Every so often in the world of music, a band comes along that just gets it on every level. They understand their relationship with fans, the business of making music and everything else that goes along with it. And because they get it, we want them to succeed. We want them to be the best they can be, because that’s what they want to give us. TreeHouse! is one such band.
The Sun News recently had the opportunity to interview Jeremy Anderson, front man and guitarist for the band, and he had a lot to say regarding the band’s creative process, the difficulties and personal victories of managing the band independently, and much more.
First off, thanks for taking time to field these questions for The Sun News. I guess the best place to start is with your band’s name. You hear all kinds of stories about where band names came from, both good ones and bad ones. What’s your story? Were you just tossing darts at a board or did it come about through previous experiences?
TreeHouse! has been my nickname for over 10 years, simply because of a decked-out treehouse that used to be in my yard. Our band took the name because it felt like it called to us naturally, and it seems to fit our theme. TreeHouse! symbolizes a unity of man and nature, our dwelling and our world, a strip down to our basic necessities and realizations.
How did the band come together? Were you childhood friends or did you meet through a mutual love of music later on?
Matt [Link], Trey [Moody] and I have known each other since middle and high school. Matt and I were in Boy Scouts and little league baseball together. Later on, Matt and I were in “rival” bands in high school – New Breed and Shatter Resistant. Trey and I were in marching band together and then we formed our own hard rock band, First Degree Burnouts toward the end of high school. I took a performing hiatus after high school, and then slowly started back with solo acoustic gigs. I started getting enough of these to bring in guests to jam with. These happened to mostly be Matt Link and Trey Moody. We started as a cover band and slowly built up our originals until we were ready to release our first self-titled album.
Your reverbnation.com bio says you’re a three-piece (sometimes four- or five-piece) band. How often does the band’s number of members change? What’s the reasoning behind it?
TreeHouse! is like the reggae version of The Band. We fill out our sound well, but we love jamming with others and featuring special guests. Many times we’ve had a keyboardist, a saxophonist, another guitarist and singer, a percussionist, a flautist, an MC, a violinist, etc. We like to broaden our own horizons and sounds by working within our community of musicians. Our friends in Sun-Dried Vibes jam with us often and we sit in on each other’s sets and even write and perform songs together.
I’m not going to ask you to describe your sound in one word, but rather give you the floor to describe it as you see fit. Are you happy with the band’s sound? Would you change anything about it?
We describe our sound as reggae jam rock. It might also occasionally touch on some pop, funk, hip-hop, ska, surf, reggaeton and psychedelic fusion. The TreeHouse! sound is like a roller coaster ride, with all the proper dynamics to give you a lasting effect of whatever we endeavor to convey. We fill our sound well as a three-piece and we know our strengths in doing this, but we always weigh the options of adding a fourth member.
With a keyboardist and saxophonist, we could definitely progress into an even more complex sound, but we don’t want to sacrifice our flow and our groove. Trey, Matt and I have jammed together for so long now that we can virtually wing a new jam and still hit the same dynamics without ever planning it out. It’s definitely a non-communicable feeling that we all share that helps us sync up so well on stage, so to change our sound with more instrumentation, we have to make sure it all blends into our flow.
You’re campaigning to raise money for your second album so you can record independently. Is this the band’s vision for the entirety of its future, or do you see yourselves signing with a label in the future if the chips fall that way?
We can never fully determine the future, but I don’t think the decision is this simple. I think a major label does nothing for you if you have any type of vision for your career and your future. I think we would rather accumulate enough funds through performances, merchandise and sponsorships to create our own label. Then we could just partner with a distribution firm and an advertising/marketing/publicity firm. All a record label is in the end is a loan agency, and a marketing and distribution firm. Nevertheless, to get a band running as a business, it takes a lot of initial investment of time and funds. We have the time, right now we just need the funds!
What was recording your first album like? Did you use fundraising tactics for that as well?
We actually funded the first album ourselves on a low budget and we struggled in doing that. Recording the first album was definitely a learning experience. It was my first time fully taking the reins as producer of a project like that, scheduling all the tracking, reaching out to area musicians to provide sax, keys, percussion, slide guitar, harmonica, etc.
For the first album, we went in with most of the songs being fairly new, and we isolated each tracking. The difference in our next album is that we’ve been performing together much much longer and we have our live show down to a T. We also recorded virtually all of it live, together, and in the same room. This is probably a nightmare to most recording engineers, but our end product will show that it was worth it to keep the vibe alive and not to dissect our songs and perform them in some estranged, alien way.
Essentially, you guys are your own businessmen, managers, etc. What’s that like? It sounds like it has a really independent feel to it, but what would you say about it?
TreeHouse! is an independent business. However, it takes a whole community of venue managers, booking agents, promoters, press, fans and fellow musicians to allow us to do what we do. I enjoy acting as the band’s manager because it allows me to meet so many people in my community and to create lasting business connections throughout the country. Staying on top of it all takes a lot of diligence, and I would only recommend it to someone with a strong work ethic. However, the payoff of an awesome show is always worth it!
You often hear people complain when a band’s sound changes. Will your second album be substantially different from your first, or will you try to stick with what worked the first time?
The title of our next album, “Growth” will convey the direction of our new songs. As the first album was more playful, our second album will be more serious, it will have a more direct, important message. The first album conveys the positivity of love, while the second album expresses the urgency to love. I think our next album is more edgy, but when we do chill it out, it only sounds like we’ve developed the sounds that were so catchy on the first album. If our sound has changed, I believe people will say it has changed for the better.
How much do you think your sound changes between your recordings and your live shows?
Exactly! Our live sound IS our sound, so recording in any other way would take away from the vibe we provide at our live shows. That’s just the reason we approached “Growth” as a live recording. We tracked everything live and then went back over with extra production. We could have gone in and polished every piece but it’s not worth taking away from the raw feeling.
What would you say to those who have helped you, whether it be financially, by attending shows, wearing your merch, so and so forth? What’s your message to them?
Namaste! God bless! We do it for you, and we couldn’t do it without you. TreeHouse! is all about spreading good vibes, and our fanbase constantly shows us through their support that they are even more about the good vibes! Help us spread a positive message. Be a part of our next album, “Growth” by visiting: http://www.indiegogo.com/treehousetheband.