Interview: The Fontaines

Interviews / November 4, 2016

The Fontaines keeps it in the family: the sibling duo of Charlotte and Hank Fontaine have been making waves in the Los Angeles music scene. They released their EP ii earlier this year, and have recently finished recording their first full-length.

We chatted with them about the family connection, their cover of Cold War Kids’ classic hit “Hang Me Up To Dry” (which you can watch below!) as well as some of the process behind recording their EP.

Modern Vinyl: To start, what’s a brief oral history of the band and how you got your start?

Charlotte Fontaine: I was able to talk my brother into being in a band with me when I graduated from high school a few years ago.

Hank Fontaine: It was somehow a slow process and a fast one at the same time. Many gigs, many bad songs.

MV: You’re about to release a live version of a cover of the Cold War Kids classic, “Hang Me Up To Dry.” Why cover that song?

HF: I’ve always been a fan of that song; that entire album, really. When it came out, I had this one terrible music video channel that would only play like four songs at a time, on repeat. At the time, they would just play “Hang Me Up To Dry,” “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse, “Miss You” by the Stones (which was especially weird), and “Smile” by Lily Allen. I guess hearing those songs ad nauseum won me over, cause I bought all the records those songs were on!

MV: Did Robbers & Cowards (or Cold War Kids) have an impact on you over the years?

HF: Definitely. That record sounded unlike anything else I’d heard, both in terms of how it’s produced and the lyrics. I don’t know too many other bands doing morality tales in their songs, and the fact that it annoys some people only makes it cooler.

MV: What has influenced your sound over the years?

CF: Most of my influences are dead or could be my grandparents. Brenda Lee, Blondie, The Pretenders.

HF:  I’ve been listening to INXS recently.

MV: You released ii earlier this year. What were some of your favorite parts about the process of putting it together?

CF: There’s a song on there called “Please, Say Something” we did in one take without practicing. It was a really special moment for me and I think it translated well onto the recording.

MV: Is there anything you’d do differently if you could re-do the whole process?

CF: I would eat less Red Vines.

MV: Any plans for a full-length any time soon?

CF: Funny you should ask…we just finished recording our first full-length album!

MV: What are you looking forward to most about your upcoming show with Dressy Bessy and Eldren?

CF: Dancing like I don’t like in Los Angeles.

MV: What’s one thing that gets you pumped up before any live set?

CF: I listen to the same album before every show. I won’t tell you what it is though, I’m a little superstitious.

HF: I meditate. Or at least I try to. Usually someone will find me in the green room and interrupt me, so it’s kind of a race against time.

MV: Anything else you’d like to add?

HF: Thanks for checking us out!  We’re on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc. all the time as @thefontaines.

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Meghin Moore
Meghin Moore is a Penn State grad and Pennsylvania native who resides in Virginia, happily nestled between Washington, D.C. and Richmond. She's the site's Managing Feature Editor, as well as one of the two Missaligned Podcast co-hosts. When she's not eating her weight in burritos or attending various concerts, she can often be found reading a book or trying to keep tabs on the latest news happening around the world.

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