Thanks to its reputation for putting on exciting live sets, Brooklyn psych-rock quartet Fruit & Flowers earned a spot on the bill for 2015's edition of Northside Festival — and that was just weeks after actually forming.
Fast forward to today, and the psych-rock band — signed to Tampa's own Cigar City Management — is regarded as one of the hardest working bands in the Big Apple. It enjoys a loyal local following within Brooklyn's DIY scene and is poised to take the show on the road with a new batch of tour dates that takes the band into Canada before swinging through the Midwest en route to Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina before bringing it all back to Philly and Brooklyn. It's a month-long jaunt, and Fruit & Flowers will also have some brand new music to play. Yesterday the band released "Subway Surfer," another single from a forthcoming debut EP, Drug Tax (due June 30 via Little Dickman Records). The band recently premiered Drug Tax's first single, "Out Of Touch," on Brooklyn Vegan.
"The video gives us a peek into their stellar live shows, which are a lot more than a good-time punk rock party," She Shreds wrote in its premiere of the Steven Anselm-directed clip. "FxF’s dead perfect vocal harmonies and guitar interplay clearly displays a band operating with a fully formed idea and a love for their respective instruments."
We caught up with Cigar City Management and frontwoman Ana Becker to talk about the decision to sign the band and what band members — Caroline Yoder (vocals), Ana Becker (guitar), Lyzi Wakefield (guitar) and drummer Jose Berrio filling in as drummer and art director — can expect from them.
See our Q&A, and watch "Subway Surfer," below. Call your local record store to see if it'll carry Drug Tax.
How’d you catch wind of F&F and eventually sign the band? What drew you to them?
Even though we live in Tampa, we've had a foot in the NYC scene since our inception, its like our second home. Fruit & Flowers plays out constantly in Brooklyn, so it was pretty much inevitable that our paths would cross. As luck would have it, they opened for another band we manage, Parrot Dream. It was actually through Parrot Dream's insistence that I started following Fruit & Flowers. Aside from their music, I was drawn to their work ethic. We're always looking to work with bands that are willing to grind, because that's what this industry is about these days. I saw their touring history, heard their plans, and could sense their commitment even after a few short conversations. It took some back and forth, but we clicked and they allowed Cigar City Management into their inner circle. I know there were others vying for them at the time, so I'm honored they chose to work with us.
Ana, what are the band’s expectations of Cigar City Management?
Well we've loved working together so far - input as management has really helped keep us on track, and [Cigar City Managent] has connected us with at least one collaborator so far that we've had a fantastic artistic relationship with (George Harris). Can't wait to see what the future holds and I've got confidence that having them working with us will help us realize our potential.
Talk about the Brooklyn Vegan premiere. How do you set that up and what do you think of the online response?
We've been working with our good friend, Leigh Greaney, from Tell All Your Friends PR. Her and her associate, Rachel Rossen, have become faithful supporters of the band, enthusiastically sharing the band's music and videos across their network. There's a lot planned behind the scenes for the rest of the Drug Tax EP rollout, but we were stoked to get the ball rolling with Brooklyn Vegan. The band is touring all over the U.S., but Brooklyn is very obviously home. We're excited that the "Out of Touch" music video premiered with a publication so closely tied to the Brooklyn scene. Similarly, the response has been amazing. They've gotten some love from NYC blogs like Impose Magazine, The Deli, and Cooldad Music, among others. Without officially releasing any content, Fruit & Flowers made the Oh My Rockness Hardest Working Bands in NYC list last year. So now that the band's music is widely available, you can really see how hungry fans are to finally hear these songs wherever they go. The band is really excited that people are digging the single and music video so far.
What are the chances of seeing that band in Tampa Bay?
I'd say chances are very good. In addition to us, the band has another Tampa Bay connection, as their EP was mixed by George Harris at Creative World Recording in Largo. Also, singer/guitarist Caroline Yoder, actually lived in Tampa when she was in elementary school (at Tampa Palms Elementary). I'd love for the band to develop a cult following here in Tampa, like DTCV has, so we have even more reason to have them come through.