SXSW 2015 with Fictionist

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Fictionist by Trevor Chrisensen

It’s no secret the music industry can be a fire-breathing beast; if you’re not careful, you could get burned. Fictionist of Provo, Utah is doing their best to make sure that doesn’t happen. After getting dropped from Atlantic Records last year, the band that consists of Stuart Maxfield (lead vocals, guitar) Robbie Connolly (lead vocals, bass), Brandon Kitterman (guitar, bass), and Aaron Anderson (drums) decided to release the self-titled album Fictionist. We caught up with them at SXSW 2015 for an impromptu interview about their journey and starting from scratch.

In 2010, Fictionist embarked on a journey that most musicians dream of by competing in Rolling Stone Magazines Do You Want To Be a Rock & Roll Star? contest and then soon after signing with Atlantic Records. But despite having all the ingredients to make an amazing record – including Grammy award winning producer Ron Aneillo, the historic Hollywood recording studio Sunset Sound Recorders, and even having one of Elvis’ guitars at their disposal – the boys of Fictionist chose not to release the album they recorded under Atlantic.

Stuart Maxfield explained, “It represents the challenging part of our lives, the timing wasn’t great for us. We made a record that neither Atlantic nor us loved, and it just really didn’t make sense to go forward at that point. It’s an album that the world will never hear. It’s a lot of work; it took a lot of time. It’s a bummer, but it’s okay, we’re glad, because it wasn’t the right record to release. Everything has to be right.”

Having been a band for six years but devoting a good chunk of that time recording and playing songs they weren’t passionate about, Fictionist is making the most of their independence. “The silver lining was that, after we got dropped, we were able to artistically do what we wanted to do, which was huge and good for the camaraderie of the band. That’s the breath of fresh air that created the Fictionist self-titled record,” Maxfield said.

On top of creating an independent record and touring with other Provo bands like Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees, the band has also shifted some of the lead vocals from Maxfield to Robbie Connolly, who coincidentally is Maxfield’s brother in-law. Connolly said, “We met at high school in Salt Lake City. I joined this project as a guitarist, but I kept writing songs and singing, so we got to a certain point where we were using some of those. At first, it was an experiment, but it worked out.”

Thrilled to be at South by Southwest for the first time in four years, Fictionist has been traveling non-stop since the album dropped last October. Aaron Anderson said, “We’ve been touring with Mates of State. Ever since the album came out, we’ve been to a lot of the bigger cities. We’re in the process of lining up some opening slots for the summer, but we can’t mention those yet!”

Fictionist has recently announced an east coast tour in August with COIN and Neon Trees (dates below).

Jun 18  Front Conference   Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 25  Utah Arts Festival   Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 27  Daybreak Music Festival   South Jordan, UT
Jul 09  Revolution  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   Fort Lauderdale, FL
Jul 10  The Beacham  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   Orlando, FL
Jul 11  State Theater  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   St Petersburg, FL
Jul 13  Center Stage  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   Atlanta, GA
Jul 14  The Cannery Ballroom  w/ Neon Trees   Nashville, TN
Jul 16  Newport Music Hall  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   Columbus, OH
Jul 17  House of Blues  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   Cleveland, OH
Jul 18  Rams Head Live  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   Baltimore, MD
Jul 20  9:30 Club  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   Washington, DC
Jul 21  The TLA  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   Philadelphia, PA
Jul 22  Irving Plaza  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   New York, NY
Jul 25  College Street Music Hall  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   New Haven, CT
Jul 26  Paradise Rock Club  w/ Neon Trees, COIN   Boston, MA

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