Please list all of your group members and their roles in the group.
So, the group is Josh Sullivan, who plays guitar, bass (on recordings), and records/mixes all our songs, me (Phlecia Sullivan) on vocals, and Nathan Riddle plays drums. Josh and I write all the music and lyrics. The two of us also book all the band’s shows and run the websites etc.
For starters, what groups were you a part of prior to Year of October? How long has the band been around?
Year of October is the first official group that I’ve been a part of. I grew up playing in church and singing in groups but nothing where we wrote the music. Year of October has been a band for the past 7 years.
Josh grew up playing in a lot of different bands including his high school punk band Scenic View. He was also in an indie rock band in college called the Estates General and a blues trio called the Pistol Report.
Nathan played in By Summer’s End, Weaker Captain, and the Shining. He also still plays with Olivia Albertson.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the name before?
Josh and I started the band with just the two of us playing acoustic songs. We were writing music that was more folk that we are now and to me it just felt like that campfire feeling year around. I came up with the name fully thinking that Josh wouldn’t like it but he did. Our music has changed a lot since then but the name has stuck.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Since the beginning, it’s always been me and Josh writing the songs. It’s a truly collaborative process that we try and work on every day. It is a very frustrating and rewarding experience. There are a lot of times when one of us will have an idea and then the other one will come up with something and take it in a different direction.
One of the main topics in our music is overcoming one's’ obstacles. We both work full-time jobs and do the band on nights and weekends. On our new record “Trouble Comes” it took us well over a year and a half to finish the recording and I believe that the lyrics reflect our feelings towards our own struggles. We write stories that we want the listener to interpret their own way and to make the song their own.
I’ve seen our themes change over time but it’s not something that we consciously do. We always try and come at a new song from a fresh place and we try to write as organically as possible. We read a lot of books and watch as many films as we can and we are often inspired from these other mediums.
What groups are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Our musical background is very diverse. We listen to a little bit of everything but mainly gravitate towards classic rock like Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. I’ve been listening to a lot of Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Our music has a lot of different elements from a diverse array of artists and we try and listen to as much music as we can. As of late Josh has been really into Queens of the Stone Age, All Them Witches, and the latest D’Angelo record. He’s been into a lot more stoner rock lately and that has influenced his playing and producing. I’ve also been into folk music like Neil Young and that has influenced my singing and song writing. We are always looking for new artists and trying to come at our music from a new perspective.
Was there a particular artist or concert that inspired you to start your career?
Not really, I think I’ve always wanted to sing and perform. I’ve loved Norah Jones for forever but I wanted to be a singer ever since I was a little kid.
Josh started his first band when he was fifteen and he says that he was inspired from listening to Led Zeppelin and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to start the band. They started off playing Weezer and Green Day covers before writing their own music.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc.
I always make sure I have a glass of water and I stretch out my neck and get my vocal chords warmed up a bit. It’s important for me to do this so that I don’t strain my voice. I also go through the set list to make sure I know what’s going on. I’m in charge of writing the set for Josh and Nathan so I just double check it for everybody and check to see that we’re all on the same page.
Josh said that he stretches out his fingers before he plays and tries to get warmed up on guitar a bit. While we’re getting set up he runs some quick chords and scales while he’s unplugged just to make sure that he’s good to go.
What has been the biggest highlight of Year of October's career so far?
Playing the Mercy Lounge about two years ago with all our friends from Paducah, KY was an absolute blast. I’d say that was our best show yet and it was awesome. It was an 8 off 8th at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville, TN where they have 8 bands play in the night. Everybody gets a fifteen-minute set and the place was absolutely packed. All the bands were great and it was a fantastic night. We’ve had a lot of great shows in the past few years but that one really stuck out to me.
If you could tour with any artist, past or present, who would they be and why?
For me it would be Norah Jones because she’s my favorite artist. It would be amazing to get to go on tour with her and play on the same stage as her every night. She’s such a great performer and the two times that I’ve seen her play she was amazing. She has such a great body of work and I she is someone that I really look up to musically.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
You can preorder our new record, Trouble Comes, at www.yearofoctober.bandcamp.com and you can keep up to date with our music and shows at www.yearofoctober.com Also keep an eye out for our new music video for “Come & Get It”.