The Fey
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The Fey

Lincoln, Nebraska, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Lincoln, Nebraska, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
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"Grow Roots"

With a strong modern blues feeling to this coupled with elements of hip-hop along the lines of a Gary Clark Jr, the energy level is high and the amp volume is at 11. The stage is lit, the platform shoes are on, the glitter has been applied, and this thing about to go down.

Somehow The Fey manages to evoke images of Lenny Kravitz, Living Colour, and even Prince, all while keeping the vocals in-your-face and without succumbing to any one dominant reference. A nice use of wah pedal on the electric guitar and a screaming B3 track keep the classic-rock roots steady, while the mix of adrenalized melody and hip-hop breaks bring it together as a modern cross-genre apparatus. - Chill Filtr


"The Fey to celebrate EP release"

Alright Lincoln, it’s been a big year for one of your favorite bands, The Fey. Their newest EP Strawberry Lemonade has been released everywhere officially, July 13. To celebrate the album’s release, the band will play a show this Saturday at the Zoo Bar with guest performers, State Disco, Various Blonde and CJ Clydesdale Band. Doors open at 7 p.m., music starts at 8 p.m.

For the past six years, the band has performed under the name AZP but since signing to The Record Machine in September, the group decided it was time to change it to something that unified the sextet. The group consists of Zachary Watkins, Ishma Valenti, Trey Shotkoske, Michal Rogers, Ludwing Siebenhor and John Fuchinaro. The inspiration for the name change came from “Peaky Blinders”, a BBC drama that front man, Watkins, is a big fan of. Long story short, a Scottish priest tells the main character his way of living is “fey.” The word is Scottish for “fated to die” but upon further investigation it can also mean “having supernatural powers of clairvoyance, a visionary.”

Despite the name change, sextet still have that “vintage vibe rock-soul music with a touch of hip-hop and pop.” Or as Watkins likes to call it, “new-age blues.” Blues and soul have always been evident in their sound, the band wants to dive deeper into classical soul and blues with the hopes of listeners relating to the gifts and curses in life.

The band takes inspiration from their everyday lives and interests, some may come as a shock but if listening closely, one can hear the inspiration from the band’s tracks. For Watkins it’s classic, vintage and timeless that inspires he creation. From Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder to The Eagles and Jimi Hendrix, Watkins is also a huge fan of Dan Auerbach’s work. Outside of music he is a collector of vintage electronics and instruments, assumingly stemmed from his dad’s job as an architect and surrounding him in beautiful mid-century furniture.

How does The Fey turn its inspiration into a song?

“Almost every day I wake up with some bass melody, drum pattern, chorus, and/or guitar lick and I run to my phone and save these little voice recordings. Literally a phone full of them,” Watkins said. “From there I just start tracking things, mostly all midi, into a music software. Sometimes Michael and John will stop by with bass and guitar to give more life to the demos. After the song is completed on a basic foundation level, I present it to the band and we rehearse and grow it from there.”

Since being signed to a label, it has helped the guys turn their hard work pay off into a fast-growing business. It has also taken some of the pressure off of them so they can focus on creating the music.

“Before the label, personally, I felt like I was always trying, sometimes overly trying, to prove how “talented” we are. Like standing on top of a building shouting over people,” Watkins said. “Now that we have smart, level headed professionals helping, it’s really took a lot our shoulders with that, even emotionally.”


Due to the preparation for the recording of the Strawberry Lemonade, it went much smoother than the previous two EPs. Understanding and being more direct with the way they wanted it to sound like, look like and be presented was also a huge part in the process. The only challenge facing the group was the deadline, which wasn’t much of a challenge since they always give themselves a deadline. The sessions took place at Ashland’s Silver Street Studios with James Fleege doing the recording and mixing. Then the record was mastered at Focus Mastering by the very in-demand Doug Van Sloun

“I know I speak for all of us when I say, “much love to Mr. James Fleege. The guy is truly a genius,” Watkin said.

From Strawberry Lemonade, Watkins is confident that “Contender” is a listener favorite on the EP since the group has been performing it for two years and has received a huge positive response and the reason why it’s the single. However, Watkins is really proud and excited for “The Cool.“This song is uncharted territory for the band, it’s their first love song with a strong, thick guitar, bass and drums while Watkins sings in falsetto.

Right now, the band is considered on tour, or what they like to call “road runs,” which are quick three-days out travelling to different cities and venues then returning home to go to their day jobs. This streak of “road runs” will last until November when they plan to continue the work, heading to the studio to work on their first-ever LP. Having been all over the Midwest and Texas multiple times, the band have shows scheduled in St. Louis, Nashville and many more. But more importantly The Fey has their show this Saturday at the Zoo Bar.

“I personally want to just say how happy we are to be an artistic representation of Lincoln,” Watkins said. “For six years, we’ve been a part of the local music scene, and for six years this city continues to show love and support.”

To keep updated on the band, check out their Facebook or website.

Brittany Ward is an editorial intern with KZUM. - Listen Local KZUM 89.3


"Single Premiere: The Fey: "The Cool""

The Fey, formerly AZP, of Lincoln, Nebraska are gearing up to release their brand-spankin’ new EP, Strawberry Lemonade. This short EP will mark the third release for the sextet, and their first on Kansas City-based label The Record Machine.

The Fey create this masterful blend of music. Upon listening you’ll catch classic rock and soul elements, but buried deep within each track you can also pull out little nuggets of funk, hip hop, blues, and more. “The Cool” is one of those songs.

Starting with a sort of southern tinged soul/rock, The Fey quickly grab your attention with prominent falsetto vocals and a plucky organ line. Before long, you’re wrapped up in this smooth jam. Each listen of “The Cool” reveals more and more. The delicate, subtle guitar. The shining glockenspiel. The casual attitude of it all.

Strawberry Lemonade will be available on all digital media platforms on July 13th, via The Record Machine. More info can be found here. - Playlist Play


"New Secret: The Fey - Contender | Expect to feel the sweet taste of redemption with The Fey's pungent indie rock!"

The Fey were baptized as “The New American Band” by the vocalist/pianist Zachary Watkins. They are an indie-rock meets soul band from Lincoln. Formed by five other elements (Ismah Valenti on vocals, Trey Shotkoske on drums, Michael Rogers on the guitar, Ludwig Siebenhor on rhythm guitar and John Fuchinaro on bass), their inspirations on church gospel and jazz education are perfectly incorporated into their flamboyant songs.

Press play and party with it. Is all we would recommend regarding their newest song Contender. It emerges vibes similar to The Black Keys (the vocals, the guitars and the heavy drums) for sure. But with more instrumental layers and turning beautifuly into a blues/soul kind of sound. Energetic and contagious, the song keeps evolving from start to end. Never looses power. The rap segment is a plus in the track novelty feeling, sounding refreshing and still rich and melodic. The track seems to be inspired by the notion that God has a plan for every single one of us and the gospel-ish lyrics clearly reflect their roots. For us, listening to Contender leaves not only a gracious feeling but with also one of empowerment. Every time we get to the end of this, we are begging for more.




This is The Fey’s XX song after changing from their original name (AZP), and is one of the three songs included in the debut EP Strawberry Lemonade. The Contender is definitly the most powerful of the three. Bones Underwater further showcases the band power and ability to mix soul and rock seemlessly. While The Cool sounds more swingy and almost Ska at times, with some very nice instrumental overflows.

Having played multiple showcases at SXSW, their energy on stage seems to perfectly reflect these recordings. Having said that, we look forward to hearing (and hopefuly seeing) more from them soon. - Where The Music Meets


"New Release Friday: The Fey"

What is this?!? I seriously have no idea. It blends so many different genres into one crazy rollercoaster, and I loved every second of the ride. I read the bands description of their sound, and it reads as follows: “Dominantly a new age American rock-soul-r&b band, The Fey, also expresses a touch of the contemporary vibes of hip-hop and pop.” As a guy who listens to over 20 new bands a day, when you read a statement like that, you think, “Yeah, okay. Which part do you do well, though?” Most of the time it’s like a restaurant that has 50 menu items, and all of them are average. This is not most of the time. These guys know who they are, and they do rock, soul, r&b, hip-hop, and pop equally well. With strong guitar riffs and organs, smooth vocal runs, and a nice hip-hop verse, The Fey is the true definition of a multi-genre group.



-Caleb and Seth - B-Side Guys


"Discovery: The Fey"

Dominantly a new age American rock-soul-r&b band, The Fey also express a touch of the contemporary vibes of hip-hop and pop. The sextet stretches each genres limitations by re-creating a very pleasing interaction within popular music.

By Jane Howkins

Strong vocals mix with groovy guitar licks and stunning organ lines, combining funk, soul, rock, and r&b together to make one amazing package on Contender. We really want to hear more from this band and we love how they manage to combine elements of old and new together. Check them out below and see if they’re contenders for the future of music. - York Calling


"New Music Discovery"

US outfit take their blues-rock cues from Jack White on this insatiable new jam. - Mystic Sons


"Piano players: Three artists behind Lincoln’s keyboard resurgence"

Growing up, Zachary Watkins listened to old records, played around on a keyboard and wanted to be Stevie Wonder.

Now a front man for the alternative hip-hop group A to Z Pro (AZP), Watkins spends his time with a piano and his own soulful lyrics.

“Being the pianist, you kind of have this class,” Watkins said. “You get looked at like, ‘Yeah, he’s the one that makes it happen.’”

When Watkins was 9, his family influenced him to begin piano lessons.

“I remember my grandma and grandpa told me I had piano fingers,” Watkins said.

In junior high, Watkins took a class and began using the piano as a tool for his own songwriting. However, Watkins considers himself a percussionist first.

“I’ve always been a drummer,” Watkins said. “I went to Berkeley for jazz percussion right out of high school, so drumming has always been my main instrument. But I think what attracted me to the piano was being the front man, in a sense. I didn’t just want to sing; I wanted to play.”

As a songwriter, Watkins said he always starts with the piano, and the melody always comes before the lyrics.

“I’ll figure out chord progressions, and then I’ll start humming a melody,” he said. “A lot of people go off of words, but I like to find the melody.”

In fact, most of AZP’s songs come from Watkins and the piano.

“I play something on the piano and everyone else puts their own twist on the chord progressions,” Watkins said. “That’s kind of how a song is formed. And it all starts with the piano.” - Daily Nebraskan


"AZP on 89.3 KZUM | Hear Nebraska FM"

The last two months have been good to Lincoln’s AZP.

Let’s begin on the night of March 15th between the hours of 1 and 2 a.m., when AZP not only secured the closing slot of the SXSW music festival, but talked the manager of the Austin bar, The Rooftop, into giving them the full hour when the previous band didn’t show.

What ensued for the hip-hop/rock band was a tell-your-grandkids-type performance for the Lincoln five-piece. Above the swirling human tides of 6th Street, they played for hundreds of bodies, winning them over so profusely that by last call, they didn’t have to ask the group of 98 percent strangers to chant the three syllables of A-Z-P. It just happened.

Of the night in question, I wrote on HearNebraska.org:

“Lyrically, Zachary Watkins and Ishma Valenti thrive on battle lines: good and evil, light and dark, empowerment vs. exploitation, being duped by the system vs. spiritual clarity. It was fitting then that they inked a line of demarcation between themselves and the mobs of other hip-hop artists crowding 6th Street all week desperately trying to give away or sell CDs, rapping unsolicited at passersby.

The result was a wasteland of home-packaged CDs trampled to smithereens on 6th Street.

So Valenti picked the opportune moment to draw a line in the sand. After working the crowd into a frenzy with the frighteningly fast rap wind-up of “Black Jesus,” Valenti grabbed a stack of CDs from the back of the stage to pass out.

“I better not see even one of these on the ground out there…” People roared.

Parlay that monumental night into the recent announcement that AZP will play Bubble Music Festival in Madison, Wis., on September 12. And in a pairing of substantial local draws, on May 10, AZP will perform at a Duffy’s Tavern backlot show that marks the return of Universe Contest to Lincoln. And there’s another bit of symmetry there. As Universe Contest returns from its first national adventures, the months of May and June will see AZP preparing to head out on their own.

On Friday, AZP had the launch show for a new Kickstarter to fund their 23-city tour, slated for the start of July. They’re calling it “The Geo Tour,” certainly the first time the band has toured in the quantity and intensity. You can donate here. But it’s hardly the first time the central founders of AZP, Ishma Valenti and Zachary Watkins, have provided evidence that they believe — down to their moral, physical, spiritual fiber — that what they’re doing is worth while.

They’re EP of last summer, entitled Early Sunday Morning, came packaged with an enormous, evocative and colorful rendering of Black Jesus. It was an EP that touted not only the grandeur of Watkins and Valenti’s — and this their favorite word of choice — “vision,” but showcased them working together in a way that partially nullified the idea of back and forth between a composer and a rapper. On it, they work out a devotionally unifying tone.

And so once again, you can see them at Duffy’s on May 10 for a backlot show, but right now I’m very pleased to be joined in the studio for an acoustic performance by Ishma Valenti and Zach Watkins. - Hear Nebraska


"AZP IS GETTING BIGGER AND BETTER FOR THEIR UPCOMING TOUR"

After two successful and crowd grabbing rookie performances at SXSW in Austin, TX in March 2014, a barrage of returning homecoming support and fanfare, and a now successfully funded Kickstarter Campaign, the indie alternative band AZP is taking all of their recent momentum on a national performance tour. The Geo Tour will present a new stage and lighting backdrop to add to the already exciting and meaningful performance that AZP delivers to music fans. AZP will perform in major indie markets around the nation including; Lawrence, KS. Kansas City, MO. Chicago, IL. Columbia, OH. Madison, WI. and Minneapolis, MN. “The tour is going to help us bring our art and message to a multitude of music fans across the country, it’s exciting to make that type of impact on a national level.” co-founder, pianist and vocalist for AZP, Zach Watkins. As the band continues its rise to national recognition, they aren’t forgetting where they started and how they’ve been successful on the level that they’re at. Ishma Valenti Co-founder, lyricist and synth player for AZP said, “It’s all about progression. Z (Watkins) continuously reminds me that we are running a race, and I look at the ‘Geo Tour’ as a huge leg in that race for us as musicians and artists.” AZP will play a send off show in Lincoln at the Bourbon Theater on June 27th, 2014, to kick off the tour and share the new stage design and light addition to their already superbly entertaining and meaningful show. “I’ve personally watched Z (Watkins) working so hard on the design and the implantation of our new stage design with the help of his talented sister, Jasmine. Not only stage design but our new ‘Geo Tour’ shirt deigns and production, as well as the new live album, I’m personally excited to see how people embrace the new stage setup and merchandise.” Commented Valenti. As AZP continues to build on their success, they are able to stay completely grounded and dedicated to their vision. Watkins commented, “We always will make art that is true to us, we get inspired from our experiences, opinions and actions and we stay true to that in the music.” Don’t miss AZP’s send off show at the Bourbon Theater on Friday June 27th? Get lost in the music and in the experience that AZP delivers to music fans, and get a chance to see the the ‘Geo Tour’ live in Lincoln before AZP hits the road! - The 402


"Lincoln Exposed | AZP, Bourbon Theatre, 11:45 p.m.-12:30 a.m."

“Who’s here to have fucking fun tonight?”

The crowd squealed in response. AZP had the Bourbon Theatre hyped from the moment emcee Ishma Valenti made the ceremonial call to dance. The band leaped into a bright rock chorus at a medium groove that got folks moving from the jump.

From behind the keys, Zachary Watkins belted pitch-perfect lyrics that were often vague and when clear, clichè, but positive. Paired with the ensemble’s upbeat grooves, AZP generated palpable, youthful energy to share with their audience, who always responded in kind.

It’s a shame the sound guy couldn’t properly mix Valenti’s spoken vocals with the live instrumentation. He delivered rhymes passionately, but the levels were so bad that, after ripping a furious couple of bars to a great climax, the message never got to the crowd.

However, when he took time with his rhymes, Valenti’s his words came loud and clear. All of the Bourbon heard him preaching the complex gospel of Black Jesus.

There was an excellent trade off between bars and solid musical interludes. Jed Smith held the set down tight with his heavy bass lines, and Trey Shotkoske’s solid drumming had the room rumbling with his massive beats. The wall of sound that is James Shehan was the glue that musically held the band together. His guitar-playing electrified the entire set.

AZP is heavily rock influenced. Most songs in the set followed the same form: half-time verses with a healthy dose of breakdowns that drove the audience to a frenzy in that familiar “four-to-the-floor” fashion every chorus. A simple formula sure, but it worked every time on the Bourbon crowd, who roared for more.

Though AZP put on what sounded more like an alt-rock show, they had festival-goers — fans of all kinds of music — rocking along with them. They were in full command. Valenti promised positive energy, and AZP had it in spades. - Daily Nebraskan


"Their electric and engaging show brought a similar response"

Nebraska bands are making new fans in Texas.

At the Nebraska Exposed showcase, eight Omaha and Lincoln artists are pulling new fans in from the street at South by Southwest.

That's not an exaggeration. During sets for Omaha hip-hop group Both and Lincoln rock/R&B band AZP, the rooftop of Cheers Shot Bar began to fill up.

Both took the stage to play for mostly familiar faces; A blend of musicians, venue owners, bookers, media and friends filled the small rooftop venue.

But as the hip-hop duo worked through its set, more people began to trickle into the venue. Easily heard from 6th Street, the main hub of SXSW in Austin, the place filled up.

After the show, Scky Rei and INFNTLP were accosted by new fans asking about their music and curious about where they were from.

AZP blends rock, R&B and hip-hop, and their electric and engaging show brought a similar response. A flood of people entered the bar as they worked through their set, growing the audience from about 30 to about 60. - Omaha World Herald - GO


"The Fey release new single, 'Contender'"

‘Contender’ by newcomers The Fey is difficult to fit into one genre. The variation in this song is amazing. There are hints of rock, soul, R&B, hip and pop. This creates a great listening experience. I love the bass and vocals that drew me in and hooked me. I would love to see The Fey live, imagine the energy of this band on a stage! - Music Injection


"3 of Thursday's Best Tracks"

The Fey – “Contender”

With a varied background that includes Baptist roots and attendance at Berklee College of Music, lead vocalist Zack Watkins envisions a rich and clever sound that he has described as “The new American Band.” The sextet is a bountiful mix of blues, soul, dirty rock, and even includes a little rap verse that makes this one of the most combustible tracks we have heard in awhile. Also, if you love guitar solos, “Contender” will definitely meet your fix. - Ear To The Ground


Discography

The Fey Discography

Strawberry Lemonade: Released July 13, 2018 • Available on cassette and Digital Download

Triangles
Released November 26th, 2016 • Available on CD and Digital Download

Red Moon
:
Released May 12th, 2015 • Available on CD and Digital Download

Photos

Bio

"The 'New' American band." That's how lead vocalist/pianist Zach Watkins envisions rock-soul sextet, The Fey. 

From his baptist church gospel upbringing to studying jazz percussion at Berklee College of Music, Zach Watkins incorporates a wide range of influences when it comes to writing & producing music.  Such influences & musical excursions helped construct the bluesy rock-soul band & the artistic value within. Watkins, being the passionate soul singing, multi-genre instrumentalist that he is, accompanied by the clever, conscious-minded lyricism of Valenti, gave flight to a homegrown style & sound like no other. Years later, Zach would find four music connoisseurs to create The Fey family & help take the sound to a higher plateau.

Dominantly a new age American rock-soul-r&b band, The Fey, also expresses a touch of the contemporary vibes of hip-hop & pop. The sextet stretches each genres "limitations" by re-creating a very pleasing interaction within popular music. It's your classic fuzz guitar tones, whirling organs, deeply warm bass guitar, & heartfelt vocals, slightly molded with the cool, energetic vibrations of indie culture. It's the love for a transparent artists mind & journal, singing songs of real life events, dreams, & nightmares in each record. It's music for the everyday; a live concert you do not want to miss. So much energy, passion, & emotion is presented in every set, & every stage, no matter the venue.

The Fey holds true value to the home-grown roots in which they are from. Young prideful men, "city cowboys", "weary-hearted rebels" as some have labeled. Straight out of the nation's Heartland: Lincoln, Nebraska. But don't let being from the small city mistake them for small-minded. The two time OEAA nominee became one of the states most respected units due to their passionate motions on social, cultural, & racial issues, all the while proudly advocating peace. That's what it's all about with The Fey: unifying people of all colors, all sexes, all cultures, beliefs, & allowing good soulful music be the bind between differences. Credited as inspiring & woke, The Fey is known for their powerful visuals & short films for their music. Created in-house, The Fey (AZP at the time) was recently awarded The White Light City Film Festival's 2016's Best Music Video & the Stacy Heatherly Award for the Early Sunday Morning single, "Charge".

With a recently announced recording deal with Kansas City based indie label, The Record Machine, three nationally licensed EP's under their belts, over 10 SXSW showcases performed at the biggest indie festival of the U.S., three plus years of touring & growing a movement throughout the U.S., & much more, The Fey continues to create & perform their art for like minded music lovers.


Band Members