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The Infamous Stringdusters’ Winning Streak: A Q&A with Andy Falco

After you guys got your award in the daytime, I guess it was all fun after that? You guys stuck around for the telecast and just enjoyed yourself?

You grab your award and then you go back and you kind of do some of the things that you do. You do some pictures. And then yeah, we got our seats and we watched the show. Me and my fiancée stayed for the entire telecast. It was really incredible. I’ve been listening to the Kendrick Lamar record [DAMN.] for the past couple of days because hip-hop has never really been my thing, but he did that opening performance and it was mind blowing. It’s a masterpiece you know? I ordered it on vinyl because we were like, “We gotta have this on vinyl.”

I just think his message and a lot of that music that he’s doing is just incredible. It’s positive, it’s upbeat and I think that it’s really a masterpiece.

It seems like the whole experience was a whirlwind.

What was starting to make me almost emotional was a lot of our peers doing posts online, and getting texts from a lot of people. That sort of outpouring of support and people congratulating you. For me, personally, you almost try to put it out of your mind, but when people start reaching out to you, you start to realize, “Wow this is something special.” It almost makes me tear up thinking about it. You know, ‘cause we do work really hard and it is something that means a lot really deep down.

You also have this new label the band just created, Tape Time Records. Was that an idea that was kind of brewing for a while?

The idea stems from the fact that with our corner of the music world there’s very few places for albums to live. The way that music is being made these days and records are being made, it felt like putting together a label that could almost be a community, similar to the way that it works in the live scene. There’s this culture there, people coming to shows and like-minded bands. The idea was, why not try and do that with recorded music and try to come together with other bands that are coming up and create a space for this music to live? And, also, a place of course for us to put our music through. Something that we can be a little bit more hands on in.

It all happened sort of fast and we all just thought, “Yeah!” So, the first release is Horseshoes & Hand Grenades who are really good friends of ours and just a great band. They are doing a bunch of shows; we’ve done a lot of shows with them. And they had their record ready to go and we thought, “Well, it’s Tape Time. Let’s do it!” And they were all about it.

I know you just toured together, but how did Horseshoes & Hand pop-up on your radar initially?

Maybe a few years ago they did some opening thing for us. They were just great guys, a really cool band and just have a unique thing and we just all hit it off. Over the years running into each other at shows or coming on tour with us, you just kind of build these relationships. It seems like in the business you end up sort of migrating to like-minded people, people who love making music.

I think the common denominator in all of it is people who just absolutely love to make music and are crazy enough to do thing that we do: jump out on the road. And you have to sacrifice a lot and be away from your family, but you do that for the love of the music. And they’re the same way. They’re out there and they’re hustling and they’re working really hard and they’re making really great music and evolving.

I think somewhere in there was a Tape Time mission statement: People who love to make music and are crazy enough to jump out on the road.

[Laughs.] That’s right!

The one other thing I wanted to ask about was your most recent release, the Undercover Vol. 2 EP. What I think is so interesting about your cover EPs is that they reveal all the different types of music that you guys listen to. You have The Cure, My Morning Jacket and then Daft Punk, all on one release. Do you guys seek out that type of diversity or do you just follow your ear?

For ourselves and for our fans we enjoy throwing covers into our setlist, mixed with our tunes. Just trying to do our own versions and interpret songs. It’s a way for us to put a different variable on each show. Make each show unique.

So then it became a series of EPs. But with this one, there were songs that weren’t necessarily in the show yet, that we hadn’t played. It became like a, “Hey, you know what song I’ve always wanted to do?” For me it was The Cure song [“Just Like Heaven.”] Like, ‘Hey, I always thought this would make a cool bluegrass song. Let’s try that.”

That’s kind of how it went for everybody. And I think it sort of gives you glimpses into the types of stuff that we listen to. As individuals and collectively we do have a diverse sort of listening, we’re into all kinds of music.

W*ith all the commotion going on in your lives right now, does it feel kind of like a watershed moment for The Infamous Stringdusters? What’s next?*

I think what’s next is we’re going to keep pushing forward. We love going out on the road and playing live shows. We’re in the show-and-tell phase of the next record where we are starting to work on and collect new songs, but all the while being out on the road and trying to get together with the fans have a good time.

We’ve just been loving life, out on the road and making music together. It’s always fun for us. We love each other very much and we love making music together. That’s the “A) No. 1” most important thing. And as long as we’re doing that, we’re happy.

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