From a big win at last years Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase to a stand-out appearance on the Bike Rack Records Vol.1 Compilation, 2018 proved to be a breakthrough year for Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo. Shindig recently caught up with the band to meet their newest member and discuss what’s up ahead in the coming year.
THE SHINDIG INTERVIEW JAMIE LOU & THE HULLABALOO
SHINDIGMUSIC: 2018 was a pretty big year for Jamie Lou and the Hullabaloo. The band captured the crown at last year’s Arkansas Times showcase, you and Garrett got married, and then you made a big move from the river valley to Northwest Arkansas. What are your expectations for the band for the upcoming year?
JAMIE LOU CONNOLLY: This year has definitely been busy on all fronts. Right now we are prepping for a full Album “Dear Frances”, doing some touring in the mid-west and texas, opening for some of our favorite bands, one of which is Lucero March 13th at Georges Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville. We have also become tighter overall as a band and have started building a lot of infrastructure which I think is smart for any group to do.
SHINDIGMUSIC: 2016’s “Femi-Socialite” EP had a nice blend of indie, folk and alternative sounds. What can people expect from the new record?
JAMIE LOU CONNOLLY: We definitely like to jump genres in our structure and writing of songs. You can expect more noise and tears.
SHINDIGMUSIC: The band has been building quite the reputation for your explosive live shows. Do you feel the band has been misrepresented as something of a roots band when the live shows are showing something far more in tune with a big rock show?
GARRETT BROLUND: I think because of both where we come from geographically, and Jamie’s earlier work people tend to assume we’re a low-key folk rock outfit. I get a kick out of surprising folks with the live set. The word hullabaloo itself means a big noise or ruckus and that has become a large part of our sound, we probably have more in common with Black Sabbath than Joni Mitchell at this point.
SHINDIGMUSIC: We’ve spoken in person about your love of bands like “Husker Du” and “My Bloody Valentine.” Those influences certainly seem to be making their way into the band’s newest material. What can fans of the band expect guitar wise on the upcoming album?
GARRETT BROLUND: Jamie is a very emotional songwriter which lends itself really well to chaos of punk and noise, so those elements are definitely being brought out more with the new record.
There’s a very wide dynamic range in the tunes with a lot of sonic territory to explore. there is definitely no question that this is a rock record. it’s always tough to capture the true power and intensity of a live show in the studio, but we are trying to come as close as we can with Dear Frances. Walls of fuzz. Old tube amps. General wackiness.
SHINDIGMUSIC: You were previously in the band The Sound of the Mountain, how did you end up joining the Hullabaloo?
MATT WHITE: It was common in the River Valley Area to end up playing with various groups or acts since every musician knew one another through the scene. In this case my connection was former band member Blake Reams who played lap steel before the band took on the name Hullabaloo. He and I had been in different bands since High School and when the need for a drummer arose I was his first consideration. I was introduced to the band shortly before Blake Reams moved to Nashville with the band he fronted The Filthy Kind.
SHINDIGMUSIC: You made the move to Northwest Arkansas well before Jamie and Garrett did, what inspired the move and have you noticed much if any differences in the music scenes of Central and Northwest Arkansas?
MATT WHITE: The move was based on two main factors for me. The first was my family. Though my wife and I both have family in the Central Arkansas area we felt it was time for us to look elsewhere for employment opportunities and education opportunities for our children. The second factor was having a more substantial music scene. Though Russellville has had a small local scene thrive over many years it had just become too difficult as a musician and a family man to continue what I loved doing and get enough time to spend with my family. The only struggle for me personally was whether Little Rock or NWA would be best for me and my family. I grew up in the Central Arkansas scene even travelling to Little Rock on weekends in High School just to see a show or play one in my band.
There has always been a strong connection to the people in the Central Arkansas area especially with how welcoming they have been. There was never a feeling of a fake presence or façade. I guess the saying “keeping it real” could be considered a motto of the scene. I had played in NWA several times in other bands, but never felt a part of that scene in the same sense.
SHINDIGMUSIC: Peyton only recently joined the band , how did you end up in the Hullabaloo and what has been the most exciting part of this new musical path?
PEYTON FINLEY: It’s been an interesting road for me joining Jamie Lou and the Hullabaloo with a lot of happenstance.
When I moved here two and a half years ago, I thought I was going to hate it, but I loved it and so a buddy and I started a podcast called Hey Hey NWA. It gained enough traction to the point where we were asked to emcee a local music festival a year ago where I met Will Gunselman who was struggling to find a consistent band. I started to play with him and then also Emily Nance when she needed a bassist for a few gigs.
At this point, Bike Rack Records was picking up and Jamie heard about me through my work with Emily and Will. Originally, Jamie just needed me for around four or five gigs, but it became apparent that we gelled pretty well so we made it official.
I think that the most exciting part of my path to get here has been connecting with a variety of artists in NWA in the way that I have. I’ve been able to play original folk rock, pop electronic and Americana in under a year of being in the NWA music scene and I couldn’t be happier with the experiences I’ve accumulated.
SHINDIGMUSIC: You’ve also been playing with Will Gunselman, how long have you been with Will and can we expect a new release from him this year as well?
PEYTON FINLEY: First off, can we all agree that Will Gunselman is one of the most kind and charismatic people on the planet? I’ve been playing with Will since around May of 2017 since he needed a full band to open for Langhorne Slim at JBGB. We’ve been planning a new music release since late November and we’re starting to see some of the pieces come together. I would say that you can definitely expect more from Will Gunselman this year so keep your eyes peeled and ears to the ground.
SHINDIGMUSIC: You’re opening for Lucero at Georges on March 13th. How did that come about and what other big events do the band have on their concert calendar?
JAMIE LOU CONNOLLY: Brian Crowne and Georges are a huge asset to have in our musical community. We love Lucero and asked to open, Brian took us the rest of the way. I suggest to any local band to reach out and try doing more support gigs because we have an incredible line of National acts coming through NWA.
SHINDIGMUSIC: If you could tour with any two acts, who would they be?
JAMIE LOU CONNOLLY: If we could open for ANY two touring acts I would want The Barr Brothers and Sharon Van Etten.
MATT WHITE: Okkervil River; Since summer of 2005 I have been a big fan of this band. The albums Black Sheep Boy and Black Sheep Boy: Appendix were my introduction and I’ve been following them ever since. I feel they have been a strong influence in my musical taste and style.
Adam Faucett and The Tall Grass; not only has Adam’s work been influential since his days as front-man of Taught the Rabbits, but after many tours with him playing solo with The Sound of the Mountain traveling around in tow, giving all kinds of people very strange misconceptions of Arkansans’, and after getting a chance to tour with him as a backing drummer I will always want more chances to play with him and his band.
GARRETT BROLUND: Opening up for Neil Diamond would be hilarious and awesome, but more seriously, LCD Soundsystem because they put on one of the best live shows around and their fans go nuts. Or Ween cause they’re my all time favorite
PEYTON FINLEY: Given that I personally have an alternative/indie rock bent to me, I’d love to tour with Bombay Bicycle Club because they’re such a force of creative energy. On a more local note, touring with Brother Moses would be tons of fun. They’ve got a ton of passion and are just completely goofballs that would be a blast to tour with.