Athens, Georgia-based collective Family And Friends is known for their percussive style and unrivaled live-show energy. Recently, they unleashed Felix Culpa, their long-awaited debut full-length album. When we finished our two EPs, especially when we finished xoxo, we knew it was time to write a full-length album,” says vocalist Mike MacDonald about their highly-anticipated record. “It just seemed like it was what the industry expected of us, and I think we wanted to do it for ourselves to prove to ourselves that we could.”

Felix Culpa was inspired by the head-first deep-dive into adulthood, an experience that the band traversed together. “I was thinking lyrically, ‘What do I want this to be about?’ The EPs were about whatever was happening at the time, we wrote them not expecting them to be unanimous with one another. We wanted this to be a fully realized the album,” he continues. ”It ended up being everything that I personally was going through, and I think the band too, post-college life, trying to figure what the hell we’re doing,” he laughs. “Everyone thinks the grass is always greener on the other side; it’s so strange being in a band and getting to do all the things you love, but not necessarily having money. And then the other side is like everyone thinking that you’re doing all the coolest things. It’s so fascinating growing up realizing that no one really knows what they’re doing or what they want to do,”

The band decided they needed a change of scenery and relocated to Los Angeles for a month to record with veteran producer Brad Wood, whose vast list of credits include Better Than Ezra, Liz Phair, and mewithoutyou. “It was a pretty easy sell for the band to get everyone to go to LA for a month, I’m not going to say that didn’t play into it,” he says with a laugh. “When we were recording in Atlanta, everyone goes home to their separate houses every night and can still pick up shifts wherever they’re working. It’s just not as in-depth of a process as moving your entire life somewhere else for a month to make something, and really living with it and living with our choices,” he recalls. “I think it made for a better album overall. We had looked into five or six different producers that were all great and all I think would have made an amazing album, but every time we got off the phone with Brad we just felt like he had this extra element,” MacDonald explains. “He was excited about it. He got us excited about it. We knew that he was the guy. He was just he knows his stuff. He’s worked with so many amazing bands. He really held our hands through the entire process and helped us to decide what was working, what was not working, guided us through the extra instrumentation, and stuff like that. He was in the middle throughout the entire process.”

The process was also more collaborative this go-round and coupled with the group’s heightened sense of focus, the results were stunning. Felix Culpa is rooted in the band’s percussive foundation but sonically enriched with lush ambience and multi-layered texture. “We were able to put so much more instrumentation on than we had in the past and Brad helped us out a lot with that,” says MacDonald. “We wouldn’t have been able to make the same album if we weren’t in that context together. There are so many layers! We started with the base of just the song itself and figuring out the structure–me, Tuna, and the drummers kind of figuring out the rhythm section and what was going on there,” he explains. “Then, when we were demoing, JP just went to town. He spent 12-hour days. recording parts over everything just to get a vibe for all the different guitar parts that were going on. From there, it just started getting more and more crazy–I would spend time with Brad writing key parts. We took it back to Athens actually and started adding horns and strings, but it was just one step at a time and constantly adding more and more until we got what we ultimately wanted it to be.”

Family & Friends is now on tour promoting the album’s release, which brings them to Nashville’s 3rd& Lindsley for a show on Sunday, August 26th. “I don’t think we will replicate the sound live to the full extent of everything that’s on the album,” MacDonald admits. “But for me, the band has always been two different aspects–the recorded sound and the live show. “It does kind of feel like a cop-out to be like, ‘Oh we can’t reproduce that,” he laughs. “I just personally love it when you go to show and it doesn’t sound exactly like the album, even if it’s more stripped down and not necessarily as full live. I feel like you’ve seen something more genuine and raw maybe. It’s just a different element to it that I personally love,” he adds. “I’m okay with it.”

[Click HERE for tickets and show information.]

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