All Eyes on Survivors of The Kraken

Can you please introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about your musical journey and background

I’m Allan Furtado I play bass in Survivors of The Kraken. I play bass because when all my friends were picking up instruments and forming bands no one else wanted to do it so here we are. Before we reformed I was recording and touring with The Candace Brooks Band [Life After Me ‘08, The Chase ‘09]

I’m Brian Decoteaux Drums/Percussion SOTK. I was also in The Candice Brooks Band [Life After Me ‘08, The Chase ‘09] with Allan.

I’m Justin Marra Guitar and vocals in SOTK. I’m a singer songwriter born where the skies are brown and the rivers burn. I’ve been making music with Allan and Brian for almost as long as I’ve been making music. In-between I recorded three albums [Raised by Hippies ’03, Muse ’07, Lost In Petrichor ’14] of my own original music.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and how have they shaped your sound and style?

[Justin] When it comes to guitar my earliest memories are listening to Motown [Joe Messina/Eddie Willis] and Stax/Volt [Steve Cropper/Matt Murphy] sounds. I think that rhythm is stuck in my right hand. As a teenager I found James Gang [Joe Walsh], Zeppelin [Jimmy Paige], Aerosmith [Joe Perry], GNR [Slash]. Whatever I’m doing you can be sure I’m going to try and put huge guitars on it. I’m not a Red Hot Chili Peppers super-fan, but I think Anthony Kiedis style of disconnected poetry shaped a lot of the lyrical work I’m doing right now. 

[Allan] James Jamerson is a great player who just put down what the song needed-never too much never too little. He’s always in the back of my mind if not the front. Justin Chancellor [Tool] and Stephan Lessard [DMB]
were influences when I started playing back in high school.

[Brian] Darren Jessee. My favorite band is Ben Folds Five, and listening to them in my formative years of playing definitely shaped my style. Those were the songs I attempted to play along with so the DNA the of my beats and fills are connected to his. 

[Justin] Allan, I’ve known you for 22 years and no idea we had that Funk Brothers connection until this interview.

Can you share a specific artist or album that has had a significant impact on your music?

[Justin] The Cranberries perfected this Fender Amp Vibrato overdub sound that is
prevalent on all their records. I remember saying to our producer/engineer [Andy Davis
@ subModern Audio, RI] that I wanted it on our record. We didn’t do that sound, but
something descended from it. The music we’re working on right now, all the songs are
very different, but they have this edge of breakup guitar overdub sound connecting them.
Hopefully when all is said and done these songs sound like a record.

[Brian] I think there’s a lot to be said about an album like Paramore’s « Riot ». There are so many records that I’ve listened to or half listened to, but “Riot » really stands out and goes to show how absolutely valuable making every song matter on an album is. I think we did that on this upcoming record of ours. We had eight solid songs and decided we wanted to go for ten. The last two songs we wrote are maybe two of the best songs we’ve ever written. There’s no filler here.

[Justin] I’m not a prolific songwriter, I have to fight for every note and every word. Except when I’m making music with Allan and Brian…I saw The Monkees TV show in reruns at a formative age. I think subconsciously I’ve been chasing that my whole life. The Monkees -even after they didn’t make music together- always laughed together. When I’m making music with Allan and Brian I’m usually laughing and happiest.

What’s your creative process like when you’re composing or writing a new song?

Quips and phrases will just come to me [Justin] or someone will say something or I’ll read something and think “oh that’s clever,” I keep them all in a notebook and then it’s sort of like assembling puzzle pieces to tell a story or express what I’m feeling. I’ll bring those ideas to band practice and then it’s a lot like an improv game where we’re ‘yes and-ing’ and trying to compliment and impress each other. More often thank not we walk in to a room with nothing and leave with a song. It’s pretty magical and amazes me to this day.

Among all the songs you’ve created, do you have a personal favorite? If so, what makes it special to you?

[Allan] “Second Time Around” was the first song we wrote together in this version of the band and really sets the tone for all we were and all we could be.

Can you share the story or inspiration behind that particular song?

[Brian] When the band first reconnected [2012] after not playing together for several years, Allan and I more or less were helping fill in the background of already
written songs. « Second Time Around » was the first from the ground up creation we had made together in this new version of the band.

[Justin] We’d just started playing music together again, but I was also finishing recording my third solo record [Lost In Petrichor], so I wanted to finish that project, but I also wanted to included Allan and Brian in some capacity, but also didn’t want to restart the project. I remember thinking that writing “Second Time Around” was easier than writing the rest of the record. We did it in a couple of hours in my kitchen start to finish. It was a really ah ha moment, like, “oh we can still do this.”

[Allan] So when we decided to finally make this record together it was a natural place to start. We were deep into the night or early in the morning in our first recording session block for what would become “Amid Life Crises”, a little tipsy and riding high on creativity and we just stumbled into something great with the version that’s on the record.

[Justin] Yeah, that take is 95% live to tape, so it’s a pretty special version that I look forward to people hearing. I think there’s some keyboard overdubs on it and that’s it…They’re all my favorites at different times. I’m really into ‘All’s Not Meant For You” right now. Brian kept coming back to this song we wrote twenty years ago and it was a great song, but also lyrically embarrassing to me as an adult so we tore that song down, took the best parts, and rebuilt it around a completely new structure and idea. The guitar and drums take turns keeping time and the bass is free to dance around them in a really complimentary way. I’m really proud of the guitar solo on that one too.

Let’s talk about your latest song. What’s the title, and what’s the story or message behind it?

Tattered Baggage is the first single from our upcoming album [Amid Life Crises]. It recounts the challenges of having to reinvent yourself, making up for lost time, and the uncertainty of those early days of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic. We had built a lot of momentum in 2017/2018 and then It was uncertain if we’d ever make music together again. We’d been practicing in Allan’s garage and I [Justin] had this vivid memory of standing with Brian outside and Allan in, and him bringing the door down between us. Maybe that was it? So that became the first line of the song. It’s a genre bender- a little shoegaze-y and this big guitar lead. I hear something new in it every time I listen.

Share a memorable or unique experience from one of your live performances.

[Allan] One time I asked for a microphone, and these fools gave it to me! I can’t sing. I have an abrasive speaking voice and zero comedic timing…. Honestly I don’t know what they were thinking.

[Justin] We played a set at PVD Fest in 2016. Rhode Island is a tough scene for us, we’ve always been a little out of place with the rest of what’s going on in the scene so getting booked felt really good, but when we finished our set the crowd, and the organizers, asked for another song. That felt particularly triumphant. 

[Brian] Taking the stage at Hard Rock [Boston, MA] is pretty memorable.

Beyond music, do you have any hobbies or interests that you’re passionate about? How do they influence your music?

[Justin] I rock climb and am a tinkerer [guitars, lightsabers, building recording studios, 1991 Firebird that is always in need of repair ]-I’m happiest when I have a project.

[Allan] I golf, I’m a fan of sports. Art can be exhausting. It’s great to be able to turn that part of me off and do something completely different. 

[Brian] We’re a mean squad to come up against in Fortnite. I play a formidable healer in Final Fantasy XIV.

Is there a dream collaboration you’d like to pursue in the future?
[Justin] No one has ever asked us this before…I would love to BBQ with Dave Grohl… If the right opportunity presents itself we’re open to it, but nothing comes to mind. Our thing throughout this whole project has been “yes, and..” so if someone came to us and said, “hey do you want to…?” I imagine we’d say, “yes.” It would be really cool to find counterparts to gig and tour with.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who are just starting their journey in the music industry?

[Justin] Passion is more important than talent; practice not perfection; someone out there needs to hear your songs and no one else can write them. 

[Brian] Find the ways that keep it fun. The number one critic you need to answer to is yourself…yourself and your recording engineer. 

Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or new music you have in the works? What can your fans and listeners look forward to from you in the near future?

Our debut record ‘Amid Life Crises’ comes out March 15, 2024 and we’re releasing one single a month ahead of that. The next [Dying on the Vine] releases digitally on Reverberation and Bandcamp 12/22/23 and all major retailers shortly thereafter.