Fever Charm are the latest all-guy four piece to emerge from America’s Sunshine state, but before you write them off as ‘just another Californian boyband’, take a moment to cast your ears over their aptly-titled debut EP Sound of Summer. The collection is an eclectic hat trick of organically produced guitar and percussion-heavy tracks which harks back to the hazy rock sound that was coming out of America in the late 60s and 70s.
“We put so much of our souls and sauces into the EP” says lead singer Ari Berl. “It’s really awesome that people seem to be digging it.”
And digging it they are. So much so that the band are now picking up some impressive live slots. They performed on the same line up as MS MR, Foster The People, M.I.A and The Knocks at BFD 2014 in June, opened for Houston band The Tontons in San Francisco last week and will be at LA’s Roxy Theatre tonight (27 July) – tickets here.
We caught up with Ari, JT, Yianni and Theo to talk about their journey so far, their musical influences and what’s coming up.
Chart Shaker: So, Fever Charm. What’s playing on your iPods right now?
Ari: Right now we are listening to Muscle Shoals music, Madonna, St. Vincent, Francis and the Lights, French Cassettes, and a bunch of local bands.
Chart Shaker: So a pretty broad range then? Our readers will be interested to hear that you’re fans of Madonna. Any particular era that you’re keen on?
Yianni: I am into the “Like A Virgin” era where she was working with Nile Rodgers a lot. So classic 80s sounding, especially because that sound has once again emerged in modern music in 2014.
Chart Shaker: Do you think it’s as important to look at artists who have managed to find longevity in their careers, as much as it to keep an eye on what’s happening now?
Ari: Yes, it is definitely important. We are a band who are looking to have a long career, so to study and learn and listen to people that have done that, is important to us. Ideally we’ll still be playing together when we are like 50 or something.
Chart Shaker: What kind of music influenced the EP? There’s a kind of 70s rock festival vibe to it which I wasn’t expecting…
Ari: Honestly we were listening to a lot of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and Yeezus by Kanye West. Almost exclusively. That is the only thing I truly remember listening to during the writing process. And also Bitches Brew by Miles Davis.
Chart Shaker: So how long have you been together?
Ari: Our earliest memory as a band is playing 12 Galaxies while we were but wee little lads. I think around 14/15 years old. It was a battle of the bands/pay to play type shows.
Chart Shaker: So you’re all friends from school? That must help when you’re on the road?
Ari: Totally, we are all best friends, and brothers of the funk. We all live together in Boston, and spend almost all of our time together. It helps with the musical creation process. And obviously touring is going to be way more fun when you are doing it with your best friends on the planet.
Chart Shaker: And you’re all still at college?
Ari: Me, JT and Yianni all go to school in Boston. Theo is moving out there this Fall and we all live in a the basement of a huge apartment complex filled with mice that we call the Den. We chill there mad hard. There are a lot of pipes. We hear people flush above us. PBR, Matt Kirk [Canadian sportsman] and titties.
Chart Shaker: That’s always been the dream, right?? Surely you’ve peaked?!!
Ari: You ain’t seen nothing yet. We hope to take it a lot farther than where we are at right now. Writing new music, touring, all the works. We want it all, we are hungry. And we are cooking up something that is original and when people listen to us we want them to say “WOW – I’ve never heard anything like this before”.
Chart Shaker: So what were the first albums each of you guys bought?
JT: Elephant by the White Stripes
Theo: Dookie by Green Day
Ari: Greatest Hits by the Clash
YIANNI: Jimi Hendrix’ Greatest Hits
Chart Shaker: So when you first got together, was it that kind of music you’d be doing? Like jamming to Voodoo Child or Basket Case? Or have you always been in to working on your own material?
Ari: I don’t think we ever covered a Green Day song. They live in our area, and we are always hearing about what they are doing so it would be weird to cover them. I remember covering “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath, “Sleep Now In The Fire” by Rage Against The Machine, and “Give It Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. But we’ve always been into making our own original music. I always thought playing too many covers in a set, and cover bands in general are kinda lame.
Chart Shaker: And what classic do you wish you’d recorded and which song do you not admit to having on your iPod?
Ari: I Want You Back by The Jackson 5. Soooo goood. Way amazing of a song. Young MJ is superior to old MJ. And we are not ashamed of any songs on our iPods! But we aren’t bragging about the whole Nickelback discography that we have…
Chart Shaker: I still think Rockstar is much better than people give it credit for, don’t worry. The music industry has changed a lot in the last ten years with the internet making it much easier for unsigned bands to get their material out there. Obviously that though makes it an even more cluttered and competitive space than it’s ever been. What do you think has helped you the most in your career so far?
Ari: I think it is great. We are able to create demos for free, just go to a studio, record whatever the fuck we want, mix it ourselves, and throw it up on Soundcloud to release all in one way. It is amazing. Sure the money isn’t as good as it used to be, but there is so much great music now to be discovered, and musical stylings are no longer determined by the record labels. It has really helped us, and I think that as long as your music is good, it will be heard.
Chart Shaker: Finally, you keep adding more and more live dates so I guess that is a sign that things are going well? What’s next?
Ari: Yeah, things are going great. We are playing The Roxy on July 27th in Los Angeles, and are playing Bottom Of The Hill in San Francisco on August 6th. Come out and party with us sometime.
An invite to party with Fever Charm. Not sure I could keep up but I’d be sure to give it my best shot. Stream the title track from Sound of Summer below and download the full five song strong collection over on iTunes here.