Indie electronic band FMLYBND came up in a scene of button-pushing DJs, but the quartet from Isla Vista, Santa Barbara create everything live: vocals, synths, guitars and drums. They had a huge hit with 2013's "Come Alive" featured on FIFA 15; on their latest EP, Hearts on Fire (out today), Photo left to right: Mac Montgomery (vocals, guitar), Braelyn Montgomery (vocals), Erik Mason (synthesizers) and Ethan Davis (drums, sampling) meld alt-rock, dance and pop seamlessly in five new tracks. Aside from a leading a life of surfing and skating, Montgomery says where they live has a bigger influence on their music than people think: "This town is nuts - it's not for the faint of heart. Through and through it's a party town, so we just wanted to play music we could get people dancing and partying to." He talks to Myspace about how FMLYBND got together - first as a real family, then as a band.. Hometown: I (Mac) grew up in San Diego, moved to Santa Barbara when I was 14. Brae is from Orange County originally. Erik is from Alaska originally, and Ethan was born and raised in Santa Barbara. But we've all been living in Santa Barbara for a long time now. Homebase: A weird small beach town in Santa Barbara county called isla vista. How did FMLYBND come together? We all met over the years. I started dating Brae when I was 18 and she was 17, and then I met Erik not long after. We all lived in this community house for a couple of years in Isla Vista. Just being a family of kids trying to figure out how to live life. Ethan was the last addition around 2012 when we found out he played drums. I was just writing some songs, bought a couple synths and we just started jamming them out. They weren't even that good, but we were just having fun. We weren't a band or anything. I don't even think that's what we sought out to do. That's probably why it's been a hell of a journey. We've constantly been discovering who we are as a band and as people since we decided to be FMLYBND in 2013. Did you grow up in musical households? How did you get started playing instruments? My dad is an artist, a painter to be specific. He's extremely talented and he was always playing music. I grew listening to a ton of David Bowie, Tom Petty, the Eagles, Jackson Brown. Tons of artists really... and from a songwriting perspective, it doesn't get much better than that. Erik grew up playing in tons of metal and hardcore bands in Alaska. Brae grew up singing and playing piano. But Ethan probably is the only one who really came from a musical family. Both his parents are amazing musicians. Ethan and his brother Caleb are both brilliant musicians and can pretty much play everything really well. Why are you called FMLYBND? Because we're a weird family. We're all super different and came from such different backgrounds of life, yet we became this super weird family. We're not like the cool band who all have the same taste. We dress different, we have different taste in certain things, but we are still so close when we're together it's crazy. We're all just weirdos when it comes down to it. We all found a safe place in each other that felt like family. That's why we went with that name. What's the meaning behind your EP title Hearts on Fire? That song in particular is about when Brae and I were dating when we were younger. And those emotions and feelings you have when you're falling in love, it's like you can feel a fire in your chest. Hence the term hearts on fire - just really two people burning for one another, feeling like the world is theirs for the taking. It's just a cool concept of youth and passion. And trying not to lose that passion as our youth slowly drifts away. Who are your biggest musical influences? It's always changing, really. It's so hard to nail something down. We all are so different, and are always changing and growing as people. a lot of it depends on the mood and emotional state. different band and artists bring out different feelings. Nineties alt rock, 80s synth pop, 70s funk and soul, newer stuff from the 2000s, some dance music. We're not opposed to good music. Good song writing and good production is really what inspires us. People doing cool unique things and writing good songs gets us all pumped. Is there anyone you'd love to collaborate with? M83 would be nuts. Anthony is such a good producer and knows how to bring the right emotions out in what he's playing. I think guys like Beck or Moby would be dope, they've been doing it for so long and keep coming up with cool stuff. That's really admirable to me. Have you experienced any crazy, great things as a band? I don't know! (Laughs.) Some people do and say some crazy stuff when you're on stage; it's like real life goes out the window for them. Sometimes it's hard to tell if people are really excited or really psycho. But we've gotten some great artwork. I'd say the coolest one was when we were on tour and had a show in Kentucky, this guy brought us like a super nice bottle of Kentucky bourbon. That was super cool because he didn't have to do that, but he just wanted to share something cool from his hometown with us. It wasn't like, here's a cheap bottle let's all drink it... it was super nice and he just wanted to give us a parting gift so we would remember how cool Kentucky is when we got back to California. What's your 2016 goal as FMLYBND? Make more music, play more shows, and just keep working as hard as we can. Photo credit Kenneth Song
"Some bands blow up overnight. Some bands, it takes 10 years to break. So we're somewhere in between - just working hard, being nice to everyone, and putting out music that we like and hopefully that will catch with the people and they'll like it as well."