If you missed Roadkill Ghost Choir when the band performed at frank right before Spring Break, you might want to give it a listen the next time you’re looking for new music.
This indie-alternative rock band from Deland, Florida, has been reviewed by Rolling Stone as a mix between “latter-day Tom Petty” and “My Morning Jacket’s Jim James.”
Since the release of their debut extended play “Quiet Light” in 2013, the band has toured and opened for Band of Horses and performed in musical festivals like Bonnaroo.
Singer and songwriter Andrew Shepard of Roadkill Ghost Choir spoke with the Avenue about performing in Gainesville, changing things up and the personality to which he compares the band.
What is your favorite part about performing in towns like Gainesville where the music scene is a huge factor in the culture?
When you play in a town that doesn’t subscribe to one type of music, they are more willing to grasp things that maybe normally people wouldn’t, like if it’s not in their genre or something like that, or it’s not their type of sound.
I know your second album, “In Tongues,” is a completely different style from your first album, “Quiet Light.” I’ve read in some of your past interviews that you wanted to change it up and move forward as a band with this second album. What was the hardest part about stepping out of the comfort zone of your first album?
Just changing in itself was probably the most difficult thing to do just because with our first EP it was more kind of folky. Moving forward knowing we might alienate people who started listening to our band, changing up the sound, that was difficult.
I’ve read that a lot of your second album deals with fact that you guys have been on the road so much lately and the transition that you underwent during your tour. Which song or set of lyrics do you think really portrays this feeling the most?
“Lazarus, You’ve Been Dreaming.” That was the first song that I ever wrote on the road and that was kind of like the moment where I hit the wall.
What advice would you give to other bands that want to change their style for a new album?
Just do it. Don’t bother with genres or anything like that; just make music that you like to listen to. At the end of the day, that’s what I’ve been trying to do now: just make music that I enjoy listening to. Forget about everyone else’s expectations of your band, because it’s your band.
I know you said in past interviews that you’re a fan of musicians like Bob Dylan, Thom Yorke and Jeff Tweedy. Besides musical inspirations, who is the person or people who inspire your songwriting daily?
Cormac McCarthy. His books are great. It’s very bleak, I like that. I like that about him. There’s films, too. I think “Gone Girl” was great.
What is the one thing as a band that you hope to learn in the future in regards to both musical and personal growth?
This album, I think we are just going to do what we want to do like completely and not compromise at all. I’m definitely going into it making the conscious effort not to hold back anything. Whether that means having a 12-minute song of just, like, me screaming over an accordion — you know we would never do that — but you know, just not holding ourselves to any particular standard, just trying everything.
If your band could have personality, what type of person do you think it would embody?
Larry David, because he’s hilarious to me. (He’s) just really uncomfortable and awkward and that sums up our band pretty well.
[A version of this story ran on page 7 on 3/12/2015 under the headline “Q&A with singer Andrew Shepard of Roadkill Ghost Choir”]
Correction: The original story had a misspelled version of the writer's name.
Roadkill Ghost Choir, a band from Deland, Florida, poses for a photo. The band recently performed in Gainesville at frank 2015.