Provo, Utah just might be the last place you’d expect to find the next big thing in modern music, but that’s exactly where Fictionist hails from. Melding deft songwriting to adventurous arrangements, the band is poised to take their seductive sonic message global in 2011.
“Our music incorporates so many different elements,” keyboardist Jacob Jones says. “There’s a pop sensibility to it, but also a wide spectrum of other influences as well – from James Taylor to Pink Floyd and beyond. All of it comes together in our live shows. That’s where the music explodes.”
Fictionist marries majestic harmonies and unforgettable pop hooks to unexpected aural landscapes. Tracks like “Strangers In The Dark” and “Blue Eyed Universe” signal the mellifluous meeting of indie rock and folk/pop. Cascading chord structures collide with 70’s era harmonies, complete with gritty guitar licks and lyrical song twists. Live, the band can go in a myriad of musical directions, explosive one minute, and jammified the next. With Fictionist, always expect the unexpected. This is a band with soul and swagger.
The band is the brainchild of singer/songwriter and bassist Stuart Maxfield, who began performing with keyboardist Jones while they both attended Brigham Young University in Provo. The pair would anchor a series of successful bands that would tour and record to local acclaim, eventually forming Fictionist in 2008. They would take their name from the inventive imagery in Maxfield’s songs, as well as a band member’s dreams.
“Our music is incredibly story driven,” Jones explains. “Stuart is a born writer and storyteller, and when our drummer actually dreamed the name Fictionist in his sleep, we knew we were on to something.”
The band would record their first album Invisible Hand with producer Aaron Hatch, building a studio in Salt Lake City, Utah to ensure they could capture their dynamic live energy on record.
“We wanted to track everything live as a band,” Jones says. “That chemistry is one of the most important aspects of our music. We needed it to come through on the album.”
Fictionist would release Invisible Hand independently in 2009 to great regional acclaim, touring throughout Utah, California and Nevada. A loyal local following would ensue at storied venues like Provo’s Velour, where the band would return time and time again to SRO crowds. They would reconvene in the studio to record their follow-up album Lasting Echo, collaborating with acclaimed producer and mixer Scott Wiley. Once again, the band would insist that the record be cut all the way live.
“We tracked that album in just over a month,” Jones remarks. “We had rehearsed so much by the time we started recording that everything just fell into place.”
Lasting Echo was released in March 2010, with Fictionist mounting a national tour to support it soon after. Audiences and critics alike would praise the album’s soulful songs and startling sonics, as well as the band’s captivating concerts at top tier venues from Los Angeles, CA to Brooklyn, NY. They would also make a 2010 appearance at the famed SXSW Music Conference in Austin, Texas. National buzz would follow soon after, with particular attention focusing on the band’s masterful musical range.
“I think one of the reasons people gravitate toward our band is that we’re influenced by a wide array of things,” Jones explains. “From classic singer/songwriters, to bands like Radiohead and Led Zeppelin – there’s even a jazz component to our music. Stuart and I both came-up playing jazz, in fact, he’s still heavily influenced by people like John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. So that kind of variety encompasses everything we do. We want to take people on a musical voyage every night.”
Fictionist starts 2011 off hard at work, both on the road and in the studio. “The plan is to keep building the buzz,” Jones says. “We’re doing shows and recording new songs – getting the word out every chance we can. We’re ready to take this all the way.”
Much like the lyrics from their soaring song Invisible Hand, Fictionist is indeed poised to shoot for the stars.
We got one tear for heartache,
Another tear for pain
Drowning in our depths and we’re burning in our flames
And oh, we’re going to give all away this time.
We’re bound for the door, hanging in the sky
Yeah, we’re going to give it all away this time.