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"We realized that we may not have a lot of time here on this planetLet's do it now, let's pretend we don't have a lot of time left and just go for it. Don't worry about money, don't worry about anything. Just build the band and have funLive your life in animal years".

That's how principal singer-songwriter Mike McFadden describes what motivates him when it comes to his band Animal Years. The Brooklyn based trio weren't messing around when it came to record their most recent EP, enlisting Ryan Hadlock (Vance Joy, The Lumineers) to man the board for the foot-stomping brand of folk-rock that inhabits Far From Home. Recently we helped host the band at Thrillist's Holiday Hideaway, right here at good ole, Industry City. Anthemic tunes like "Caroline" and "Friends" were perfect for the event's festive environment, and wouldn't' you know it, we were there running the cameras on the band's rhapsodic performance. We also sat down with the boys to find out more about their addictive sound and the nostalgic inspirations that filter through their songs.

Transcript

Hey little girl Tell me where you've been
I've been on the road for months Staying up to late hoping to hear from
you again I've been holding out for what
Cause I didn't even try To tell you how I feel
I am a thousand miles away And I don't wanna waste your time
Cause I don't like the shape I'm in And I can't wait to see you again
Wohohoo Caroline I'm tripping over my feet
Cause I don't know how to dance But I'll follow your lead
Wohohoo just let me try To get you to follow me
Cause I know we haven't kissed And this sounds crazy
Hey little girl Do you remember my name
Cause I know it's been too long And I am sorry I am gone
I'm the only one to blame See it's been so long since I
Tried to tell someone outright How I really feel
Maybe if I try I could be with you tonight
Wohohoo Caroline I'm tripping over my feet
Cause I don't know how to dance But I'll follow your lead
Wohohoo just let me try To get you to follow me
Cause I know we haven't kissed And this sounds crazy
And my heart is open wide I'm telling you the truth
All of these things that I don't usually do
If you got an answer I promise I can take it
I'm waiting for you Wohohoo Caroline
I'm tripping over my feet Cause I don't know how to dance
But I'll follow your lead Wohohoo just let me try
To get you to follow me Cause I know we haven't kissed
And this sounds crazy
- One, two, three, four I was singing on the road, Many years ago
I was on my own So far from home
And there are days When I felt like I could not win
When I lost it all, and I needed a friend
Whoa, whoa, oh, oh, a Well I had been gone
When I got on my own Nothing like the kid I used to know
When I feel, because I'm a bigger man That I don't need you and I don't need
them Sail away, to the life we had
To the words we said That we don't want to be grown ups
And we'll always believe That we never pretend
And at the end of the day I still got all of friends
I still got all of my friends I'm alone, in a world unknown
Throw my hands up from the constant blows
So when you feel like you're having a
heart attack Because she breaks your heart
And she won't come back Sail away, to the life we had
To the words we said That we don't want to be grown ups
And we'll always believe That we never pretend
And when my hearts on mend I still got all of friends
I still got all of my friends Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh You need to understand
I need to let you know No matter where we've been
No matter where we go And when the time is right
You'll feel it in your bones You'll start to see the light
A place we used to know We need to make amends
Because the space has grown So let's all come home, home, home, home
Sail away, to the life we had To the words we said
That we don't want to be grown ups And we'll always believe
That we never pretend And at the end of the day
I still got all of friends I'll tell you where I go
Sail away, to the life we had To the words we said
That we don't want to be grown ups And we'll always believe
That we never pretend And at the end of the day
I still got all of friends I still got all of my friends
my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.
Nobody? Thank you.
We're in New York.
We're not that far away.
And we haven't played it in a long time.
This is another song off our EP.
It's called, Home.
Thank you so much.
We're Animal Years.
Happy to be here.
Happy to be playing in Brooklyn for the first time.
Even though we're from Brooklyn.
Haven't played in Brooklyn in, oh God, at least a couple years.
It's weird how that works.
I was born, I was born in a place where everybody knew my name,
But I didn't know myself I was loved, I was loved by a woman that
made me Believe there wasn't anybody else
Yeah, yeah
There was a time, there was a time when the world
felt so brand new And I knew exactly what to do
Since then I've been alone And the world seems much more cold
I think that I need to start anew How much love can one man hold in
For the place from back when I turn away but now I never,
ever place my heart forever Don't have a way to the places I've been
Best is the place that I grew up in I was born, I was born in a time I threw
away my problems My mom and dad didn't get along
I was loved, I was loved by a woman Who would follow me that day that I had
up and gone How much love can one man hold in
for the place from back when And all this time I didn't know that
I turn away but now I never, ever place my heart forever
Don't have a way to the places I've been Best is the place that I grew up in
Best is the place that I grew up in Best is the place that I grew up in
When I was gone, when I lost my head And the words you said
So let's make out for the last time We could stop running
I turned away but now I never, ever place my heart forever
Don't have a way to the places I've been This is the place that I grew up in
This is the place that I grew up in This is the place that I grew up in
- I know it's Sunday afternoon, but if anybody wants to dance, now's the time to do it.
If anybody had one afternoon cocktail, and they're feeling up for it, we're all going to go crazy.
So, please get ready.
This song is called, Walking Slow.
I hope you enjoy it.
We are Animal Years, from Brooklyn, New York City.
From right here.
Music for having us.
This is our last song and we're going to be hanging out afterwards.
So, please come chat.
And yeah, that's it.
Have a good time.
I've been out walking slow Many miles I've yet to go
I've never been one that's had to choose But every time I do, I find I lose
I guess I'm a loser, a stomping ground A welcome mat for the loving crowd
I wish that you knew about the things I do
So come on baby girl cause it's time to move, oh yeah!
Take my courage away Don't even worry about my say
Cause I can't find no reason to stay But I can't get away from this place,
oh yeah I guess I'll try again
I'm tryin' to be liked And I said if you want you can see how I
ride Oh and the time has finally come
That I could be, a regular one I just want to have fun
But I can't find a way And I'm worried about all the things
that I said And I can't find a reason
To hold you and hold you and hold you again
I wish you could see Just what you mean to me
So I could run among the free and fragile beings
- There you go.
If I had half the love you gave
Things would be so different today And if they only saw the mess you made
They'd run you out of town
And every time I find it so unreal
To say I can't find a reason To hold you and hold you
and hold you again
- Thank you very much.
I've been out walking slow Many miles I've yet to go
Never been one that's had to choose So come on baby girl,
'cause it's time to move I just want to have fun
But I can't find a way And I'm worried about all the things
that I said And I can't find a reason to hold you
and hold you and hold you again Oh yeah

Artist Bio

"We borrowed the name from a Josh Ritter album," Animal Years singer-songwriter-guitarist Mike McFadden says of his band's moniker. "Originally, we just liked the way the phrase sounded. But the more we thought about it, the more it meant to us, and we started saying things like 'Live your life in animal years.' If you knew that you'd only be around for a few years, you'd do things differently. That's how we try to operate as a band; we try to go for it every day, like we're gonna die tomorrow."

That level of urgency resonates throughout Far From Home, Animal Years' first eOne release. The five-song EP produced by Ryan Hadlock, renowned for his work with the Lumineers, Brandi Carlile and Vance Joyoffers a consistently compelling distillation of the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Baltimore trio's irresistibly anthemic, unfailingly uplifting songcraft, which ranges from the fist-pumping infectiousness of "Caroline" to the introspective warmth of "Friends" to the bittersweet buoyancy of "Home (I Was Born)." McFadden's catchy, emotionally direct songwriting is matched by the band's exuberant performances, which combine McFadden's openhearted vocals and surging acoustic guitars with the punchy rhythmic kick of bassist Anthony Saladino and drummer Anthony Spinnato.

"Someone once described us in a review as 'singer-songwriter music with the amps turned up,' McFadden notes. "The emphasis is on the songs and the songwriting, but we're definitely a rock band. Even if I'm playing an acoustic guitar, I'm playing it through an amp with the distortion on. We're always gonna be louder than the other bands on the bill."

Far From Home's memorable compositions and high-energy performances make it clear why Animal Years has already earned a fiercely loyal grass-roots fan base. Without the benefit of a mainstream record label, the band has built its audience the old-fashioned way: through dogged roadwork, winning over one fan at a time.

"When we moved to New York, we hit the city really hard, and things just grew organically," McFadden explains. "We naturally evolved from small clubs to bigger ones, and from small tours to bigger tours, with more people coming out each time. Everything has happened really organically, through us just being ourselves and trying to be as honest as we can."

The thee bandmates and producer Hadlock recorded Far From Home in the remote environs of Applehead Studios in Woodstock, NY, far from the band's normal urban surroundings.

"We really wanted to isolate ourselves in a place with no distractions other than making the record," McFadden explains. "So we all went up to Woodstock and worked in this great studio in a rebuilt barn. We've been demoing stuff for years, but this is the first time the three of us had made a record together. Ryan was really great to work with, and I think that he really brought out the best in us. It was great recording out there in the middle of nowhere; we'd record 12 hours a day, and then all hang out at night."

Far From Home showcases McFadden's knack for writing forthright songs that cut to the chase, lyrically and melodically. "On this EP, I wanted to write things that everyone can relate to," he asserts. "Sometimes lyrics can be open to interpretation, but for the most part I want people to know exactly what I'm talking about. All of these songs were written on the road, so a lot of the themes are about being away from home and missing people, and not taking people for granted.

"We had four songs that we really liked for the EP, but we knew that we needed one more that would really grab people's attention," he continues. "I was driving back from North Carolina, right at the end of a tour, and I wrote 'Caroline' in the car. Within ten minutes, I had pulled over to the side of the road and recorded the whole thing into my phone. A couple of days later, we made a rough demo, and everybody who heard it said 'Yeah, that's the one.' It's the song that got the attention of our record label, and now it's the first single from the EP."

The unpretentious attitude and hard-driving work ethic that define Animal Years were established early on, when Mike McFadden first began writing and performing his own songs in his mid-teens, releasing his first studio CD under his own name while still in high school in Baltimore. That inaugural effort won a good deal of attention, and even gained some local radio play. A second CD, released when McFadden was 18, was even better received by fans and local radio programmers, and soon his songs were being picked up for use in commercials from such advertisers as Coca-Cola and Pennzoil.

"That was the driver for me to think about quitting my job in Baltimore and going to New York to start Animal Years," McFadden recalls. "Before I moved to New York, I did another solo album, The Sun Will Rise. At that point, Anthony the bass player suggested that we find a drummer and make it into a band, so we rebranded the CD as an Animal Years release.

"It became a real band really quickly," McFadden reports. "When we started the band, we were all working jobs to raise money to make it happen, so we could afford to go on the road and into the studio. The guys started taking an equal part of the work, and everybody started contributing. It took some getting used to, but it was good not being alone and not having to do everything myself. The songwriting is still the same, because that's still me, but everyone's invested in this partnership and we're all getting something out of it."

Animal Years' timely relocation to New York proved to be a crucial turning point for the band. "The music scene in Baltimore is really big and varied, but I never felt like we ever really fit in there," says McFadden. "When we got to New York, we felt a lot more at home and got a much better reception. In New York, there're more people, there're more opportunities, there're more venues. You can play a few nights a week and still never run out of places to play."

Having already established themselves in their adopted hometown and having won a legion of new friends and fans on the road, Animal Years plan to continue doing what they do best: making music and touching people.

"We're planning on hitting the road super-hard," McFadden affirms. "We're definitely willing to put in the work, and make it happen by any means necessary. That's the only way you can do it these days. There are so many other people who are working as hard as you are, so you just have to work twice as hard."

Via Band Website

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Animal Years

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