Last year, Chris Carrabba went from being the frontman of Dashboard Confessional back to his roots in Further Seems Forever. Now, the singer-songwriter has started a new band with his friends called Twin Forks. While each band has its own distinct sound, the leading voice behind them still sounds like the Carrabba that everyone has known and grown to love.
This week, The Eagle had the pleasure of speaking with Carrabba for a few minutes and putting together the pieces of his latest music project.
Sydney Gore: Let’s go back to the beginning. Can you tell me how Twin Forks came together?
Chris Carrabba: I was feeling a little bit boxed in terms of how to write Dashboard’s songs. They weren’t happening so naturally, which I think happens after so many records. As I went down to figure out what I was going to do next, I realized what I had to do actually was to change the way I was playing the guitar. I figured that was the only way I was going to be able to write some songs that had experience and pure, real thoughts. So I did that, I spent two years learning how to play this different style of playing…
So I started writing in that style and we had a festival that we played. It was still Chris Carrabba, but I invited my friends to be in my band for the show. This festival was Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, which sums up the band we became. And so that was the turning point for me, I found it at that festival. It was kind of interesting because the promoter, Dawn, insisted I play at this festival and I was like, “I’m not really doing Dashboard, I don’t know what I’m doing.” And she said, “Just come here and play.” Like she knew I was going to find the answer I was looking for. It’s good to have friends, you know? Sometimes they know you better than you know yourself.
SG: How do you think you’ve been able to keep older, lifelong fans that have supported you since the beginning of your music career?
CC: I think by not demanding that they should or that they have to with each new project or old project that I go back to. I always try to present it as what it is, not what other bands that people are in. For example, with these shows, we’re doing our best to not promote them as members of the three popular bands that we happened to have been in before because we may play those songs if the music was right, but that’s not what we’re there for. And I think to honestly say, “We’re here in a small room for a low ticket price for you to see if maybe you like it,” as opposed to saying, “I expect you to like it because I was in all these bands that you liked.”
And the other way I’ve been able to keep the fans as I’ve gone from project to project is by pure and absolute luck. I have no idea why they allow me to jump around like this. I think it says a lot about their broad palette of taste in music, but I don’t know how I got so lucky there. I’m happy about it.
SG: Could you tell me about the process of putting together the debut Twin Forks album?
CC: Well, we worked on what was originally going to be a Chris Carrabba solo record, and then we did that Hardly Strictly Blues and threw that out the window and realized “I want to be a band and I want it to feel like a true band with these guys.” … The way we did the album was since we have a little garage of a record space, I would write a song and then we would track it that night. I would do a demo of me and an acoustic guitar, and they would listen to it during the day, and then we would go in that night and we would play all together. It was a surprise as it was happening. Sometimes we had to go back and re-record the songs, but we always tried to work on that first session so that all those things we reacted to like that never got sterilized by playing too much or paying too close attention…Part of that is why it’s exciting.
SG: Is there something super important that you think everyone should know about Twin Forks?
CC: I think that the most important thing is that I think we are a live band more than we are anything else, which is why we’re recorded live for the most part. What we have as our centerpiece as a live band is a celebratory feeling of joy; that’s what the live show is. There’s a sense of humor, there’s a big feeling of euphoria. I don’t know if that’s contagious because that’s how the audience seems to be reacting while we’re playing, or if we’re doing it. I can’t tell; I can’t figure it out. It’s joyous and it’s meant to be a real, unique live performance. We really hope people will come to see us play. Of course we want them to buy our EP, but we really hope people come and see us play because this is about what we strive to do.
Come out and experience Twin Forks up close and personal at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue on Sept. 22. Tickets are on sale for $18.