Johnson City, Tennessee-based self-proclaimed “giggle-pop” trio Achy – comprised of Achy (Samuel B.) (songwriter, composer) and his cohorts Mahto Bowder (bass), and Sam Love (drums) – just unleashed their seven track stunner Friendly Animals unto the world. Laced with a psychedelic, garage rock feel, the trio somehow pulls off a brit-pop soundscape above it all. Each track is refreshing, and honestly something we would enjoy at an outdoor barbecue. (You know… IF the heat ever dies down anywhere close by!)
Feel free to check out Friendly Animals below, and then check out our quick interview with the trio, where we get deep into their production process and – of course – superheroes.
What was your first musical memory, or the first album or song you heard? Do you think that has any bearing on who you are as an artist now?
Samuel: My absolute first musical memory is sitting in the living room of my folks old apartment, and my dad had this little record player set up and was playing Money by Pink Floyd on it. And that memory has always stuck with me super strong. My dad and my mom showing me their music growing up definitely impacted the way I make music though.
Sam Love: My first musical memory that really really made me love music was Pink Floyd. Particularly the Syd Barrett era, which was a more spastic and creative-sounding time for Pink Floyd in my opinion. However Lonesome Crowded West by Modest Mouse was the most influential album on my drum playing.
Mahto: There was always stuff like the Grateful Dead, Augustus Pablo, Bad Brains, Neil Young playing at the house. My folks had a fairly wide taste. My first cd was Help by the Beatles. I feel like the set me up pretty well. I do remember going to see a stage production of beauty and the beast and suddenly being much more interested in the piano at the the house. All that said I’m sure it must be why I act in the way I do now.
What is this self-proclaimed “giggle-pop” genre you’ve come up with on Facebook? Where did that term come from? Don’t necessarily disagree — just SUPER curious.
Samuel: It’s to describe that lil giggle you let out when a pop hook sounds real good. And we found it just online I can’t remember where or who but some beautiful stranger described us with the perfect genre! We also crack a lot of jokes at the live gigs.
Sam Love: Our term “giggle pop” comes from how much fun we having playing and learning music together; I think Samuel and Mahto have great senses of humor and we always make each other laugh in between songs! Although we take the music we make seriously I think it’s important to also have fun with it and they are great fellas to have around for that!
Mahto: I think someone else called us that in a Facebook event. It’s pretty accurate though. We get pretty giggly pretty often.
Friendly Animals is so refreshing and upbeat. We hear it all happened in 2 days. (AMAZING!) Any fun anecdotes?
Samuel: Thank you! It was the most exhausting two days I’ve ever had, we as a group literally rehearsed the songs one day before recording them and a lot of the parts were actually written as we recorded. By the end of recording I couldn’t even redo guitar takes cause my fingers hurt so bad!
Sam Love: The recording process for our EP Friendly Animals was a blast! It’s was a lot of work, but working with Henry of Taped Records in Knoxville was absolutely amazing. He has done a great job setting up an environment where work and productivity explode like a volcano, but in a way that doesn’t stifle the creative process. I feel like it was refreshing for all of us.
Mahto: It was very hot. And very hard on the hands. I thought the improv jam was the most fun though. After spending all day trying to get the songs right, after learning them the day before, it was really nice to be able to turn the brain off and slip into the rhythm off this new thing.
Do any of you have a favorite track from the album, or perhaps a song you prefer to perform live? Why? What makes it something to look forward to for you?
Samuel: Mine would have to be “Breakfast w/ You”, seeing people smile and get excited that we’re playing it just makes me so happy. That or “Telephone P’lease”!
Sam Love: My personal favorite song from Friendly Animals is “Summer Sweater” because I really like how the grooves kind of take on a funkier sound. I always look forward to playing it live!
Mahto: I rather like playing “Telephone P’lease”. It makes me feel like a rockstar.
How do you want fans to feel after listening to the album in its entirety?
Samuel: That they feel like they know us! By the end of the record I’d love it if people felt a little closer to what we’re doing and like they could come up after a show and talk like old friends.
Sam Love: Ideally, after listening to Friendly Animals for the first time, I would like the listeners to feel like they just heard something different in an interesting “fresh” way.
Mahto: I want listeners to feel like Samuel for a minute.
On a broader spectrum, what drives your passion to create music?
Samuel: The people and connections I make everyday doing it, the strongest and funnest connections you can make are when you become besties with another band or artist, that’s true love right there.
Sam Love: I always find myself in and around musical environments, and being able to play music with good friends and musicians like Samuel Bowman and Mahto Browder really helps drive my passion to create music. I also love how music can bring so many different people together, and even serve as a sort-of medicine.
Mahto: It just something I have to do. I think there is something primal that makes people want music.
If you could be any superhero – “existing” or made up – who would you be and why?
Samuel: Definitely Hellboy, coolest hero ever! Also the best graphic novel hands down.
Sam Love: If I could be any superhero, pre-existing or otherwise, I firmly believe I would be Father Captain Doctor Love. The man who, of course, had humble roots in a church eventually becoming a Priest. After seeing the ugly underbelly of religion and understanding religion’s sinister and corrupt nature in his town he quit the church to join the army. He quickly became a Captain, but after seeing the unjust conflicts and unspeakable horrors of war he left to further his academic career and reflect on his experiences. He decided to become a heart surgeon, and graduated at the top of his class successfully becoming a doctor. It was then he learned he could just also read minds and become temporarily invisible for 10-15 minute intervals on Thursdays.
Mahto: Batman. He just does what he wants. No powers or anything.
Keep up with Achy here.