Upon first listen, one might mistake the vocals for Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Brandi Carlile. Add a touch of country, just a splash of girl rock, combined with a healthy dose of indie rock. Arrah and The Ferns is one of the smoothest and most ‘eargasmic’ groups Philly has to offer. Playing shows throughout the city and touring all over the Northeast and Midwest, the Ferns aren’t new to the Philly music scene so much as polishing their catchy sounds. Lead singer Arrah Fisher, along with band mates Buddy Szczesnaik, bass, Ryan Belski, guitar, and Michael Harkness, drums, sat down with The Temple News to talk MySpace, touring cross-country and the bands’ Indiana origin.
The Temple News: There’s a slight country undertone to your sounds, particularly Arrah’s voice. Where does that stem from?
Arrah Fisher: Arrah and the Ferns has been around as a group since 2005. I moved to Philadelphia about three years ago from Muncie, Ind., and transplanted the group here. The old Ferns played primarily in the Midwest and never traveled farther west than Denver. The new Ferns never lost touch with our old roots.
TTN: Has the big city been receptive to your sounds?
AF: We’re home here. The city is so huge and there are a lot of bands out there, but Philly is a great city for music if you keep at it.
TTN:How do you guys make sure you’re seen and heard among a sea of other groups trying to get their foot in the door?
Michael Harkness: Repetition is key. No one can pay attention to anything for more than two days. Putting posters up on every pole and just keeping your name out there really helps. When it comes to other groups, I see their name a lot [on the street] before I even know them.
AF: I’m not the best with the social media, but I remember MySpace. When it was big it was really mind-blowing for music. It was a great way to meet other people and other bands that you identify with.
TTN: Is there a way to differentiate between people who find out about you online, versus word of mouth?
MH: There’s no dipstick to check your oil, if you know what I mean.
TTN: Aside from Philly, what are some other cities that you’ve really enjoyed playing in?
AF: When we tour, we want to hit up places where people are really excited for new music. We played one of our most memorable shows in Manhattan, Kan. where people really seemed to pay attention while we played. By the end, all the kids were screaming, “Come back to Manhattan!”
Ryan Belski: That town was crazy. It was the only time–and I mean the only time–I took my shirt off while playing a show. That’s saying something.
TTN: What’s next for the Ferns?
AF: Our third E.P. drops on Oct. 14, and the first day of our next tour starts Nov. 4. A cross-country tour is the next goal. These guys, this group, this is the finest army that ever existed of any army in history. It’s time to take these guys all over the place.
Chase Grier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.