You’d be hard-pressed to categorize Mother Falcon‘s music. Pick a song like “Dirty Summer” off their latest LP, You Knew (you can stream it here), and give it a go. No clear genre jumps out of the lilting strings or the punchy horns, nor does a set sound appear within the chorus of vocals spilling out and into another verse. As soon as you’ve put your finger on a specific influence, say, the twang of a pedal-steel, it fades into the staccato of strings and percussion as the track hits its bridge. There is much to take in, especially given the band’s diverse personnel.
At 24 members strong, the Austin collective has somehow mastered the art of effortlessly moving various components in and out of play. When a horn player returns to an out-of-state school, for example, Mother Falcon is happy to retool and soldier on. The constraints and flexibility make for a solid band in which no member is every truly missing.
“No one ever really leaves because we have the flexibility to keep going and accommodating people. We have a musical sense of community together because we all go so far back. The group has three sibling pairs and five of us have been making music together since high school. We can just be frank and direct with each other. It’s like every band where you get your own brand of egos, of course, but there’s no front,” trumpeter Matt Krolick tells the Appeal.
Though many members had picked up instruments long before their freshman year, Mother Falcon got their start in high school the way that many bands take shape: by simply sitting down and playing music together.
Founding member Nick Gregg (along with two other cellists) had put time in various state and regional orchestras, but what truly pushed the band forward was the city of Austin, known as an incubator for budding musicians and legends alike.
“We’ve all just been growing up around live music thanks to living in Austin. We’re very comfortable being on stage and around live music for that reason. It’s great, especially the community. Austin isn’t necessarily competitive but more supportive. You’re constantly bumping into people you know,” explains Krolick.
The band has made some bold steps in furthering that sense of community well past the live music capital of the world, pulling residencies in both NYC and LA. The former of which saw a show dedicated to Radiohead, covering their iconic Ok Computer LP in its entirety. That experience helped shape their current tour, which has the band alternating between long stints and legitimate touring.
“I like the back and forth of staying and playing, then having a leg out and a leg back,” Krolick says.
“With touring, we’re definitely looking to cover more geography. It’s nice to cover that type of ground and gauge a city’s interest.”
Mother Falcon’s first West Coast adventure will soon bring them to SF, where they’ll be playing at Hotel Utah this Friday, August 16.
The small venue will play host to a band focused as much on drawing their fans in as they are with furthering their sound thanks to some valuable lessons learned from You Knew’s recording sessions.
“It really helped us take things to the next step, really seeing the songs separated from ourselves. Every band has to approach that and we’ve got so much more to learn. If you listen to the albums back to back, there’s a more traditional pop feel to the new record,” Krolick says.
“Our live show is sort of a question of chicken and egg stuff. We’ve definitely been growing, without a doubt, I feel like we’re more naturally engaged with people in a room. We’re a lot more comfortable to talk with someone after a show. I love it when people come up to us and say that we make it look easy because that’s what we want to do, is to take all these moving components and make it look easy.”