Family Values and The Nashville Music Scene: A Chat With The New Respects at Hangout Fest
Hangout Festival's lineup seemed to be loving the family bands this year...Mumford and Sons, Joseph, and of course the Nashville quartet The New Respects. Composed of twin sisters Zandy and Lexi, their brother Darius, and cousin Jasmine, The New Respects have crafted a unique, fun sound that melds together their pool of influences. Their debut EP Here Comes Trouble has a little something for everyone, whether you're a fan of rock, soul, R&B, or pop music, and their live show is sure to get the crowd grooving. After their early, yet energetic performance on Sunday at Hangout fest, the four piece chatted with us about their musical upbringing and their whirlwind of a year. Get to know The New Respects now!
ANCHR Magazine: Since you’re all related...is there a musical gene that's been passed down in your family?
Jasmine Mullen: My Parents are both musicians. I never wanted to do music, so it’s kind of crazy.
AM: Do they sing?
JM: Yeah, my mom is a Christian singer and my dad's a songwriter mostly.
Lexi Fitzgerald: My mom can’t sing at all. She’s actually very bad. My dad was in a rap group.
AM: So it kind of skipped your parents?
AM: Where else did you pick up influences?
Zandy Fitzgerald: Being born and raised in Nashville, it’s all around you. Maybe by osmosis or something. I think we just-- I always wanted to play guitar. One day I just kind of did it. I hear a lot that people have parents that are musicians and that wasn’t even like a thing for me. It’s always weird when they’re like you just randomly started? I’m like yeah, I thought everybody did.
AM: So since releasing your first EP, what have been some highlights?
LF: We just played in New York for the first time, that was really cool. Having the recognition in Rolling Stone was insane.
Darius Fitzgerald: The craziest thing for me was we played a show near DC, and seeing someone sing along. These songs, of course we know them, but to see someone I’ve never seen before know the lyrics, it’s wild.
AM: Yeah, I've heard that's always surreal, or hearing your song on the radio.
DF: We're still waiting on that.
JM: That might be a tearful moment.
AM: I saw you with Robert Randolph at Lincoln Hall, what were some highlights of that tour?
LF : That was a great show, Chicago was actually my favorite!
ZF: That was a great tour. We learned so much. Robert is like...their whole show is about playing in the moment, being passionate, and having fun. I remember in Kansas City, Robert called us up, and we got to play with him. I told him, put me in the back, you play guitar way better than I do! He said okay that’s fine, and I get onstage. He walks over to my amp and cranks it and goes “play for the people.” In that moment I just had to take what I learned from him - passion, have fun, and go for it. That proved to me that those things actually work. If you already have the practice behind you, just go for it in the moment. That’s gonna make a great show.
AM: So how do you stay entertained on the road?
LF: We sing a lot.
ZF: I think everyone’s favorite pastime is annoying to the other three in the band, and so those moments are endless.
AM: How do you cope with being a family and being around each other all of the time?
JM: I think part of it is because of growing up together, we know how to push each other’s buttons. Which is a blessing and a curse. You can use that to your advantage, but I think we’ve done a really good job recently. Because we know each other’s buttons, we know how to love each other.
ZF: Just beauty in the balance. There’s times where we joke with each other, but there also has to be times where we encourage each other. Otherwise it could get ugly.
AM: What’s one thing that you each do that annoys the others?
ZF: I don’t like being touched unnecessarily. Lexi and Jasmine like to jump on me in bed.
LF: I don’t like being told what to do. Darius doesn’t like being up early.
DF: Not a morning person. At all.
ZF: Jasmine, what’s yours?
LF: She doesn’t like being told what to do either.
AM: So now that you’re playing festivals, do you have some festival dos and don'ts?
ZF: I think the biggest thing is it’s very different than your own show where you have all your own gear. This is so much easier, traveling wise. You have a lot of stuff backlined. So you just have to prepare yourself, this is not my own amp, it’s not gonna sound the exact same, but I’m gonna play a good show.
LF: Be flexible, the schedule is all over the place.
DF: I feel like too, enjoy as much as the rest of the festival as you can. This is like, very special because we’re on the freaking beach with all these great acts.
LF: Chance the Rapper is playing today, so that’s perfect.
AM: I’m from Chicago so I've got that Chicago pride for Chance! He's played Lincoln Hall, actually, the same venue you played with Robert Randolph.
DF: Was this a while ago?
AM: Yeah it was at least 5 years ago.
ZF: One day you’ll be saying "They played Lincoln Hall!"
AM: Anyone else you’re excited to see?
All: Mumford and sons!
DF: When we started the band, we were convinced we were going to be a black version of Mumford and Sons. In hindsight that’s not really gonna work. I’m happy we found our own beat.
AM: Any other bands or albums you’re really into at the moment?
LF: Harry Styles' album. It’s actually really good. John Mayer’s newest album. John Legend's album is great.
DF: I’ve been listening to Sign, Sealed, & Delivered by Stevie Wonder. That record...I knew like the singles or whatever. But the whole record is amazing.
ZF: The new Kendrick. We’re always listening to music. Jasmine has a playlist on her Spotify that’s like 6 hours long. We’re always like add this to the playlist. It’s like Brandon Flowers, Harry Styles, John Legend, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder...all the bands that inspire us.
AM: What else are you looking forward to this year. Any new music?
JF: We’re writing right now for a new record that will be out sometime next year. We’re coming around to songs we’re really proud of.
AM: Are you going to record it all in Nashville?
DF: We’re open to wherever. Wherever they’re making good music.
AM: Cool! Any inside trade secrets as far as being in the Nashville scene that you can let us in on?
ZF: Stay creative. Get with people in Nashville who like don’t want to sound like Nashville. Stay open, stay creative. Listen to a ton of music. Make great music.
LF: The further we get away from Nashville the more we realize how much of a bubble it is. The thing for me, explore other things. I love Nashville and I love living there. It’s filled with so many creative people, but create there and also other places as much as you can too.