Richie James Follin (far right in that .jpg) has been in a few bands in his time – most notably The Willowz, Cults, and – the current project – Guards. Developed from a desire to just write some songs, Guards stands today as a three-piece – Richie, Ted Humphrey, and Kaylie Church. They’re a Brooklyn-based band making serious (and deserved) impressions with their debut record In Guards We Trust – a strong dozen tracks released this week that transcends genre and influence . The resulting work is one of the most solid and noteworthy debuts in a while.
We got in touch with frontman Richie James Follin during the hectic release week schedule for a discussion on visual aesthetics, music for change, and lazy journalistic comparisons.
The record is out there – no reversing that. What are you most excited and scared about in that?
I’m excited to go play these songs for people and scared to not have as many people as possible hear the record.
While the mouth in the “Silver Lining” clip actually terrifies me, the aesthetics of your videos are insane. Where do you draw the inspiration from for your visuals?
Our twisted minds…and films and art we love.
Richie, do you feel a kindred connection with Solange Knowles over this whole “your sister does music, too!” thing that everyone likes to discuss? (For the record, Solange would sound wicked on “Can’t Repair,” if you ever choose to collab)
Haha No. I cannot even imagine thinking of our situations as comparable…Janet made it work with Michael though…she has a shot. I don’t read people comparing Solange to her sister that often…probably because people realize how ridiculous that is to do. We still have some critics working that out with us though…they will figure it out.
“Ready To Go” is a massive song. If you could place it in any scene of any movie, which one would you go for?
Good question! I would love to hear the song in Toy Story 4…in a love scene with Woody.
The way you take the amalgam of influences and make them sound so modern and original is quite respectable. What musicians out there currently do you think handle varying inspirations without sounding too derivative?
I feel like MGMT, Tame Impala, and Cults do a pretty good job of it.
You’ve become quite the prolific songwriter. Very tough question – but which song are you most proud of?
I don’t want to get into all the projects, but in my old band Willowz I would say “Break Your Back,” “Equation #6,” “Ulcer Soul,” “Evil Son”…and I am pretty happy with all of In Guards We Trust.
You did a video with us at SXSW a few years back. Three parts to this. One – Thanks. Two – We apologize if you received any injuries from climbing that fence. Three – What is it about music and social movements that go so inherently together?
I guess how passionately people feel about them…I think it’s all about good intentions with everyone involved, and it’s such an open platform between people with so much room for communication between the musician and fans that it’s almost necessary to help push messages through in this amazing outlet you have being an entertainer.
You read it. The biggest fear is people not hearing the record. LET’S HELP THAT FEAR BE NULLIFIED.