Phatrabbit just released their self-titled debut album. But it's not simply a self-titled debut. It's actually part of a three part series of releases—two of which including the S/T album, if not all three, will drop over the course of the 2016-17 school year. In total, the project will include almost thirty tracks. 30!
Phatrabbit also released a music video for the song "Skinny Legs" produced by Henry Kinder ('17).
Soon, the band will release another video for the song "Seventeen," produced by Alex Fabry ('18). They'll soon be be playing WESU's Wild Wild Live. But most immediately, they just played a big album release show at Music House ("fka eklekteek") with their best friend band Bossy. They'd warned Aural Wes that at the show there was "literally going to be fake blood, cameras, lights, balloons, silly string, some great music, maybe even a new tattoo (AHHH) and the four of us friends up on stage being very happy." This prophecy was fulfilled. Phatrabbit and Bossy rocked.
Listen to the new album Phatrabbit here, and read on to explore the band's origin story.
4. "Love Song"
6. "Skinny Legs"
7. "Voice Memos pt.1"
8. "Deceleration Blues"
Phatrabbit, the story
Aural Wes hung out with 'phront-rabbit' Josh Bloom to talk origins. So, in lieu of an album 'review,' Aural Wes presents the lore of Phatrabbit. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your own phan phiction.
Phatrabbit came into existence freshman year when Josh Bloom ('17) and Eli Spector ('17), who had once spent the summer after sophomore year of high school together in Israel, looked each other up during Orientation Week. They pretty quickly became friends, bonding over shared interests of music, Four Loko, stick 'n' poke tattoos, and small fireworks. Bang! Before long, Will Dudek ('17) and Andrew Rock ('17)—Eli's two roommates in the infamous WestCo Triple—met Josh and the four of them began to spend what, looking back, Josh acknowledges might be considered an unhealthy amount of time together.
As the boys' first semester came to a close, they all began to feel more settled. They had an amazing group of friends, a shared hookah, and even a movie night tradition :). With their increased happiness and comfort, proto-Phatrabbit began to open up to each other more and find fun new ways to fill their newfound college freedom (with friends)! Josh had played guitar and music (in bands and by himself) since he was 10 and soon found out the other boys all had musical interests and aspirations as well. They promptly booked the Usdan practice room (back when there was only one) and one night tried to play "shitty Frank Ocean cover songs." It was a blast and after a couple of more fucking-around sessions, Josh began to share some of the music he'd been writing with the other boys. Both in the triple and in the practice rooms, Phatrabbit fleshed things out until they had their first songs "Tell Me What" and "Burst into Form."
Those first songs "sucked some serious butt," but Phatrabbit had so much fun playing together and being silly that they kept at it. After some more practice and song writing, they were given an awesome opportunity to play a punk show in the DKE basement. Without a name at that point, Will just chose the name Phatrabbit on a whim. Josh likes to spread rumors that it's his own "dirty reference to his genitals," but that "isn't true." Soon after, Phatrabbit got another amazing opportunity (shouts out Gabe Sunshine) to open for Alex G. From that point on it was history. Phatrabbit continued to grow—as "people, friends, and 'Wesleyan community members'" — and they began to take the band more seriously, booking shows as much as possible, buckling down on writing, and making friends in the music scene on campus.
Over the course of junior year, a bunch of Phatrabbit's friends had some tough times with relationships, among other things. There were breakups left and right and a lot of people felt really bad. Luckily, says Josh, "we have amazing people in our lives here and everyone is okay and even still friends"—but things were tough for a while ("Drown" 2:10).
Josh has always loved music as therapy—"in the shittiest times, it's always there and can even sometimes help you learn and grow." During that spring of breakups, he decided that he really wanted to make an intentional, cohesive album. Something that not only could make something of the tough times, but might be able to help other people too. Josh brought the idea to the band and they were into it. Over spring break, Josh and Eli spent several days, just the two of them, at Eli's home in Northampton, MA, crafting the first songs and ideas from all of the lyrics and music that had been brewing in their heads. As all the ideas came to the surface, they began to piece together a narrative. Tracing out their lives over the past three years—from making friends, to finding love, to losing it, and to growing out of that and learning more about themsleves in the process—"we found a story we wanted to tell."
Everyone in Phatrabbit writes based on their experiences: "writing helps us think and process—it's our daily lives that fuel whatever creative fire is up our butts." Utilizing much of the early music they had written (often about the partners they went on to be in relationships with and the angsts they'd felt over the past years) coupled with a series of intense new songs, Phatrabbit wrote a big, new, narrative-based album.
Over a week in May and another in August 2016, Phatrabbit camped out at Josh's uncle's house near Port Chester, NY to record the music and narrative they'd been crafting all semester. At a studio in Port Chester proper, under the direction of Aidan Engel-Bradley (a friend of a friend), they finally put the songs on record.
Now, after all of this waiting and preparing, Phatrabbit have finally released their first effort. Much of the songs are familiar to friends and family (and the boys apologize for that), but they wanted to start telling this intentional, direct story from the beginning with "the quality that all the parts of the story deserve." There are some new songs, some new themes, some new instruments, and Phatrabbit are excited to begin sharing it all with the world.
To conclude this tale, a note from Phatrabbit themselves:
At this point, thinking over the history of our little band, we've gotten a little emotional. It sorta feels as if this is a very important and summative time for our band, and for the four of us as people and friends. We made it here, to senior year, to music we are proud of, to being better people and I guess that now... we wanna share that. There are more parts of our story to tell - two more albums hopefully by the end of the year. And it looks like there will be even more Phatrabbit after we all graduate ;), but we're getting ahead of ourselves... Right now is this album and we are very excited :)