By Eric Wendt
Listening to Early & Often’s newest release, Present No Fiction, Fear No Tense (PNFFNT) is a lot like listening to the soundtrack for a movie. A dark, atmospheric movie you can’t stop watching. Vocalist Jeff Wright was kind enough to answer some questions for Synthesis regarding the band’s sound, the Sacramento scene, and the state of the music industry.
Words like “ambient” and “shoegaze” get thrown around a lot when people discuss your music. How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard you?
We usually just tell people that we’re a lot like Katy Perry or Daughtry. It usually has the same effect of giving someone real bands that they could compare us to because apparently it’s impossible to find individuals who have heard bands to the timbre of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Burial, Mogwai, Jeff Buckley and Pg.Lost.
Cities like Portland, Seattle and L.A. are always getting love as musical hotspots, but what about the scene in Sacramento? Are people overlooking it unfairly or is there really not much to write home about?
Honestly, Sacramento has potential to be a very active and interesting music hub. We don’t really play here much though. Everyone in the band has come to agree that if there is one word to describe the “Sacramento Listener,” and in turn the Sacramento music circuit, it would most definitely be “jaded.” No one is really sure if this is due to over-exposure or just apathy, but the feeling definitely hovers over the town like a big black rain cloud.
The band is on Sell The Heart Records, a non-profit label that focuses on vinyl and digital releases. Is the band all for the digitalization of the music industry? How do you feel about the way things are in the industry right now?
Every release of ours before PNFFNT was always up the day we finished it for free and immediate digital download. Before we had our wonderful label backing us, the word “industry” was always stomped out by “art.” Meaning, we didn’t care about making any money whatsoever. The single thing that was important to us was just that if someone wanted to listen or access the music, they could. Denying someone your music is far more detrimental than losing a measly $5 CD sale. You lose a person who could potentially grow with you as a band and, most importantly, a patron of your art. All because they didn’t have a five spot? Not worth it. Chances are (and yes, it’s totally happened for us, even recently) that the same person will pay that five dollars towards something you create eventually. Patience is totally key in the music industry these days and it took us years to develop and learn that. We want to embrace every person who wants to see what we’re about, not push them away.