San Fermin Make That Difficult Second Album Sound Easy: Ellis Ludwig-Leone Talks New Release Jackrabbit
Ahead of their London show, we caught up with Brooklyn eight-piece San Fermin...
San Fermin, the Brooklyn eight-piece led by Yale graduate Ellis Ludwig-Leone, are having something of a busy day. Having made their way to London on Sunday, their Monday night gig at Camden's Jazz Café coincides with the release of their second album, Jackrabbit.
Despite their manic schedules, Allen Tate, Charlene Kaye, Rebekah Durham, John Brandon, Stephen Chen, Tyler McDiarmid and Michael Hanf - as well as Ludwig-Leone - seem to be taking things in their stride. Isn't the notorious second album meant to be more difficult than this?
MTV UK: Your new album Jackrabbit is released today; how has your sound evolved since your self-titled debut?
Ellis Ludwig-Leone: I think we’ve changed to reflect the live sound quite a bit. It’s a louder, more manic record, and the songs don’t always set you down softly at the end. But I also think there are more hooks. So in a way it’s gotten thornier, but it’s also catchier.
MTV UK: Which track do you feel best describes San Fermin as a whole and why?
Ellis: Probably 'Parasites' is the most emblematic of this record— it’s a constantly changing song with both singers, a weird sax solo, and a crazy ending, and it works really well live. But if you’re going to start with one, start with one of the singles, 'Emily' or 'Jackrabbit'.
MTV UK: You're touring pretty solidly from now until festival season – do you prefer the smaller shows or the huge outdoor crowds?
Ellis: I prefer somewhere in between. We just did two shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn which were kind of perfect. A pretty big venue but an attentive audience. Any bigger than that, I think the energy starts to dissipate a bit into the room.
MTV UK: What's the best thing about life on the road?
Ellis: I like that every day you have your schedule set out for you. It’s a relaxing change for me since when I’m at home writing, I have to keep to my own schedule, but on the road it’s like, just do the task set in front of you.
MTV UK: And the worst?
Ellis: 3am wake up calls, no question.
MTV UK: What's your pre-show ritual for getting you hyped to go on stage?
Ellis: I try to visualise playing the songs about five or ten minutes before, just to get my mind in the right state. Besides that, nothing special. Sometimes Allen and I will go for a walk before really big ones.
MTV UK: How do you unwind afterwards?
Ellis: Unevenly! Sometimes I get kind of down after shows for no reason except it’s a comedown from a big high. I like to watch basketball at the hotel.
MTV UK: You guys are based in Brooklyn. Where's the best place in the borough to…
Play a show?
Ellis: Music Hall of Williamsburg.
MTV UK: Eat a bagel?
Ellis: Bergen Bagels.
MTV UK: Grab a beer?
MTV UK: Feel like a native
Ellis: I think I’ll always feel a little like a transplant, actually. I like it that way.
San Fermin’s new album Jackrabbit is out this week through Downtown Records / Sony RED.