A little bit rock and roll, a little bit folk-pop, a little bit Paul Simon is the only way to describe this week’s Band of the Week, The Hereafter. This Los Angeles-based band is an off-beat concoction of guest musicians and field recordings woven together by two multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist best friends to create a peaceful, fun, and upbeat sound with a sense of humour.
John Elliott and Andy Featherston are musical artists from Plymouth, Minnesota who have been making music together since their days in sixth grade choir class. They were both in several high school musicals together and shared the same guitar teacher. College saw John start to take his songwriting and musical career seriously — he was in two short-lived power-pop groups, Snack and Gingerale. Andy, however, began making visual art and ceramics.
They never considered playing music together until John, while home for Christmas, gave Andy his CD, Minnesota. After giving it a good listen and a bit of thought, Andy, who had been teaching himself drums, began arranging percussion for John’s songs and The Hereafter was born.
John, the frontman and driving force behind The Hereafter, recently agreed to an interview with me. With an obvious social conscience and a gentle sense of humour, John is a relaxed, easy-going guy who is easy to laugh with. After much talk about the real meaning of the word vagina, the “Master Cleanser” diet, and the musician John Mayer, we had the following conversation.
How did you get the name The Hereafter?
Andy went through the dictionary and found The Hereafter. Naming a band is very hard. He had a number of things he liked and that one really stuck.
When did you and Andy really start playing together seriously?
We started playing seriously in July, 2003 when Andy moved out here from Minnesota. At that point, I'd been doing the singer/songwriter thing for awhile.
Is that when you really solidified as a band?
Given the way you phrased that question, I'd say we didn't really solidify as a band until very recently. It wasn't until this year that we figured out we were the core of the project and we really figured out how to play together. I think.
The Hereafter is essentially just you and Andy correct? Who else plays and when?
Yes, The Hereafter is essentially me and Andy. Sometimes I play alone - like this summer [John had a solo tour of several Eastern states this summer] - sometimes it's the two of us, and we just recently started playing with a bass player/multi-instrumentalist named Bryan, who we love. He plays bass on a couple songs on the album and he's great. A great player and the greatest guy.