Copper & Congress’ “Fault Line”

September 12, 2014 |
Copper & Congress  Photo: Jimi Giannatti

Copper & Congress
Photo: Jimi Giannatti

Vocals by a siren/oracle, a perfect balance of bass and understated drumming comprise Copper and Congress’ sound and the trio of amazing musicians conjure magic on Fault Line.

There’s glorious, haunting sparseness – a sparseness that is just one element constituting the album’s many auditory seductions. There’s exquisite, measured tension and release that teeters and edges and splashes and dives into soulful, jazzy bliss. The moody album is beautifully recorded and produced and reflects the live performances with its dark, wry emotional pull.

Copper and Congress celebrates its sophomore release on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Flycatcher, 340 E. 6th St., with Sweet Ghosts and Steff and the Articles joining the bill. The show starts at 9 p.m.

Singer Katie Haverly discusses the album, the band’s history and upcoming tour in the following Q&A.

According to the band’s website, (bassist) Patrick Morris is a Tucson native, you hail from upstate New York and (drummer) Julius Schlosburg comes from Baltimore. How long have you two non-natives been in Tucson and what brought you two here?

I have been in Tucson for about three years now and Julius the same. I just got back from traveling for about six months around the world and settled on Tucson with my ex. Julius’s girlfriend was accepted into a graduate program at U of A and that’s why he is here.

How/when did the three of you coalesce into Copper & Congress? What drew the three of you together?

(Bassist) Patrick Morris and I started playing together about two and a half years ago from an open mic night encounter. Julius auditioned for the band about a year ago after we lost our original drummer. We all vibed musically and were serious about making this band a priority.

The album sounds great! Clean without coming off as over produced. It is very true to the live shows. What drew the band to recording at Wavelab? How long was the process – from songwriting, to recording, mixing to pressing and release?

Thanks! We recorded our first album at Wavelab and loved the selection of instruments and equipment there. We figured the second time we would be familiar with the space/process and feel comfortable creating there. This album has been about a year in the making. We spent about 10 days recording in the studio over three different sessions starting in January, mixing for another four to five days and then mastering. The songs were composed over the last year and a half, we were writing still even as we were in the studio so we were capturing the newest compositions while they were fresh.

What are the band members’ musical backgrounds? Was there formal schooling, self-taught, etc? How long has everyone been playing music? Looks like everyone is a multi-instrumentalist!

I started playing guitar about 20 years ago, and have been singing ever since I was a child – starting in choirs, musicals, etc. I wrote my first song in college and was self-taught in every way. I have been recording and performing as a singer songwriter for the last 17 years and have three solo records that I recorded before the incarnation of this band. I’ve been playing the keyboard avidly for about two years now.

Patrick started on the piano when he was 8, and picked up the bass when he was 12, so he’s been playing bass for about 11 years. He was classically trained in marimba and vibraphone while in high school and toured Europe with the Arizona Ambassadors playing orchestral music when he was 15. He’s played in metal bands, fusion groups, jazz ensembles, and studied with bassists Victor Wooten, Chuck Rainey, and Anthony Wellington.

Julius has been playing drums for about 15 years. He has had training from several teachers on and off for most of that time, and was a member of a jazz trio in Baltimore. He’s also been a part of several Maryland and Tucson rock bands over the years.

Copper & Congress  Photo: Jimi Giannatti

Copper & Congress
Photo: Jimi Giannatti

What different influences do the members bring to the table? What bands/artists would you say Copper & Congress rips off the most?

We are all coming from different musical backgrounds so it’s pretty interesting to see the spread of genres, although we are all influencing each others tastes at the same time! The artists that I love the most right now are Hiatus Kaiyote and Laura Marling. I’ve always loved especially gifted singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. Patrick is into Robert Glasper, D’Angelo, J Dilla, and Erykah Badu. Julius is into the heavy stuff like Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu Orchestra, etc. I think we probably sound a lot like Portishead, maybe a little Erykah Badu, Hiatus Kaiyote, and Joni Mitchell in there too.

What music styles do the individual band members dig the most and is that reflected in the styles Copper & Congress brings forth?

Patrick listens to a lot of hip-hop and R&B, and Julius is big into the post-bop and jazz fusion scenes, and there is some of that mixed in to our music. I really have gotten a lot more into more groove based music since I met Patrick, but I am always a sucker for the intellectual, emotional beautiful singer songwriter.

Do y’all have day jobs? I ask because I see that the band is on tour in October and November. It’s a wide-ranging tour! From Hermosillo to Seattle! Is the band comprised of road warriors or is the band flying to these different locales?

Yes, as of right now we each have day jobs. I am a certified life coach that primarily works with creative artists, Patrick works at a music store, and Julius works in IT. We’re definitely road warriors. We love to get to see the different environments and beautiful ecosystems of the country we live in while traveling to play music! Also flying is hideously expensive with gear.

The album’s liner notes show that you wrote all of the songs. Is that inclusive of the lyrics and the music? Is the music scribing a collaborative process?

Most of the songs on this record I wrote the music and lyrics for except Deja Vu where Rey contributed the lyrics for his verse and Patrick came up with the chord progressions and feel. Whenever I write a song and present it to the band though, it is always open to change and reformation. I love collaborating on arrangement and feel and the guys always have a lot of interesting and worthwhile ideas.

What kind of mood/state are you in when you write? What inspires your songs?

I think the mood/state depends on the song. I am the type of person that feels things very deeply and really love to observe people and the environment I’m in. So often the combination of these two traits leads me to impulses and ideas I want to express through music and words to process a feeling, experience, realization or observation. Recently I have become very interested in the idea of vibrationally emitting messages that affect our audience in a very positive, nurturing, uplifting and informed way and my writing is tending to lean in that direction instead of the deeply personal and exposing songs I have often written in the past. Writing helps me process what it means to be human in a deeply satisfying way

How often does the band practice and gig?

We try and get together at least once a week to shed old material and work on new stuff. Often though we will practice four or five times in a week if we don’t have any gigs lined up. Usually we have at least four gigs a month regionally.

What else would you like to share?

Just that we love each other and we love the gift of music and the opportunity to share it with others. It is truly a lifelong path for each of us and we feel so blessed to have found each other and to have the chance to share what we are learning.

More information on Copper and Congress is at The Saturday, Sept. 13 show details are on Facebook here.

Copper & Congress  Photo: Jimi Giannatti

Copper & Congress
Photo: Jimi Giannatti