Scene and Heard: Morning Fatty
Fundamentals of Fatty:
Morning Fatty started out in 2004 as an 12-piece ska band, complete with a horn section, at Santaluces High School in Lantana, FL. Today, the band is headquartered in Gainesville and is comprised of four members: Andrew “Drew” White on lead vocals/guitar/keyboard, John “Pop” Papoulis on bass, Miller Joyner on lead guitar, and Jared McEachran on the drums.
Originally, they came together through ska, but later found reggae and learned jazz, while still managing to always rock the house. Although the band doesn’t like to limit themselves to certain genres, listeners usually categorize them as a reggae-funk-rock band.
Song(s) To Know:
When asked about song recommendations, White suggested, “If you are a sublime fan, check out “Street Phamacist” or “Police Navidad.” If you are an Incubus fan, check out “Oblivion.” If you are a Stevie Wonder fan, check out “Mr. Shade Man.” If you are a Beatles fan, check out “Where do we go” and “Come Easily.” If you are into crazy jazz fusion with a lot of music theory you should check out “Waiting.” There is so much to reccomend because different people like different things.”
Release of “Resistance”:
In January of 2014, Morning Fatty launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their latest album release, appropriately titled “Resistance.” The album concept is based on the struggle to make it as a band in today’s competitive music industry, resisting the need to sell out and sign with a record label. The album is very personal, as it is includes motivation from specific life moments, adding metaphorical meanings through entendres. The cover art represents this fight against the “soulless drones programmed to follow the typical life,” said White.
Funded by the fans, the band’s entirely organic album was produced with the help of Roger Lima, the bassist and vocalist for “Less Than Jake,” in his personal recording studio. Although the majority of funding was donated in the last three days, the most important thing is that the band owns their own music. Grateful for the support that allows the band to be self-employed, White said, “We have our little army of fans who love us. We produced music for the people who already paid for it.”
While Morning Fatty’s first album “Out of the Hat” captured the band’s beginning, “Resistance” illustrates how far they have come. This album features the addition of keyboards, synths, and octopad drums sounds. When asked about the style and sound, White responded, “Rock, Reggae, Funk, Jazz, Latin, Punk, Groove Shred, Bubble Rhythm, Omnistic music. Is it reggae? Is it rock? What is it? It is what it is. Lately, I like saying we’re not even reggae, we’re not rock, but we’re somewhere in the between. This album transcends the both. Don’t label it because you’ll just confuse yourself. Take it for what it is.”
On Saturday night, September 20th, Morning Fatty graced the stage of the local Gainesville venue High Dive. The connection between the members was evident from the start, visible through their combined rhythm and comfortable ability to spontaneously improvise. The band’s informal way of addressing the audience conveyed an unpretentious attitude that made the members easily relatable. Morning Fatty brought with them a dedicated fan base, who impressively knew every word to each song.
Morning Fatty’s ability to smoothly transition from immersive intricate instrumentals to upbeat vocals, while spanning a wide variety of genres such as reggae, hard rock, and even a polka-type tune, provided for an excellent and interesting show. They mixed it up by playing a multitude of songs off their new album, a few fan favorites like “Street Pharmacist,” and covers such as a rock-infused version of Daft Punk’s “Something About Us.” Morning Fatty’s show also featured special guests Fae Nageon de Lestang from Flat Land on vocals/violin, and a five-word challenge from rapper Hip Hop Duke that stimulated crowd interaction.
Although evidently unified in all aspects of their performance, the members of Morning Fatty uniquely expressed their own identities. In particular, John Pop donned an orange jumpsuit while plucking a funky bass line on neon green strings. For one portion of what became a triple encore, Andrew White bared his soul with “Live On,” a personal ballad about the passing of his mother at age 17. Finally, they finished off strong with a cover of “Hey Jude,” which had the entire crowd swaying together and belting out the words in harmony.
Future for Fatty:
In two weeks, Morning Fatty will kick of their biggest tour yet. The band will be traversing the country in their new RV (affectionately named Apollo 420) to start their first official U.S. tour. The band will be performing in cities such as Baltimore, DC, Chicago, San Diego, Denver, Austin, and much more.
At their upcoming shows, attendees can expect the unexpected, as the band plans to play songs off the new album, favorites from the last album and some improvised jams to mix it up. In regards to signing with a record label, the band believes they will make that decision when the time comes. Morning Fatty also hopes to include more guest performances from artists of diverse genres in the future.
When asked about current and upcoming goals, White responded with, “We’re hoping to have a lot of success with this album. We’re trying to get all U.S. states into the Morning Fatty experience and maybe even do some international touring in 2015. We’re really striving to bond with our musical peers. We hope to be featuring them with us and vise versa.”