Year of October Get into the Groove of Things
Year of October is a budding blues-rock band who calls Nashville, TN home. The brainchild of husband-wife duo Phlecia Sullivan and Josh Sullivan, the two have built Year of October upon a bed of sultry and ambitious vocals and swirling blues riffs. Their latest musical endeavor comes in the form of their album Golden Days which has proven to be a must-have release in the indie -roots scene. The way that Phlecia’s vocals play off of Josh’s instrumentation is a phenomenal feat. We caught up with Year of October in the New Year to see what 2016 holds for the band.
Your latest release “Golden Days” has been making a nice amount of traction among the indie music circuit. How have you seen the recognition of the band grow with this release?
It’s been really cool. We’ve been getting some radio play across the country. Also it’s been cool to get to talk with so many music fans. We’ve also done a lot of interviews recently; it’s been a lot of fun.
What influences brought you together to find Year of October’s signature sound? and was finding your sound difficult?
Finding our sound was difficult. We started doing more folk/rock stuff and worked our way towards and edgier gothic rock sound. We are still refining what we are doing and I think as a band you should never be satisfied with where you are at. It’s taken us five years to get to where we can say that we have a Year of October sound.
My favorite band is Led Zeppelin and I wanted to have the huge riffs yet also the groove behind them. What I love about what they did was they could and did do anything they wanted. They would go from a huge rock song so a soulful 6/8 song to a soft folk song. They would do all of those but they wouldn’t lose their own identity. I want to be similar to them in that aspect. We aren’t where we need to be for sure but it’s coming along.
Some major influences on us are The Dead Weather, the Alabama Shakes, and Rocco DeLuca. Also I love the new Sufjan Stevens record. There is so much good music out there, we are always listening to new and old stuff and getting inspired.
As a married couple in the band, how does that effect your musical-working relationship? Does it strengthen the bond?
It is a challenging but rewarding experience. I think the writing that we do together is one of the reasons that we get along so well and have the friendship that we do. There is a lot of stuff that comes with being in a band along with being married. I think one of the keys for us has just been to balance the two. Sometimes we just need to go on a date night and not talk about the band. Being in a band has definitely strengthened our relationship though.
Each track on “Golden Days” intertwines without flaw. When creating the record, how did you select the songs you wanted to include? (I imagine that it was hard; the songs are so good!)
That really means a lot to hear you say that, thank you. We worked really hard on this record for about two years after Stories, which came out in 2012. We actually started recording the record before all the songs were written. It was nice and relaxed and we didn’t push to hard to make things come out.
We wrote two songs, Gone and Winter, while we were recording the record. At first we weren’t sure if we were going to include Gone on this release but I’m glad we did. It ended up being our first single.
One of the hardest parts of the record was the order of the songs. I would just experiment with the songs in different orders and just listen to how it flowed. I had an overall picture of how I wanted the record to sound and feel. One of the other big factors was getting it on vinyl. Each side of the record had to be under 18 minutes. It was a challenge but I think it worked out well.
Josh, which kind of guitar(s) do you use on the record?
Well the only electric guitar that I own is a Fender Strat which I used on the record. My acoustic is a Sea Gull. I did use my two basses on the record as well, I used my Fender J-bass and P-bass. I really like my Strat, I can get a lot of different tones with it just by switching pickups.
Phlecia, your voice is incredible. When it comes to singing, who do you look up to as inspiration?
Thank you very much. Hmm I have a lot of influences, most notably I would say Norah Jones, Aretha Franklin, and Patsy Cline. I really love all the 60’s soul music so that is a big part of what I like as well. I recently went with Josh to a Norah Jones concert that really blew me away. She’s been my favorite since middle school.
Being a Nashville band, you often play area shows a lot. Which are your favorite venues to play?
Ah there are a lot of great Nashville places to play. Some of our favorites include: the FooBAR, Springwater, the Mercy Lounge, and the Five Spot.
What is your favorite song to play live, and why so?
I would say that my favorite song to play live is “Winter”. It has so many elements to it and the dynamics are always changing and it’s exciting for me every time. It’s a very soulful song and I love hearing Phlecia sing it and really get into it. We change it up a little bit live and get really soft on the bridge before building it up into a chorus. It’s a really fun song to play live and even though we’ve played it a little over two years now it still doesn’t get old.
Do you have any plans to go on tour soon?
We have a few out of town weekend dates lined up in Kentucky and other parts of Tennessee, but nothing as long as a tour. We are all working 40 hours a week still but we would definitely like these weekend gigs to start turning into mini-tours.