FACING NEW YORK
Brandon Canchola, Omar Cuellar, Eric Frederic
Facing New York formed in 2004 when ex-members of ex-bands became ex-friends and formed the group on January 1st, viewing this symbolic birthdate as a good omen for the year and those to come. The band begun as a five piece: Eric Frederic on vocals and guitar, Rene Carranza on keyboard, Matt Fazzi on guitar and vocals, Omar Cuellar on drums, and Brandon Canchola on bass. The eager young band rushed through rehearsals to meet the mid January recording dates that singer Eric Frederic had already booked. A 6 song EP was recorded entitled "Swimming Not Treading" to document this aggressive approach to making records and music business in general. There is obvious influence from Dismemberment Plan, Led Zeppelin, and The Mars Volta on this early recording. By March, the band was on a 5 week west coast tour of small clubs, house parties, record stores, and anywhere else the 5 piece behemoth could set up and play.
That summer, Facing New York made it onto a slew of West Coast Warped Tour dates. Realizing that they could sell records to the kids in line waiting to get in, the band would wake up at 6am every morning on the tour to go solicit these eager concert goers to spread their music. They would go on to sell over 200 records a day on the latter 11 days of the tour. On the Warped Tour they became close friends with a band called Amity, whom Facing New York would release a 6 song split with that Fall of 2004 to be supported with modest West Coast touring. Just before the release of the Split EP, the boys were offered a short run of California dates with Saddle Creek Records band Cursive.
Facing New York then began work on what would be their first full length record, making music while on tour with computer demos that would be worked out at home in late Fall. Unfortunately as the year came to an end, so did singer Eric Frederic's voice. Diagnosed with an extremely developed case of vocal nodules, he had to have them surgically removed and spent 2 months not speaking a word in recovery. This surely was creative fodder for the record that they would record in Spring of 2005, titled after the band name, "Facing New York." Mostly college dropouts, the record interrogates the uncertainty of post - academic life and Frederic's coping with complete departure from social situations in his months of silence. The record is decisively "prog rock," putting an end to the band's post-punk heritage, moving into longer more ambitious arrangements and textures reminiscent of Yes & King Crimson.
After a strong record release in California, Facing New York set out on a U.S. tour to bring them to New York City for CMJ 2005. The year would close with more West Coast one-offs including a support slot for Lex Records / Astralwerks band Subtle.
2006 would be a pivotal year for the band. They started out with a West Coast tour with legendary Japanese punk band Eastern Youth, which brought them to SXSW in Austin, TX. This would be followed by 2 weeks of Western U.S. touring with rock band Taking Back Sunday, bringing FNY to the biggest venues they'd every played. Following this the band would be hosted for two shows in Japan. They played one date in Tokyo supporting Eastern Youth and the Japanese release of their 2005 album, as well as one headline date at a small club. After this, more hospitalizations for singer Eric Frederic. While having a major operation on his stomach, the band would proceed with Matt Fazzi in command of lead vocals for the first week of a Summer 2006 U.S. tour. That Fall, Rene Carranza would depart Facing New York. Citing that it was time to go back to school, Rene moved on, but not without a tremendous farewell show FNY headlined at Slim's in San Francisco. Without haste the band got back on the road for another U.S. tour that Fall with longtime friend Gavin Castleton filling in on keyboards. Upon the conclusion of that tour, the band began the writing process for its next full length release.
Over the course of 2007 the band worked on new material with two tours splicing the rehearsal time. That summer they hit the road with friends Tera Melos, and in Fall of 2007 were offered a full scale UK & Central European tour with long time friends, Long Beach prog punk band RxBandits. After another slew of one offs with bands Cursive and Subtle, it was about time to put the new songs on wax, but not without another surprise.
Matt Fazzi told the band in March 2008 that he would be joining seminal emo-punk band Taking Back Sunday. Although he expressed a deep desire to continue contributing to the group, all sides agreed that it would not be practical or possible. Thus on April 18th & 19th, 2008, Facing New York headlined the Troubadour in Los Angeles and Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco to see off Matt Fazzi and wish him luck. A few months later, FNY would commence recording of their new record, "Get Hot."
The album marks another milestone for the band. The record deals with mid 20s confusion, masculinity, and love and often deploys humor as a means of handling or purposely circumventing the issue. Trading longer pieces for fragmented, minimal arrangements was meant to convey the disconnectedness of floating between adolescence and adulthood. With obvious influence from everyone from Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti to minimalist Steve Reich, the record is full of surprises, grim predictions, and even a bit of self aware silliness. "Get Hot" summarizes these musical and extra musical influences by reminding listeners to do your life's work. Do work that makes you burst with joy. Do your work til you can't stand up. Do work. Get Hot.