We connected with southern Indiana based alternative rock band These Fine Gentlemen for an exclusive interview to discuss their new single/video “Choke”, as well as the album it appears on, “Old Flames”. We also find out how a band comprised of six members - (Zack Killey (vocals), A.j. Stainbrook (guitar), Corey Sitterding (guitar), Mason Lauster (bass), Zach Thompson (keys), and Quinten Tritle (drums) - develops new songs and what they feel has been their biggest musical accomplishment of 2018.
After reading our Q&A with These Fine Gentlemen, stream both “Choke” and the “Old Flames” album on Spotify. Also, connect with the band on their social media and go see them perform live in Indianapolis at the Hoosier Dome on December 14th.
Congratulation on the release of your new album "Old Flames". We're big fans of your new single "Choke" and the imagery of its visuals. Of the ten songs on the project, why did you guys select "Choke" as the next single and to create a video for?
Thanks a bunch! We worked really hard with our video producer to pump out something that was visually appealing and fits the mood of the single. "Choke" was the song we decided to choose for the single because we felt it summed up the collective sound of the album. Throughout the album we mixed in a lot of different variations of the rock genre so we wanted to push a song that is in your face and gives you a preview of what's to come.
Tell us about the imagery of the "Old Flames" album cover. What does it symbolize?
The overall lyrical theme of the album has a lot to do with being your own worst enemy. As far as the image itself, a good friend of ours who is a photographer took the picture for fun and posted it on social media and when we saw it we knew that it was the one. It basically symbolizes the feeling of being trapped behind a thin wall. To a lot of people they are their own worst enemy and when you're trapped inside your head it's a hard place to get out of without the help of friends and loved ones.
How did you guys decide which songs made the cut for "Old Flames" and didn't? Will the songs that didn't ever be heard by the public?
As we've mentioned a couple times this album took two years to finish so you could imagine how many songs and ideas came about for the album. We've been a band for almost four years and we, as all bands do, have grown up a lot. Our sound from when we started to now is totally different. We feel now, that we have finally found "our" sound.
We also grew a lot in the two years it took to record the album so there were some songs that were previously written that we decided to not include on the album. We really just had to sit down and think about what made sense and what songs really conveyed the vision we were trying to create with the new album. Some of the old songs, it's possible they may show up in the future, but a lot of them, we try to pretend they don't exist anymore!
From a creative perspective, how does a band with six members go about developing new songs?
Usually one of the six of us starts with a riff. We bring it to rehearsal and if everyone thinks it's cool we start building off of it. It usually always starts with a simple outline of chords and basic progression, then once the basic outline is solid we start adding leads and melodies to tighten up the mood of the song. After all that is complete our vocalist will take the song and over the course of a month or so, write the lyrics. We take our time in the writing process to make sure that everything is 100% how we want it. That's part of the reason the album was in production for over two years.
For those of us who haven't had the privilege to attend a These Fine Gentlemen concert (yet), describe a typical live show. What song in your catalog automatically gets the crowd to go crazy?
A typical live show for us is raw and hard hitting. We stick to playing everything live with no smoke and mirrors, down to the ambient key parts and vocal harmonies. One song that we always seem to get a great reaction to is actually the single, "Choke". We typically open with it and it really gives the crowd a feel for what they are about to hear and gets them amped up for the rest of the set. Our next upcoming show is in Indianapolis, IN at the Hoosier Dome on 12.14.18.
Details are here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1846393312141491/
With 2018 winding down, what's been the band's biggest accomplishment musically this year so far?
Finishing the album has been probably our number one accomplishment this year honestly. With it being in production for two years it was starting to get very tiring and we honestly weren't sure if we would be able to finish this year. We had multiple sit downs as a band and decided for the last half of 2018 to not focus as much on booking and try to keep focus on finishing the album. We really feel that it validates us as not only the band we are striving to be but as musicians as well. Something we have all wanted to do as musicians is release a full length album and through a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and money!), we can finally say we have done that.
Some other cool accomplishments for our 2018 year would be that we finally started booking and travelling outside of Indiana. And playing with bands such as Fuel, and Jeff Hardy's Peroxwhy?Gen.