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Mother Falcon, an orchestral, wondrous force of a band, was kind enough to grace the WERS studio with their sprawling presence, somehow arranging seventeen of their band members in the not-so-spacious live mix room. While the Austin-based band was one of the biggest bands we’ve had in studio, squeezing into a tiny performance space is just in a day’s work for Mother Falcon; they can have as many as twenty members on stage with them at any given show. Although the number of musicians playing can vary, the end result is always the same: a dumbfounding, ornate, and somehow still uncomplicated sound, laden with a myriad of voices and instruments, culminating in music that defies written description.
For their On the Verge session, Mother Falcon played two songs from their most recent studio release, You Know, the band’s second LP. Both songs were intricate, beautifully layered masterpieces, but varied in sound.
The first song, “Dirty Summer,” was a fast-paced, vivacious track where the horns take center stage for a good portion of the song. That’s not an instrument one would typically expect in a piece that ends up being as delightfully poppy as “Dirty Summer,” but then again, there’s nothing typical about Mother Falcon. Not only was “Dirty Summer” impressive in its instrumental compositions, but the vocals were also deserving of recognition, utilizing the unique voices of various members in the band, as were the lyrics (“We will fall/Into others/Burn our skin/Forget our mothers”). Despite the light-hearted sound, the lyrics deal with the issues of bridging the gap between childhood and adulthood.
“Blue and Gold” was a departure from the upbeat sounding “Dirty Summer.” It was a much gentler, softer track, an ethereal melancholy laced in the vocals and string ensemble. There was a strange nostalgic mysticism to this song—equally beautiful as “Dirty Summer,” but in a strikingly different way.
Despite the countless elements of the songs, the end result of both still sounded effortless and organic; lesser musicians may have gotten bogged down by having so many components to a track, but every member of Mother Falcon is so well-versed in his or her instrument, their classical training clearly comes in hand in the crafting of their songs.
After all, Mother Falcon’s roots are in the orchestra: founder Nick Gregg explained how he had gotten sick of the rigorous “practice-practice-practice” mentality that comes with learning a classical instrument—he wanted to find room for deviation, to jam on classical instruments. What started off as an after-school rock-orchestra quartet with the members meeting through the Austin Chamber Music Center eventually blossomed into the impressive line-up that Mother Falcon has today.
Gregg credited the Austin music scene with shaping the band, and said, “Our success is based on the fact that there was a very supportive community, starting from when we were young.” Known as the live music capital of the world, Austin, TX is no stranger to genre-defying music, and Mother Falcon was able to find a bevy of support amongst the music fans of the city.