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