Four-piece Foreign Figures stem from the lesser-known city of Orem, Utah was formed in late 2014 by brothers Eric and Steve Michels, Seth Dunshee, and Jonny Tanner. Led by a smooth R&B pop vocal, Foreign Figures blends melody-driven indie-pop with a hip hop backbone and rock & roll attitude.
They’ve got a natural ability to bring listeners a true arena pop-rock vibe to their songs within seconds of pressing play, such that it’s hard to believe the band is only a couple of years old. Foreign Figures released their debut album, Paradigm, on Friday, April 1.
Eric [Michels], lead singer, and Steve [Michels], drummer are brothers who began writing together while in high school. Steve and Eric put out an EP together in 2010, and Seth met them soon afterward through a mutual friend. They jammed for a couple of months, but, Eric soon decided to volunteer for a 2-year mission for his church.
During that that Seth and Steve continued to jam and write casually, but mostly did acoustic covers at weddings and parties. When Eric returned in late 2013, they decided to form a band and record some songs together. Seth knew a really talented engineer and producer named Jonny [Tanner], and they soon went into his home studio to record their first song together. It didn’t take long for them to ask Jonny to join the band as a guitarist.
Foreign Figures’ sound is truly a collaborative effort. Each band member is a strong songwriter and vocalist, and their musical influences differ enough to spark extra creativity when writing.
Jonny comes from a metal/rock background, whereas Seth is more into R&B and funk – a big fan of M.J. and Justin Timberlake. Steve loves dance/pop music, and Eric likes indie/rock-pop a bit more. While they all like different genres, they can all agree on a few bands, namely Coldplay and Imagine Dragons. When they write, it’s typically a synergetic experience, but of course, is not without lots of bickering and disagreements which Seth says that makes them stronger songwriters, though.
Not being from LA, Nashville, New York, or Austin definitely makes it a bit easier to be noticed on a local level, just for lack of saturation. Networking with the music industry is definitely a bit harder though. Orem is extremely close to Provo, where bands like Neon Trees, The Used, and Imagine Dragons have come out.
In an Interview with Kevin Cornell when asked –
HOW DO YOU THINK INDIE ARTISTS CAN BETTER EDUCATE THEMSELVES IN THIS AREA OF COLLECTING SONGWRITER ROYALTIES?
Seth replied – Perhaps the best way to educate ourselves is to try and learn as much as you can on your own. Every artist has a team – whether that’s a legitimate management company, or a mom and a dad. I feel that indie artists will only gain from trying to learn about it themselves instead of simply trusting someone else to do it for them.
You can’t do everything on your own, but part of the excitement behind success in the music industry is knowing that you, (at least somewhat), knew what you were doing, (laughs).
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