Mike McFadden released three solo albums he’d recorded in Baltimore before moving to Brooklyn. Although he had recorded another full album before the move, he was ready to break out of the solo artist category.
He grabbed a few musicians he’d worked with in Baltimore and formed the band Animal Years. McFadden, along with bassist Anthony Saladino, guitarist Matt Indellicati and drummer Anthony Spinnato, will bring Animal Years to Celebrate Fairfax! on Sunday.
McFadden has been recording music for about nine years, but has only been with Animal Years for about a year. McFadden said there was a little bit of a transition for him.
“I guess the difference here is the guys are more part of the band,” McFadden said. “They have a say in what goes on. … It’s good, though. When you just have back up guys, they don’t really contribute much, they’re just a hired gun. When you bring everybody in and everybody contributes, you can do a lot more.
“The decision-making process now is four people instead of one, so that’s obviously been tough for me, but it’s something I can deal with. It’s been going OK so far.”
Of course, the name Animal Years isn’t something folks hear every day. McFadden said he came up with the name based on what he considers a type of lifestyle.
“Being a musician and making a ton of sacrifices, you don’t have all the luxuries of working a nice job and being a college graduate,” McFadden said. “So I started to focus on the simple things in life and kind of do what animals do – and do what we should do – and just focus on what’s really important. The whole thing came about like ‘live your life in animal years … live simply and you won’t take things for granted and you’ll really appreciate what’s important that much more.’”
The first record for Animal Years, “Sun Will Rise,” features McFadden with different musicians. In fact, McFadden is the only member of Animal Years on the album.
McFadden recorded the album in Baltimore prior to his move to New York and before the creation of Animal Years.
“I just brought in a bunch of Baltimore musicians,” McFadden said. “I went in and recorded some banjo and I think I recorded some bass on a lot of the songs and all the vocals. … Now, with the band, we’re eventually going to record another album. Not sure when since this one just came out. We’re still trying to figure it out because it’s for sure going to be different.”
For those who haven’t seen Animal Years perform, McFadden describes their show as being very high energy with a lot of fun and “a lot of awkwardness.”
“A lot of awkward stage banter between songs,” McFadden laughed. “A lot of moving around, too. I usually almost fall down about nine or 10 times just from moving around so much because I’m having so much fun.”