Ferocious Oaks make music steeped in love

Photo by Gilbert Cisneros

Harp, accordion, guitars, drums and a keyboard only describe a single aspect of Provo’s multifaceted Ferocious Oaks. This most intriguing band is a group of friends making music together. While sitting with them a couple weeks ago for this interview, there was a visible dynamic that said that they were all very close. As they put it, they are family.

In terms of style and genre, Ferocious Oaks is somewhat difficult to describe — they fall under the large umbrella of indie folk rock.

Justin Duckwitz: Lead vocals, lead guitar, accordion
Clayton Godby: Drums
Chris Nuttall: Bass
Kjirsten Christensen: Harp

STEPHEN RUSSEL PEW: So have you guys been playing together long?

Clayton: No, not really. When we got together we had a different bass player but then we got Chris. It was only like a month or two after we started. I’ve got like no sense of time and it will just pass before me.

SRP: So where did you guys come up with the name Ferocious Oaks?

Justin: We came up with a list of like a million band names. Some of the worst names you could think of were on it; it was like whatever came to mind went into it, like “Fluffy Bunnies” and “Pooch Dogs.” I liked “The Indie-ans,” you know because the Beatles were named after the idea of being so beat, like “The Beat-les.”

SRP: So it was more a brainstorm activity?

Justin: Yeah, and I also used the persona “Peter Oaks” then. I liked Peter Oaks.

Clayton: You’ve always been Peter Oaks.

SRP: Do you want me to call you Peter?

Justin: Ha! No, just call me Justin.

SRP: So how would you describe your music?

Justin: Its upbeat, it’s rockin’, it’s from the heart. And I think it’s well-thought. There’s some emotion and feeling, but I feel like it’s really well-thought feeling.

SRP: Chris and Clayton would you both agree with that?

Clayton: Well, what is it to be Ferocious Oaks? It’s what we make when we get together. It comes out as something beautiful and then we mess with it.

Chris: I think each person has their own unique style and it comes together somehow.

Justin: I like that aspect of our music; I’m a sucker for a pretty song. I like pretty things and adding some noise or something else and making it more beautiful, it just balances it out. It isn’t just a pretty song. It’s pretty but very real. It becomes more real.

SRP: I could really see that when you play, you really live your music. Would you say that’s true?

Justin: Yeah, we definitely do.

SRP: So what could you share with me to help me really understand your band?

Justin: Well this is a band where the music is mostly written for us. It’s for fun, it’s a band of friends. We established it as a band of friends.

Clayton: We come together as a family as well. Everybody brings a piece of something to the puzzle and we have been bringing in additions to the family recently that have been wonderful.
SRP: So you guys have a new record coming out, isn’t that right?
Justin: Yeah we have a full-length record coming out in like three months.