Interview: The Accidentals Are Young, But Old Pros
Two-thirds of the Accidentals aren't even legally old enough to drink yet, but their musical resumes are the stuff that many an artist only dreams of: three original albums; guest spots on multiple other projects; two film scores; song placements in commercials and documentaries; hundreds of live shows, including opening spots with, among others, Brandi Carlile and Carbon Leaf ... and much of this while they were still in high school.
"It still blows my mind how many things we did before we graduated from high school," Katie Larson tells The Boot, attributing many of the opportunities to the "really great scene" in her hometown of Traverse City, Mich. "[They were] organic opportunities that came from one thing to another thing to another thing, and we basically spent a lot of time saying 'yes.'"
Larson and Savannah "Sav" Buist met in high school; Larson was 15, and Buist was 16 (they're now both 20). Officially, they first worked together on an assignment, but they both remember wanting to be friends even before that.
"I was like, 'Man, I want to be friends with that girl, but I don't know how, because I'm super introverted!'" Buist acknowledges, recalling two things that stood out about her now-bandmate: "'Wow, that girl has a lot of hair!'" and "the crazy jacket that she was wearing."
Larson, meanwhile, admired Buist's blue violin.
"First of all, it was blue, and that blew me away," Larson says, "and she would always ask our orchestra teacher to come over and help her tune it because she needed it for a gig. And I was like, 'Oh my god, this girl, she has a gig? That's so cool!'"
Following their few years as a duo, from 2011 until 2014, Buist and Larson added drummer Michael Dause, now 21, to their now-trio. They'd met him at a music festival (at which Dause was playing guitar), got to know him as a person and liked him as a musician, and stayed in touch -- but they had no idea he played drums until he asked if he could add drums to one of their songs.
"And I was like, 'What, you play drums?! We're looking for a drummer, Michael!'" Buist recounts with a laugh. "He had been a fan of us before he even joined the band, so he knew all our songs already, and he was really good."
As one might expect, the Accidentals' music has matured and evolved from their early days together, thanks in part to the addition of Dause and partially to Buist and Larson's desire to "just try everything."
"We're always trying stuff that's outside of our comfort zone," Buist explains, "because once you get more tools in your tool belt, then you have more to work with and more to try and grow with."
They've grown as people, too. Both Buist and Larson speak often about being shy, though it's hard to believe that they're really as introverted as they say while watching them perform or listening to them field questions back and forth during an interview. Still, both young women say it's not that their shyness has gone away, it's that they're better at coping with it.
"A lot of people think that music is just, you show up and plug in your stuff and play, and it's so much more than that ... running your own business, having to connect with people all the time," Buist admits. "[Being in a band] has really forced us, in a good way, to become extroverts and get outside of our comfort zone and become not only better musicians but better people."
Having each other to lean on helps as well.
After working for a couple of years with ILO, a production company owned by songwriter Marshall Crenshaw and Grammy-winning engineer and producer Stewart Lerman, the Accidentals are preparing to release an independent EP, Parking Lot, on June 1; the disc's first single, "Michigan and Again," is available for download on Bandcamp, and readers can watch the accompanying music video below. They hope to follow that project with a full-length album by the end of 2016.
"[The EP] really sums up what we do in a couple of songs," the Accidentals say, "and an album [will do] an even better job of that."
The trio has numerous shows booked in the coming months, including a plethora of festival dates. They're heavily active on social media as well, so fans can stay up to date (at an almost up-to-the-minute pace) with the Accidentals on Facebook and Twitter.
Watch the Accidentals' "Michigan and Again" Music Video
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