Dayton Ohio’s Starving in the Belly of the Whale is a time-tested indie folk act with heart. With four (almost five) LPs under their belts, as well as a soundtrack EP, the band continue to diligently hone their songcraft and inspire new audiences.
With their forthcoming, crowd-funded album Missionaries and Imposters, which drops November 22 at a hometown album release show at Blind Bob’s, the band continues to explore their genre, drawing on life experiences and environmental inspiration to color their output and push them in new and exciting directions.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with vocalist, pianist, guitarist, Ricky Terrell l to discuss the new record, marriage and music, and crowd funding.
How has the band evolved since 2009? How has the group matured and is the vision clearer after five years together?
When I first started Starving in the Belly of the Whale, I wanted it to be a full band. However, it has evolved into multiple stages. Every album has had a different cast of musicians. Every album has its own unique sound. I am very mobile and am always wanting to accomplish something new.
Is there a chemistry that exists in a marriage that leaches into the pursuit of artistic endeavors together?
My wife had never sang or played drums until a few weeks before recording started for Missionaries and Impostors. I think she started singing and playing because she was excited about the fact that I may be traveling around the country and she’d be sitting at home.
Now, she loves it. She is in the early stages of starting a solo project where she’d be the lead vocal and primary song writer. I would love to see her follow this path! It’s always encouraging to live with another musician. I keep my life very compartmentalized. My marriage and my music do not overlap. They may intertwine, but one never interferes with another.
In 2012 you did a film soundtrack. What was that experience like and is it something you’d consider doing again?
This was one of the most exciting experiences of my musical career. I loved traveling the country to film festival premieres and doing press for it. The director, Shane M. Pergrem, has contacted me about a future film, but no specifics have been discussed at this time.
Was there a grand artistic vision for Missionaries and Imposters? What were you hoping to accomplish with the record?
Every recording process makes for better recordings in the future. As a musician I am constantly challenging myself. This album will help create better albums in the future. In support of Missionaries and Impostors, we will be touring extensively and shopping it around to labels.
Where did you record the record and did it come together as you’d hoped it would? You spent nine months recording the record, as opposed to just a few weeks on the others? Why was this a more intensive processes?
This was the first album we recorded with Micah Carli at Popside in Troy, Ohio. Due to Micah’s extensive touring schedule, we were forced to recorded over the span of nine months. At first, I was very uneasy about it. But it became a blessing in disguise. We trashed multiple songs on the album and were recording new songs a week before our production deadline. Micah’s schedule forced us to sit back and listen to mixes and songs for months. This gave us a better understanding of what made Missionaries and Impostors.
The record was fully funded by fans. Did it feel weird to ask for support in that way? Was it validating to have fans of the music come through like that?
It wasn’t weird at all. It was just nice to have the money up front. Starving in the Belly of the Whale has always released its compact disc and vinyl release at no charge. We are strictly donations. So, in a way, all of our projects have been fan funded. This was just the first time we asked for donations before an album was released. At this time, for Starving in the Belly of the Whale our number one priority is music distribution. We all have successful jobs that pay our bills. Until music is supporting our bills, we will continue to put music in as many people’s hands as possible. I have never understood why bands hold their music hostage for money.
The band has toured extensively, including visits to 30 states. How did you come to play in Hawaii?
I book shows anywhere I am traveling. Two summers ago I was vacationing in Hawaii, so I booked a show. It kind of annoys my family and friends. I am always thinking of ways to get my music in stranger’s hands.
You recently spent some time hanging with Butch Walker. How did you meet him and did you ask if he’d work or collaborate with you in the future?
I have been a huge fan of Butch’s since high school and have been on a first name basis with him for a few years. Butch has bought multiple guitars from my collection, we’ve been to dinner and exchanged banter on social media. I really started talking to him more around the time we started recording Missionaries and Impostors. He contacted me and gave his approval on our Joanna Newsom cover. He had agreed to mix Missionaries and Impostors, but his schedule is ridiculous. We tried to work something out, but the time frame was too extensive.
Lacey had never met him and last Saturday at his stop in Columbus, on the Ryan Adams and the Shining tour, he contacted me and asked if she’d have time to cut his hair. We met up a few hours before the show and just hung out and talked about music. It is always a good time hanging out with him. Butch and Ryan on the same bill was insane. One of the best concerts. And obviously, we gave him a copy of Missionaries and Impostors. Hopefully a collaboration will happen in the future.
(Visit the band here: www.starvinginthebellyofthewhale.com