite, but I moved to Philly and it turns out babysitting is even easier, so that’s my current thing. Saysha is a yoga instructor and personal trainer and Tim is a dog walker. We all have weird odd jobs.
FIELD MOUSE’S ALBUM HOLD STILL LIFE IS OUT JULY 22, AND THEY PLAY ROUGH TRADE NYC ON JULY 23. FOR MORE ON THE BAND, PLEASE VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.