Duncan Fellows, a band out of Austin, Texas, is making its mark across the country. Their shows are crowded, their music is heartfelt and infectious, and they are the greatest bunch of guys you’d want to meet!
Let’s talk with Tim Hagen, the drummer, of DUNCAN FELLOWS:
So, who’s in the band?
Myself, Colin Harman, David Stimson, Jack Malonis, and Cullen Trevino
How did you all meet?
We all met in school at the University of Texas. In the beginning, we were an 8-piece folk band. Formed for a show that our friend had booked at a sleazy bar downtown in the Red River District. That bar has since changed ownership a number of times.
Who gave you the most support early on?
Our friends were the most supportive early on. The first show we played had a large turnout of our college buds who were just curious about what we had going on… it was a very rough show. Lots of technical difficulties and we just did not know what was really going on, but our friends stuck with us through it!
What does your music aim to say?
It’s hard to pin down to one message in particular, but there is a definite theme to our latest EP. Since we came into the studio with so many songs and only had time to record four, we wanted them to feel as together as possible. So we went with the tunes that were all linked by loss—more specifically the theme of us figuring out how one confronts loss years down the road once the dust has settled. If the EP helps someone through something, connects with them, or simply makes their day better, then we are happy.
It’s an awesome feeling to share a room with a crowd that is dancing and then get to spend time with them afterwards listening to their stories about what our music means to them.
As a visiting Texas Band, what do you like about Los Angeles?
Where do we start? Our first show in LA was very exciting because it felt like we were playing for the heart of the music world, and the promise of our ‘big break’ was around the corner. Our first gig in LA was at The Troubadour – I mean, this was where Elton John was discovered. The next morning, the call came from a talent agent (of course- we crushed) wanting to speak to Colin. The agent saw serious potential in Colin and needed to discuss some details. We were confused when a slightly disheartened and upset Colin reported back to us that the agent wanted him to come audition for a part as “Orc Gangster 3” for his upcoming Netflix movie… not quite the break we were hoping for. Colin auditioned and did not get the part. Though slightly disillusioned, we still enjoy playing LA for the history of how much great music was born there.
In addition, depending on what time of the year we are there it can be 30+ degrees cooler in LA than Austin, so that is always very refreshing. Plus, we always try to make it out to Venice to go play in the waves… always a nice time for some Texas boys.
Who or what inspires you?
The people who come out to shows in random parts of the country very far from home. There is nothing that makes us want to keep doing this more than when a stranger comes up after a gig and says our music made an impact on their life. Those are interactions to hold onto when times get hard on the road or in the studio.
What do you consider success?
We are out on our first co-headlining tour right now which feels like a success in itself. Anyone who buys tickets to these shows makes us feel successful.
We would love to get to a place where we’re able to put food on the table and pay bills just by playing music, but until that point we’re finding success in just being able to do what we love part-time.
What’s been a real high-point in your career or lives?
Playing Austin City Limits Festival in 2018 was a huge high-point for us. We all grew up going to that festival and being inspired in huge ways by artists we saw there. To be able to play on one of those stages and was very surreal.
What was the best piece of advice given to you?
“Music is a great hobby” ie music should be nothing more than a hobby. I’m sure that sounds confusing, but really I think it has given us a healthy appreciation that very very few people get to do this as a career. We’ve been balancing work with touring / writing / recording for years now and I think it’s kept us fed and sane.
What’s your motto or words to live by?
“The days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, those are really good days”
What makes you guys laugh?
Danny McBride… including his recent show “Righteous Gemstones” which we binged on a day off in Detroit
Recording more music! We’re excited to go back into the studio and hopefully make our best music yet. It’s very exciting to go back and record as we develop into better musicians.
Pie, Cake or Ice Cream?
Ooo, really any of the above as long as it’s chocolate! If I had to pick one I’d go with Cake.
If you get a chance to see a Duncan Fellows show, please do it! You’ll have a great night!