New Artist Spotlight: The Farm Find Their “Home” as a Trio

In this exclusive feature interview, get to know Elektra Nashville newcomers The Farm. The trio has just released their debut single “Home Sweet Home” and you can learn more about the band, a band to watch for 2012, here.

Matt: Let’s start off with a little background on each of you. How did you come to be in Nashville making music?

Krista Marie: Well, I’ve been singing and performing my entire life and I came from LA and it was my second to last stop on the train. I tried to focus on music but I had to do something to pay the bills and unfortunately music wasn’t it. I’d write at night but I was a certified stunt girl during the day but one day I decided to pack up my truck and dog and then signed in 2007 with EMI. Gary Overton (now Sony Nashville’s label President) and then I signed with Broken Bow Records and had a couple of singles there before I met the boys. And we certainly never intended to start a group together but we wanted to get together and write. Damien and I had met and I was a fan of his solo career and then we met Nick and wrote together and the first song we actually wrote together, “Home Sweet Home,” is our first single.

Damien Horne: Well, I’m originally from Hickory, North Carolina and have a huge family. I’ve always had a Jones for playing music, all kinds of music. So as soon as I graduated from high school, I packed up everything I had and moved to LA, like Krista. She’s right; you get there and have big dreams of grandeur but then learn it’s more about survival. So I actually ended up homeless there for a couple of years just trying to live so I didn’t really do any music for those years and I finally got enough money together to get back to North Carolina, with my tail between my legs, so to speak. So I tried to do the college thing for a semester but felt like it wasn’t for me. I still had the itch to play music and was in a band called Stellar Tree, performing and getting bigger crowds and heard from people there that said “you need to move where people can hear you,” so we actually flipped a coin as to where to go, either Austin or Nashville and the coin landed on Nashville and we packed our stuff together in our cars and moved here, sleeping in our cars for a couple weeks, always hanging out on Second Avenue.

Probably after those couple of weeks this one little dude with a black cowboy hat and a handle bar moustache walks up and says “that’s pretty good, play me somethin’ else!” so we played something else and he took out a guitar and jammed with us a bit. It was John Rich. He said “man, we got this thing called Muzik Mafia where friends just get together and play, you can play there and don’t have to play out in the cold. So through that, I met Big Kenny and eventually a couple of years later got a publishing deal through him and worked on my solo project, which Big Kenny produced, and toured with the Muzik Mafia and later started touring with John Legend which happened to be right around the time I started writing with The Farm and the time came to choose one and here we are.

Nick Hoffman: I’m from Nowthen, Minnesota, there’s an intersection in the town, with an implement dealership which sells tractors, a church, a house and a store, and a guy who lives in the house owns all three. There’s about 40 people in the town. So there wasn’t a whole lot to do there and my grandparents were musical so we played music. I don’t remember not playing the fiddle – I always played it from the time I was four. So, I grew up playing the fiddle with my grandfather who played the fiddle and my grandmother who played Piano. We played Scandinavian songs and old-time country songs on fiddle and stuff. So, for me, I knew moving to Nashville was going to be inevitable. It’s all I could think about from the time I was 10. So I ran away from home when I was barely seventeen to Branson, Missouri. I went down there and struggled for a while and that journey ended up sending me here to Nashville in January, 2000. So I moved here finally getting to realize the dream that started with me as a kid pretending to be Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry. So that was inevitable for me.

Matt: It sounds like something comedians say about how getting to the Tonight Show or something was having the dream come true…

Nick: Absolutely. What we’re doing here is just my dream coming to fruition, really.

Matt: So you guys met at a songwriting session?

 Damien: Yes, the first time all three of us together in a room was through each other

Nick: We had known of each other in town and I hadn’t met Krista, quite yet and a mutual friend thought that we would work well together.

Krista: It’s kinda funny because really it feels like a twist of fate, given our schedules at the time. Nick was on the road with Chesney (playing fiddle for him), Damien was on the road and I was on the road. So the fact that we got together was pretty much fate. In Nashville, people blow off writing dates all of the time so the fact that we actually got together…

Nick: Yeah and the fact that we wrote a good song that first time out was special because we were proud of it. Because lord knows that as writers when you meet someone, you don’t always write something great…

Damien: Yeah, because if you don’t write well with with somebody, you probably aren’t gonna wanna try to write together again…

Nick: So it was fated that we wrote something that made us not want to write again…

Krista: And again, and again and again…

Nick: And one song leads to another and we cut demos and people asked us if we were are group, and we’re like “no, no”…

Krista: Just recording, doing some demos and writing together.

Matt: well from a writing pitch stand-point it seems perfect because you could write male leads, female leads, or group demos for groups, like publishers would want…

Nick: And what we did with when we wrote the first song is that we sang it together, switching off vocal leads. The reason for that was because they started singing the verses together and then I came in with the chorus idea. So it ended up being a multiple lead singer song, which doesn’t happen very often. It was all really organic.

Matt: Didn’t you bring your fiddle into that session?

Nick: Yeah, and in another ironic twist, the other guy in the room was our friend Danny Myrick and he ended up co-producing our record with us. And since there were 3 guitars sitting there, I had my fiddle with me and I brought it out since there was no need for a fourth guitar. So we started writing around the fiddle hook.

Matt: So it wasn’t long before y’all realized something was special here?

Damien: Yeah, Totally. After writing something we were proud of, we were like ‘lets do it again’ and the group thing happened after that. People kept putting the idea for the group in our heads, it sort of gets you thinking about it.

Krista: And we did a demo too. That’s when I think it started to click with us and sounded cool and fresh, with three-part harmony and distinct voices.

Nick: I got home and talked with my wife. She said “how did it go today?” and I said, “You oughta hear the three of us sing together.” Meaning, it was just fun to sing together as the three of us. I was struck with that. It was just fun.

Krista: Musically, it was fun. Fun to write, fun to sing together and there’s an energy when we play together. There’s something there that is organic. Nick comes in with his fiddle and we feed of that energy and then I feed off the energy of singing with Damien. 

Matt: Kinda like Big & Rich, In a way, where dynamic different singers get together…

Damien: Definitely, those dynamics are special…

Krista: Yeah, it’s like that yin and the yang working together to create something magical.

Matt: How long was it before you were getting a chance to meet with labels?

Nick: It was probably seven or eight months after we first wrote. So after cutting the demos together, we thought about maybe giving it a shot so we went into the studio and record three mastered songs and see what happens. We concentrated on those three songs, “Home Sweet Home” was one of ‘em and then we thought, ‘alright, this is pretty cool’ and we played out for labels at that point.

Krista: Actually, the only label we played for was Warner Brothers. Our manager Marc Oswald put us in a room out at the Fontanel mansion and John Esposito was there and then we played for him and it ended up being an all night event.

Nick: We played for him and it was a jam session…

Krista: Yeah, and he jammed with us too, did you know he played?

Matt: No, I didn’t know that but I was invited to a Ty Stone show with Kid Rock and saw him stay through most of Kid Rock’s set too…

Nick: Well, he’s a music lover and that night of our showcase, we sat there passing the guitar around with about 12 of us until around 2 am. It was a very special night.

Matt: How would you describe your time in the studio together?

Krista: It was a little trial and error to figure each other out but I think with Danny Myrick and Nick co-producing, it was really a learning experience…

Nick: it was really an experiment.

Krista: Yeah, that’s a great way to describe it.

Nick: by the time we got in there, we had lots of ideas fleshed out with our demos essentially pre-production. The core of what we were gonna do was there…

Matt: Like who would sing what…

Damien: right, right, right…

Nick: Where experimenting came in was with harmony parts…

Krista: Or beats. Damien is a great vibe guy and he brought in some beats and beat boxes in at one point and…

Nick: Vibes is a great way to describe it too. We tried to bring in something that was atypical of Nashville. One of the ways we did that was that we tracked everything the typical Nashville way but for the experimental process we rented a studio for a couple of weeks, almost rock n roll style and we bounced ideas off of each other. What was cool about it was that we could take our time and if it wasn’t working, we’d move on to something else. It really allowed us to be free to do what we wanted to do and to experiment.

Krista: Another thing we did was that when you typically sign with a label, you then go into a studio and we did it backwards, we didn’t have anybody telling us to do this or that and it was just free reign. So we did what we did and brought it to what happened to be Warner Brothers and that also allowed a lot of open doors for creativity to happen.

Nick: And we did go in and record a few more songs once we were signed but what was cool about that was that we proved to the label that we could do this on our own and we didn’t need to be wrangled and have somebody keep their thumb on us because at that point, the tracks we had made John Esposito and Scott Hendricks and those guys trust us to do what we did. So if we hadn’t done it that way, maybe the music would’ve ended up differently. And you know, it’s really a testament to John Esposito that he trusted us enough to do what we did with the record.

Matt: What do you make of the new digital music world and how do you think things like facebook and twitter will help you as you guys get to know the fans?

Damien: It’s amazing. It’s perfect for us…

Krista: We get to interact…

Damien: Yes, you get to be real interactive and each one of us have gotten that way through our own solo careers and now it’s positive and so great…

Krista: and you get to talk to them on a personal level, worldwide…

Nick: The best thing about it is when you make music, the idea is to share it with people and with the internet, you can share it so much more efficiently with so many more people. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve had to learn to share more thoughts with everyone as I’m not naturally that guy but it’s been great to talk with everyone.

Matt: What do you think it is that has made country music the versatile music genre it’s turned out to be?

Nick: Music evolves period. Country music, itself, in its origins is a blend of blues and jazz and hillbilly music. When it began, it was an evolution of a bunch of different things. Jazz has evolved, rock has evolved, blues has evolved. As long as you’re able to honor the heritage of where country came from while still embracing the evolution of where it’s going, you become part of that evolution. And That’s what’s exciting, to be part of the evolution.

Krista: And a lot of bands have opened the doors today to allow you to do that so it’s not so rigid. And that’s perfect for us, I think that our core is country, no doubt about it, but to be able to draw from other influences allows us to help evolve it…

Matt: I think you guys coming from different parts of the country helps the band as well…

Damien: I think that’s a very good thing too…

Matt: I mean, I grew up in Upstate New York and it’s mostly farms and dairy areas and Nick, you have the same thing in Minnesota and North Carolina has it too. Even a city like Seattle has the same thing too, once you’re out of it. Country really is everywhere, outside of the city.  [Ed note: Krista Marie grew up in Upstate New York as well].

Nick: We are excited to be a part of that evolution and have a deep respect of the heritage of country music too.

Update: The Farm are now going to have their Top 25 and rising hit single “Home Sweet Home” uses as the theme song to 90210 star Jennie Garth’s new CMT Reality series “Jennie Garth: A Little Bit Country:”  Read more about that series here:  http://www.cmt.com/show/jennie_garth/series.jhtml

 

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