I spent some time with Derek Sheehan, Jesse Petas, Steven Rosplock, Brendan McGeehan, and Dan Mudd, also known as Philadelphia psych-rockers Weekender, at Savannah Stopover Music Festival before their set; the band has been touring to support their latest EP, Floaty Feeling, Blue, which came in in January via PaperCup Music.
Previously, Weekender had essentially been the project of frontman Derek Sheehan; “I’ve loved music since I was kid, it all started with Raffi’s ‘Baby Beluga’,” he says with a laugh. “I started on drums, then moved to guitar. It’s always something I’ve pursued. It’s a labor of love these days.”
“I was the one writing and tracking all the songs, playing all the instruments. It was kind of a revolving door, and I’d wanted a more solid lineup, but it can be hard to find the right people,” he adds. “It was tough, but then this lineup came together and it feels really good.”
Floaty Feeling Blue, brimming with crunchy guitars and just the right amount of psychedelia, is thematically centered around the connection between humanity and nature. “I didn’t set out to make a theme of any kind,” Sheehan explains. “I’m really passionate about the environment, I’m a nature guy, and the lyrics just seemed to come out that way.”
Weekender is now working on a full-length record, a collaborative effort with contributions from members of the new lineup, that they hope to have out by the end of the year…
Derek: It’s going to be more of a dance record.
Dan: I’m going to rap on the new record, I’m a good slow rapper.
Brendan: I’m definitely playing the tuba on it exclusively.
Derek: Think more along the lines of Limp Bizkit with synths.
Me: Synth Bizkit!
All joking aside, the new album will undoubtedly bring us more of their psych-rock prowess in digital form, and will allow Weekender to continue to blaze a trail for the genre in their hometown. As of late, artists like Kurt Vile and bands like War on Drugs have brought attention to the diverse Philadelphia music scene, and people are moving there from all over the country to pursue music careers. ”I don’t feel psych-rock is really the dominant sound in the Philly music scene, but overall Philly has been very supportive of Weekender,” explains Sheehan. “We get good coverage from local blogs and radio. We get the chance to open for a lot of bigger acts that come through town at some great local clubs, and we have a lot of friends who make great music that we get to play shows with regularly. People care about live music in Philly, and it continues to grow every year. It’s a great place to live and make music.”