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SoundMojo’s Interview with Fair To Midland

Fair To Midland are a rock band out of Sulphur Springs, Texas. They’ve just released an EP titled “The Drawn and Quartered” and are working on their full length debut with Serj Tankian’s label Sergical Strike. Singer Darroh Sudderth was nice enough to answer some of our questions. Pay attention to these guys, They’re gonna be huge. Here we go:

1) Just listened to the new EP, very cool. I really like what the keys bring to the music and there’s alot of different sounds and styles that seem to come together. What are some of the musical influences that you guys draw from?

DS - It really depends on which one of us you ask. We are obviously grounded in rock, but our overall taste in music is significantly different. As for myself, I’m into a little bit of everything. It’s a lame answer to give but it’s the truth. I’ve always loved everything from bluegrass and delta blues to heartland rock and hip hop. You name it, we probably draw from it.


2) Did growing up in Texas influence your sound at all?

DS - I’m sure it did to some extent, but I couldn’t say how or to what degree.


3) You guys are signed to Serje Tankian’s label. How did you guys connect with him and what has it meant to have a guy like him supporting you?

DS - Well, during one of our independently funded tours of the west coast we became good friends with Mike Haitayan, who just so happened to be an acquaintance of Serj’s. Mike coaxed Serj into coming our to a couple of shows; and it was at our second show in Malibu that Serj was kind enough to offer his help. We’ve been extremely fortunate and have nothing but good things to say about Mike, Serj, and Serjical Strike. They’ve given us a huge opportunity, and we are very grateful and fortunate.


4) How does the songwriting work in Fair to Midland? Is it a group effort or is it more of an individual process?

DS - There were only around 2 to 4 songs written collaboratively for this upcoming LP. Most of the individual songwriting was/is done by either myself, Cliff (guitarist), or Matt (keyboardist), and it is definitely not something that comes natural to us. When five guys (such as ourselves) get together with completely different tastes in music, it’s a chore to all agree on the direction of a given song and each be able to make it their own without compromising the character of the song.

5) You guys already have a reputation as a kickass live band. Was that always the case? Or have you had to work hard and spend long hours rehearsing to perfect it?


DS - The first, probably, two years we were together it was most definitely not the case. We were horrible. Our primary focus was just getting the songs tighter for the live performances. But I really think that’s all you can do to prepare for live shows. I’ve never ‘practiced’ performance and never have been able to. I think to ‘practice’ performance would result in a lack of sincerity and conviction during the actual shows. I don’t want to come across as a studied or rehearsed actor, because the last thing I’m doing is acting.


6) Have you had any really memorable performances?


DS - I can’t recall any one in particular. Of all the tours we’ve been on though, it’s been the first few that have stuck with me the most.


7) For a band like you guys who seem to be on the verge of really breaking out, have you had to sacrifice a lot to get where you are?


DS - Everything! You hear stories about artists and musicians losing practically everything prior to inking a deal, and this was no exception. We put ourselves in a position where failure was not an option. Had we not inked a deal when we did, I’d more than likely be filing for bankruptcy right now.


8) If you weren’t in this band what do you think you’d be doing?


DS - Still working, attending college, and working toward my double major in journalism and English. I only had a year left as of when we inked the deal. So I guess by now I would have had my degrees, but I can always go back.

9) As for the upcoming full length, what can listeners expect? Will you build on the sounds from the EP or try and go in new creative directions?


DS - It will have about half of what was on our independently released album, ‘inter.funda.stifle,’ the other half being all new material. I’d like to think we’re constantly going in new directions, not intentionally, but solely due to the fact we haven’t really found our style yet. There are a few songs off this upcoming LP that will probably throw our friends for a loop, no doubt.


10) If you had to model the career of Fair to Midland after another band, who would it be and why?


DS - Good question, tough answer. I can’t think of any one in particular off the top of my head. Just about any and every artist whose managed to make commercially appealing music without compromising their artistic integrity is an artist I would consider modeling our career after. I’ve always felt the greatest musicians/artists of all time are the ones whom have managed to do just that.

That’s it. Thanks for the time and best of luck with the everything that is coming up for you guys. Hopefully I can still get an interview with you guys next time around!


DS - Thank you, and best of luck to you as well! You won’t have a problem getting an interview with us next time. Again, sincere thank you’s for giving me the opportunity to do this interview. Take care.

Check out the bands official site here: http://www.fairtomidland.com/

and their MySpace site here: http://www.myspace.com/fairtomidland