Farmer Announces Debut Album Featuring Tim Lefebvre, Mark Guiliana, Matt Flynn, Dave Matthews & More

The full album will be released on March 29th, but listen to the first single "Cruel" here

Farmer Announces Debut Album Featuring Tim Lefebvre, Mark Guiliana, Matt Flynn, Dave Matthews & More

The full album will be released on March 29th, but listen to the first single "Cruel" here

Photo Credit: Vikas Nambiar

The story of Farmer is one of two friends, a friendship unraveled, death, forgiveness and a game of musical telephone.
In the mid 2000s, Geoff Stanfield, after success with bands Black Lab and Sun Kil Moon, took a more active role as a producer and studio owner in Seattle. Through a mutual friend, singer Jeff Taylor was introduced to Geoff and they recorded over a dozen songs together at Geoff’s studio, Well Recording. “I had worked with some incredible singers in the past, but nothing like Jeff. His range, variable characters and ability to improvise was just like nothing I had ever heard before. One moment it was the most demonic Mike Patton-inspired insanity and the most tender, intimate, vulnerable soul-bearing performance the next. It was like working with an insane acrobatic singing Houdini. There was nothing we couldn’t do,” recalls Stanfield.

Unfortunately the two had a falling out over business matters, the record never saw the light of day and they didn’t speak for years. 

“Out of the blue I get a text from JT apologizing for our blow out and asking if I wanted to go get coffee while he was in town with Trixie Whitley. Look, the past dust-up was not what I had hoped for, and I wish people had heard what we had created, but I had never really held a grudge about it, so I was happy he reached out and we did get that coffee,” says Stanfield.

Jeff Taylor remembers, “Though we wouldn’t start recording together again for some time, an important channel had been reopened and we saw each other from time to time. Each time we’d chat, the conversation would always end with the mutual statement, ‘Let’s make rock sometime soon.’”

After the death of Geoff’s brother, a global pandemic and lockdown, and years helping people make music, but not making it himself, Stanfield started writing and recording songs at his home studio with minimal gear and drum machines. 

“I kept coming back to this batch of songs, and although I can crush a background vocal, I am not a lead singer. The first person that came to mind was Jeff. I sent him my instrumental track for “White Light” and just gave him free rein to sing on it. I think my only direction was to go with first instincts. What he sent back a few days later just fucked me up. And I laughed. A Lot. It was everything I had hoped for but didn’t even know was possible. This was true collaboration.”

Taylor: “When Geoff sent me the instrumental for ‘White Light,’ I was coming off a semi-successful collaboration with another dear musician friend, and wasn’t particularly looking to jump into another such shared experience. Songwriting, at that moment in my musical life, meant sitting down at my desk and creating something from scratch – alone. So much for that.

The instant I hit play and felt the relentless bass line and drums of ‘White Light,’ a magical, sonic-social dance commenced. The sounds and arrangements of Geoff’s new music had reignited a burner that I hadn’t cooked over in a long while.”

JT: “As I would start in on a song, I was almost always creating through a fantasy filter, dreaming of the aquatic world I imagined Geoff to come from. He grew up a surfer, born and raised in Northern California, and had an intimate relationship with the Pacific Ocean. And knowing that Geoff has spent half of his adult life in Seattle, I found myself mentally inhabiting places like the Puget Sound, or imaginary surf breaks along the California coastline. On cross-country phone calls, Geoff and I even dreamed up mythical marine creatures that might frequent said waters, as they patrolled the depths of the Pacific waters and intercostal bays from Santa Cruz to Seattle. 

Mostly though, I was using what I knew of the experiences surfers tended to describe in such detail. Sure, there are epic triumphs, monster waves tamed. But the stories that stuck with me were the wipeouts. Ugly moments of being cruelly raked across a coral reef, pinned to and dragged along the sea floor. Struggling to reach the surface, being pounded by wave after wave, forced to hold breath for minutes at a time. I’ve never been on a surfboard, but there’s still time, and parts of my body I haven’t broken yet, so we’ll see.”

From that point the project started driving itself. 

Stanfield: “This is when the friend machine started up and ran away with this whole thing. I sent ‘“White Light” to bass player Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Sting) who subsequently flipped out over the track and agreed to play on whatever was needed. From there, JT asked drummer Mark Guiliana to play on some tracks. We also asked guitarist Ivan Anderson to play some “non-guitar” guitar parts as well. It culminated in recording at Seattle’s Avast Studios for a week. It felt great after being locked down for so long to get everyone in the same room to make music and hang, have meals, laugh. That session had Maroon 5 drummer Matt Flynn, Tim, Ivan, Jeff and myself. Although these guys are all the best at what they do, the main criteria for being a part of Farmer is “Can you murder me with humor?’”

Stanfield: “I guess it’s also worth mentioning that all along the way, I had been sending tracks in various stages of doneness to my friend Dave Matthews. He seemed to really like the music and so I asked if he’d sing on a couple things. He graciously agreed and lent his mind-blowing voice to “Honey” and “Long Pond.”” 

“Dave is just the dude. The most humble, generous, down to earth guy you’ll ever meet. I feel lucky to call him a friend. Pretty good singer too.”

Geoff and Jeff had several in person sessions at Stanfield’s Whidbey Island studio, The Coop,  to record vocals and finish mixes on the record. 

“Working on music remotely is fine and just part of it to some degree when everyone is in different places, but there is no substitute for being in the same room. Jeff and I can play off each other to get to a thing more quickly when we’re together. I do like it when JT has the ability to work alone and see his ideas through to resolution without input, but I love working one on one because he can almost always take any idea you throw out there and make it 10x more bananas. I hope that comes through.”

Farmer’s debut record will be released Spring 2024, with singles “Cruel (The Only One) feat. Leah Siegel, “911 (Fred Meyer Parking Lot)” and “Honey” feat. Dave Matthews.

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Bass Magazine   By: Bass Magazine