Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to email@example.com.
We like to fancy ourselves fairly well-tuned into the local music scene. Sometimes when we're out with friends, we even make up names of bands and then mock people for having never heard them. ("What?! You've never heard of the Toxic Rhinos? Pfft. How lame are you?")
Imagine our surprise, then, when somebody pointed us towards the power-pop likes of man-band The Favorites. Somehow, this quintet of gooey goodness - essentially, the music sounds like a trip to Hollister minus the douchiness - has skirted around in the margins of obscurity despite being more than three years old.
No more, though. Rocks Off reached out to procure a copy of the local band's latest LP, Bright Nights, Bright Lights and then hit them up with a few questions. After the jump, read about their how terrorists almost killed pop-rock, a possible near obsession with a Tom Hanks movie, and the significant role a moped may or may not have played in making a song.
Rocks Off: A lot of times, when we get a CD or a MySpace link sent to us, it'll look real shitty and obvious that the band just got together, but you guys seem to be very well put together. What's up with that? How long have you all been together anyway?
The Favorites: We've been together for roughly eight years or so. There was a period of time in there where Jeremy [Botter, guitar/vocals] joined the Army and went to Iraq, so obviously it was a little tough to practice, what with the distance and all. We've been the Favorites since 2005.
RO: Wait. So what you're saying is that terrorists hate pop-rock? Sonsabitches. Go on, sirs.
TF: We are a very fun-loving band, but we do try to present a professional image. A couple of us do work in Internet-related marketing industries, so we have pretty good ideas on how to use the web to market ourselves. We really wanted to put out something we could be proud of in all aspects and would tell people we are at least a little serious about what we do.
And we also need to give some credit for the great sound of Bright Nights, Bright Lights to our producer Jon Glover. He's a very talented guy. He's at a really nice studio in New Braunfels now.
RO: Speaking of, based on just your music, we never would've guessed what you all looked like in real life. It's kinda odd to picture you all making that kind of music. It's like seeing bears do ballet.
TF: [laughs] That's awesome.
RO: Probably the best way that we've heard y'all's music described is something about it being the equivalent of "a trip into Hollister minus the douchiness." How would you all describe it?
TF: We don't really know how to describe it either, so the Hollister reference seems as good as any. We try to write tunes that a broad spectrum of people will enjoy, and we see people ranging from early teens to grandparents at our shows so it seems like we've accomplished that mission. We mainly try to write songs we would like to listen to.
We just happen to be into songs full of guitars and vocals and catchy choruses. They tend to sound pretty happy, but the lyrics aren't always bright and shiny. Case in point, the songs "Golden Like the Fall" or "Let Me Come Home" They don't offer the perfect happy ending, but still seem to leave a bit of room for hope somewhere.
RO: Okay, seriously, how many times did you all watch That Thing You Do! before you started to form a band? Because you all totally sound like them sometimes.
TF: You don't even want to know how many times we've seen That Thing You Do!. It's probably not healthy and it's a little embarrassing as well. Though we aren't trying to copy the Wonders.
RO: Whose idea was it to do one of those Elf Yourself Christmas cards? Is that person still in the band? Because they shouldn't be.
TF: A couple of the guys came up with it, but completely separate from each other. They didn't talk about it; it probably just seemed like something that we would do, and they're right. The band took a vote and decided to keep Jeremy and Josh [Pearman, guitars/keys/vocals] in the band.
RO: Criticism is very reflexive. What we mean to say is, when you hear it song, it makes you think of something and that usually determines whether or not you deem it good. As a musician, when you write a song or perform a song, is there something similar going on? Like, when we hear the hook from "Something That You're Missing," it makes us think of mopeds, bubble gum, and the Jonas Brothers. Thus, we totally dig it. What were you all trying to convey with that song?
TF: The music world is filled with bands trying to get a message across, trying to start revolutions, trying to be "artists." We're definitely artists, but the first priority for us when writing songs is the hook. We write songs with regular people in mind, people who just want to turn on the radio and get lost in a killer pop song.
It seems like pop hooks are a dying art, and we've kinda embraced it. We just hope to make someone feel good when they listen to our songs or see us play. It's a simple thing, but we are pretty simple fellas. "Something That You're Missing" is just a really good blend of groove, rock, and lyrics that make many girls say "ahhh," sung by a guy that probably drives a moped.
RO: When, where and for how much can people come see you all play live? TF: We took a bit of a break from playing live the last couple of months of 2008. We are looking to book shows for January 2009 and beyond. If anyone wants to split a bill or talk with us about a show, we are game!
Look for the Favorites all over Space City this next year, hopefully with some trips to Austin, Dallas and places in between thrown in also.
RO: Anything you feel like needs to be mentioned? Now's the time to do it.
TF: Bryan and Josh are big Christmas music fans, so the band has written six Christmas songs. We plan on putting them out as an EP before Christmas next year. They all deal with Christmas Eve in some way. We are pretty excited about it.
RO: That's crazy. That's one of our favorite things.
TF: We are also really proud of the album we have out now, Bright Nights, Bright Lights, and hope to get it in the hands of as many people as possible, either through shows or digital downloads in the next year. - Shea Serrano
To grab BNBL or just keep tabs on The Favorites, hit up www.thefavoritesrock.com.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.