Brian Kenneth of Fooling April
Philadelphia natives, Fooling April are prepping themselves for the summer. After promoting their 2005 CD, The White Pine Sessions, the guys plan to tour the Northeast and work on their follow-up release. Band member, Brian Kenneth (vocals/piano) let me in on the story behind American Idol Underground, John Mayer, and the real meaning behind the band name…
First of all, how about some introductions to start off for people who may not be familiar with the band. Who is Fooling April and where are you all originally from?
Well hello there…Fooling April is made up by Kevin Emery (bass, vocals), Tommy Kay (guitar), Matt Ensminger (drums, vocals), and myself (vocals, piano). We are all from the various middle-class suburbs of Philadelphia, although our struggle to find a better life outside of the struggling developments and tired cul-de-sacs is a story for the ages.
How’d the name Fooling April come about?
This is an extreme secret and unless you have been “initiated” into the Fooling April “fraternity” (which involves things I cannot speak of here). I cannot tell you without putting myself and my family in extreme danger.
Fill in the blank. Fooling April is _______________(adjective).
[Speaking of American Idol] this American Idol Underground…what exactly is it and how did you guys get involved?
American Idol Underground (AIU) is basically an online version of the contest for bands, songwriters, etc. We got involved simply because it was another avenue to get exposure for our music…and we were fortunate enough to be singled out by the company as one of their “promotional bands” which they are using to help promote the contest and the site to other musicians and listeners.
Speaking of American Idol, what’s your take on it? Too much or not enough hype? A good thing or karoke gone even worse?
I love it and I hate it. At times, it is really entertaining…but recently, I think they’ve hit an all-time low. This season, in particular, just seems to be missing something. I mean…at the rate they are cranking these things out – we’re going to have more American Idols than people at home voting before long.
What would your reaction be if a contestant on American Idol] would cover one of your songs?
I’d be flattered – and then probably embarrassed because they would sing it better than I can.
What’s the all-time worse karoke song ever? Best(if such a thing exists)?
All-time worst – any kind of R&B that drunk white people from the suburbs do no justice to whatsoever. Best – “G-Thang” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog.
I read you have toured with some big names- Dave Matthews Band, Dido and John Mayer, among others…what has been the best tour so far?
The best for me was probably John Mayer only because he’s been such a huge influence on me on so many levels. He was a pleasure to spend time with and totally lived up to my expectations. If I was a little girl, I’d have a poster of him above my bed for sure.
What band would you love to tour with?
I’d love to tour with Coldplay!
Who are some of your influences in the business?
It’s really all over the place – John Mayer, Coldplay, Maroon 5, Ben Folds, Radiohead, Billy Joel to name a few.
What comes first: the music or the lyrics?
The music always comes first. It’s still the most important piece for me and if I ever get to the point where I the lyrics are more important, I’d sell my piano and become a poet.
So your 2005 CD is titled The White Pine Sessions. Where’d the name come from?
“White Pine” is the name of our home studio in which we recorded this album. Having a studio of our own at our disposal has opened so many doors for us creatively. It has also put the burden of producing our own songs, which we have really embraced. I’m excited for our next album.
So what’s it really like making a CD?
It’s awesome, it’s grueling, it sucks, it’s fabulous…it’s everything but at different times. But seeing a song come to life is something that is unexplainable. There’s a moment where you stare your creation dead in the eye and it becomes very clear as to whether it’s any good or not – sometimes that’s not an easy thing to face.
When your first go to open a cd….do you automatically push play from the beginning or jump to songs you know? Are you the type who likes to look at the booklet inserts?
I always play a CD from start to finish because if any artist is like us, they put a lot of thought into the sequence and pacing of the album as a whole. I love liner notes. I remember gathering a bunch of them as a kid and sitting down with it all to read every word as if it were a juicy novel.
I saw that you guys play a lot of shows in and around NYC. So, how do NYC and Philly audiences compare?
Great question! They differ greatly actually. Needless to say, a NYC audience wanders the street looking for some kind of artistic expression. They want to find the next coolest thing that is still undiscovered. The Philly audience wants to know where they need to show up to experience the thing that everyone is talking about and see for themselves why it’s so cool. And I take our fans out of that mix because they ventured into the uncool to find us – and for that we are eternally grateful to them. But how that translates for us is that we can always go to NYC and make new fans – especially since we don’t have a HUGE fan base there – people want to find you there. In Philly, we played for a LONG time to very small audiences, but recently I guess our coolness multiplier has increased, because we are seeing huge audiences come back time and time again.
What’s one song that gets stuck in your head everytime you hear it…and you’d never admit it to anyone…until now.
“Lady” by Kenny Rogers
If you guys weren’t doing this–what would you be doing now?
I’d be a construction worker, Kevin would be an Indian, Tommy a police officer, and Matt would be a sailor…and we’d have MUCH less body hair.
So how will Fooling April spend their summer?
This summer is going to consist of our usual steady touring of the Northeast, but our main focus will be writing material for our next full length album.
I just wanted to say thanks again! Is there any info you would like to include that is a “must-know” about Fooling April?
Well thank YOU! Everyone MUST know that Fooling April is a group of 4 guys with fabulous hair and no egos.