Most people know Chris Carrabba from his last band, Dashboard Confessional. Early 2000s hits like 'Stolen' and 'Hands Down' were the worldwide anthems for heartbroken teenagers and hopelessly-in-love young adults.
Now fast-forward to 2013 and the music of Carrabba's new band, Twin Forks. There is almost no resemblance.
Although he hesitates to call Dashboard Confessional’s music melancholy, Carrabba is the first to admit that, in general, the songs were slightly gloomy. But he is also quick to point out how upbeat and energetic Dashboard Confessional's live performances were. Even the saddest songs of their discography carried a certain kind of cheerfulness when played live. That kind of energy was what he now seeks to instill in Twin Forks' music.
“Music equals happiness. Period,” Carrabba said when asked about the change in tone from Dashboard Confessional to Twin Forks. “I wanted no question about that.”
This time around, the music that Carrabba helped to create is undeniably enthusiastic. Over upbeat acoustic guitar strumming and toe-tapping, foot-stomping beats, Carrabba croons and shouts, not afraid to let his voice get a little gravelly like the folk singers of old. Even the feel of the live performances is different.
“It’s really joyous and celebratory,” Carrabba said. “It really feels like a party that we are at. It’s not like we’re throwing it, though. It’s like we are surprised to be there.”
Carrabba explained that he usually wrote everything for Dashboard Confessional because the members of the band were scattered. With Twin Forks, though, things are very different.
“We’re all here together now. Usually what happens now is that I write a song, and I just record guitar and vocals,” said Carrabba. Then, the band takes this rough demo and listens to it for a few hours, conceptualizing their additional parts. A couple of hours later, they gather in the garage they use as a studio space, set up the microphones and play.
“Folk and Americana and country, it’s a timeless music. The way to stand out is to be better than the other bands,” said Gary Strack, the publicist for Twin Forks. “Chris [Carrabba] is a great songwriter, and the band is an all-star lineup with incredible members from other bands, too.”
Strack emphasized the enthusiastic vibe that this EP gives off. “If you’re not having fun or you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, there’s no point doing it,” he said.
Almost all of Twin Forks can be explained by this live energy; in fact, the band itself emerged from a live performance. At the end of 2011, Carrabba was touring solo.
“I was really enjoying that connection with the audience, and I began writing what I felt would be a solo record,” said Carrabba.
As he wrote more of the album, though, he started to feel some conflict between the songs he had written and the live performances he was giving.
“The way I was writing the songs seemed like traditional singer-songwriter songs. But I still had spent all that time doing all of the solo shows, and there was this energy!”
Despite the fact that they are called a “super-group” by journalists and critics, they refuse to use their names to advertise the band or their performances. Instead, they are playing small bars and clubs across the globe, slowly gathering a fan base.
“This is not a side project for me. This is my band,” Carrabba said. Twin Forks has already recorded a full-length album which will be coming out in the near future. For now, though, they will be focusing on what they do best: a live show that gets the crowd clapping, stomping and hollering.
Twin Forks, a folk group comprised of Chris Carrabba, Suzie Zeldin, Jonathan Clark, and Ben Homola, released their new, self-titled EP on September 17. They are currently on tour and will be making a stop at the Local 506 in Chapel Hill on Saturday, September 21.
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