The Farm Talk ‘Home Sweet Home,’ What’s to Come in 2012 + More
Warner Music Nashville’s hottest new trio, the Farm, have already given country fans a solid taste of what is yet to come for the seasoned musicians with their first single, ‘Home Sweet Home.’ Nick Hoffman (fiddle and vocals), Damien Horne (vocals, keyboard and guitar) and Krista Marie (vocals and guitar), knew from the moment they met that a career path for the three of them together was out there waiting on them.
After inking their record deal with Warner, the trio went into the studio with their friend and producer (and hit songwriter) Danny Myrick to work on their debut album, slated for release next year on the label’s Elektra Nashville. Taste of Country recently sat down with the three members to get introduced to the band.
How did all of this come together for you to form the Farm?
Krista Marie: Well, we started writing. It was a twist of fate that we even ended up in the same room together because Nick spent 11-and-a-half years in Kenny Chesney‘s band. Damien was Muzik Mafia — still is — and was out touring with John Legend, and I was doing my solo thing. We got together and the first song that we ever wrote, ironically enough, was ‘Home Sweet Home.’ We just got together as writers in a room to write a song. It worked, so we continued to write. We wrote a number of songs after that, then we went in and recorded them.
Nick Hoffman: And we’re proud of that because there are a lot of groups that are slapped together. The exact opposite thing happened with us. Like she said, this thing started because of the songs, and that’s what country music is all about. Three people that had their own careers on their own end up writing one song and writing another one and another one. Then bit by bit we started thinking, “Maybe we’ve got something here.” We finally decided to sit down and have a heart-to-heart about whether or not we’re actually going to be a band … was Damien willing to come off the road opening for John Legend and come out and be part of the Farm? Did Krista really want to set aside the singles she had on the radio? Did I really want to think about leaving Kenny Chesney and start a band? We all said, “Yeah, we do, and if we want to do this, we have to set all that aside and bet the farm.” Then we went, “Hey, that’s a good name right there!” So that name actually means something to us. It’s not just, “Hey, do you want to be the Farm?”
Let’s talk about the song that started it all: your current single, ‘Home Sweet Home.’ Can you tell us the inspiration behind the song?
Damien Horne: ‘Home Sweet Home’ in country [music], that’s kind of a common theme. You’ve probably heard that type of song before, but it was something that we definitely drew from because it was a common ground for us. It was also like a getting-to-know session. It was like, “Hey — state your name, where you’re from and what you like to do,” because we had to get to know each other. We had never even been in the same room together before. Writing about “home” was something that resonated for all of us. We have strong pride with where we come from. That seemed like the natural place to kind of start a song there. We developed the song as we went. It was cool. I think one of the things that stood out to me at first was the harmonies and just the three vocal parts and how it blended so well without even really trying.
Hoffman: ‘Home Sweet Home’ ended up actually becoming a bit of a model for the sound of the Farm because we didn’t realize it at the time, but we were experimenting in that moment. We were experimenting with everybody changing up and singing lead at different times. It starts off with a fiddle hook and all these things that have now become central to our sound of our record. It’s funny how things work out. This thing has been an organic experiment from the beginning. What’s really, really refreshing about this is that each one of us have been around town long enough to have our own experiences, and you know when you have something happen organically, that’s special. You can feel it. We walked away from that first day going, “Huh … that was different!” And then we got together and wrote another song and another one. Before you know it, we’re all sitting here seriously thinking about changing the entire directions of our lives, and that doesn’t happen all the time. Someone said once if you catch lightning in a bottle, you should probably bottle it up and run with it. Hopefully other people can pick up on how real and how organic this thing really is. It’s just three completely different people bringing their individual personalities forward, and that’s what’s cool about this thing.
Did you do most of the songwriting for your debut album?
Horne: We wrote some songs, but not everything. We’re all songwriters, but it is about the songs for us. We are such song lovers and such songwriters that we understand that sometimes there are people out there that can do that better than you. It also has to be something that connects with all three of us. We don’t ever want to be in a position where we feel like this is something that Krista and I can really feel strongly about that doesn’t relate to [Nick], because I think all that comes across when you perform and when you’re delivering these songs.
Hoffman: We’re big fans of songwriters and we’re huge fans of songs. That’s what country music is. It’s real songs about real people. When an amazing songwriter comes to us with a song that we go, “I wish we had written that!” and it all resonates with us, you can’t ignore that. Also, it’s fun for us to sing songs that our friends wrote or that somebody else wrote that we really look up to. In the end, it’s about making good music that resonates with us. Hopefully what resonates with us is going to resonate with other people. That’s all you can hope for. You put your best foot forward, whether that song is yours or someone else’s, I don’t think that matters.
Take us in the studio. What was the atmosphere like for all three of you?
Hoffman: We’ve all spent a ton of time in the studio individually. So when you slap three completely different people together in the studio, a couple of different things happen. First thing is that we all have different approaches to music. We’re all hopefully mature enough as musicians to recognize our strengths and our weaknesses. We’ve tried to build on that with each other and just experiment. That in itself is not the way it’s normally done in Nashville. It was fun for me because it put me outside of my box. Bit by bit, we would go in there and say, “Damien, you try singing this.” If that didn’t work, “Krista, you try singing this” or “Let’s put a guitar here.” If that didn’t work, we’d just delete it. We weren’t under any time constraints, and that made it special.
Marie: And if you listen to our music, you can really hear all three of our musical influences. The core is country, but you still hear where we all three individually come from. Also, I believe the harmonies are a big part of our sound. When they mixed it, it’s not like there’s a lead singer and there’s two backup vocals. All three vocals are hot in the mix. We’re all really contributing to that sound. It’s not just one voice.
Hoffman: That’s something that we’re proud of: that we’re able to draw on our influences in ways that just let us be ourselves. Let Damien be who Damien is … let Krista be who Krista is … let me be who I am, and whatever comes out in the wash is what the Farm is, and that’s cool!
What are some of your the individual strengths that complete the Farm?
Hoffman: That’s a really fun question to answer. Damien brings to the table his wealth of soul — not just soul music, but he’s a soulful person. When you are as deep and as soulful as Damien is, you automatically bring a passion to what you do. I think that comes through in the songwriting, lyrically. Damien brings to the table a great voice that is totally different from the three of us and he brings a wealth of flat out talent. I’m not afraid to say that Damien is one of the most talented people that I’ve ever met in my life, and I’ve been playing music since I was 4.
Krista brings to the table this hugely dynamic and broad range of music that is really rare in anyone. Her parents and the stuff she listened to in high school, it’s this huge, broad array, and it’s kind of intimidating to have someone with that much influence. It almost makes you realize you’re limited. It always has made me feel like I need to go out and experience more music. That’s something that she brings to the table. She drives us to be more broad because what happens in music is when you’re a fiddle player, you just play country. If you’re a soul guy, you just sing soul. Then Krista comes to the table and goes, “I can do that … I can do that.” She forces us to broaden our horizons.
Marie: Nick is bone-dry country, but his catalog of what he knows is amazing. He’s just extremely talented, not only musically and in the studio, but he’s also a showman. You put that all together and it’s great. When you take your music and bring it to a live audience, that’s also a huge part of it, and I think that’s also something special collectively that the Farm has. Not only Nick, but you also have Damien who does back flips off the stage. We’ve got a great music thing going on, but we’re also really excited about what we have to bring to the table for a show.
Horne: One of the things I love that Krista brings to the table is she has a phenomenal work ethic. I’ve been in bands before where sometimes you feel like you’re carrying someone else’s weight. She works really hard. She’s always onto the next thing, wanting to know this, and moving and growing as a player. And then you have a guy like Nick, who I always look at as sort of a band leader when it comes to musically, down to every detail. He’s just top notch when it comes to his professionalism. What he can do as a musician – on and off the stage — he’s just as powerful. Those things are important. When you’re able to have all those things in the group, it makes it so much easier to get up and be who you are as an individual. It’s a tough thing, especially being three solo artists to get on a stage as a group of people, and you’re not necessarily the focus anymore … that’s an ego thing. The cool thing is when we’re on the stage, each person has their own thing, and they bring it so intensely and so passionately. It also pushes your game. That’s one of the things I like about it. When you’re up there, I look at it almost like a healthy competition. I look at Nick, and he’s rockin’ out and smiling … I think, “D, step up your energy!” Or you look at Krista and she’s going for it, throwing her hands in the air … it’s like, “Be on the same level with these guys!”
What kind of things do you have in store for 2012?
Hoffman: We’ll be opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Riverfront. That’s the first thing of the year. Three days later, we head back into the studio to finish this record, which we’re really looking forward to. We’ve just been busting our butts trying to get radio to sign on with us for ‘Home Sweet Home.’ Taking ‘Home Sweet Home’ to radio has been this amazing experience for 2011. Obviously the groundwork we’ve laid in 2011 is going to carry us into 2012. That starts with being in the studio, visiting a little more radio, and then we’re already booking shows. The idea of finally getting on a tour bus and actually getting out there and doing it with a full band … 2012 is going to be the greatest year of our life.
Marie: We’ve been enjoying these little moments along the way, but we’re gearing up for this next year.
Hoffman: As cliché as it sounds, our entire lives have all been focused and funneling down to this coming year. All of us have always dreamt of being on the radio and having a record out there. Now, all of a sudden, it’s here. We’re going to have a Top 40 record coming out right after the first of the year, we’ve got a song that people know on the radio, we’ve got a record coming out, we’re on the biggest [record] label in the world … it’s finally for real, and what an exciting thing.