TURNABOUT IS BACK!! Hello and welcome back all! First off, I would like to thank everyone who has patiently waited for our return. There were a few hiccups and we had to take a short hiatus, but we never lost our passion for bringing all forms of independent art to the masses. Turnabout is here and ready to pick up where we left off. Enough with the mushy stuff, time to get to business.In this day and age, folk-pop groups are a dime a dozen. There are so many people out there trying to mimic the “Mumford and Sons” sound that most of them just turn into background noise. Thankfully the Upstate New York duo “The Greenbeans” break the mold while creating some of the catchiest folk-pop/rock you have ever heard.Brothers Vinny and Joe Ferris have been playing music together for years and are really making a name for themselves. The group’s success has really blossomed over the past year. They released their first full length, completed long stints being the house band at Tail O’ The Pup in Ray Brook, NY and The Old Dock House in Essex, NY, and have seen their music gain radio play throughout the United States. And the band is not slowing down, constantly writing and looking for new ways to get their music to the public.The Greenbeans debut self-titled LP has everything. The high-energy songs like “Down the Road,” “All We Want is Love,” and “Land Ho” bring the house down with choruses that you just can’t help but shout along with. On the other side of the coin “Sword in the Stone” has a musically subtle side with a lyrical punch. “Girlfriend from High School” is another powerhouse of a song that brings a 90s alt-rock feel to their perfect folk-pop sound. And my personal favorite, “A Happy Life” is just a perfect song. Every song on this album is a hit, no exaggeration.
I was able to speak with Vinny and Joe towards the end of summer, right when the album was about to come out. Sadly, Turnabout went on hiatus before we were able to get the interview up. I have since been able to touch base with Vinny and get an update on things, all of which is below.
Be sure you check out “The Greenbeans” on their Facebook and website to get any updates on new music, shows, and where you can get the new album. And make sure to stop by their Soundcloud to hear some of the tracks off the album.
So you two have known each other for quite a while. When did you two get the each to start playing music together?
Vinny Ferris: I started playing guitar as a senior in high school, and a few years after, when Joe was a senior in high school, he started playing the banjo. We began collaborating by just messing around in our parent’s basement, then for family around campfires and gatherings, and eventually in 2010 we began playing out seriously.
Joe Ferris: Surprisingly, we didn’t grow up playing music together. What we did grow up doing together was creating and playing in general. Spending countless days in the Adirondack woods coming up with plays, story ideas, growing our imaginations, throwing ideas back and forth, and creating a connection that I believe serves our music to this day.
Where did your Irish folk style come from? Is it something that your grew up with in your house or is it something you two just kind of fell into?
VF: We never intended to play an “Irish folk style”. It’s probably in our blood given our Grandma immigrated from Ireland and we definitely were influenced by music we heard growing up. But we’ve always just written and played songs the way we know how.
It doesn’t seem that the Northern NY/ADK region would be very conducive to musicians on the rise due to the remoteness of the area. What has your experience been with gaining traction in the area?
VF: It’s funny because it’s not like there are so many venues to play, but there is a hunger and real appreciation for music in the Adirondacks. The Gibson Brothers, Lana Del Rey, half of MGMT, just to name a few, all come from this area. It’s a really nurturing place to start and grow. We may have been eaten alive when we first started playing music if we were in New York City, but the Adirondacks welcomed and encouraged us to play out more. I think these roots are really important.”
With that being said, The Greenbeans have had to build your brand and promote yourself. I remember a few years ago Vinny gave me a business card for you guys that I still have. I always thought that was a neat way to promote your band. What else have you guys done for self-promotion/booking?VF: My favorite promotional stunt was when Joe dyed his dreadlocks green and for 5 dollars we would cut a dread off his head onstage, which looked like green beans, to go toward the recording of our debut album. He sold every dread from his head and to celebrate we shaved his head onstage.JF: Vinny is the main businessman for The Greenbeans, he makes most of the self-promotion stuff happen, I do the artwork.Over the Summer you guys finished working on your first full length with the great producer Kenny Siegal (Langhorne Slim, Neko Case). What was it like to finally get something recorded and what was it like to work with Siegal?
JF: Kenny Siegal is great. He works hard when we’re doing work, and then he plays and keeps it fun and loose when we’re on break. He’s an artist, engineer, businessman. I feel like that’s a rare combination to come by. We would work with Kenny Siegal at Old Soul Studios again in a heartbeat.
Tell us a little bit about the new album and where we can find it?
JF: When we walked into Old Soul one of the first questions we asked was, “Do we want to record only what we’re able to perform in our brother’s duo concerts? Or do we let our music bloom into the greatest rendition we could imagine it becoming?” We went with the latter, and we’re glad we did. Every musician who contributed did an amazing job and we’re honored to have their talents on the record.
The album itself a melting pot of years of songwriting, honing, reworking, evolving tunes that date back to when we were just starting out on our instruments in late high school. And I think the album reflects our youthful energy and upbeat attitude we’ve had towards music over the years. We’ve always done it and stuck with it because we love it. We love making songs, and we love every song that’s on the album.
VF: ‘The Greenbeans’ is available at our concerts and you can pick a physical or digital copy at cdbaby.com/thegreenbeans, Itunes, or Amazon.
You recently shot a video for a song off the new album. Is that the first video you guys have done? What was that like?
VF: Most of videos of us online are homemade and rather early Greenbeans, so we filmed some of a recent concert to show the internet what we’re like now. It was a great experience and a lot of fun playing for our hometown crowd. They’ve always been really supportive of us and I’m happy we got that on film.
You guys are getting a lot of attention from across the pond. How did that start? Has it been tough doing promotions overseas? Are you planning any trips to Ireland or England anytime soon?
VF: A few months back our producer showed ‘The Greenbeans’ to the excellent promotion and publicity company Bloody Great PR. They liked the music and offered to work with us to get our music out in UK and Ireland. They’ve been our best friends overseas and really great to work with.
JF: I just want to say it’s a fantastic feeling to have self promoted ourselves for many years now, and then finally after recording our album have other people jump in and push with us.
VF: As far as UK and Ireland touring dates, that is handled by the Brookfield-Knights Agency. Hopefully we will have announcements soon!
You had some recurring gigs, playing Tail O’ The Pup in Ray Brook, NY several weekends and hosting the open mic each Thursday at The Old Dock House in Essex, NY. How did you get hooked up with these?
VF: We’ve been lucky to have people responding positively to our music. After about a year of playing out and we had a little name recognition in the local scene, things started to take on its own momentum. Playing one gig led to another, which led to another… Of course we still actively book gigs but many of our shows come from someone seeing us at another gig or word of mouth.
JF: Our marathon seven and a half hour days as the House band at the Tail Of The Pup helped us fund our debut album, which has led to everything else, so those gigs have been very important for us.
What else do you guys have going on? (shows, any big plans for the band, etc…)
VF: We’re working with the Charterhouse Music Group to get our music out in the US. They’re a class act and work with several excellent folk bands we’re fans of such as The Stray Birds. They helped get our music on US radio and also get licensed by Starbucks for their in-store playlist. Now we’ve got friends who text us from different places telling us when they hear our songs. It’s been exciting and fun for us.
Creatively, we’re writing and developing a lot of new songs we feel really strongly about. Hopefully, money and time permitting, we get to record those before too long.
JF: We’re working to add more players for our growing live sound, and will keep playing gigs, spreading our music to near and far cities for new audiences!