Interview: Fool Saint
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Sara: I feel like I was born with an intense innate desire to be a performer. It didn't come from anywhere besides within, or perhaps genetic memory passed down from generations ago. I know my grandfather loves music, he played the trumpet and went to the opera on a weekly basis. I would say Disney movies were my first introduction to the realm of music. I would watch the movies all day, learn the songs, and sing along. I climb on top of the table during Sunday dinners and perform them for my family. I begged for voice lessons when I was a kid, but my parents were stuck on the notion that I would not stick to anything they signed me up for; boy, were they wrong. By the time I was in High School and had autonomy, I joined the chorus and the musical theatre club; I have stuck with music as my artistic medium ever since. If I never got into music, I would probably be doing what I am already doing: environmental justice and community building work. However, music takes up so much of my time. If I was not a musician, I might seriously consider a Ph.D. in Public Health or Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Chris: My older sister was pretty obsessed with singing growing up (and still to this day). There was always musical theater, opera, pop music, and female-fronted rock music playing in my house. My interest in music wasn't as natural as my siblings. I didn't begin learning an instrument until I was 14 years old- one of my best friends, Nick Jorgensen (Mercy Union), invited me to play bass in his thrash metal band. From that point on I taught myself bass in all genres, music theory, composition, steel-string/ electric guitar, and have earned a bachelor's and master's degree in Classical Guitar performance. It's really challenging to imagine doing anything else. Nick changed my life in every single way by asking me to play in his band. So I guess friends and family would be my answer. Like Sara said, being in a band like this takes up a significant amount of time and energy. If I were not in Fool Saint, I would be more severe about my classical guitar practice. I would get my DMA (music performance doctorate) to teach and perform classical music.
Austin: My introduction to music basically started when I was born. My father is a drummer and always had his band over every Friday night jamming as loud as they could while I was a kid living directly above all the noise coming from the basement. I was inspired to play drums from a young age and even took lessons for a few years. Entering highschool, I went to Bamboozle in 2006 and was inspired by Fall Out Boy to pick up playing bass (typical Pete Wentz fangirl). I played in and out of bands throughout highschool, never anything serious. Until I left highschool and started playing guitar. My friend was teaching me how to play and we ended up forming a post hardcore band called Gatherer together (with Christian doing vocals). From there, my confidence and playing ability started to excel and we ended up taking the band seriously and going on full US tours. Eventually, things didn’t pan out with that band and Christian invited me to join his band called Young House. From there Young House ended a few years later and most of us from that band ended up forming Fool Saint! To answer the second part of the question - around the inception of Gatherer I was enlisted in the military. That ended up falling through, so that’s when we started to make moves with that band which eventually turned me into the musician I am today. So, I can only imagine, if I never committed to that band then I probably would’ve stuck with joining the military and being a completely different person. *Phew* so glad that didn’t happen!
Rob: I got my start in music back in the 5th grade, my first instrument was the saxophone and I played that throughout high school. But my dad had always played guitar so one day I asked him to teach me a little and that began a whole new path. At first, I was learning Jimi Hendrix, then started to study some jazz so I could audition at a University which was a great challenge. I came to play the bass after my dad needed someone for his cover band and learned a healthy selection of Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. Music is definitely an integral part of my life, I’m typically an introverted person but I always felt comfortable in musical settings, and the connections I’ve made with people through music leave me to believe there is no other option. But let’s say in a parallel universe where I never picked up the saxophone, maybe I’d be a surrealist painter.
Kyle: Boom bap bap, boom bap, boom bap bap, boom bap…When I was a kid the movie That Thing You Do! came out shortly before I was going to be picking an instrument to learn in school. I absolutely loved that movie and still do to this day. So when I got to the music room in school to sign up for band and saw the same white marine pearl Ludwig Super Classic drums that Guy “Shades” Patterson played in the movie, my mind was instantly made up. My parents ended up buying me my own set soon after and I spent most of my free time after school jamming and trying to learn every song of every 90s punk rock tape and CD I owned, and eventually formed bands with my older brother and friends who played guitar. If it wasn’t for drums and music, I’m really not sure how I’d choose to spend my time. To me it’s both a hobby and therapy all at the same time - instant mood booster. So I’d want to do something that matched that!
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
We love art, being active, and spending time outdoors. These experiences, and experiences with other people, profoundly influence our music and lyrics. Sara also researches and is heavily involved in environmental justice work, which influences what she wants to write about. In addition we all are big on TV, movies and documentary. We wrote Some Kind of Crazy after watching a Documentary called A Dream From Standing Rock which is about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Currently we are a song inspired by Bojack Horseman.
How long has your band been around?
The history of this band has some layers. Essentially, we began to form the band at the very beginning of 2020. Christian, Austin, Doyle, and Kyle were all members of a previous band, Young House, that had just broken up. On top of this, Christian and Austin put out a few post-hardcore records together in a previous band called Gatherer (Equal Vision Records and No Sleep Records). At the same time, Sara began her master's in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management. She started jamming with us and gave the band an entirely new sound. Consequently, a completely different band was formed.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Four out of five members of our band were born and raised in a city called Bayonne, NJ. Growing up, Bayonne had an insane music scene that was extremely inclusive and diverse. All genre shows were happening every weekend back in the early 2000’s. On top of this, being integrated into the NJ/ NYC music scene during this time was even wilder. These years were formative for all of us as musicians.
Now, four out of five members of Fool Saint live in Jersey City (one block away from each other!) The music scene here is vibrant. It does not feel like a competitive environment whatsoever. Artists are constantly supporting and building each other up. A few excellent venues here host musicians, but some unfortunately dissolved because of Covid-19. The popular music here seems to be all types of rock and hip hop—so much passion. Music is critical to the individuals who grew up in New Jersey and the surrounding areas. It seems like everyone knows how to play an instrument and make music. Music Festivals are thrown constantly in the summer and fall. One of our favorites is The Ghost of Uncle Joe’s, which is a cover-theme festival thrown around Halloween by Rocket Docket.
Additionally, our proximity to New York City means we are tapping into that market as our territory. New York City has a vast, diverse, and invigorating indie music scene. There are always new faces when we play shows in NYC because dwellers and visitors are enthusiastic about checking out shows held at their favorite music venue. Those shows are always the most fun and exciting. You should check out some bands: Super Mutt, Felons, GAL (Get A Life), Crazy and the Brains, Max Feinstein, Witch Trials, and Sir Synthesis.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
Our original bass player, Michael Doyle, came up with the name after ruminating for weeks about what we should call ourselves. Fool Saint is from the second book in the popular SciFi series, Dune, called Messiah. According to the internet, Fool Saint is defined as "A role model, or a figure in someone's life who is admired. A person who lives an eccentric life and creates saint-like miracles, but those miracles amount to nothing." So a Fool Saint is a false prophet, an influential leader with many subordinates; however, leaders are still humans who make mistakes, but those mistakes are over-exposed and amplified because of the massive quantity of followers captivated by the leader's charisma. The bubble pops. Pride, overconfidence, and narcissism will end up leading to your tragic fall. We think it fits our sound.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
One time, an old band of mine played in the basement of an Atlanta, Georgia bar to the sound guy and his girlfriend only. Even the only other band that played left before we took the stage. That was a very rough spot on that tour. - CB
My old band, Gatherers, did a national tour with Every Time I Die. All of those shows were awesome! -AL
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
We really love playing this Brooklyn venue called The Nest. It is such a welcoming venue with incredible staff, food, drinks, music, comedy, and a bunch of other artist showcases throughout the weeks. Its a very community driven spot that just speaks to us.
We’d love to play any venue! For real… Your basement, bar, park, club, theater, backyard, and massive venue. Email us at Foolsaintband@gmail.com for booking ;)
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
MARINA (formerly known as Marina and the Diamonds)
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Keep practicing and have fun. Things take time and the pros make this look easy, but it is certainly challenging. A friend gave me this advice and its stuck with me- “create the record that is missing from your collection.”
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
See things through and take more risks. We only have one life ( as far as we know )
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
This is a tricky question. Plum Tree...I think. Plum Tree was a highly collaborative song between all five band members, one of the first tunes we started writing, and the first tune to be released. However, it also holds significant meaning for all of us. Each individual in Fool Saint is fed up with the rat race and competition associated with neoliberal capitalism, and we wanted to write a song to put fire in the bellies of our listeners to bring awareness to how our current mode of living demoralizes us and results in our downfall as a species because capitalism is one of the main drivers of climate change.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Until It’s Wild (off of our recently released/ new EP!) is one of the groups favorite tunes to play! Some Kind of Crazy (also off of our recently released/ new EP) is the most requested hands down.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Our songwriting process is incredibly collaborative, but Chris is the primary songwriter. Every song is written a little differently: some start with Chris noodling for days on his classical guitar, some art ideas spawned from the band jamming, and some were written years ago, but never saw the light of day.
When the idea sounds right for Fool Saint, Chris asks Sara to jam over it. From there, our process has levels of collaboration that typically focus on developing the vocal melodies and lyrics. Those decisions then inform the rest of the song and artistic choices that are made by the group. Rarely is this process fast. It is the collaborative process that makes the music sound like Fool Saint and it is slow because we are giving everyone equal say. Our music is about nature, time, and ties with other people and the community of life. Some songs have environmental justice, and activism themes, and some pieces are about how our relationships with other people and things (like nature, and technology) affect us. We try to make sure the music reflects the message of each song
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We are five artists that are collaborating and creating deeply relatable songs that focus on the human experience. We reject promoting capitalism in our music. When people listen to our music, we want them to leave feeling like they are not alone in the world.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Of course! We are rather diplomatic and try to handle these situations with transparency. There is rarely a moment where these disagreements turn into any sort of serious issue- we all want what's best for our art.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Since we just released our first EP, "In A Field, Away From The City," we intend to hit the stage hard. We want to continue focusing on the Tri-State area while broadening our reach via mini-tours/ weekend tours in states and cities easily accessible.
In addition, we want to begin focusing on higher quality content that can make attending one of our concerts more accessible. So we are tossing around the idea of filming a live session of all our songs. Oh and we are writing a few new songs that we will either release as singles or incorporate into a full-length record.
All eight of our songs are available online! You can listen to our band on all the streaming platforms you desire. Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Google Music, Tidal, Youtube and Bandcamp. You can also purchase our music straight from Bandcamp. In December 2020, we participated in a charity event where bands were asked to record a Christmas cover. We did Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, and you can listen and buy that track on Bandcamp or listen on Youtube.