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GENRE: Hip-Hop & Rock Fusion
HOMETOWN: Atlanta, GA
ARTISTIC APPROACH: To fuse metal guitars with live hip-hop.
Starting out as Gorillaz-style drawings in a comic strip even before learning their instruments, The FountNHead came to life via common hip-hop and rock influences. “I feel like when cultures combine, that’s when evolution occurs,” relates main rapper and singer Jewels. “Our goal is to create, and create freely.”
Jewels, A.M. and Sainto were high school and college friends, and the group’s name originated while reading Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Jewels explains, “I thought [Howard Roark] was really heroic. We all left school early to pursue musical dreams, and he loved to pursue his dreams of creativity.” A.M., singer/keyboardist, expounds, “Like the hip-hop story goes, we came from a bottom-up type situation. The character, he came from nothing, and he never wanted to give up anything in himself because he didn’t feel like he had to in order to make it to the next steps in his life.”
Sainto explains the band’s sound: “We started off really hip-hop, ATL mixed with a conscious vibe, that’s how we were. Growing up in a lot of different places, I had a lot of different musical influences. Going into production, [A.M. and myself] made beats. We started putting in more live instruments, guitar and bass, and hip-hop mixed into rock, kind of evenly.” Jewels adds, “We wanted the hip-hop to have not as much of a cut and paste kind of sound, and wanted to have a more organic, flowing feel.” Sainto goes on:
“We didn’t want a Beastie Boys type band where it’s a bunch of mics and all the live stuff is coming from a DJ. We wanted to be able to do it live.”
The FountNHead got a huge chance to show off their live experience this summer when they played the 2012 Vans Warped Tour. Jewels, Sainto and A.M. equally write the music, and Nixon, the newest member, feels confident enough in the band to travel back and forth from L.A. as they work on negotiations for future recordings. Sainto plays an Ibanez Jet King guitar through a Line 6 POD HD500 and a Fender Mustang V amplifier. A.M. plays a Roland keyboard and keytar. Nixon plays Tama drums with Sabian cymbals and Roland electronic drum pads. They recorded their self-released The Usual Disappointment with producer/engineer Giff Tripp (311).
photo by Terence Rushin