MIDWEST, USA – The Notionaries are a band of talented instrumentalists and songwriters hailing from Oklahoma City, Wichita and Denver. I got to have a conversation with Lamar Fite of the band and he shared with me about what it means to be a Notionary, being a band of family men, collaboration, and transitioning to being under a label.
WHO ARE THE NOTIONARIES?
The band consists of Lamar Fite, Logan Rine (guitar player), Nick Patrick (bass), and Andrew Hise (drums).
It’s funny that you asked it like that because we really do like to look at all of us, everybody, being Notionaries (which means ’to create notions’). This project was started by wanting to start something that people could feel like they’re involved in and a part of.
IF THE NOTIONARIES WERE CHARACTERIZED AND ENVISIONED AS A PERSON, WHAT WOULD HE OR SHE LOOK LIKE?
I would say a very personable, friendly, driven person. Someone who isn’t exactly sure what they want or who they are, but know that they want to find out.
HOW DID THE NOTIONARIES START?
The Notionaries started as just a studio project. Logan and I really created it from our brain waves and we wanted something to have open collaboration, songwriting and mind. We didn’t have a genre in mind. We went with whatever was organic, got together and started writing stuff. We were never intending on it being a band, I was a part of Good Culture at the time, and he was a part of Abandon Kansas, and we just wanted to write some music together. We ended up recording the two songs we have now; Excited Eyes and “Bandit“. It really started as a creative space and outlet
We knew things were getting serious when we were getting publishing deals and eventually a record deal offer.
WHERE ARE YOU GUYS BASED OUT OF?
When people ask us, we say ‘we’re from the Midwest.’ Nick lives in Wichita, I live in Denver, and Andrew and Logan live in OKC. It’s hard for us to say we live in a specific place because we’ve never played live, and we’re not from the same place. We’ve been a part of some local Denver stuff, I’ve been to a lot of local shows and connected to some artists there, and they’ve embraced us, but i guess OKC is the safest place to label us.
WHAT IS THE TRANSITION BETWEEN BEING AN INDIE ARTIST TO BEING UNDER A LABEL?
Whenever you’re an indie artist, you’re really your own boss. And we still are too, technically. But other people rely on you getting stuff done, being productive and being 100%. If it doesn’t happen you may get a text every once in a while.
There’s a lot more motivation on the business side of things, because you have a team. We have eight to ten people instead of just us four dudes. EJ and Victoria (label owners of Brickhouse Music Group) do most of the work behind the business stuff and we just have to answer questions here or there. I would say it’s better for sure. We’re still four dudes doing everything we can, with a team backing them up doing things behinds the scenes.
ARE ALL OF YOU MARRIED?
I’m married with a ten month old, Nick has a five year old, and then Andrew just got married like a couple weeks ago. Logan’s the only one not married.
But that’s one thing too, as a part of the whole NOTIONARIES thing, a lot of people don’t look at bands as not being family-friendly. That’s one thing we wanted to incorporate. We really try as hard as we can to keep family involved, and including them at every point we can.
HOW DOES YOUR WIFE HELP YOU OUTSIDE OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS?
She’s pretty real with me. I think for anyone creative, having someone that’s in the loop that knows what you’re going through, but is outside of it too, keeps you sane. Her and Everley (our daughter) came to the studio in Nashville with us. The band puts in ten to twelve hour days, and it was great having that detox of being with them.
YOU SAID THAT YOU GUYS WRITE AS A GROUP. YOU HAVE FOUR DIFFERENT PEOPLE THAT REPRESENT DIFFERENT OUTLOOKS, STYLES, AND OPINIONS. HOW DO YOU GUYS SANELY WRITE TOGETHER?
For us, an idea/full song may be done by one person, but then it gets to all four of us. We sit down in a room and we hash out different ideas. Sometimes there’s quite a bit of tension that comes about, but we find compromises and we hash it out until we all like it. I don’t think there’s ever been an issue where one of us has to bite the bullet. We found a way or we make changes until we all liked it. We’ve had some songs where we uprooted the whole thing and changed it. Some of it happens in the studio.
One of the songs, that’s going to be on the album, is a way different song than it was when it first started. Everyone gets to add their opinion and character, and I think that’s what comes out to make the Notionaries, instead of highlighting just one person.
TELL ME ABOUT THE TWO SONGS OUT RIGHT NOW. “BANDIT” AND “EXCITED EYES.”
“Excited Eyes” was the first song we ever jammed as a band. Logan and i got in a room and jammed one chord progression for three hours. It turned into the song we have out now. Our record label chose it as our single, which is cool because the goal of the band is within that song. It’s all about running and living as fast as you can. Becoming what you’re meant to be and what you’re meant to do.
“Bandit” was the brainchild of Nick our bass player. The song wasn’t originally scheduled at all, and was brought out after what we were originally working on wasn’t working out. At the final hour we played the demo for that song. We rewrote some stuff on it, and what you hear is what came out.
The song is about… man Nick says it so much better than me… it’s about a guy that finds a girl that loves him no matter what. The guy keeps finding who he is and the girl loves him no matter what. The main theme of the album is about identity.
IS THIS ALBUM AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL?
I would say that some of it is, but it’s definitely driven lyrically towards finding identity. Whether that’s us personally, friends, family, or people we’re around; we’re writing about them. Again, it’s “The Notionaries aren’t just about us, the band.” You’ll find that every song on the album asks the question “How am i living my life?”
“EXCITED EYES” THE MUSIC VIDEO IS COMING OUT APRIL 1ST AND THE ALBUM IS COMING OUT IN MAY.
It’s a very, very Summer-ish album.
YOU GUYS ARE A GROUP OF LEADERS. I WOULDN’T BE SURPRISED IF YOU HAD A SMALL GROUP CAMPAIGN SOON.
You wouldn’t be off the mark. We’re not a Christian band. We’ll be on a long drive and someone says something thought provoking and then five minutes later we’re in a really deep conversation. I don’t think that’s a bad thing though.
We try to keep each other in check for sure. It’s very important for us to stay in check.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DO WHAT YOU’RE DOING?
Follow your passion. If that’s songwriting, being in a band, or whatever, WORK HARD. It takes much harder work than people imagine.
Love every step of it. There’s nothing in this that I didn’t find enjoyment in. Whatever it is that YOU love just go and do it.
Also, figure out a way. A lot people say “I haven’t been found yet.” Well then, go find people that you want to find you. That’s like a lot of what our band represents – creating a notion.
Pretty much throw the excuses away, go do it, love every second of it, because that’s what it takes.
Follow them on their Official Website, Check out their music on Soundcloud to listen to their two singles, (as well as Spotify, iTunes, etc) be on the look out for their first music video for “EXCITED EYES” which releases on Youtube’s VEVO April 1st. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.