It's Elephant's
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It's Elephant's

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It's been a big year for It's Elephant's. The band released its first full-length, Little Trouble In Chinatown, in April (for free) and recording has already commenced on a follow-up. Somehow, between various local shows-- including performances at Atlantis, Corndogorama, Grant Park Summer Shade Festival and a session with HaveYouHeard.net-- the band had time to create a very special Halloween gift for their fans, which involved a trip to a Civil War cemetary that's reportedly oozing with paranormal activity.

Paste recently talked with the band-- vocalist Brent Jay, vocalist/percussionist Garrett Range, vocalist/keyboardist Matt Compton and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist David Fountain-- about touring, the benefits of free music and where the guys came up with that baffling name.

Paste: How did you evolve into the setup you have now?
Jay: Garrett and I have known each other for, I don’t know, eight or 10 years now, playing music together. David and I went to high school together so and Matt…
Range: We met Matt through another friend of ours that we knew musically, so it’s kind of all like just one big musical heritage.
Jay: It just happened that the band that we met Matt through asked us to be the backing band for some of his songs and we hit it off really well with Matt, but Garrett was really disenchanted with playing music…
Range: Garrett didn’t like Matt’s sandals. (Laughter)
Jay: Matt wore flip-flops, and Garrett was completely against it so he wouldn’t play with him. (Laughs) Garrett’s shallow…
Range: No, I’m not shallow. I can’t think of how anyone could play drums wearing flip-flops.
Compton: I didn’t play drums wearing flip flops. I just wore them to social gatherings.
Range: What I would like for you to know is he saved all of his lunch money for a year to buy his first drum set.
Compton: First of all, you got it wrong, it was three years. But it is true.

Paste: What grade were you?
Compton: (Deadpan) I was a senior. (Everybody laughs) I was a freshman in college, and, gah, it was hard. No, actually I was in sixth grade. And I just showed up one day with all of these wads of one dollar bills and bought my first drum set.
Fountain: Completely emaciated from not eating.
Compton: I think my parents thought I was selling drugs because I always had these one dollar bills.

Paste: So what is It’s Elephants?
Jay: Me, Garrett and Matt were a band for six months at this point and we were throwing every dumb name we could out there, such as “How It Sounds From The Bottom.” What was another one? “Scarred Seality.” (Laughter) “Gee”...
Range: "Gee"—G-E-E.
Compton: Spelled G-A-Y… (Laughter)
Range: It’s still a great name for a band. Well, Brent just said it one day, “What about 'It’s Elephants'?”
Jay: No, no, no, no. You said, out of the blue, the dumbest name we had come up with yet, and I was like, “Dude, that’s like calling the band 'It’s Elephants'.” And then we all just kind of stopped and looked at each other, and were like, "Well, there it is."

Paste: So, tell me-- why give your music away?
Fountain: I think that if people become fans of a band because of their music, the thing that makes the most sense is to try to get the music to the most number of people possible. As opposed to just putting them in a store, instead of "Oh, give us $10 and then you can have the privilege of listening to our music," it just kind of makes more sense to get the songs out there.
Compton: We try to make it easy to download, too. We have it on our MySpace, so if you want it, it’s there.

Paste:: You have a new 7" release. Is that something where you’re planning on touring [in support of it]?
Jay: We just want to be smart with touring. We don’t really have a lot of money to just get in a van and go. It’s also disheartening when you do that and you’re playing to like five people a night when you could just be sitting at home telling five people a night on your computer about your band.
Compton: We’ve all been in this long enough to know you don’t just get in a van and leave.
Jay: I mean, we’ve gone out of town a couple times as a band, and we plan on going out of town often, but we’re going to do a weekend warrior kind of thing for a while and actually build up a demand first.
Range: I think all of us, we don’t have that youthful abandonment anymore.
Dave: I kind of feel like we all read On the Road, but we all read it a long time ago. (Laughter)
Range: I actually read that when I was touring, and I was like, “This is awesome!” I don’t even think Jack Kerouac was doing that shit when he was 27, was he?

Paste: Tell me more about the release itself.
Range: It should be done in mid-November. Whenever it comes out, we’ll have a show for it.
Jay: I have nodes on my vocal chords right now, so that kind of has pushed everything back unexpectedly.
Range: We should actually call the record Brent and His Nodes.

- Paste Magazine


It’s hard to be possessive if you’re giving away things for free.

Impressive, then, that It’s Elephant’s manages to be both. When the Atlanta-bred band released its debut full-length Little Trouble In Chinatown earlier this year, It’s Elephant’s pressed 1,000 CDs and gave them away -- all of them. The group even put the same release up for free digital download on website www.ThreeFortySevenAugusta.com; the project shared with friends (and named after drummer Garrett Range’s house) has effectively become the band’s own label.

“People don’t really buy records anymore; they just want to find a new band they like,” says Brent Jay, the group’s lead vocalist. “I’d rather people have it and hear what we hear and see if they like it, than just try to sell it to you.”

Jay says all the band’s releases will be done in this way, only next time there won’t be any purchasable CDs, a medium he calls “a thing of the past.” Instead, there will be vinyl for purchase in addition to the free digital download model.

The idea will come into play in this month, when It’s Elephant’s put out a five-song seven7-inch (four songs on the vinyl single and one extra song on a CD included in the package) recorded at Atlanta’s own Big Ralph Studios and tentatively entitled It’s Garbage.

That name, of course, plays on the same grammatical debate that has followed the group from its inception about a year and a half ago, forged from the ruins of Jay and Range’s old hardcore band, The Letters Organize. That project broke up, and both Jay and Range intended to enter musical dormancy. When they played for a bit as a friend’s backing band with bassist and keyboardist Matt Compton, the chemistry between the three prompted a collaboration none of them had expected but which immediately began to yield results.

“Our lives were pretty much miserable, and then we started playing with Matt and everything was okay again,” Jay recalls. “We were like, ‘Well, we should probably keep doing this. We seem pretty happy when we’re playing music.’”

The three started producing songs that were are a hybrid of their disparate influences, from piano rock to hardcore to Stax Records releases, full of soulful vocal harmonies and rollicking bluesy-yet-poppy melodies. See “Brightside Of An Ulcer” or “The Pinwheel That Is Bill.” When all had been playing together for months, the time came to perform live, but the band still remained unnamed.

“We had a good two months of trying to figure out what we wanted to call it,” says Jay, “and every name was too forced or really dumb or just totally off-the-wall.”

When “It’s Elephant’s” finally came across the table, everyone liked it but no one could figure out how to punctuate such an epithet.

“We had an argument over how to do punctuation on it, so we decided to make it possessive,” continues Jay, who then relates that they turned to their friend Sean Dettman, www.ThreeFortySevenAugusta.com’s editor, for guidance on the issue.

“He said that it had to be possessive to be right if it was going to have two S’s,” says Jay. Settled.

So then, if It’s Elephant’s is possessive, what do they possess?

Inspiration, for one. Since the band’s first release, multi-instrumentalist David Fountain has joined the mix, lending his creative talents to the songwriting process, the fruits of which will hit vinyl for the first time with the band’s forthcoming seven7-inch EP, to be shortly followed by a full-length album in 2009. The trio became a quartet when they recorded Little Trouble In Chinatown at Atlanta’s Nickel and Dime Recording Studio, and Fountain helped with the production process and added instrumentals. The four of them write constantly, churning out as many as a song or two a week.

“We don’t use every single one of them, but we’re always writing,” Jay says. “It would take so long in the last band to actually write a song because we were all different, but now everybody’s on the same level. They just flow out in a really, really cool way.”

On stage, the collaboration reaches a new height, as friends that aren’t a part of the records often join them to play or sing live. “It makes it fun, especially because somebody else likes your song enough that they want to play with you,” Jay says. It’s the biggest compliment, and It’s Elephant’s.

www.myspace.com/itselephants - Performer Magazine


Little Trouble in Chinatown, the new album from Atlanta band, It’s Elephant’s, is packed with 13 tracks of goodness, written and produced by the band itself. It’s Elephant’s is comprised of former members of Atlanta bands such as The Letters Organize, Cherokee and Wighat. The time spent in their former bands was used wisely; the members have perfected their craft to become a soulful, bluesy and slightly hipster punk powerhouse. Lead vocals are clear with a commanding, sensual sound that is almost playfully arrogant. Guitar, bass and piano backgrounds provide a foundation that does not overpower the vocals. Quirky song titles like “Eye Dog for the Seeing Blind,” “Brightside of an Ulcer” and “Two Beers and a Mr. Coffee” show the eclectic nature of It’s

Elephant’s. It’s Elephant’s sound is reminiscent of Sublime and Foo Fighters coupled with Kings of Leon. “The Hustler” has a bluesy start, almost as if at the House of Blues, with gravely vocals that ooze sexual frustration, bound to appeal to the oversexed frat daddies of the world. The 13 tracks range from big beat to psychedelic to soul to in-your-face rock. Little Trouble in Chinatown lacks nothing but a national following and perhaps a different band name to suit It’s Elephant’s huge sound and talent. Little Trouble in Chinatown is currently selling for the low, low price of free if downloaded from the internet at www.threefortysevenaugusta. com. With a price that attractive, fans should be downloading this album as fast as their DSLs will let them. (Three Forty Seven Augusta)

www.myspace.com/itselephants

-Kelly Tenedini - Performer Magazine


Jenna - Noisy, incoherent rock music with hints of Chili Peppers and Soundgarden… but not as polished.
Ron - Garage sludge metal poorly produced but intriguing stoner rock. Worth checking out.
Peter - Thin Lizzy, Fugazi, Jawbox, Bluetip.
Seka - Got all the changes of Pixies, all the angst of Screaming Trees… Not too shabby. - Hybrid Magazine


Chad Radford of Creative Loafing stops by again to talk about Deerhunter and Larkin Grimm. Plus, we have a great time talking to Atlanta group It’s Elephants plus giving you an exclusive first look at their forthcoming 7″

* The Pity Party - Love Lies (Free Via The Devil Has The Best Tuna)
* Wavves - So Bored (Free Via Fluokids)
* The New York Howl - Thank You (Free Via Soulblending)
* Deerhunter - Little Kids (Buy Microcastle)
* It’s Elephants - Trees In The Road (Download available soon)
* It’s Elephants - Sam Loomis (from the upcoming 7″ vinyl)
* Larkin Grimm - Ride the Cyclone (Buy Parplar)
* Hollow Stars - Only Your Love (Buy the clear vinyl 7″ from Vacation)

Podcast link here: http://www.haveyouheard.net/2008/11/07/ep42-reviews-deerhunter-larkin-grimm-session-its-elephants/
- Have You Heard?


Hardcore band The Letters Organize had a good thing going for them. The Atlanta boys scored an international tour with The Offspring and received considerable praise from the likes of Dave Grohl, among others. So, it was a bit of a bummer when the group called it quits, but the latest project to rise from its ashes has proven to be worth the wait. It's Elephant's features singer Brent Jay and bassist Garrett Range of The Letters Organize along with drummer Matthew Compton from the group Cherokee and guitarist David Fountain of Wighat. Fans of The Letters Organize might be thrown for a loop, however, because this is definitely not a hardcore act. Rather, It's Elephant's offers a psychedelic, fuzzed out, soulful romp. The music still carries a lot of weight and intensity, but it's more of a greasy garage grime than razor-sharp punk edge.

There are moments, depending on the track, when Jay's throaty vocals sound alternatively like Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. If you can imagine such a pairing, the music lands right in between the two as well. There is just enough subtle twang to straddle the border between Southern rock and alternative, but it's all enveloped by a gently psychedelic echo. Either way, it's definitely quite a departure from The Letters Organize, thanks in due part to Fountain's unique instrumentation. Through the course of It's Elephant's' debut record, Little Trouble in Chinatown, the multi-instrumentalist picks up horns, lap steel and even a banjo. See, told you it wasn't hardcore.

But, as LeVar Burton would say, you don't have to take our word for it. The band has generously made the record available for download in its entirety for free online. Just stop by threefortysevenaugusta.com to grab your copy.

Michelle Gilzenrat - Flagpole Magazine


CL recommended AthFest shows:

Fri., June 20

Twin Tigers, Iron Hero, Snowden, Pegasuses-XL. 9 p.m. (40 Watt)

It's Elephants. 9:30 p.m. (Nuçi's Space)

Dark Meat. 9:10-10:15 p.m. (outdoor stage)

Elf Power. 1 a.m. (Georgia Theatre) - Creative Loafing


Discography

Little Trouble In Chinatown

Photos

Bio

The recently turned four piece don't allow their ambitions to get in the way of their unbridled enthusiasm for making full, heady, and downright lovable music. Band members include Brent Jay (The Letters Organize), Garrett Range (The Letters Organize), Matthew Compton (Cherokee), and David Fountain (Wighat).

Jay and Range left The Letters Organize, a band that Dave Grohl once named as one of his favorite up-and-coming bands, after a seven year run, a international tour with The Offspring, and mass critical recognition. They formed It's Elephant's out of its ashes, recruiting Compton on drums and a short time later Fountain on backing vocals and guitar. It's Elephant's brings a similar energy to the stage, musically finding its roots in post-hardcore bands like Fugazi.

Their album is available for free download from their website 347 Augusta - just click on under the elephant in the top right hand corner.