When you're a successful artist pushing a new side project, distracting audiences from your main gig can be a challenge. Venue promoters and the press name-dropping your biggest singles and past achievements limits the ability to break out and make fans on their own.
Twin Forks, the not-so-side project of Chris Carrabba, Ben Homola, Suzie Zeldin, and Jonathan Clark formed a folk band that's not too far away sonically from the projects that made them famous. Their past projects include Dashboard Confessional, Bad Books, Brand New and The Narrative, however this supergroup is trying to leave their musical history at the door.
On Wednesday, Twin Forks heads to OC for a gig at Detroit Bar. Last year, Carrabba played a sold out show at House of Blues in Anaheim with Dashboard Confessional and has even played the Gibson Amphitheaters and many other monster-sized venues across the country. Bad Books played the stacked lineup for Riot Fest in Chicago last year and opened for Silversun Pickups around the country on the following tour. The Sudden drop in attendance and income affects the ego of most musicians, so most side projects have a really hard time touring. With Twin Forks, they embrace the every struggle in hopes they can earn the fans.
Carrabba, who grew out of a DIY scene in Florida, was happy to get back to the more intimate shows. “There is an energy there that's important to not stay away from for too long,” he says. “We all believe in this band enough not just to throw it up as a side project with the names of all our other bands and just try and fill it, fill it, fill it with people and then find out the next time we come through that they just want to hear our other band.” When booking shows the band asks specifically that promoters do not mention their previous acts.
When Carrabba started the band, he decided to take it in a specific direction. At the time, folk acts like Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers weren't transforming the pop music scene. Now with more folk bands on the market, he feels like he has a greater chance of Twin Forks gaining fans on their own terms. “People come to expect you to sound like one thing or tell that kind of story,” Carrabba says. “I felt that I used to have a very wide parameter of what I could do that would be palatable for the [Dashboard Confessional] audience. I felt those parameters grow narrower over the years.”
Twin forks started when Carrabba brought together a group of friends that had not met, but he thought would fit perfectly musically. Like Dashboard, Carrabba writes all the songs for this project, but with he delivers the band an unfinished version of the song so they craft and expand on the different parts to make it into full song. “We kept saying 'we aren't a band, we aren't a band' until one point it became evident we were a band.” Carrabba says. When they embraced the idea of being a full band, everything seemed to fall into place.
Carrabba doesn't feel as though he has accomplished everything with Dashboard Confessional that he could, and all members insist that their other projects will continue. The band insist that creating a song–no matter what band it's with– is something an artist is forced to do because of something within them that needs to get out. Carrabba said, “It would make some frank business sense to put out a Dashboard album, but that's not why a band should put out a record.”
You can see Twin Forks play the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, October 23, 2013. Doors open at 8:00, Show starts at 9:00, $16.00 at the door. For full show info, click here.