Using individual growth to inspire global change: An Interview with Front Country’s Melody Walker

Find out, in their own words, how the Folk band’s relocation to Nashville has lead to one of the most relevant releases of the year.

Whilst artists across the globe are using the chaos in 2020 as the inspiration for their music, few seem to capture the turmoil quite as elegantly as Folk-Rock band, Front Country.

After recently relocating to Nashville and aiming to discuss the metaphorical ‘sickness’ within our everyday lives, the band’s message seems to have only grown more relevant with the passing of time. Shedding a much-needed light upon the political polarisation across the US, the band have unintentionally created one of the most important releases of 2020- capturing the circumstances more accurately than anyone could have anticipated.

Carrying both a message of positivity and hope, simultaneous to a vital warning about the desperate need for change, it is Front Country’s track, ‘The Reckoning’ that stands out due to its uncanny application to the current year.

Speaking with Melody Walker earlier this month, the frontwoman talks us through the inspiration for the single, and reflects upon how the band used the turmoil around them as a source of both inspiration and wisdom.

Check out the full transcript of the interview below!

1. In your own words, how would you describe Front Country for those who have yet to discover your music?

“I’m awful at describing our sound to other people and am far more interested in what their impressions are of us. What do we sound like to you?”

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2. Your latest single, “The Reckoning”, demonstrates beauty and an uplifting sense of hope throughout. What was the inspiration behind the track? 

“‘The Reckoning’ is a somber accounting of the current political moment, and is hopeful that we can put the work in to turn it around. I hope it points to our collective responsibility for the way things are going. Whether through malice or denial, we have all contributed to the decline of American democracy, and only we can fix it.” 

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3. Written prior to the global pandemic, the song seems to have become more relevant now than ever before. Based on your own perception of how has the world changed since you first wrote the track, would you say that the meaning behind the song has changed or does the original message still stand?

“I think the original message of ‘The Reckoning’ still stands. I definitely didn’t mean for the “sickness” it references to be literal. While I do think this pause for reflection is positive and grants us a lot of perspective, I do not think the pandemic itself is a “gift”.”

“When I wrote this song last summer, I never in a million years dreamed that an actual sickness would come along to compound our political sickness, but here we are.”

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4. Recently packing up and moving to Nashville, the epicentre for music in the US, do you feel that the change of setting has influenced your sound or pushed you to write music in a new way? 

“Nashville is both super inspiring and humbling for me as a songwriter. Everyone here is so good, and there’s a big culture of co-writing. I never co-wrote before I moved here, but it’s a really excellent exercise to learn intimately about how other writers write. The amount of writing and co-writing I’ve done since moving here has really pushed my songwriting to a new level, and made us want to take more musical risks as a band.”

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5. Front Country is a self-proclaimed “band on the precipice of a metamorphosis”- implying that you’re on the cusp of transforming into something new. What exactly do you mean by this? Is there a particular message you’d like to send or some sort of goal you have in mind for the band?

“2020 was going to be the year we revamped the live band to reflect our new sound. We had played a couple shows in town as the new ensemble, with drums and keys and more synth sounds, but then Covid hit and all music was grounded.”

“Suddenly, it wasn’t even safe to get together with other musicians to play, and our finances got a whole lot tighter too. So, we have the metamorphosis recorded and encapsulated on this new album, but we won’t get to truly transform live until touring resumes.”

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6. With the music that you’re writing currently, what would you say that you’re trying to do differently in comparison to the previous releases?

“The big difference here on our third record is that we were determined to have no rules for what it could sound like.”

“In the past, we were very focused on being a live band and only recording what we would present in a concert, but with Impossible World, we decided to throw that out the window and let any sounds in that served the songs. That turned out to be a good gamble, since nobody is playing their new music live now anyway, and recorded music is kind of where it’s at.” 

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7. A central theme within Front Country’s music seems to be about depicting a sense of emotion and passion throughout. What kind of emotions do you want to evoke from your listeners? Are you hoping to inspire people to reflect upon the world around them and strive for change… or, rather, looking for audiences to reflect upon themselves and change internally?

“This new record is all about change, both internal and external. As a songwriter, I’m partial to the personal, so a lot of the songs are coming from that place of personal responsibility and learning, in order to be able to go out and change the world. Some of the songs are just reminders to myself, which I hope will resonate with other people.” 

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8. Remaining loyal to your roots whilst simultaneously wanting to defy genres and push boundaries to create your own aesthetic… who else outside of the country scene has inspired you musically?

“We love Pop queens like Gaga, Lizzo and even Tay Tay, but also Indie-Pop acts like Haim, Feist, and Brandi Carlile – all of these artists are able to get messages across with really infectious songs that are joyful, even when they are addressing difficult subject matter.”

“There was definitely a push toward positivity for this album, since we’ve been living in such dark times. I’m usually a pretty dark songwriter, but I think I really needed to prove to myself that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel with this one.”

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9. Looking to the future, what other genres do you want to delve into? Are there any new avenues that you’re wanting to explore?

“All of us in the band are wanting to explore even more into the Electro-Pop, synth side of music. I think since we all went to music school and have been such hardcore instrumentalists for so many years, there’s something really liberating about the idea of pushing buttons for a while and making music in a completely different way than strings and picks.”

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To read our original review of the single, ‘The Reckoning’, click here!

The video for the band’s newest single, ‘Broken Record’ can be found below.

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