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Something major is about to happen in I.V., and Mac Montgomery & the Family Band are at the forefront of it.
Twenty-one year old Mac Montgomery is not local; he’s not even a student at UCSB or any of the colleges within the vicinity. But Montgomery is in I.V., and he’s got a purpose. Specifically: revolution. A jarring statement to take in, perhaps, as the most that ever surfaces out of this somewhat green, slightly decrepit town seems to be college students with brightly shining futures, impressive alcohol tolerance and a penchant for good times. Nevertheless, Montgomery is here, and he’s here to stay.
“I want everybody to know that not the only thing coming out of I.V. is dubstep,” Montgomery said with a smile.
Mac Montgomery & the Family Band are proving this by releasing an EP titled Anchor of Hope which will debut on iTunes and Amazon this Saturday.
Though Mac Montgomery & the Family Band have only recently teamed up, the EP has been a long time coming. Montgomery and the band have been playing together for quite a while now, but only recently did he venture toward this solo effort, which he recorded in his own studio.
Unbeknownst to most — save for a handful of avid listeners in I.V. — Mac Montgomery & the Family Band have one album underneath its belt which debuted last November, titled Live from the Upper Room. Anchor of Hope however, promises to be quite different. Anchor is a complete studio production, whereas the last album was a live acoustic recorded at I.V.’s own 6686 DP in a backyard shed.
Montgomery is no Jack Johnson: the EP promises to be more than just a set of catchy beach songs.
“We want to release joy and hope,” Montgomery said.
And how exactly does that sound? Montgomery cites a range of influences and inspiration for the EP, deriving from Sigur Rós sounding melodies and extreme ambience to lo-fi punk — think Wavves or Best Coast — mixed in with catchy melodies à la Arcade Fire. The EP also features an interesting assemblage of instruments, from banjos to glockenspiels, melodicas to xylophones and of course, lots of distorted bass for the lo-fi sound.
“It’s all over the place,” Montgomery said. “We use anything and everything.”
But Mac Montgomery & and the Family Band isn’t just a band, and this isn’t just an EP. They want this to be the advent of a new movement.
“We want to influence and change the culture of music by living in community and creating together,” Montgomery said. “We’re a network of musicians, and right now I’m at the forefront of it. It’s all inclusive.”
Montgomery said I.V. is the perfect place for this movement to begin.
“We all feel like we’re supposed to be here for the rest of our lives,” Montgomery said. “There’s no other place like it where there’s more than 20,000 college kinds in one square mile. It’s one of the most unique places I’ve ever been. And the DNA of the city is already designed for community because everybody lives to close to each other, and everyone kind of knows each other, and so we’re just kind of tapping into that.”
Montgomery also said his music will have the capacity to greatly impact I.V.’s cultural fabric.
“Our goal is to redeem the essence of how the world sees I.V.,” Montgomery said. “We want Isla Vista to be known as a creative hub in the world, not just a wild town with kids neglecting their identities to have fun for a night. We want them to know that there are people who are actually believing that they can change the world, and that it doesn’t have to come after college. We want to grab hold of that right now and actually change it. We want to see people be loved and let them know that they’re actually valuable, and that they don’t have to believe lies about themselves, like they’re worthless or something.”
Though the band does profess a central purpose that connotes spiritual undertones, Montgomery does not necessarily espouse a religious label or genre for the music.
“It’s whatever you want to define it as,” Montgomery said. “Because we are a bunch of people releasing the kingdom of God, but that doesn’t look how everyone would define Christianity. I don’t necessarily agree with how a lot of the Western Church does things and the way they judge people and whatnot. That’s not what Jesus did. Jesus just loved people, and healed them and set them free. And hopefully that’s what our music will do. It’ll heal you and set you free.”
Montgomery’s parting words are, like the EP’s title, rooted in hope and possibility.
“If you ever get sick of living inside a lie or if you just feel like there’s obviously something more to experience than all this, you can literally have the best experience of your life by just being with us and doing what we do,” Montgomery said. “And the music’s not that bad either.”
Mac Montgomery & the Family Band will set out for their West Coast Cosmic Costume Tour with Benjamin Dunn and Friends starting March 20 and ending April 6. The Band will hit San Diego, Woodland, L.A. and Portland to name a few. There will be two shows in Santa Barbara, March 31 and April 1, which will both be free. Hard copies of the EP will be sold at the venues.