By Lillian Jones
In anticipation for this month’s Third Thursday, I set up an online interview with the Austin based band, Flight By Nothing. The five members of the band, Conner (lead vocals/guitar), Sam (drums), Pacco (guitar), Porfii (bass) and Huey (keyboard) set up our zoom call in their recording studio as we talked about experiences and passions when it comes to their music. This being my first interview with KTSW, I was quite nervous; luckily, the guys were open to share their stories and answer my questions.
I started off the interview by getting some basic background information on the band. I quickly learned that Conner, Sam, Porfii and Huey have all been good friends since elementary school. Shortly after, Porfii met Pacco by playing in a church band together. All five members were hanging out at Sam’s house on Dec. 8, 2016, when they got the idea to start a band, so they did exactly that. Two weeks later Flight By Nothing had written five songs and had their first performance.
Lillian: Wow that is really fast! So, you said there’s five members, I feel like these days there’s only two-four members in a band. Having that many people, how does that affect the dynamic of the band?
Sam: I actually think it helps ,because all five of us have a role that we play. When it comes to the music, it’s important for all of us to be creatively involved. I feel like it works out to have five of us ‘cause it makes the music better; it makes our work flow and songs and practicing a lot better.
Lillian: That makes sense, just having a whole bunch of ideas to work with.
Sam: Yeah ‘cause when we were a four piece, it didn’t feel as full. Before Pacco joined, I personally feel like we weren’t as good. Pacco joining changed the whole dynamic, it made us feel like we needed to play better and write better music.
Listening to their music, I couldn’t find a way to describe their unique sound. I asked the band to give me some buzzwords they felt fit their music the best – energetic, eclectic, rockin’, funky and cool. They spoke on some of their eclectic inspirations including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, ‘80s guitar players such as Zakk Wylde from Pantera and Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Frank Sinatra and early 2000s pop-punk rock.
Lillian: It’s funny ,because I listened to some of your music and I can definitely hear all of those influences! So you guys moved to San Marcos ,but you also play in Austin a lot –
Sam: Yeah, we’re trying to get into the Austin scene a lot more than San Marcos ,but we still play a lot of good shows in San Marcos when we do. We throw house parties and some that we’ve thrown have had some of the most people.
Lillian: Do you have any fun stories from your house shows?
Conner: Too many to tell!
Sam: Somebody parked on the street coming up to our house and the cops came-
Conner: The sheriff came! I talked to him when I was really drunk.
Lillian: Ooh that’s not good!
Sam: Yeah people just get really wild and rowdy and we love it.
Pacco: A girl jumped off our roof.
Conner: She actually threw herself off backwards and a bunch of people caught her.
Lillian: Oh wow, speaking of you living in San Marcos, between Austin and San Marcos, which cities music scene do you feel more connected to?
Huey: Austin in a way; I feel like the San Marcos scene is constantly changing. It’s always new people every six months. I feel like when we’re in Austin we’re more ourselves. There’s also not a lot of venues in San Marcos.
Lillian: Yeah I definitely agree. Being from Austin and very recently moving to San Marcos, that was like the first thing I noticed. There’s not a lot of venues, which is really annoying.
Huey: Yeah I’d say Austin ,but still San Marcos is definitely a tight-knit community which is really cool. We’re playing shows with our friends every time we play there which I love.
Lillian: Branching out from San Marcos and Austin, you guys went on tour in 2022, how was the overall experience?
Conner: It was so much fun, it was the adventure of a lifetime. It was like all the classic first tour tropes. My car broke down, but we still made it to the gig. Sam and Huey pulled out some GTA moves on the highway, it was crazy! We slept in terrible hotel rooms, we partied and made new fans in every city we went to. It was great, it was an awesome experience.
Sam: Yeah it was like so much fun. I miss it everyday! I always wanted to go on tour.
Lillian: What was your favorite show on tour?
Conner: For me personally it was probably Athens [GA], it was a lot of fun; besides our Austin show obviously! But Athens was a lot of fun, it was probably the most people we’ve ever played in front of.
Pacco: Yeah, we stayed there a few days so we had enough time to go out, talk to people and invite them to the show. By the time it was time for the show, we got a good turn out there. They really liked us so I hope we get to go back and play there!
Sam: Mine was probably Austin ‘cause it felt good to be back home. We played a venue that I always wanted to play-
Lillian: What venue was that?
Sam: It’s at the Parish, that’s actually where we’re at now. Our studio is right behind the Parish.
Lillian: You said you made a lot of fans – do you have a craziest fan story?
Conner: Okay bet!
Sam: The one in Nashville, both of them in Nashville.
Huey: Oh yeah that was pretty crazy. We were out in Nashville and it was kind of an off night, we played on a Tuesday and we were standing out in front of the venue a couple hours before the show. A guy walked by and was like ‘Oh my god, are you guys Flight By Nothing?’ He’d known us for a while. We had a couple of those [INTERACTIONS] that night. It was a surprise anytime we saw somebody that was really there for us on tour ,because we’re an independent band just kinda going at it in all of these cities. It was really cool.
Sam: Also that same night when we were playing, we noticed this family walked in. After we played I walked up to them and was like ‘Hey thanks for coming out, how did you hear about us?’ They ended up being from New Jersey – not from Nashville – and their son had been following us when he saw that we were playing in Nashville. They wanted to come out and support. That’s so crazy. We had that guy on the street recognize Conner and then had some fans from out of state that came to our show in Nashville. It was so random ,but also one of the coolest fan moments we’ve ever had.
Conner: One more! We’re playing the show [IN ATHENS] and I looked out in the crowd and this dude’s singing the words to all of our songs. I thought he was mouthing the words…but no! He was really singing the words. I talked to him and he was like ‘Dude I’ve been a fan for like a year’ or something. It was crazy. He just happened to be in Athens, he was from Dallas.
Lillian: That’s so awesome! I can’t even imagine how it would feel to have random people just know you like that. In 2022, you also played at Hangout Fest in California; how was that experience and how was it different from shows in Austin/San Marcos?
Huey: Well we got to live the Rockstar lifestyle for a weekend, open bar, hanging out in the artist lounge and artist passes. A lot of our favorite artists were in the same room as us, so that was pretty validating for sure.
Sam: We got free food, that was dope.
Huey: Me, Conner and Sam, have been a few times as fans [THE FESTIVAL] ,so going and actually playing, it was pretty insane.
Conner: I met Patrick Stump, like the lead singer of Fall Out Boy–
Lillian: Yeah I know who Patrick Stump is, that’s crazy!
Conner: Yeah, me and Huey talked to Patrick Stump and that was insane to me. I have idolized this guy since I was a child and now I’m talking to him. He’s shorter than I am! That was pretty surreal.
Sam: Another thing is that we met Fall Out Boy like twenty minutes before they played one of the best sets I’ve ever seen. We were just backstage talking to them and then like 10 minutes later, we’re front row watching them kill it on stage. That was one of the best moments of my life, playing that festival.
Pacco: I got to play with Oliver Tree! Apparently his band couldn’t be there because they were having issues getting back into the country so it was only him that could make it. He had to call up a guy that was just a drummer in the area he knew, then he called up the artist that we were playing with, saying that he needed a keyboard or guitar player. At first it was gonna be Huey so he got a nice golf cart ride to the stage. Then when plans changed, I had to basically speed walk to the stage to get there. I didn’t get a car ride ,but it’s cool. The experience was awesome. I got to be in front of thousands of people, a sight that I’ve always wanted to see. I wish I could do that again with my band, playing our own music. Hopefully that’s a goal we can accomplish this year.
Lillian: What are your goals for the next few years?
Huey: Blow up and act like I don’t know nobody!
Conner: Yeah, blow up and act like we don’t know nobody! You ever see that? That Riff Raff vine?
Lillian: Oh my god yes! With the weird sharp grill?
Pacco: You forgot to do the laugh!
Conner: I forgot how he does it ,but yeah, we want to release these projects; we’re about to drop a couple EPs and then hopefully get on the radar a bit more and go on tour again, play bigger stages and make more music we love.
Sam: Also it would be really cool to be the biggest indie band in San Marcos.
Lillian: I’m pretty knew to the San Marcos scene ,so I can’t really tell who the biggest bands are ,but I’d say you guys are doing pretty good. You said you’re releasing an EP soon?
Sam: It’s coming!
Lillian: Can’t give me too many details just yet?
Sam: It’s just that we’re recording.
Conner: That’s where we are right now. We’re in the studio. This is our studio! That’s what we’ll be doing after this.
Sam: Yeah, it’ll be just a lot of new music and I think we’re just really excited to release it.
Lillian: Okay cool! I noticed you guys started releasing music every year since 2018 and there was a gap during 2020. I’m assuming you took a break during the pandemic; did COVID have any effect on the band?
Conner: Yeah for sure, big time. We went a big chunk of time without really seeing each other.
Huey: Yeah when it started we didn’t see each other. I honestly think that was a blessing for us at the same time. We loved playing shows so much that, when it was taken away from us, it made performing a lot more precious. It also gave us a lot of time to write. We started this [FLIGHT BY NOTHING] right out of high school, so we were going non-stop for a couple of years. It forced us to sit and think for a second. I think it really helped the music we’re making right now.
Sam: Yeah, it was definitely like a reset. When our studio opened back, a lot of us had gotten new gear and – at least for me – having new gear made me want to get better at my instrument. I think musically, it was a good reset for us to write better songs and prepare for whenever bars/venues were opening up again. I think there was also a shift in creativeness too; and it’s been better since. The Pandemic affected the band, but not necessarily in a negative way.
Lillian: Okay, yeah I totally get that! Two more questions! This one’s a little silly. In 2021 you posted a video on Instagram of a house show where you played “Mr.Brightside” by The Killers, do you do covers often, or should listeners expect to mostly hear originals?
Conner: We’ll throw a cover in there if we have a long set ,but mostly, we like to play our own stuff. But you never know!
Sam: Sometimes we’ll feel a song and we’re like, ‘we need to cover this.’ In our set right now, there’s actually little tidbits of other songs, like a medley of “Careless Whisper” that we integrated into one of our own songs and also Redbone by Childish Gambino. So we do covers ,but not the full song.
Lillian: Like Easter eggs! That’s cool, I really like that. Okay, last question. How did you come up with your name?
Sam: Well, we weren’t really digging our last name which was The Silver Streams. I was listening to music and found this song by Rush called “Flight By Night”. I changed some words and I texted everyone, “Flight By Nothing” and they all responded with just a thumbs up. So, that was it. And we just kinda stuck with it. People ask what it means and I just say it sounds cool.
Lillian: Yeah it sounded like it was something from a book or movie so I was trying to find what it was from!
You can listen to Flight By Nothing on all streaming services and come see them live at The Porch this Thursday, February 16th!
Follow them on Instagram to stay updated @flightbynothing.
Featured Image by Lauren Jamieson.
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