Fresh off the recent successes of last month's Red Bull Sound Select program at Warehouse Live, the Suffers will again showcase their jazzy tunes in Houston, only one month removed from their last hometown performance. This time, however, they're bringing some physical product with them: their debut EP Make Some Room, which is already available for your streaming pleasure via Consequence of Sound.
Vocalist Kam Franklin made time to answer some of our questions in advance of the popular Houston group's release party at Fitz this weekend, discussing everything from J.J. Watt and Beyoncé to local collaborations and future gigs.
Rocks Off: How surreal was it performing the National Anthem at Reliant Stadium during the Texans/Jaguars game? Kam Franklin: The experience was something I'll definitely remember for the rest of my life. I know a lot of talented people auditioned for the opportunity and I am honored that they decided to go with me.
Did you get to hug J.J. Watt? I did not hug J.J., but he did shake my hand right after I sang.
Now that you've sung at both Rockets and Texans games, what's next? Growing up, did you ever have a dream-venue for performing? I would love to sing for the Dynamo and the Astros! I have a few dream venues for sure. The Hobby Center, Jones Hall, Carnegie Hall, Arena Theatre, the Chicago Theater, the Apollo Theater and Red Rocks Amphitheater are on my short list of venues.
At the Red Bull Sound Select show last month, Fat Tony rapped a verse during one of your songs. Have you guys considered releasing any tracks with him or any other local/regional artists? The song we performed, "Not Now," was a track from [Tony's] first album, RABDARGAB. Years ago, he and I used to perform it together all the time, but it became a distant memory as our careers went different directions. When I heard he was going to be the MC for that event, I asked if he'd be interested in bringing the song back with a full band. The rest is history.
We have definitely considered releasing a song with Tony. He's a great artist and he would easily compliment any track we brought to him. As for other artists, we are always open to collaborations if the timing is right and the project makes sense. We have thought about releasing tracks with other locals, but I won't ruin the surprise. We like to keep a little bit of mystery in everything we do.
If you collaborated with Beyoncé, what would the song be called? If we did a song with Beyoncé, I'd like to call it "Frenchy's and Menil." We haven't met yet, but she already knows why.
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Your upcoming tour in support of your album includes quite a few stops. Are any of them new to the band? This will be the first time the vast majority of the band has been to the West Coast. Some of the members have never even seen snow!
Is there an area or venue that you guys are especially excited to visit? We are particularly excited about the Denver and California shows because quite a few of us have family and friends in those cities that have long supported the band, but this will be their first opportunity to see us live.
Fitzgerald's is one of the most iconic Houston music venues, but not the biggest. You guys and the Tontons pretty much sold out Warehouse Live last month -- albeit with the help of Lee Fields -- so why did you choose to have the release party at Fitz? Fitz holds a special place in all of our hearts, so we opted to go for the more intimate feel this time around. Maybe we can host the LP release show at the Toyota Center? Ha!
When you finish your tour, what's next: more writing, some time off, more local gigs or something bigger in the mix? When we get home from tour, we have a few weeks off before we head out to SXSW. We are just getting started with the road life, so we won't have much time for breaks. Aside from our announced appearances at SXSW 2015 and Hangout Fest 2015, I can't give much more info than that.
Houston will always be our home and we will always find a way to gig here, but for now, it's time to for us to share our music with the world.
The Suffers officially release Make Some Room this Saturday night at Fitzgerald's with special guests Ishi, Rai P and Keeper; doors open at 8 p.m. The band will also perform at Cactus Music at 5 p.m. that same day.
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