Local indie rock band Animal Years’ debut album is called “Sun the Rise,” an appropriate title for a band on the rise. The band members, who all reside in Brooklyn, have witnessed success since they formed in 2013. They’ve performed at Brooklyn Bowl and the popular music festival South by Southwest (SXSW), have opened up for acts such Robert Randolph & The Family Band, and have had their music video premiered on Conan O’Brien’s popular Team Coco blog.
Now, vocalist and guitarist Mike McFadden, drummer Anthony Spinnato and bassist Anthony Saldino are set to play one of their biggest gigs yet: a concert at the legendary Gramercy Theatre in Manhattan on May 1.
The band, whose repertoire features catchy melodies and which is influenced by bands such as Kings of Leon and Tallest Man on Earth, started to take shape in Maryland, where McFadden was busy writing and recording songs solo.
“I was in Baltimore and I had this record already written and recorded,” recalled McFadden, who knew Saldino, the bass player, through friends who played music together. “I had this great album and was sending him songs and stuff. He asked if I would come to New York and put the record out. We got some guys together and started from there.”
McFadden considers the album – the band’s first — his baby, as he wrote all the songs, but stressed the importance of his bandmates. “The guys play an active role in the group but not in song writing,” he explained.
Due to the booming music scene in the borough, the band found Brooklyn a perfect match to both live and operate from. Spinnato lives in Sunset Park, Saladino in Williamsburg and McFadden in Williamsburg. So far, the relocation has been a positive one.
“I moved to Brooklyn when I was ready to do something with the record. It’s absolutely the best place to do it. That’s why we’re here,” McFadden said. “The opportunities are crazy. It’s great to be so close to where everything seems to be happening.”
Although they’ve received success in a short order, McFadden explains that it didn’t happen overnight. “It’s definitely been a slow climb,” he acknowledged. “We’re very happy with reception that our music has gotten here. It was perfect timing. It took a lot of years of song writing and maturing. Moving to New York helped. I paid my dues in Baltimore.”
According to McFadden, so far the band’s highlights include playing at SXSW and its growing fan base, especially among peers. “It’s always great to see people that you know endorse what you’re doing and like it.”
Like any new band trying to make it in a struggling music industry, hardships often loom. “When you’re not a huge band,” McFadden said, there are obstacles, “L,ike not making enough money, doing it on your own and not having same resources.”
The band is currently on an independent label, but is published by BMI. They are weighing their options about potential partnerships.
Despite the struggles, the band’s future is bright, with additional shows and new music planned. “This summer will be dedicated to finishing a new record. It will have the same vibe as the last one with a poppy sound and some country stuff,” McFadden said. “Once we put on new music, we’ll focus on touring and growing our audience.”
Animal Years will be opening for Martin Sexton at the Gramercy show, and McFadden and company seem excited. “I’m big into singers and songwriters,” McFadden said. “I’ve been a huge fan for a long time. It’s going to be a great crowd.”
The show takes place on Friday May 1 at The Gramercy Theatre, 127 East 23rd Street in Manhattan. For tickets and more information on the group, visit www.animalyearsmusic.com.