Family and Friends Tour in Charleston

Betsey Geier

photograph: Chelsea Kornse 

Family and Friends is an Athens-based band bringing their tour – their longest tour to date - to Charleston on September 28.

Felix Culpa is the bands first full-length album and is something different from their previous EPs. The 12 songs on this album take listeners through a journey of adolescent idealism and adult cynicism.

Mike McDonald, frontman for Family and Friends, moved to Athens for college. A few members of the band met through college and some are from the musical community of Athens.

“It kind of became a full-time thing in college just because it is a musical city,” McDonald said. “A few of us went to high school together and played music in that capacity.”

But, they didn’t go to college for music.

“I actually majored in film and everyone majored in something other than music. Thinking back on it now, I’m not really sure why I decided to do this, but I’m glad that I did,” McDonald said.

Family and Friends began by playing more folk-centric songs, but Felix Culpa takes them in a different direction.

“I would write a song on the acoustic guitar for the most part and we would flesh it out from there so that’s kind of how it happened at the time, but as we grew, we knew that’s not what we always wanted to do. We were capable of a lot of different sounds and this writing process was a lot different in the sense that not every song is starting from that acoustic base,” McDonald said.

Other band members bring ideas, first hooks and chorus ideas and the group would begin their writing process of all performing a song together.

A great example of this collaboration is PRSM.

“It stems from a harmonic loop that our bassist was doing in the practice space at the time and we all got excited about it and started jamming on it and that song came about from that.,” McDonald said.

The result was a different sound, but one they were really excited about.

Another element that makes Family and Friends unique is their two drummers, standing, and facing each other. The concept of having two drummers was something that Family and Friends knew they wanted to experiment with when they were playing more folk music.

They knew they wanted to have the drummers standing, but the practice space only allowed for them to stand while facing each other.

“They’ve been doing that ever since. It’s cool to see them play off each other and when we’re on the road for like a week they become the same person,” McDonald said.

Join Family and Friends at The Royal American for the chance to see a unique and high-energy show.