Richie Follin of Guards on everything about his band falling into place

Guards are currently on tour with Ra Ra Riot. They play Union Transfer in Philly on Thursday, Jan. 24, Webster Hall in NYC on Friday, Jan. 25 and The Paradise in Boston on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Richie Follin says that the only thing he cared about for his band’s full length debut was the songs. Everything else just fell into place.

“I hadn’t written any songs with a band in mind,” says the singer and guitarist. “I was writing the songs for the songs’ sake and trying to make an album.”

That band is Guards and that album is “In Guards We Trust,” which comes out Feb. 5 on Black Bell Records.

As far as everything else falling into place, well, look at his band. They’re a mixed gender outfit (“I didn’t really think about it when I was putting the band together,” says Follin.) and their uniformly long brown hair is picturesque.

“That’s another thing that’s not a thought-out thing,” he says. “I guess all the people I really look up to have long hair. It’s been this way for a long time. I was watching this interview with Bob Marley, and obviously it’s different because he’s a Rasta, but he was saying that his hair is his identity. I don’t want to say my hair is my identity, but at this point I’m that guy with long hair.”

Follin is also that guy who had previously played with Cults (more on that later) and Willowz. He says for Guards, he was looking for something more polished than any of his other projects.

“I definitely want to be on the radio and I want to sell records,” he says forthrightly.

And with this album, they definitely have a shot. The sound is akin to the Pixies’ more restrained later era and MGMT.

Follin approves of both references.

“Especially considering that some of the [MGMT] members played on some of the stuff, so there’s automatically going to be some sort of influence, but I love both of those bands,” he says.

The only problem with setting up a band after recording an album?

“That feeling of epic-ness is hard to get across to people,” he says. “Doing ‘oh’s into a microphone if not treated a certain way ends up sounding like a pop/punk band. We’re just beginning the struggle.”

A ‘Little Women’ Thanksgiving?

Readers of Pitchfork will know Richie Follin as the older brother of Cults singer Madeline Follin. With a laugh he says, “The first five times, I was OK with it,” about the music website constantly referring to him as such.

But with such a musical family, what are Thanksgiving dinners like?

“Thanksgiving dinner, the last time we were all together, was like everybody down in the basement, jamming Black Sabbath or Devo, but that’s mainly my step-dad or me and my friends. Maddie doesn’t really jam that much,” he says. “It’s not like a scene out of ‘Little Women’ or anything.”


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