Artist in Focus: Haunt the House

Hope you’re all amped for Folk fest this weekend. As part of our Artist in Focus series we interviewed Will Houlihan of Haunt The House. Make sure you check him and others out at the festival this Saturday, April 25th.

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How did you get started in music?

That’s a long, involved question. I guess I’ll start at the very beginning… my earliest memory of being involved in music is when my sister was getting piano lessons. I remember watching her play… she was into it, but not interested enough to pursue it. And so, I had been really moved by the song she had played at the time. I had grown up in a very sheltered community so I didn’t really have much in the way of music exposure until high school. I had traditional style music, like only hymns, but I didn’t know that I wanted to be a musician until I was 20. I remember sitting in my truck listening to a band and thinking, I want to be a part of this. I want to make other people feel the way this is making me feel…I really started writing after my second divorce, I would force myself to go to open mics and write songs that could stand alone with just a guitar.

How did you come up with the name Haunt the House?

It’s both a play on words, a description, and a spiritual reference. When I started writing music, I really wanted to focus on saying something. At the time, I was going through a really difficult period in my life and I had a lot of hurt and anxiety and a lot of loss. So, I just needed to express that. When I first started playing music, people would come up to me after my set and say “that was so haunting” so it kind of stuck with me. And then, I was thinking about the spiritual aspect of it. I have a very strong foundation in Christianity and that’s something I base a lot of my work out of. I was thinking about the idea that the Holy Spirit inhabits your body, and your body is the temple of the Lord… and then temple transferred to house to make Haunt the House. And it just stuck.

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Artist In Focus: The Four Legged Faithful

photo1Greetings, Festers! Hopefully y’all are holding up in your first week back from Spring Break — I know we’re thinking about that sunny, folky, lovely weekend coming up soon… To get us all in the mood, and even more stoked for April 24th and 25th, check out our next artist in focus, The Four Legged Faithful!

We had the privilege to speak with Jon, the designated “band dad” to learn a bit about the band and their sound. They will be playing at the Pembroke Field House on Friday April 24th!

10363682_10201446578044881_5757969148982549846_nTell us about yourselves! Who is in the band? How did y’all meet?

There are four of us! I (Jon Kaplan) am the designated “band dad,” and I play the mandolin, percussion, and contribute to the vocals — all of us sing, actually. Matthew Migliori plays the acoustic guitar and dobro. Nate Pelletier plays the banjo and percussion. And Joseph Pierog plays the upright bass and percussion as well! We all came together in very different ways. Matt, Nate, and Joseph had been playing together for a few months. Joseph was a musician his whole life (he went to Berklee College of Music), and works as a sound engineer. Matt and Joseph played together in a jam band around 7 or 10 years ago, and their sound developed through a kind of jamming relationship.

Matt and Nate ended up meeting in a funny way — Matt’s sister and Nate’s brother got together and got married with a kid, so Matt and Nate are sort of like brothers, in a way. Nate eventually started to pick up the banjo, he’s been a drummer his whole life. And ironically, we’ve all been drummers in other bands, but we have no drummer in our band — we all just contribute to percussion in different ways than a typical drumset.

I went to high school with Nate, and he eventually said, “Hey, my brother and I have been looking to do folk stuff, I just picked up the banjo. Are you still playing mandolin?” I said yes, and he sent some of their music over MySpace (I’m not sure if you still know what that is…). I looked into what Nate and Matt had… funny enough, I hated the first three songs, but absolutely loved the last one. “If they’re doing anything like that, I’m absolutely in,” I thought. And that was about five years ago!

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Artist In Focus: Kale

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Hiya, Festers! Welcome to the first official post of this season’s blogs. We are excited to keep y’all up-to-date with Fest artists, vendors, adventures, things to look forward to… So here we present a series of Artist Profiles! Keep an eye out for a new artist to be featured every week, who will be playing on either Friday or Saturday of the Fest. We will sit down with the artists to discuss music, inspiration, folk, the Fest, anything that we think will add to the wonderful experience that will be April 24th and 25th!

We are stoked to begin our Artists In Focus series with a wonderful band from RISD, Kale!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? What brought you to Providence?

I’m from Korea, I moved out here about eight years ago. I came to Providence on my own when I visited RISD. I was walking around — I like not-so-crowded places — and saw the trees and small buildings. I like the people, too, it’s like a small, packed bubble with more students around! I was on RISD beach, and the weather was really nice, and I was sitting there and said: “Yeah, it’s cool!”

When did you start Kale? 

Kale was my name when I went to high school in California! I decided to be Kale. On the first plane to America, the person who sat next to me was trying to figure out my Korean name. Then we tried to come up with an English-sounding name, so I thought that Kale was cool! Then, later on I found out it was a vegetable… Now it’s kind of a superfood all of a sudden, right? So maybe it makes more sense now!

I started Kale as a band this summer. I usually play on my own — it’s more like a project when I play with other people.

Do you think that RISD has impacted your sound or music in any way?

Yeah, yeah! I started playing when I started going to school here. I ended up living on the music floor, where people had instruments and things like that. So I started borrowing guitars and learning a bit more there! I knew how to play before, but I think that’s where I started playing more with friends, and making music together.

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