Blue Healer describe their sound as “pop music with teeth.” There’s no bubblegum here, but plenty of shimmering strains to brighten the harshest of days. Plus some rock ‘n’ roll to add roots. The Austin trio formed in 2015 out of the wreckage of the americana folk band, Sons of Fathers.
“Everyone was sort of left flying through the universe like an asteroid in a million pieces,” says drummer Dees Stribling. It took some deliberation and a serendipitous run-in with keyboardist and vocalist, Bryan Mammel, for fate to bring the guys back together in the form of Blue Healer. When vocalist and upright bass player David Beck stumbled upon a Roland Juno 106 keyboard at a Goodwill auction in San Marcos shortly after, the sound and direction of the band was sealed.
Sound Dessert spoke with Blue Healer about their new music, their most animalistic behaviors, and getting a demo CD into Obama’s hands. See them play Stubb’s Austin this Friday, March 4th and look for their debut album dropping later this year.
Sound Dessert: On the single “Luminescent Eyes” you sing of being “like an animal.” What are some of Blue Healer’s most ‘animal’ behaviors?
David Beck (Vocals, Upright Bass): Animal behaviors include the following but are not limited to: water hose bathing, mating calls, rolling around in the dirt, consuming an entire rotisserie chicken in two minutes without silverware, and sleeping comfortably on a nest of dirty clothes in the back of the van.
SD: What was the best part of filming the “Luminescent Eyes” video at the zoo?
Bryan Mammel: How can one pick a favorite zoo moment? The whole day was a throwback to being seven years old and going on an adventure, except we were hung-over this time. The hippos were the coolest. But feeding the parrots in the aviary might have been the best, they wouldn’t leave Dees alone.
SD: Being Austin locals, what’s your approach to SXSW? What are you looking forward to at this year’s festival?
Bryan: As musicians, you pretty much just hang on tight and do as much as you can. Also, President Obama and the First Lady were just announced as keynote speakers this year, so it’s going to be a particularly rowdy time. I wonder if anyone will be able to get their demo CD into Obama’s hands – could be a good look.
I wonder if anyone [at SXSW] will be able to get their demo CD into Obama’s hands – could be a good look.
Dees Stribling: Recently we’ve taken to collecting hats on the dashboard of the van. We definitely always have a basketball, and shoes. The other day we counted six pairs of basketball shoes in the van.
SD: Outside of music, do you have other creative pursuits?
Bryan: We’ve started playing basketball as a band. We’ll take on any other band that wants to get a game on, but we’re a long way from being good enough to charge an admission to those games.
SD: When you’re on the road touring, what are your go-to gas station buys?
David: Topo Chico. It’s carbonated mineral water straight from Mexico, glass bottles only. Other than that, the occasional elaborate dragon figurine, personalized keychains, and those cool knives that are also brass knuckles: good to have on the backstreets of Tampa.
SD: What’s the biggest takeaway you hope fans have from listening to the new album?
David: Well, we put a lot of love and good vibes in this record. The songs were deconstructed, taken for what they were and built back up with care, lots of coffee and good old fashioned manual labor. I hope the fans take whatever good they can from the record, if its in the words, or the grooves, or the unique sounds we put together, everyone hears it differently. It bounces off the walls of personal history and dreams of the future.
Featured image: courtesy of Big Picture Media
Content images via Blue Healer