Sons of Fathers Residency
A month of Tuesdays at the Mohawk begins tonight
By William Harries Graham, 3:30PM, Tue. Jan. 14
David Beck and Paul Cauthen banded together to play their first Sons of Fathers gig in October 2010. The frontmen met in San Marcos when they showed up at a new club for a gig. They admit to being competitors first, vying for local gigs. Many an ATX music act would kill for the group’s month-long residency at the Mohawk beginning tonight.
The future co-bandleaders kept running into each other and decided to work together in the studio, first producing Marshall Anderson’s A Tyrant’s Plea. The duo found the musical spark they’d both been looking for.
“We have the the same drive and same musical tastes,” says Beck.
Austin Chronicle: Tell me about the Mohawk residency?
Paul Cauthen: We’ve decided to do residencies before tours to play for local fans and show our homebase what we’ve got cooking up.
David Beck: That inside room at the Mohawk is such a great space to listen to music. I’ve been moved by every show I’ve seen there, because of the way that it sounds and it’s an intimate room. We’ve got a lot of new songs that we need to cut our teeth on before we go back on tour. We’re also excited about the openers lined up. They’re all very talented writers. We know we’ll be inspired and feel like we have to step up.
AC: What are your plans for 2014?
PC: After South by Southwest, we’ll go to the West Coast and Canada in late March. Then we want to go to Europe.
DB: We’ll probably be gone on tour all year. This Mohawk residency is our time to play for Austin.
AC: After playing to many different kinds of audiences, how do you guys categorize your music?
PC: Americana Indie Rock – we rock out harder than most. We’re the chameleon in the room.
AC: What’s influencing your music lately?
DB: Specific records that came out after our first record by groups we like: Fleet Foxes, Black Keys, Arcade Fire, and music like that. Tonality-wise, those records widened the borders so far for us. Our overall writing is influenced by what we grew up on and then we’ve adapted to a newer sound.
PC: We liked how those bands weren’t scared.
AC: What are your earliest memories of music?
PC: Johnny Cash doing “Red Headed Stranger.” My dad listened to a lot of Eagles, too. My grandfather gave me my first acoustic guitar when I was 6.
DB: The song that first stuck for me was Dylan’s “Man Gave Names to all of the Animals,” and my dad playing records around the house.
AC: What’s your duo writing process like?
PC: We have a writing room in East Austin and we just bring ideas and work away at it. We often write a song in 30 minutes. It’s part of the magical element we have of working together. That doesn’t happen when I write with other people.
DB: For the majority of our songs, we bring in ideas and finish them together.
AC: Where are each of your from?
PC: Tyler, Texas. You can’t stay out past midnight there, but I love the East Texans for what they are.
DB: East Texas spurs a lot of musicians and I think it’s like a backlash – in a good way. I grew up in San Marcos. For a small town, it’s got a ton of musicians and its own scene.
AC: Sons of Fathers is famous for your harmonies. Does that take a lot of work?
PC: That’s one of the main magical elements that we can’t really explain. Harmonies are the least thing that we work on. The harmonies come natural.
DB: That’s why we do this. If we have to work too long on a song, we usually scrap it. We’re a natural fit.
AC: What’s it been like since you started?
DB: It’s been a pretty steady rise from when we first played coffee shops to four people and singing as hard as we could. We’ve had a steady growth that has not slowed down.
PC: In 2013, we played Bonnoroo, ACL, and the Grand Ole Opry three times. We’ve done things that some people only dream of. But there are barriers that we have to break through to get to another level of success. We’re on the cusp of becoming known worldwide rather than nationwide.
AC: What’s producing like?
PC: It’s been great. We have a studio called Fast Horse Studios and have produced about 10 records. It works a different part of your brain. Every record we do is better and better sonically.
DB: You get away from your own songs. You get a ton of ideas that you can use later. We keep in practice at being in the studio because we’re always there.
AC: What was it like having Lloyd Maines produce your first releases?
PC: He keeps you within the lines, which an artist needs.
DB: He knows exactly what’s he doing. He gets on a pace and keeps you from over analyzing. He really knows how to pull it out of artists.
AC: What was your breakout moment?
PC: When we played World Cafe in Philadelphia to a half-million listeners. It’s like leaving a voicemail for half of the country, except you can’t press erase and re-record.
DB: It was the first national tour we did and had just started working with our manager Martin Schwartz. Before that we had just been playing tiny honky-tonks. We were so nervous about that show. Now we’ve a hundred things like that. It’s pretty crazy.