Plugged In: Infantree
By Mike Duffy
Don’t try to pin a specific music genre on Southern California indie rockers Infantree.
When listening to their latest album – 2012’s Hero’s Dose – a ton of influences come to mind.
The psychedelic sounds of Pink Floyd or the Doors are evident. So are the surf-rock tones of the Beach Boys. And don’t forget the world beat of Paul Simon.
In truth, Infantree refuses to be defined by satellite-radio categories, and perhaps that’s why the versatile quartet burned up the summer festival circuit and eventually landed an opening spot for Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s upcoming tour.
|Infantree’s Matt Kronish.|
“We try to be at least three different things at the same time,” guitarist and vocalist Alex Vojdani recently told Fender, adding a chuckle at the end.
“It’s almost scary, just trying to be musicians. We know what’s happened to our favorite musicians who have gone in one direction or another, and it’s scary to pick one thing that you want to be, because we enjoy more than one thing. We like playing more than one thing. Why would we just be one thing? It kind of feels wrong. So there is an effort to avoid being thrown into just one category.”
The 20-something upstarts have been cultivating their diverse sound since Vojdani and fellow guitarist and vocalist Matt Kronish were in high school together.
In those early days, the duo would noodle around on their instruments without any real designs on writing full songs.
But once they met yet another multi-instrumentalist in Donald Fisher at a summer rock camp, the idea to create a real band was born.
“After Matt and I were jamming for a year or two, it was like, ‘Either we’re going to do this or we’re not.’ Luckily, we both had that feeling that we should just do it,” explained Vojdani. “We met Don soon after. It was the same type of scenario. We were going to some rock camp, learning to play Pink Floyd covers and stuff like that, and we just found him. We clicked right away.”
Once drummer Jordan Avesar came on board – through his sister’s acquaintance with Keonish’s sister – Infantree was officially born.
Of course, the fact that Infantree is signed to Young’s Vapor Records label probably helped their latest gig.
Back in 2010, Infantree’s manager was working for Vapor, and he effectively made the case for the young musicians. Fast-forward to 2012, and it’s off on a cross-country tour with rock royalty.
“Once we signed to his label, that was the best-case scenario, other than just being signed,” Vojdani said in reference to the Young tour. “When you close your eyes and are in your room just playing, you think, ‘Man, wouldn’t it be cool if we were opening up for Neil Young in an arena?’
“We knew that if we worked hard enough, one day that might happen – but probably not ever. I guess they were willing to put up with us for a few shows, and we got that call saying, ‘Yeah, you’re opening for Neil.’”
Infantree should appeal to Young’s crowd, too.
Their roots in rock definitely call to mind Young’s days in Crazy Horse. In addition, Infantree has even done some time in front of jam-band crowds to know how to appeal to those audiences.
“We recently played this festival called Moe.Down, and that was our first relationship to anything jammy,” said Vojdani with a laugh. “We were so unprepared for that concert. They gave us an hour and a half set, and I think they were just expecting us to be all ‘Jazz Oddysey.’ We were like, ‘Whoa, we don’t do that. We have songs that we know.’
“I think since then, we’re trying to be more aware of that, but we always try to step it up to put on a great show.”
A hard-touring band, Infantree has been working the festival circuit since San Francisco’s Outside Lands in 2009, and the guys are excited about not only killing it on the Neil Young and Crazy Horse run, but also getting to their third full-length album.
“We really just want to do what we can on this tour and then get to work recording a new album,” said Vojdani. “It’s been fun so far, and we’re looking forward to what’s next.”
For more information, visit Infantree’s official website.