New Orleans band, Mighty Brother, announces the release of a music video for their single “Naked Winter” as a tease to their upcoming double album (The Rabbit. The Owl.), due in June 2020. “Naked Winter” immediately evokes a feeling of angst and foreboding, establishing the haunting, indie vibes that define the second side of their upcoming double album. The song is a slow-burner, but once the groove drops in, Mighty Brother takes us on a climatic journey, the apex of which features a wailing sax solo and the grittiest bass wah you’ve ever heard. “Naked Winter” captures familiar feelings of isolation, uncertainty about the future, and the feeling of being held hostage by uncontrollable forces such as the media (and, more relatively, the coronavirus), all while artfully exploring the band’s unique genre-bending style that has been described as a “blend of Avett-Americana and Radiohead-esque art rock” by local NOLA Magazine Offbeat.
Mighty Brother’s upcoming third album, The Rabbit. The Owl., is a prime showcase of the band’s unique musical flair and serves as an introspective look into Mighty Brother’s exploration of sound, concepts, and ideas. Exploring the emergent theme of duality in the band’s writing, many of the songs pose different perspectives to the same questions. Traversing concepts of introversion/extroversion, light/dark, day/night, spontaneity/meticulous calculation, action/reflection, and the colloquial/poetic, Mighty Brother ultimately challenges the listener to simultaneously both reflect on and look introspectively into one’s own conscience to understand the duality of intent and impact. Musically, The Rabbit. The Owl. poses two different versions of the band with soundscapes balancing between folk/funk and experimental adventures into new sonic territory.
The first half, The Rabbit., is the folk/funk influenced half of the double album, exploring familiar classic rock styles with a tip of the hat to St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Avett Brothers, Decemberists, Rosebuds, Bob Dylan, Marcus Fetch, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Fleet Foxes, Beck, and many more. Described as a “fun summer, day-drive album” The Rabbit. showcases the band’s musical roots and ingenuity that has allowed them to evolve. The Owl. is a sonic adventure into new territory exploring the less conventional, boasting subtle arrangement choices, and thoughtfully approaching poetic content. The Owl. is the more cinematic and patient member of the pair nodding to influences like Alabama Shakes, Pink Floyd, Feist, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Alt-J, Radiohead, and Black Keys, among others.
Based in New Orleans, Mighty Brother has hit the musical stratosphere with a genre-bending repertoire of upbeat originals comprised of an americana-indie-rock essence and 90’s alternative flavor. The 5-piece band carves a unique space in today’s modern soundscapes with a distinct mashup of styles that has been described as a “blend of Avett-Americana and Radiohead-esque art rock” (Offbeat Magazine). Straddling the lines between folk and funk, rock and alternative, Mighty Brother’s soaring harmonies and striking melodies knit an eclectic sound, guiding the listener through unconventional grooves and adventurous lyricism. Mighty Brother started as a songwriting duo in 2015, comprised of Nick Huster and Ari Carter. Eventually growing to a five-piece indie rock outfit to include band members Jonah Devine Tarver (Saxophone), Quinn Sternberg (Bass), and Nicholas Solnick (Drums), Mighty Brother was quick to carve out two musical successes with Jettison. Reprise. (2015) and The Vibe EP (2017). The band, who describes their sound as groovy and flavorful, has been influenced and inspired by the likes of Grizzly Bear, Radiohead, Bon Iver, The Decemberists, Avett Brothers, Alt-J and several other musical acts. This menagerie of influences led to Mighty Brother’s indie-rock sound that also pays tribute to folk, singer-songwriter, funk, and alternative soundscapes. Having toured the globe on tours spanning from the United States to New Zealand, Mighty Brother performs as if they were actively conversing with the crowd, drawing listeners in for an engaging experience. This energy is translated into their music, proven through the new tracks of their most mature album yet – The Rabbit. The Owl..
How has COVID-19 affected you, your band, your community?
We mostly miss performing, and we really feel for our fellow musicians, artists, and hospitality workers during this time. Many folks in New Orleans are without work entirely, and spring is usually the most productive time for us.
We’re hanging in there, fortunate to have music to share, and it’s heartening to see our community pulling together, streaming concerts from their bedrooms, sharing playlists of local music, building digital communities across the web… We’ve been encouraging folks to please stalk the artists you love, continually stream and share their music and videos, buy their merch. Buy paintings from visual artists you love, donate to organizations providing meals for artists and hospitality and gig economy workers.
Almost anything you enjoy in your leisure, whether that’s going to a gallery, listening to music, going out to eat or drink — these industries are the most threatened. Buy locally, as safely as possible, if you want those businesses to remain after everything shakes out. And most of all, be safe, stay inside for now as much as you can, stay healthy, and we hope to see y’all out there as soon as we can!
What ways have you pivoted your goals to reach new fans and stay connected with your current fans during this global pandemic ?
We’ve done a couple livestream shows and joined some amazing online musician communities. Ari and I have both been participating in open mic groups and checking in with everyone. Last weekend, we hosted a virtual songwriters circle. So inspiring and fulfilling! We can’t wait to do more. The goal is weekly. We’re very lucky to have a whole double album waiting in the wings to share, and we’re prioritizing releasing it during this time, deciding to release more singles leading up to the record release. It’s difficult. We had a lot of shows lined up to build momentum for the release, and those really can’t be replaced. The silver lining for us has been engaging with the communities of musicians and music listeners that have developed online. Folks have really pulled together, and there seems to be a creative renaissance going on online. It’s so interesting following our creative friends during this bizarre journey of solitude and feeling more connected all the while.
What was the best and worst about touring?
Man, we miss touring. There is nothing quite like it. In addition to connecting with new audiences, performing every night, exploring new places, and enjoying the fruits of your effort, there is one particular thing we’re missing: the camaraderie and focus that touring gives our project. When we are on tour, every member is 100% (maybe even 120%) involved in the project. We are never more focused or driven than when we’re touring, and we’re also rarely having quite as much fun. Most our best musical ideas, inside jokes, creative vision, touring destinations, what we should be doing as a band— these things really coalesce on tour. We usually spend 2 months or more on the road each year (last year, all told, we were on the road for 4 months), so it’s very strange to have only one long weekend under our belt in 2020 and nothing set-in-stone until who knows when.
The worst thing? When we began touring, we struggled a lot (as most bands do) with logistics: where to sleep, scheduling excessively long drives, paying for gas and still making a profit, etc. We have learned so much over the past 4 years, roughing it from place to place, and we’ve mitigated most of those issues. Bigger and better shows come every time we tour, and we can appreciate the progress we’re making. The worst thing right now is just not knowing when we can get out there again!
How much of a role does collaborating with other artists play in your songwriting?
Collaboration has been a huge part of Mighty Brother since the beginning. After all, the project began as a collaborative songwriting endeavor. Musically, we love to collaborate with local and touring artists we connect wit. We’ve invited different musicians to cameo on our tracks, collaborators doing everything from strings arrangements, horns in studio, and a rare slide guitar solo. So fun! New Orleans is collaborative by nature, but the film community might take the cake! They’re incredible and talented, and we’ve been lucky to work with some exceptional local filmmakers. Our music video for “Naked Winter” really showcases this collaboration. The creation of the video, from concept to shooting, was a whirlwind of collaborative energy, from brainstorming the concept to constructing the grid of analogue tvs, featuring some awesome gear to capture the swirling upside down shots.
What are you working on right now?
Primarily, we are working on staying afloat and releasing new music! We’ve spent the better part of 2 years writing and tracking this double album, and we want to make sure we do it right. Covid has definitely thrown a wrench in our plans, but we are pivoting and rolling with the punches, still very excited for this huge project to hit the airwaves and streamways. Additionally and unavoidably, we are also already writing the next record. Our first sessions shedding new material were in January with the intention being to write the next album, our tentative self-titled! We already have a bunch of musical ideas and a couple of songs in early phases. We all find a lot of fulfillment when we are creating, so we make sure that we always have something new or unfinished to work on when we get together.
Who are you listening to these days?
We’ve been spinning a lot of local music in the down time, compiling playlists and sharing those. Right now, I’m digging on NOLA local jazz prog-ers Slugger (their new record is crazy cool), as well as the singles Sweet Crude has been releasing. Both are pushing boundaries in different ways, and the talent locally is always so inspiring.
“In the wake of Bill Wither’s passing, I’ve been going back over his repertoire. He was a huge inspiration to me both vocally and his effortless ability to song write, and it’s been healing to listen to the songs and harmonize the way I did back when I was kid.” – Ari