Desert Family Business
Words: Yasi Salek
Photos: Luis Ruano
I’ve always been fascinated by family bands. The name immediately brings to mind matching ruffled-collars and Vaseline-teeth grins, the stuff of hokey, folky acts like The Partridge Family and The Osmonds, but then you remember that a lot of incredible bands are, and have been, in some way comprised of people who share DNA: The Beach Boys, Oasis, Kings Of Leon, The Replacements, The Breeders, and up-and-coming acts like HAIM, Bleached, and FIDLAR, plus about a million more I can’t think of right now because I’m distracted with thoughts of lunch.
Desert Family Business is another such band: comprised of two brothers (Angelo and Aren Anderson) and a cousin (Christian Anderson), the Riverside-based trio make the sort of gritty folk (no ruffled-collars) that is thicker than water (see what I did there?). I interviewed the band about their music, their inspirations and of course, the trials and tribulations of being in a family band.
What is the best part about being in a band with your family?
Angelo: I’d say the best part is our conflicts (laughs). We can resolve them. We can get through them, and also at the same time, be inspired by them.
What’s the worst part about being in a band with your family?
Aren: I think since we’re so close, those conflicts can arise more than maybe bands that, don’t know each other as well.
Christian: Like, it’ll happen at dinner or something. Or a family party.
Aren: (Laughs) Yeah. Then all your friends and family know that you guys are fighting. It’s out in the open. But in the end, it’s all good. Because we just grew up playing together. I think it’s better than another band, you know?
Because you guys just know each other so well?
Aren: Yeah, we’re just so comfortable with each other—with our flaws, you know? So we’re not scared to tell each other, “You’re doing something wrong” or stuff like that.
Angelo: The worst part is when we’re stagnant, I guess. But we’re a family so we always just keep moving. So for me, there’s not really bad—it’s only good.
How do you guys settle the disagreements that come up? Do you have a secret trick to doing it, since you’re so used to arguing in the family?
Christian: Well I think it’s pretty easy to communicate between the three of us. I think we always get down to the issue, whenever there is an issue.
Angelo: It works out when we play.
No pussyfooting around, is that what you’re saying?
Aren: Right. If the problem’s there, you just confront it right then and there. And a lot of times it’s during practice too. Then we’ll just play through it. Jam through it and kind of get over it.
Do you guys feel like you have a special psychic connection because you’re family?
Aren: I think so. I think we do.
Angelo: We do. It’s the family bond.
Christian: It’s not fake, it’s real telepathy!
If you guys were the Bee Gees, who would be who?
Aren: Barry Gibb? Would probably be Christian.
Christian: I don’t know …
Angelo: I’d be the background bassist! (Laughs) Singin’ harmonies.
Aren: I think I’d be Andy? I think that’s the guy Justin Timberlake played on SNL. I’d be that guy.
Ummm. I don’t think that Andy was IN the band. I think it was Barry, Robin and Maurice. But we can pretend that Andy was in the band. Maybe he joined later? I don’t know. I’m not a huge Bee Gees fan.
Aren: I’ll be Andy. I’ll be in the background, that’s good. That’s good for me (laughs).
If you could go on tour with any band, what band would you go on tour with and why (besides the Bee Gees, of course)?
Aren: I think all of us have answers to that.
Christian: I would say, Summer Twins.
Aren: I’m going to say Kendrick Lamar. That’d be cool with me.
Angelo: John Mayer. Just kidding . I don’t know. Eric Clapton, probably.
Aren: That would be cool. Or Jimmy Cliff. That would be pretty cool too.
Angelo: Frank Ocean as well.
These are all good, wonderful tour ideas. So do you guys listen to music to get inspired? Whether it’s before a show or just when you guys are hanging out, not practicing? What kind of music do you guys listen to?
Christian: I’m pretty much listening to music all day, you know? Generally we are all into the same thing. Right now I’m listening to a lot of Bob Marley, Miles Davis, Rolling Stones. I’ll put that on in between practice or whatever. But these guys are on some other shit.
Aren: I don’t think there’s necessarily a specific kind we all listen to, but it’s definitely constant.
Christian: a lot of hip-hop.
Aren: Yeah. It’s everything. And it’s all the time. I mean, our dads, they all played music. We kind of just grew up around it, kinda in a family band. Our dads were in a band. So now we’re in a band. We’ve just been around it so much.
What is Desert Family Business working on now and what we can look forward to in the future?
Christian: We have an EP coming out—four or five songs. It’s supposed to come out in December. It’s all new stuff. It’s just us.
Aren: We’ve kind of been through a couple different phases as a band. This is the first EP where it’s just the three of us. We’re really excited about it. And Noel from Altamont is recording us and producing it. It’s going to be good. Three piece music.
Christian: Yeah. Like Cream.
Angelo: We’re constantly making new music. I think in the coming year or months we’re going to be putting out stuff, like hip-hop guys. Like mix tapes with like twelve songs, or whatever. We’ll just keep on making new music and expanding.
Christian: Yeah. We have a lot of songs so … But this next thing is just four songs.
A gritty American music band born in the sun sweat of Riverside, California, Desert Family Business consists of a cousin (Christian) and two brothers (Angelo and Aren). Their sound is rooted in an upbringing surrounded by the Blues, Soul and R&B … but it's fitting that the music brewed by the Anderson family can only be called Rock ‘n Roll.
Their latest EP titled, "Put Me Over," includes eight songs, four jams and four studio tracks, all of which represent their "Cooked Raw" approach. No frills, no gimmicks.
Blood is thicker than the mud.