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Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
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"Click & Funk Interview w/ FOLIO"

Interview w/ Chris and Brent by the Spanish Webzine Click and Funk----

Click & Funk:
How long have you been working together?

Folio Band (Chris):

Brent and I have worked together since we were in college studying music. We've enjoyed playing in quite a few projects together. He and I started FOLIO in late 2004. Our original drummer and guitarist left the band to pursue other projects. Danny joined FOLIO in late 2005 and Willis took us by storm a year ago. We're one big happy family!

Click & Funk:
How do you live your british influences from Los Angeles?

Folio Band (Chris):

We're definitely hip to the Britpop! Though Los Angeles is a world away from the UK, we're rabid listeners of many classic and current UK artists such as Duran Duran, The Editors, Client, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, The Cinematics, Keane, New Order, and Franz Ferdinand among others.
I've been fortunate enough to travel to the UK a few times, and it was a treat to sip a pint at the pub, stroll through London, and stay in a remote village in the Lake District. And while not musically inspiring, I'm also a huge fan of British TV mystery series such as Chancer, Night Detective, Spooks, The Vice, New Steet Law, Macallum, Murphy's Law, Murder in Suburbia, and Rebus (yep, big fan of John Hannah!).

Click & Funk:
What is the degree of romanticism we can find in your songs?

Folio Band (Brent):

Musically, there's certainly an overtone of new-romanticism in almost everything we've done. That has more to do with trying to evoke emotion with certain timbres or dynamic sections within the music than anything else. Certain rhythms lend themselves to a sensual or seductive mood. We always try to stay connected to that.

Lyrically, I've always tried to take a slightly unconventional approach. Though there is some overt romanticism lyrically, I try to steer clear of "you are pretty and I'd love to take you home" motifs. Most of Folio's songs have to do with relationships in various stages of inception, decay or renewal. Despite setbacks or drama in relationships, I still feel that it's all worth the effort and hard work involved. I suppose one could characterize that as the more "grown up" version of the same sentiment. I try to impart some ray of hope, even in the darkest of situations, as that reflects my personal beliefs.

To me it's much more powerful to accentuate a positive moment by framing it in the context of more imperfect moments. That's what makes the "good" moments special, they stand out from the rest of what's going on in one's life.

The lotus blossom that's part of our Great Divide EP artwork symbolizes both love and unrequited love. That perfectly sums it up for me!

Click & Funk:
What has been the process to carry out a song like “My Elation”?

Folio Band (Chris):

My Elation was written in a similar fashion to most of our songs. Since all 4 of us write, we generally start out with ideas created individually in our home studios. We then email ideas to each other and collaborate on the ideas we decide to further develop. While many bands write in the rehearsal studio, we generally write at the computer, both individually and with all 4 of us in the room together. Because we utilize many software-based synthesizers, it's helpful to be at the computer so we can audition various sounds and textures and therefore craft the soundscapes to develop the rough idea.

My Elation was unique in that Brent solely wrote this song. The demo he originally presented to us was so strong that we didn't want to make any drastic changes to it. We were all involved in the small details of that song during the mix, choosing the best vocal takes, etc, but Brent was responsible for the main creative force behind My Elation. He also wrote the lyrics for that song and is the lyricist for all of our songs currently.

Click & Funk:
As for popularity, the massive events linked to the electronic music are reaching important heights. How are you living this fact?

Folio Band (Chris):

We're thrilled that it is now, once again, "cool" to use synths in pop music. We've always loved the the marriage of energetic guitars with electronic loops and vintage and modern keys. There was a long period in the '90s where it definitely was not cool to use synths in commercial music here in the USA, so it's great to hear new bands utilizing electronic elements.

It has also been inspiring to us that the New Wave of the '80s has come back into mainstream popularity. This resurgence has obviously influenced bands like ourselves, Blaqk Audio, The Killers, Cut Copy, Metro, and Shiny Toy Guns to name a few.

The recently popularity of electronic and New Wave music has made vintage synth software readily available as of this decade. We utilize these tools when writing and recording, and these soft synths are intricately involved in the creatiof on FOLIO's sound. Examples of these synths which we use are Rob Papen's Albino and Blue, the Minimoog and Moog Modular, Battery, Massive, Pro-53, CS-80, and the Arp 2600.

Click & Funk:

Keeping in mind the color of your chorus, do you think that Folio´s music should be the equivalent of Pop music today?

Folio Band (Chris):

We always strive to write the catchiest chorus we can on every song we write….though that's not always easy! I hope our music holds it own when compared to our Pop contemporaries today, though we'll leave that judgment to the fans and radio programmers.

This past Spring, we ran a radio campaign targeting Specialty shows on commercial radio across the US, and the feedback from Djs was quite good overall. "Branded" was our target track.Our EP "Great Divide" charted at #12 on the FMQB Top 25 Albums Chart. FOLIO also charted at #12 on the Top 100 Artists on the National Alternative Radio Specialty Radio Shows chart (on 2/14/08). Hopefully this is a good indication of how our next album, which we're currently writing, will fit in with the current Pop/Rock music scene.

Click & Funk:
You have released the album “Great Divide” recently. Is it having a good acceptance?

Folio Band (Chris):

--As I mentioned above, songs from Great Divide have been received well on Internet Radio and Commercial Specialty shows. We also have 3 songs -Friday Girl, Branded, and Floating Away charting in the Top 10 New Wave tracks on the Podsafe Music Network.

We're currently in discussions with our label, Hensley Records, about re-releasing Great Divide on a larger scale to include North American retail distribution (and hopefully European), as well as worldwide digital distribution. We have received very positive feedback from the press as well as from our fans. The response at live shows has been very energetic as well. -

"Great Divide EP review"

Folio's Great Divide

by Paul Zimmerman
First Coast News

Los Angeles based band, Folio, are one of those rare unsigned bands that clearly know what they're doing. This band is so together on so many levels it's almost hard to believe that they aren't signed to some gargantuan label touring the country with the Killers. From the packaging of their CD to the production on the inside this band is the definition of professionalism.

Folio's debut Great Divide is a highly polished well oiled machine of new wavish dance pop that sounds something like an updated version of Duran Duran crashing head on into Depeche Mode. It's all synths, electronic drums, and 80's-like guitars. The songs pogo and pose their way through the disc in a somewhat angular yet always stylish fashion. Folio are very LA and it's very obvious as the disc progresses. This isn't a bad thing necessarily because right now when it comes to this whole new wave revival thing Stateside, Los Angeles seems to be a hot bed of activity.

Great Divide is complete pop. It's sugar coated candy with choruses that will give you cavities. Great Divide's songs are so precisely constructed on every level they're like new wave daggers headed for your ear drums. How Folio's songs aren't all over the radio pummeling you into the ground demanding attention is beyond comprehension.

From the Duran Duran-like baselines of "Next to Mine," to the total pop of "Branded," Great Divide is a lean mean pop machine. They might wear their influences on their sleeves but they take those influences and manipulate them to make it something new.

Folio are impressive. Their level of professionalism is stunning. Their songs are radio ready and their album is as catchy as mononucleosis. About they only thing bad about this band is the fact that they are a wee bit over produced. With just a hint of grime, this band would be amazing. Regardless, they're clearly on the verge of something huge and Great Divide is proof of that.

- First Coast News, Jacksonville, FL.

"Great Divide EP review 2"

Issue #18.42 :: 05/16/2007 - 05/22/2007

"Great Divide" offers standout tracks with a techno-pop feel


“Great Divide"
11dB Music

The band Folio has a techno-pop sound that is a cross between Devo, Duran Duran, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the soundtrack for “Knight Rider” (the TV show) — all mixed in a blender.

When I received “The Great Divide” by Folio, I noticed it had a note attached to the CD that said to emphasize tracks one and three. I will critique these songs and also track four, which I think is also a standout.

The song “Scene Machine” has a fast tempo electronic pop sound that stands out. It almost has a ’50-ish drumstyle meets disco’s 16th beat drumming. The bass guitar has a good tone and good vocals throughout the song. “Scene Machine” has potential for being heard in the background of current TV commercials.

“Friday Girl” is a fast beat song with a beginning guitar lick similar to the Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville.” It has good multi-tracked vocals and a more prominent synthesizer sound. I can hear the vocals clearly and this song has a neat chord change transition in the middle. The synth work reminds me of the Cars. If Folio was invited on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, this is the song they should play.

"Next to Mine” starts much like to Duran Duran’s “Rio.” It has a very funky bass tone. If you’re a fan of techno-pop and electronica, check out Folio’s “The Great Divide” at
- Metro Spirit, Augusta, GA.

"Great Divide Review 3/Brent Interview"

The first thought that normally pops into my mind as I listen to a new album is, who does this band, musician, etc. sound like? This album, Great Divide, by Folio, really threw me for a loop. Upon listening to the first track I became instantly confused about who these guys were, I felt as though my CD’s got mixed up some how and I was listening to a terrible eighties glam band. So who do Folio sound like? A few bands come to mind; Duran Duran, Divo, Tears For Fears, New Order, Talk Talk, lets face it, basically every eighties pop band ever.

Folio was formed in 2004 and consists of; Brent Meyer, singing lead vocals, playing guitar, keys and programming, Chris Willshire who plays bass, Chapman stick, keys, and programming as well, both of Texas, Michael King, guitar, atmospheres, keys, and backing vocals, of Virginia, and finally, Danny Johnston, of California, who plays the acoustic and electric drums as well as providing backing vocals. Folio’s synthy sound has definitely created a new indie genre, indie glam.

Although Folio obviously has a very vintage sound I found it fascinating when I learned which bands and musicians they have collaborated with on their new album; Joey Waronker on drums, who has worked with REM, Paul McCartney, Beck, and Smashing Pumpkins, Roger Joseph Manning Jr. who has worked with Beck as well as, Morrissey, Air (one of my new personal favorites), Angels & Airwaves, and Lyle Workman on guitars who has played with Sting, Beck, and Frank Black. Great Divide was mixed by Bryan Carrigan, who has done production for No Doubt, Seal, and Alanis Morrisette, to name a few. They have also done various side projects with; U2, Ozzy, and HIM.

Folio’s lyrical delivery although clearly eighties, is suggestive of The Killers, in its present subject matter. The writing on Great Divide is really representative of the verse structure of the rock bands of the eighties. Brent Meyer’s vocals really match up with the music quite succinctly; in fact the backing vocals are in perfect harmony with Brent’s. The lyrics on the track, “Friday Girl,” are sure to make it a fast hit and crowd favorite, it's already one of mine.

Truthfully, Folio isn’t exactly the style of music I normally listen to; but for its eighties instrumentality and sound it has a really amazing quality; it certainly makes me think twice before judging. The synths and keys really add a level of unique sound to a newer band; they are truly unexpected and surprising well received by their legion of over 25,000 fans, as evidence by the Myspace page. Every element used really exploited to its full potential; the electronic drums really add a modern indie rock sound, much harder in presentation then used by bands in the eighties. I definitely think that the more modern sounding lyrics and arrangement help the band bridge that gap of being seen as a pseudo-eighties tribute band.

I had a chance to correspond with the bands lead singer, Brent Meyer and he gave me some insight in to Folio. I really wanted a chance to get to know the guys after listening to this album, what makes them tick and here are some of Brent’s responses:

Who are some of Folio’s favorite bands?

That's a REALLY difficult question to answer because all of us have incredibly broad musical tastes depending on our moods. By turns we all listen to indie, electro, classical, punk, shoegaze, jazz, progressive, world, etc. Most importantly, we're all suckers for a really well crafted pop song. Of course I mean "pop" in the 3 minute hooky Beatles tune sense, not the Britney gyrating in a music video to a disposable soundtrack sense.

Who/What influences you guys?

In a broader sense the world around us informs what we do. We certainly don't live in a vacuum and are quite politically aware. That said, our music is more about fun and lyrically about interpersonal dynamics than soapbox preaching. More specifically with respect to musical influences, I'd say the usual suspects influence our work. By that I mean that the spates of synth bands recently coming out all seem to have recognizable nods to the same eighties new wave bands and we're no different in that regard. I hope that how we incorporate those influences into our sound separates us somewhat from our contemporaries. Particular favorites from the "old guard" are New Order, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Talk Talk, Eurhythmics, Gary Numan, and so on. Current faves include Shiny Toy Guns, She Wants Revenge, Editors, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, M83, Arcade Fire, etc.

Brent also asked me to send out this little message:
I'd love to offer up that we're thrilled that we're about to open for Erasure at the San Diego Pride Festival July 22nd (est. 100,000 attendance). That's the most recent 80's legend gig feather in our cap, after opening for Thomas Dolby and A Flock of Seagulls last year.

After listening to Great Divide, I’d love to hear them take on a more modern twist in their sound, but truly the band's attitude and style matches their music without fault. It’s really a psychedelic dance album; I can picture people at a “scene” club really getting into the sound of Folio. Summing it up; great lyrics, great instrumental content, to really gain a wider fan base I fell as though they made need to adapt to a more modern indie feel. Some will love, some will not love so much. I'm torn. Good luck guys.


Great Divide (EP) on 11db Music. Released 2007.
Purchase, iTunes, and



Since its inception, the Los Angeles-based quartet FOLIO has had a big vision: to create a pogo-inducing hybrid of modern Indie Rock energy and classic New Wave sounds. FOLIO's recipe features a marriage of prominent, vintage synths with driving guitars, carried by a host of sweat-soaked dance grooves, bum-shaking bass lines, and indelible vocal hooks. Often channeling a hybrid of classic/modern Electro-Rock sonic textures in the vein of Duran Duran, She Wants Revenge, Shiny Toy Guns, New Order, and The Killers, FOLIO has created a sound uniquely their own.

FOLIO consists of Brent Meyer (lead vocals/guitars/keyboards, programming), Chris Willshire (bass/keyboards, programming), Danny Johnston (electronic & acoustic drums/vocals), and Willis Clow (guitars/vocals/keyboards). Their self-released debut EP, Great Divide, includes guest appearances by Joey Waronker on drums (Paul McCartney, REM, Beck, Smashing Pumpkins), Lyle Workman on guitar (Sting, Beck, Frank Black, Sheryl Crow), and Roger Manning Jr. (Morrissey, Angels & Airwaves, Jellyfish, Beck, Air), who played authentic vintage analog synths. “Floating Away,” “Friday Girl,” “Next to Mine,” and “Branded” consistently placed in the Top 10 New Wave Charts on the Podsafe Music Network ( after Great Divide’s release. In 2008 the group reached #12 on the Top 100 Artists on the National Alternative Radio Specialty Radio Shows chart.

In 2008 new indie label Hensley Records invested substantial financial resources into the band. This enabled FOLIO to dive into their stockpile of over 30 song ideas and write/develop new material for a follow-up to Great Divide. The resulting demos caught the attention of A-list producers such as Tchad Blake, Tony Visconti, and Gareth Jones; who have collectively worked with the likes of David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, U2, and Depeche Mode. However, the label lasted barely a year, leaving the band with a wealth of new material to do with as they wish….minus the A-list producer! Receiving kudos from some of the top producers in the industry ultimately provided a strong vote of confidence for the new material. As of January 2011, the group is in the studio finishing 3 of these self-produced tracks which will be released digitally in the late Spring/early Summer. The first single, “Breathe You In,” was premiered on internet radio in January 2011.

Viewers of the MTV shows The Hills, Newport Harbor, Disaster Date, and Teen Cribs may have heard many of the Great Divide tracks blasting on their plasma screens and iPhones. "Floating Away," "Scene Machine," and "Friday Girl" are featured in the Destineer snowboarding video game Stoked (Xbox 360).

FOLIO has performed extensively around Southern California, including shows with Erasure at the ‘07 Pride Festival in San Diego, at The Home Depot Center
Center for the LA Galaxy soccer team, legendary Sunset Strip clubs such as The Viper Room and The Key Club, and Wasted Space at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. FOLIO was also a featured artist for 2 years at the Texas Rockfest in Austin during SXSW week.

The band will be performing live throughout 2011 starting in late Spring and will continue to write and record new material.