Focusing with Fycus and their “Complex yet homey caffeinated moon music”
Not many bands put as much thought into their music as Fycus puts into their Bandcamp bio. “Complex yet homey caffeinated moon music from Cincinnati” captures the four-piece’s essence, with guitar melodies and vocal layerings sweetly complementing one another. Though Fycus’ plans for an especially-active 2020 were waylaid by the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve been able to stay enthusiastic about the future and the possibilities for their music, as they spoke with us via email.
How did the band come together?
Advait Redkar has been performing shows under the name Fycus since 2015. The current band came together when Redkar and bassist Joe Sespico were living together in 2017. Since then, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Courtney Combs joined the lineup in late 2019. Drummer Andrew Boylan just got added into the mix. Each member of the band has been involved in different projects for years.
Were the harmonized vocals always a goal?
AR: Ever since I started writing music, I always wanted harmonies for vocal parts I was writing, so definitely.
CC: It’s really great to arrange for this group vocally! Everyone can sing and the range in everyone’s voices are unique.
JS: I think as soon as Advait realized that I could sing we wanted to have more of them. When we recorded our first EP, Underneath The Overhang, Advait and I had trouble discerning who’s voice was who’s sometimes. Part of the reason why we wanted Courtney in the band was because of her fantastic voice.
How would an ideal 2020 have gone?
AR: Ideally, we would have been working on spreading our seeds out of town as well as gigging in town regularly. However, the unpredictability of 2020 gave us a lot of time to hone our sound and fine-tune new music before releasing it. As well, we started playing with a new drummer that we really gel with, so it isn’t all too bad. Also, the police would have been defunded.
CC: We’ve cut several demos and have a more clear direction that I don’t know if we would have worked so hard to find if we were playing out all the time.
AB: I’m hesitant to project my own idea of an ideal 2020 onto the world just because so many important things happened and I don’t know that I’m the best person for the job of concocting the ideal. But I’m glad I was able to get together with the folks in Fycus, and it was just a matter of it being the right time for me to get involved in a new project and the right time for them to take on a new player.
Joe: I was getting really excited to start playing more out of town shows and start working on a tour, but 2020 had other plans. It has been nice to be able to really focus on new material without show dates rapidly approaching but I do miss playing out and seeing friends.
What are you working on?
AR: Currently, we’re working on an EP as well as a live album, both of which we will be recording this fall.
CC: We recently created a theme song for a podcast called “A History Most Foul.” It sounds like a sea shanty in a jazz bar.
AB: Going back to school and finishing my undergrad degree.
How did you develop your individual playing styles?
AR: I played Indian classic music on an instrument called sarod before I ever picked up a guitar, therefore it has heavily influenced the way I play and write songs on a guitar. As well, jamming with a circle of friends often when I was starting to play with a full band set up, [I] developed my abilities in a way in which solitary practice could not have.
CC: My family is very musical, all of my siblings and I have been practicing an instrument since we were young. I’ve played in concert bands, churches, orchestra pits, parade bands, indie duos, and now rock bands. I am a reflection of all the musicians I’ve ever been around.
AB: Over time. As a songwriter and previous bandleader I’ve learned to pay attention to letting things breathe and making space.
JS: My family is pretty musical and I just sort of grew up around people playing guitar, singing, drums, piano, or some combination of those. Similar to Advait though, I had a group of friends in junior high and high school and we would just jam a lot, and I think that had a real impact on me.
The word “fycus” has a very strong sound to it. Have you ever encountered people who expect something more aggressive?
AR: We have actually been suggested to print “Fuck yes Fycus” on shirts. I think some people expect a crunchy 8-minute long song jam band upon hearing the name, which is definitely not us.
JS: I also think that people associate us with jam bands based on our name. I do like the “Fuck yes Fycus” shirt though….
Are there any other instruments or sonic elements you’d like to bring in?
AR: I’d love to have another member which basically switches instruments on whatever the song calls for–a guitar here, a shaker there. I’d also love to experiment with more electronic sounds.
JS: I also want us to get into some more electronic sounds and synths. The versatility of Courtney’s keyboard has been helping us down that path a bit, but I would like to see us go further.
AB: This might be one of the most sonically adventurous bands I’ve been a part of, so for now I’m just happy to be along for the ride.
Why should people check Fycus out?
AR: People should check us out because we write honest music in an attempt to capture a moment in time–which is all a recording is. We also give really good hugs.
JS: People should check us out because we have fun and I think it shows itself in the music.
AB: Because the people in this band actually give a shit! And aren’t too cool to do something fun and interesting.