Localized: Father Phoenix

Photo of Father Phoenix courtesy of MySpace

Words by Erin Wolf

Some words pinpoint a band’s sound perfectly. One such word is ‘loud’ and one such band is Father Phoenix. Sonically blasting a hard edge of rock into the audio wall of their listeners’ ears, the band recently added organist Keith Stendler to fill things out and add an even more intense element of psychedelia to their new material. Adding to the already-existent barrage created by guitarist/vocalist Kris Maedke, bassist/Rhodes-ist Ryan Marszalek and percussionist Tyler Chicorel, Father Phoenix’s new sound is intensely mesmerizing. The group plays The Cactus Club this Friday with country rockers The Championship, creating a fresh and interesting juxtaposition. Father Phoenix’s Tyler Chicorel talks about what it’s like to hit it hard and about the privilege of being one of the band members who gets to stay seated for the show.
“Plunderstorm,” Father Phoenix

Most of the press on your band is that you’re ‘loud’. That’s pretty indisputable. Do you feel like you’ll ever cut back dynamically in the future, or would that just kill the energy of your music?
When we were playing as a three-piece, we kind of had a different sound and wanted to be as heavy as possible. That required lots of amps and the volume cranked. After Keith joined, we toned it down a little bit and worked towards a more big/full sound rather than just loud.

What kind of amp set-up do you have?
We love old equipment. It can be a hassle with repairs, but old amps sound way more bitchin’. Keith plays a Hammond C2 organ out of a Leslie 910. Kris uses a Sound City 50 Plus amp through a hand-built Celestion 4 x 12 cabinet. Ryan runs the bass and Fender Rhodes through a vintage Road amp and an Ampeg 8 x 10 and a 2 x 15.

The new songs sound amazing with the organ adding an even more heavy feeling to your initial sound. What’s it like writing with a keyboard/organ player in the mix?
Having an organ is awesome — it adds so much. Even at our first practice with Keith, we could tell that this was going to be fun. We were all pumped about the possibilities and directions we could go from there.

Do you have plans to release another full-length, soon?
The Large Bodies EP will be next thing we release. It’s mixed, mastered and ready to go. We just don’t have any way of getting it out there, yet. We plan on recording another full-length in the near future, as well. We have almost all the songs written and Ryan is on the Rhodes for a few of the new ones, which is kind of funny because for those, Kris is the only one standing up. Maybe it’s not that funny…I find it amusing, I guess.

How did you get hooked up playing a bill with The Championship, who play a much more laid-back style of music than you? Will you be toning it down a couple notches to meet in the middle with them sound-wise, or is it just going to be business as usual?
Business as usual, of course. We’re friends with The Championship dudes, and they asked us to do the show and of course, we were down. We haven’t played in a while because we’ve been working on new material, and this sounded like an awesome show to come out of hibernation for.

Father Phoenix plays with The Championship at The Cactus Club on Friday, January 16th at 10 p.m. 21+

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