Folk Is People is BACK

September 14, 2016
3 mins read

Two years ago, local indie rockers Rick Grice and Stacey Bennett put their independent-minded duo Folk Is People on hiatus. That was a big loss for Jacksonville, as the band’s 2012 debut That Was Then was catchy, and thorny, full of propulsive, breakneck folk songs played with a propulsive buzz, imbued with Bennett’s powerful voice.

Even though Bennett became a bit of a “ghost” (her word) while she finished her master’s degree, that creative urgency was still a-brewin’. And now, with a video-release show this week, and an album-release party in October, Folk Is People is back — albeit in pared form.

Folio Weekly caught up with the endlessly energetic Bennett to get the scoop.


Folio Weekly:So what the heck have you been up to for the last two years?
Stacey Bennett: Folk Is People has been on hiatus, but it was very important to me to revive this project — of all my projects, I’ve felt most connected to [it]. So I’ve been holed up in my house writing and finishing my master’s degree, while Rick has focused on his recording studio, Endangered Wise Men Studios, and his band, Speaking Cursive. He is producing Folk Is People’s newest full-length, though.

When the band started, you were teaching full-time. Is that still the case?
Folk Is People is [now] my full-time job. I thought I would have more time for sleep and other human activities when I kicked my 9-5 job to the curb to pursue music. Ironically, I’m busier than I have ever been — but it’s the exciting kind of busy.

Tell us more about your new song and video, “Bury Me in Virginia,” which you debut on Sept. 15 at Rain Dogs.
The song is awkwardly autobiographical. I wrote it in about 10 minutes with a banjo and a kick drum. It started it off as satire but ended up being a very existential piece. When I was seven, my grandmother passed somewhat suddenly, and my mom bought several burial plots in Culpeper, Virginia, so we could be buried next to one another. It’s an eerie sort of comfort visiting her resting place, knowing that’s where I will spend my final decades as organic matter. How many people can say they’ve stood on their own grave?

That’s heavy.
It is a very sobering experience — it makes me reflect on my purpose. If I left this planet today, what was my contribution? Hence my decision to focus full-time on creating music. I felt like I was becoming incessantly mediocre, which resulted in a kind of self-abhorrence.

The video feels much more joyful. What was it like filming with director Keagan Anfuso?
Brainstorming and filming [that] was both fun and challenging, assuming those two things can coexist. I worked with an incredible team of brilliant, wonderful humans, and the concept began with a tarot card that my best friend made for the song. The unique thing about the video is that, while it seems to be a somewhat comedic depiction of the song, it is very reflective of my current circumstance. Toward the end of the video, my character surrenders to the concept of Death, a representation of change and transformation. However, the act of surrendering in this case is in regard to acceptance, not defeat.

Your new album drops in October. Are all the songs as reflective of your current state?
A few of the songs are a culmination of pieces and parts I started over a decade ago and completed within the last several months. However, most of the songs are hot off the press. I literally finished writing them in the studio.

Rick isn’t in the band anymore, but he’s producing the album. Will it sound like past Folk Is People?
This album will be somewhat of a surprise to fans. It’s slightly edgier and more diverse than the earlier Folk Is People release. I write very honestly and from a place of vulnerability, which has been a constant. Instrumentally, the new record is a mashup of indie subgenres. Every song is unique from the others.

What inspires you to write that way?
Ideas come to me at random. I’ve written songs in the car, at coffee shops, and have even dreamt about chord progressions. I have about six notebooks going right now [in which] I jot down lyrics or notes. I take turns losing them, essentially rendering them pointless. [But] my songs are extremely personal — I write about experiences. It’s important to tell a story and I’ve found that people connect to that when listening to a folky-style song. That being said, I’ve been watching a lot of serial killer crime dramas lately and I cannot help but think that paranoia creeps into my psyche and influences my writing.

How pivotal is the Jacksonville music community for you as an artist and a human?
It’s essential for Folk Is People. I have a lot of support from other musicians and artists in the community, [and] I feel very lucky to be a part of it. A lot of local folks have been diligent in assisting with this project — as I said, I was a ghost for two years, and as soon as I mentioned my intent to revive Folk Is People, I was met with encouragement and support from all directions. I remain in awe.

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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Andre Gruber, Rum & Duck LLC, Jacksonville, Florida, #moreartculture, #eujacksonville, #eujax
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