The Accidentals (Two Answers)

The Accidentals create an impressive act by using uncommon instruments seen in bands and producing a never-before heard sound that will surprise you and captivate you. The wide variety of genres used shows that the members, Michael, Katie, and Sav, have amazing skills in many forms of music. Read this two-answer interview to discover more about them.

Albums: Mostly a Cappella (1995), Intermittent Plush (2004), Tangled Red And Blue (2012),  Bittersweet (2013), Catastrophe (2014), Parking Lot (2016, EP)

Label: Unsigned

Genres: Indie folk, Folk-rock, Americana, Progressive bluegrass, Classical, Alternative rock, Jazz, Country, Contemporary folk, Folk-pop

Interview:

Q: What do you guys do other than play music?

A: Sav: Like Katie said, we actually spend a lot of time making sure everything’s running smoothly!  When we get home, we usually put in a few solid work days and get everything organized. I’m actually a big archery nerd, so I get out the old bow and arrows whenever I come home.  I also catch up on books I need to read, or work on a song or the book I’m writing.

A: Katie: When we aren’t playing shows, Sav and I spend most of our time running our own business. That includes learning about finance, marketing, graphic design, merchandise, social media, planning logistics, video editing, and networking, woo!  In my spare time I like cooking, making granola and brewing kombucha (fermented tea). I just planted some mint and lemon balm on my porch!

Q: Who would you like to collaborate with?

A: Sav: There’s a gigantic list, but I would love to work with Jack White, Andrew Bird, Neko Case, Ben Folds, Gabriel Kahane, or Kaki King…those are just a few of the big favorites right now.

A: Katie: Everyone!! On my list right now is St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, Shannon Hayden, and Rubblebucket.

Q: Why do you want to sing about what you write?

A: Sav: I like singing about what I write because I feel like it gives me a voice in a way that other people can easily connect to.  Music has this weird, cool way of uniting people, and the stuff that I write about always changes, but I like that regardless of what the topic is, singing gives me a way to say it out loud.

A: Katie: Lyrics usually aren’t the first thing I pay attention to in a song. Songs that really resonate with me usually have a refrain or sentence that roll around in my head for days and strike me with a powerful emotion. Lately when I’ve been writing new material I try to imagine myself singing the song a million times and not getting tired of it, and writing lyrics that capture simple statements or emotions that other people can relate to.

Q: When things go downhill, such as your music, friendships, etc., how do you handle that?

A: Sav: I’ve always tried to make a point to appreciate where I am, no matter how difficult it is.  There’s something to take away from everything, good or bad, and it makes you a stronger person.  If stuff is really going downhill, though….well, our band motto is to “ask for what you need,” and this band is really good about supporting and helping each other, so I usually turn to Katie and Michael and our tour manager, Amber, for advice.

A: Katie: I have a tendency to avoid conflict and confrontation, so sometimes I ignore things that are difficult instead of dealing with them. This year I’ve been focusing on open communication and honesty with myself and others. It can be a really hard to find a balance between touring, family, friends, relationships, business..etc.. but it really helps once you put everything into perspective.

Q: As an artist, how would you define success?

A: Sav: I think success is different for everyone.  Personally, I just want to get to the point where I break a guitar string on stage and someone runs out and hands me a restrung, freshly tuned guitar.  I saw it at a Brandi Carlile concert once.  That’s my dream.

A: Katie: At the end of my career, I want to have tried everything once. Especially crowd surfing in a giant bubble. I think that’s really all I want.

Q: What are some of your pet peeves?

A: Sav: My biggest pet peeve is when there’s a dog and I’m not allowed to pet it or we don’t have time to go pet it cause we have to load in to a show.  Also, I get unreasonably frustrated when all the gear doesn’t fit exactly the way I want it to in the back of the van.  My mind is a constant Tetris game…sometimes I lose.

A: Katie: One time we were headlining a show at a venue, but we weren’t allowed to be in the building after soundcheck because we weren’t 21. Waiting in the van wasn’t horrible (we just read for 3 hours), but I couldn’t bring the hummus and pita out that I ordered. I don’t get annoyed very often but when I’m denied hummus it’s pretty annoying.

Q: What inspired you to make music together?

A: Sav: The Moxies were a huge inspiration, and we had a lot of other Michigan musicians who took us under their wing and taught us to be better musicians (and people, for that matter).  Bands like The Appleseed Collective, Blake Elliott, E Minor, The Crane Wives, Seth and May, The Ragbirds, and countless others showed us that a career in music is totally attainable – with lots of hard work, but it’s been 100% worth it.  When I met Katie, there was kind of this instant musical connection, too, and I think that’s really rare to find somebody like that so early.  I consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have found each other, surrounded with support.

A: Katie: When Sav and I were in our public high school orchestra program, a duo called The Moxie Strings did a workshop with our class. They taught us about improvisation, different styles, and electric instruments. They were a huge inspiration when we formed the band.

Q: What’s the hardest thing your band has been through?

A: Sav:  We’re a handful of young people touring across the country, not yet 21, and it’s sometimes hard to be taken seriously.  Every once in a while, I feel like we’re pushing through a wave of stereotypes.  The best thing we can do in that situation is to set the new standard.  We leave places as clean as they were when we got there; hook the sound guy and people working at the venue with merchandise before we leave; keep soundcheck quick and to the point; and if there’s other bands playing after us, we make time to get off the stage so they can start on time.  The easiest thing you can do is be kind and considerate, and it goes a long way.

A: Katie: I think that the hardest thing is keeping strong when little things start to break you down. We’ve had some weeks where it seems everything that went wrong did, (bursting tires on the highway, files not uploading in time, getting lost). When you add high stress, no sleep, and lots of emotions to the mix, it can be really challenging to survive a normal week. Luckily we all find different times to break down so we can support each other!

Q: What do you wish you had known before becoming a band?

A: Sav: I agree with Kate.  I should’ve practiced driving a gigantic van around before we hit the road full time…that would’ve been good to know.

A: Katie: Definitely wish I would have learned how to drive before we started the band! It took me a lot of practice, and since we were so busy touring it took me forever to get my driver’s license. It would definitely come in handy, but luckily we travel with some pretty amazing drivers who transport us while I nap lazily in the backseat. 🙂

Q: What were you guys doing before you became a band?

A: Sav: I played 14 years of really intense travel soccer before I met Katie.  It was actually perfect timing, since I injured my knee pretty badly and wasn’t sure if I could continue playing for a while…and then the coolest cellist ever kind of popped into my life.  I’d say it worked out pretty awesome.

A: Katie: We started the band while I was a sophomore in high school. Before we started the band I was involved in orchestra, jazz band, theater, film, and lots of nerdy academic stuff at school.

Q: What bands/singers do you admire?

A: Sav:

a.) Rubblebucket, because their music makes me happy NO MATTER WHAT.
b.)  Punch Brothers, because they’re bluegrass magicians.
c.) Radiohead, because everything they do sounds AWESOME.
d.) Foo Fighters, because they’re always rocking out and having fun.
e.) Rob Moose, because that guy does everything (producing, scoring, playing violin, being cool).
f.) Ben Folds, because he tries everything without hesitation.
g.) Queen, because they were one of the best bands ever, hands down.  Seriously, who doesn’t love Queen?!
A: Katie: Kimya Dawson, St. Vincent, Alabama Shakes (Brittany Howard)
Q: Who are your non-musical influences?

A: Sav:

a.) Chuck Klosterman, a fantastic author who went on CBS and confused everyone with his genius before they even had their coffee.
b.) Michael Chabon, another fantastic author who wrote the amazing piece of artwork that is The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.
c.) Jon Stewart, because he’s a hilarious animal-loving dork.
d.) Ferris Beuller (you never said he/she couldn’t be a fictional character.  Wait…does he play clarinet? Crap.).
e.) Nadia Sirota. Okay, I’m cheating, she’s an amazing viola player in yMusic. BUT I bring her up because she does an amazing podcast called Meet the Composer that interviews all these amazing composers about their lives and what they do, and it just won the Peabody awards, and I love her and she’s really cool. Rant over.
A: Katie: Tim Burton, Lena Dunham, Carrie Brownstein
Check this creative band out in your spare time, you won’t regret it!
Contact information:
FB: The Accidentals
Twitter: @moreaccidentals
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