Interview: Family Of The Year
By: Joceline De La Torre
Family Of The Year
House of Blues San Diego
3 November, 2013
Imagine starting a band with a sibling, and some of your closest friends; For siblings Joseph and Sebastian Keefe, and friends Christina Schroeter, and James Buckey, they don’t have to imagine, because such a scenario is a reality for them and it’s called Family of The Year. The band formed in 2009, and since then has been rising slowly but surely onto the scene. This past year alone they have played Lollapalooza and have had their single “Hero” featured on Top 20 charts. This Sunday I had the chance to interview Sebastian Keefe and James Buckey, two members of Family of The Year, prior to opening for Atlas Genius at the House of Blues. They gave me the lowdown on successes gained this year alone, influences, and what’s in store for the band.
Q: Can you briefly introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about Family of The Year?
James Buckey: Family of The Year is about a bunch of different people playing music together. We’ve been told that we are a genre consisting of typically folk inspired indie pop.
Q: Two members within Family of The Year are actual brothers, so how did the name “Family of The Year” stick around as the name for the band?
JB: Sebastian came up with it. Actually how did you come up with it?
Sebastian Keefe: I don’t know, it had nothing to do with the fact that Joe and I are related, I don’t think, really. It was more how we were living at that time, living collectively in a warehouse in East Los Angeles, at loose ends investing time into each other, and there was a song called “Family of The Year” which Joe wrote but it was never released and as a band, the name of the song was always in our heads.
Q: So coming from East L.A., and growing L.A. based, do you have any particular influences straight from the city?
JB: Well I’m a big fan of 80’s Hair Metal, which comes from LA, which hopefully doesn’t make it into our music.
SK: I don’t think it does, but he did dress up for Halloween.
JB:I did, I dressed up for Halloween, with a big wig, it was awesome.
SK: To answer the question, we’re all from different parts of the country actually, so I think we all have different upbringings as far as music goes.
Q: The band most recently played the first ever Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas, what was that like?
SK: It was awesome. It was really cool. Being in Las Vegas is always a trip, it’s really hot and intense but it was really chill. The lineup was really good, the bands were great; really great for a first year festival, cause we’ve done other first year festivals that weren’t as great.
Q: Did you have a particular set that you really enjoyed, besides your own, obviously?
JB: I didn’t get to see any sets.
SK: He had to fly somewhere, but Beck was really good!
Q:What has it been like to be on tour with Atlas Genius?
JB: It’s healthy, it has been consistent, and mostly a comfortable tour. This is a House of Blues tour, so you know what you’re getting every night.
SK: They’re a great band, nice guys, they’re Australian-so it’s cool to tour with people from a different part of the world.
JB: The fans are great, they are open to our shenanigans.
Q: You’ve previously also toured with Edward Sharpe, how was that?
JB:It was good it was our first tour, only for two weeks, and it was a good experience.
SK: It was their first tour too , first real tour, it was a big circus, lots of people and it was crazy.
Q: What’s your favorite place in which you have performed at so far?
JB:Red Rocks in Denver or Lolla(palooza)
SK:Red Rocks but Lollapalooza was great as well.
Q: Speaking about traveling, congratulations on “Hero” eaching Top 20 in Germany, how has that been?
SK: It has been #5 now. It’s really blowing up there.
JB:#7 in Austria.
SK: Traveling through all these countries its crazy.
JB: We’re going to go back there once this tour is over and we’re going to play legit shows. When we went a couple of months ago, it was mostly promotion, so we didn’t play shows, we had showcases here and there, but mostly radio and it was doing well then. But now that it’s still doing well it’ll be interesting.
SK: We’re also going on tour with Phoenix and Haim.
Q: I’m into pop culture and the answers bands give because it says a lot so I’m going to ask a couple of questions regarding current pop culture.
SK: Sweet, I love it.
JB: Can we get in trouble?
SK: What can happen?
Q: What was your initial reaction to Lou Reed’s death this week?
SK: Very sad.
JB: I was surprised he made it to 70, no really, obviously he lived the way he did, you always think they’re always alive and so when they die you’re like “oh.”
SK: You lose track of how old people are.
Q: Next Question: Reflektor or Bangerz?
SK: Reflektor, definitely,it’s awesome.
JB: Wait what is this?
SK: Arcade Fire or Miley Cyrus
SK: Reflektor is awesome,the video is cool: they are driving in their trucks with crazy heads.
JB: That’s the new song?
SK: I saw the video in a hotel room in Germany. I turned the tv on, it was on Much, and it was a video and a song I’ve never heard before and crazy heads and I was like, “What is this?” and I’m a huge Arcade Fire fan and I didn’t realize it until the end, I love it.
Q: Coachella 2014 or Lollapalooza Pt. 2 2014?
JB: Coachella cause we haven’t done it and it’d be healthy to mix it up.
Q: Are there any future collaborations in the works? specifically with Group Love?
JB: That’d be awesome we’ve been wanting to tour with them.
SK: We toured a while back but to answer your question I’m not sure, we hope so, we always talk about it when we see them to at least do a tour, or even work on something to play together if we ever tour.
JB: Basically fingers crossed.
Q: If you could collaborate with anyone on any future music ventures, who would it be?
SK: Arcade Fire or Win Butler, or even The Shins.
JB: I still would want to collaborate with the Flaming Lips.
Q: Speaking about the future, what’s in the future for Family of The Year?
SK: Definitely a new album. We’re recording early next year, hopefully it’ll be out by the summertime or around about that time.
JB: We’ll also be spending a lot of time in Europe, and yeah, new album, we’re excited.
Family of the Year is a great upcoming band rising into the mainstream indie/alternative scene. Who knows , you might run into their set at Coachella in the spring of 2014, but for the certain in the mean time check out their album Loma Vista which has their single “Hero” now available on iTunes!