Interview | Q&A with David Lareau of Whiskey in the Pines

Outsiders might not think it at first, but Florida is actually the perfect place to grow up around scenery that’s evocative of a no-frills alt-country experience. Such is the case of Whiskey in the Pines, a Tallahassee collective that knows how to get their audiences moving and having a good time with the sort of thinking man’s roots music that we’ve come to love. Following a premiere coordinated over at PopMatters, the band’s David Lareau was gracious enough to sit down for a Q&A with us at FFS…

Q: Can you give us some background on Whiskey in the Pines? How did you get started in music?

A: We hail from the great state of Mickey Mouse and our state flower is the Orange Blossom. I’m not a big fan of labeling music these days as there are too many sub-genres for the genres and I don’t know what any of them mean. But what I can tell you is we strive to write real songs with big sing-along choruses. We’re not afraid to throw the electric guitar on, but at the same time we can cuddle up with the acoustic. We like to use a whole bunch of different instruments to add layers to the symphony of melody we conjure up. The pedal steel is our friend and we believe it could possibly bring peace to the world if used correctly. I can’t speak for the rest of the band but I’ve been playing professionally whether with or without a label since I’ve been 19 and I don’t plan on quitting anytime soon. It’s what I was born to do; it’s in my blood.

Q: How do you define success?

A: Success is a feeling you have—not really an end goal—and it shouldn’t be anything you ever stop pursuing. There’s always room to be more successful so chasing that can be a slippery slope. Knowing what you want and having the balls to go after it. That’s success. Taking the first step even though you can’t see where the staircase goes. That’s success. Laughing like hell while life throws you beautiful curveballs. That’s success.

Q: What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?

A: The only definitive struggle any musician probably has is money. It’s the most expensive career to pursue with the least return on investment. You give me an endless budget and watch the fireworks fly.

Q: What are some goals you’ve set for yourself as an artist/band?

A: More and more fans. That really should be the only real goal is to constantly get your music out to a broader fan base. Let it grow. The songs are for them to hear. Let them hear them. I know what music means to me and I can only hope to provide songs that become the soundtrack to people’s lives…that, and I’d love to grow my leather and denim jacket collection.

Q: When not working on music, what do you like to do in your spare time?

A: I run my own woodworking business and watch my kid throughout the day, so finding time to do anything else is a juggling act. In the evenings I’m with the wife catching up on modern mainstream sitcoms and attempting to avoid carbs. Any moment I get where I’m alone, I’m doing something that feeds me creatively, even if that’s just shutting off at the local bar for a few hours or going for a run. Two polar opposites both with the same outcome…the ability to play music in my own head.

FFS: Thanks so much. It’s been a pleasure.  

Jonathan Frahm (@jfrahm_)

Photo: Pat McDonnel