An Introduction To: LEAN TEE
“If someone were to come to one of our shows strictly on the basis of the recordings, what they’ll get right now is not the same.” says Mike Fahy, sipping from a mug with a childhood photo of his aunt printed on the side. Fahy is the drummer of LEAN TEE, and makes a valid point about the band’s music. LEAN TEE, comprised of Fahy on drums, Miles Foy on bass and synth, and Taylor Kracher on vocals and guitar, originally started as a solo project of Kracher. By himself, Kracher wrote, recorded, and produced two EPs. Those EPs have found new life with the addition of Fahy and Foy. We had the chance to sit down with LEAN TEE to talk about their sound, coming together as a band, and get a first look at their new album.
Listen to “Expected” — LEAN TEE’s debut single from their forthcoming record, Lavender below — and continue reading for a conversation with the group.
hope: LEAN TEE started as Taylor’s solo project — how did you all meet and how did you come to form a band?
Taylor: Mike and I met at a 99 basement show. We met and said something along the lines of “this is so cool. We should do something like this.” It was definitely a drunken commitment but I did put a note in my phone. When I saw it in the morning, I was like “ok I need to reach out to Mike.”
Mike: I think you said “I need a drummer” and I told you I played the drums which was… somewhat true. I hadn’t played drums in years. I just really wanted to play with Taylor honestly so I lied a little bit.
Miles: Taylor and I actually met our freshman year in the dorms. We were both making beats and managed to connect. He was doing his solo stuff and I could tell his singing was on point.
hope: What’s your recording process like?
Miles: Taylor definitely records when he gets in funks and he writes writes writes and I’ll come over there every now and then. It’s a very present energy. You hear the recording and it’s like “god damn that’s how this room feels right now.” It’s amazing to see some of his songs come together in that way. He’s currently recording a new batch, partially in a studio in my basement. I’ll come home from class and see that Taylor’s down there doing some vocal tracks or something. It’s awesome the way I can come here and find a community of people who are doing stuff that I find inspiring and making art in an authentic way.
hope: How do you describe your sound?
Mike: There’s a very tangible difference between the sound of Taylor’s recordings and the sound of the band.
Taylor: The recordings are very melodic. Playing live, it’s definitely more on the indie rock side of things. I like modulation so we jump in and out of key. It’s mostly because I’m not a really good guitar player.
Mike: It’s pretty stripped down live but still high energy. It’s just the three of us.
Miles: I feel like a lot of Taylor’s vocal inflection is sort of emo-y at times.
Taylor: True. Definitely emo.
hope: Who are your biggest influences?
Taylor: I’m listening to a lot of Pile right now. Definitely some Death Cab for Cutie — the older stuff is really authentic. I take a lot from that.
Miles: James Blake is another good one, especially for the recordings.
Taylor: I like having the different takes of things. Like, you can admire someone’s production, or the way someone writes, and they can be different.
Mike: I strive to be like certain groups to bring into this project but at the same time, I have yet to actually apply those things. I really like the energy of Zach Hill, the drummer of Death Grips. He inspires me to really bang away and be a bit more fearless even when I’m not technically that good. I think that’s important in a live setting when we’re trying to bring a ton of energy.
Miles: I think King Krule’s bass in his production is definitely an inspiration for me. I never really considered myself a bassist. I actually don’t even play guitar and bass but I had this friend who lent a synth to me for the summer and Taylor was like “I think that would bring a nice electronic feel into the live performance which isn’t present in the recordings.” I’d always been there when he was doing the recordings, so I felt like I knew what he was going for.
hope: When did you start playing shows? What was your first show like?
Miles: Early summer of 2018? We played as the local support at Big Heavy World. Before us had been an extremely heavy metal group with 2 members — a drummer and a guitarist….
Mike: They had chicken feet on a necklace or something. They were crazy.
Taylor: Well, it was a great turn out and that’s what made it so... Oh shit. But then once we got it in the bag, everything after that was good.
Miles: Now it’s fun. People dance to our shows and shit. That’s what you want to go for.
Taylor: And now we’re much tighter. Especially once we got a couple of shows under our belts.
Mike: It’s only gotten better.
Taylor: And the most recent shows have felt like we’ve been doing this for years.
Miles: We’ve also been falling onto more bills with local bands that are in our genre. We played with Full Walrus at 99 and they’re friends of ours.
Mike: And Grease Face as well. They’re so high energy and super fun. I feel like we fit somewhere in between the two.
hope: What do you see LEAN TEE doing in the next year?
Taylor: Playing as a band is still kind of new so we’ll start writing as band more. For now we’ve been playing mostly stuff that I wrote by myself and building from that.
Miles: But even making the adaptations have been a creative process within itself. Figuring out the arrangements vs the recordings has a lot of different dynamics.
Mike: We’ve talked about integrating more electronic aspects into the live sound and start bridging the gap between our live interpretation of the recordings.
Taylor: It’s kind of untapped right now. We’re finishing up a new project called Lavender and I’d started recording it before we started playing together. Now that we’re together, we’re gonna keep that consistent. I can’t wait until it’s finished. I want to make new stuff but I need to finish this stuff first.
hope: What’s Lavender about?
Taylor: To be honest, we were spliffing a lot with lavender…
Miles: There’s an apothecary at the rail yard and they’ll sell you a ton of lavender for pretty cheap…
Taylor: And there’s some unique properties about it. It smells great, it’s a relaxant. But it’s ash is very fine and it’ll fall on you if you’re not careful. There are a bunch of analogies that I’ve pulled from that. Like how something so awesome and refreshing still fucks your day up a little bit.
hope: We’re excited to hear it, especially as a live band. Any last remarks?
Miles: Shout out my friend Bryce for letting me borrow their synth.
Mike: and Liam for letting us use his amps and his drum kit.
Miles: We’re operating entirely off borrowed gear.
LEAN TEE play Burlington, VT on Friday, November 16th with Peaer and Father Figuer at The Karma Bird House. Entry to the event is $5 // RSVP to the event here.
- hope all is well
This Article Was Graciously Contributed By:
Ben Demars is a freelance writer based in Vermont with special interest in music, lifestyle, and mid 2000’s reality tv. Read his thoughts on twitter @ive_benjamin