The Best of What's Next: Foreign Fields

Music Features Foreign Fields
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Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis.
Band Members: Eric Hillman, Brian Holl, Nathan Reich, Nate Babbs, Clayton Fike
Album: Anywhere But Where I Am
For Fans Of: Lost in the Trees, Bowerbirds, Plants and Animals

??Foreign Fields may be a new name to the music industry, but for Brian Holl and Eric Hillman it is the culmination of eight years of songwriting and searching for just whatever it is they’re looking for. It’s fitting for their first album, which both lyrically and musically focuses on transitions, distance and longing for what could be. “We’ve been practicing and honing our skills for eight years and we just know that this is the music we want to make and the music that is truly us,” Holl says. “It’s not like we just came together and, ‘Oh here’s an album and we just met last year.’ We’ve been working on this sound for a long time.”??

The band moved to Nashville from Chicago just over a year ago, the move being the final stone in the foundation of Anywhere But Where I Am. The album’s creation first took a smaller geographical move from Chicago to an abandoned office building in Wisconsin. They happened to have connections to the right set of keys. After spending a week separated from the outside world, Holl and Hillman realized they had stumbled upon something they couldn’t so easily find in the city. “The fact that we had to leave where we were living to try and make music, I think made a big difference to us,” Hillman says. “We wanted to move somewhere where we could live where we live and make music where we live.”

??Nashville, Tenn. became the answer to the where—East Nashville specifically, a part of the Music City that has become home to an art scene that has produced musicians like Pujol and Jeff the Brotherhood. “It’s a great part of town right now, there’s so many people here that have got home studios,” Holl says. “And so many people are recording with artists that you wouldn’t believe, and there’s just such a good independent theme here.” Having found the place where they could live and write music without questioning either, the final touches were put on the album.??

The emphasis on space in the members of Foreign Fields’ lives is pivotal to understanding what the album is trying to communicate.  “My favorite thing about music is finding the moments in them when you feel like you’re in a place,” Holl says. “We wanted to make it feel like we were taking you somewhere, and you could listen to the whole album and be in that one place.”??

They succeeded. By writing music that reflected their desires for being somewhere other than where they were, they put us in a specific place: transition. Exactly where they were when writing this album. From the electronic, ambient sounds surrounding their quiet vocals to their lyrics focusing on distance, Foreign Fields have captured exactly what they wanted to capture.

“The reason that any of the lyrics are so space-oriented is because we were so obsessed with the idea when we were making the album,” Hillman says. “It wasn’t so much us striving to make the album about that. It was just the fact that we personally were obsessing over this idea of finding this different space.”??

“We were thinking about this idea of how you can see that any place other than where you are is better,” Hillman continues. “You’re gonna be happier in other places and this idea was on our minds constantly. I think that’s why the lyrics convey that idea so much.”??

New music is in the very early stages for Foreign Fields, but they are focusing their efforts on getting Anywhere But Where I Am out. They’re already doing well, having just finished touring as one of several openers for the Counting Crows’ Outlaw Roadshow Tour. The tour included a final show in Maquoketa, Iowa for Daytrotter’s Barn on July 4. One certainty is that Foreign Fields should prepare for another transition, from small, Nashville band to national newsmaker.