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Interview With Darroh Sudderth of Fair to Midland
Posted: 19 December 2006
Contributed By: Chris

TuneLab Music: For those who aren't familiar with the band, could you give us some background?

Darroh Sudderth: It started with our guitarist Clifford and myself, and the current lineup was later solidified with; Jon Dicken (bass), Brett Stowers (drums), and Matthew Langley (keyboards). It was really out of necessity more than anything. We are all from small towns within a 30 mile radius of one another and were among the only musicians within the area.

TL: How would you describe the bands sound?

DS: Well, I'm not the best salesman and even worse at knowing how to describe our sound. There's always someone whose said it better, so I'll offer up one of my favorite descriptions of our sound: "It was as though I was listening to the mutant offspring of Rush, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, The Mars Volta, Gary Numan, and Pantera; grown up and having run off to start their own volcano-worshiping doomsday cult in the desert" - Rob Gary

TL: Who has been your biggest musical influence?

DS: I'm not quite sure. I can find something influential in almost every genre of music and find something I admire and appreciate in almost everything I hear. To pick just one though...I may have to get back to you on that one.

TL: The band has been around since 1998, but only recently signed a record deal. What kept you guys pushing toward that goal?

DS: Hope. That and the fact that when you put everything on the line, you put yourself in a position where failure is not an option. If we wouldn't have inked a deal, I would be filing for bankruptcy.

TL: How did the deal with Serjical Strike come about?

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 out 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.

TL: A lot of bands get signed only to be dropped a short time later. What kind of feelings did the band have leading up to signing with Serjical Strike?

DS: We were extremely nervous, cautious, and scared; but Serj let us know from the get-go that he wanted us to have a fair shelf-life. He knows we're not exactly a 'pop act,' and I don't expect bells and whistles to go off as soon as this album is released. It's still a very scary place to be though. Not so much in terms of if we'll have a label, but as to whether or not the general public will give our subsequent albums a fair shot if our debut doesn't quite carve a name for us. Like they always say, you only have one shot at a first impression.

TL: What has it been like working with Serj Tankian?

DS: He's been great! Serj has made himself available throughout this whole process and has definitely earned the title of executive producer for this album. He's been extremely supportive and helpful. I have nothing but good things to say about Serj.

TL: You've been recording your full-length debut with producer David Bottrill. How would you describe the album?

DS: That's a tough one, it varies from one song to the next. As a whole, I would say it sounds like a very dense and epic album. I've been told it's very progressive without being too winded, which I hope is the case.

TL: Is there an estimated release date?

DS: I am being told it will most likely be sometime in April of '07.

TL: How does the new album compare to your two independent releases?

DS: It's obviously more solid and polished than the previous two. Sonically, it's easier to pick out what's going on. It has much more scope than the previous two as well.

TL: You hit the road with Dir en Grey on February 1st. It's kind of an odd pairing, why did you choose this tour?

DS: They contacted our booking agent (whom had sent Dir en Grey a copy of our last independently released LP) and asked if we would consider doing this tour with them. They seem to be doing very well for themselves and we were honored to be asked. It is an odd pairing, but we've always tried to play with acts we don't necessarily mesh with musically; whether they are heavier, softer or a different genre altogether. For bands who can pull it off, it significantly broadens their audience; which is what we are hoping for.

TL: Do you have any tours lined-up following this one?

DS: Nothing set in stone as of yet, but a few in the works.

TL: What kind of impact has MySpace had on the band?

DS: It has definitely helped. In the long run, though, it hasn't been anything more than an aide. It all still comes down to the product and performance, MySpace is only a means of advertising both.

TL: That's all I have. Any final words of wisdom?

DS: Nothing other than a 'thank you.'