And The Giraffe isn’t the kind of Nashville sound that is conjured in your mind when thinking of the local scene, but they are a refreshing harmonic landscape of dreamy folk in the midst of Southern rock, country, and blues. Born at the University of Florida’s freshmen orientation in 2009, the collective, which includes Josh Morris and Nick Roberts, has since then made Nashville their home.
“We both just wanted someone to play guitar with,” said Morris when discussing the duo’s initial interaction. Nick added, “we had very little in common. We just didn’t know anyone else.” Despite their lack of commonalities, which is hard to imagine now, Morris and Roberts began to develop their skills and sounds in a synergistic manner that is evident when you see them together. They joined a music club at school, giving them an arena to try out ideas and gather new ones, and while in this club, they stumbled upon the somewhat peculiar name they go by today. Both were born into families from the United Kingdom, giving them a pool of influences that vary from the American norm, and both read Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me growing up. They originally picked the line, “The Penguin and The Giraffe,” from the book and then trimmed it down to just “And The Giraffe.” It’s certainly not a familiar kind of name, but it’s “weird enough,” as Roberts says.
With a name, two guitars, two able voices, and a mission to play and create, the two were set; that is, until Morris decided to transfer to Belmont to pursue an audio engineering degree. The separation of the duo didn’t hinder the creative process, though it did complicate it, but with the help of Dropbox and some serious patience, Morris and Roberts figured out how to gather enough material for their debut EP, Something for Someone. Morris made the drive back to Florida in the summer of 2011 to record And The Giraffe’s first release. “It wasn’t even like, ‘let’s make a push at it;’ it was that we both just wanted to make a record.” The entire EP was recorded in Roberts’ small bedroom, the way everybody’s first album is supposed to be recorded, and with the help of some friends, the release marked a milestone in the duo’s journey.
Not long after the release of Something for Someone did And The Giraffe decide to generate another EP. However, this one was recorded in Music City and proved to be an aged response to their time apart and growth as musicians. “We didn’t know that we were going to make the second EP,” commented Roberts, and yet, Creature Collector was released in November 2012 with the help of Malcolm Martin (drums) and Robert Edmondson (bass, saxophone, bass clarinet). There are distinct differences between the two EP’s, and the latter was affected by access to more equipment and resources, the expressive input of two additional players, and the duo’s evident advancement with their instruments.
Today the duo lives together on the west side, wakes up at 6am to practice each day, and emanates a sweet energy that can be felt in person and through their records. “And The Giraffe’s music is the sound of us learning how to make records,” says Morris, and as a part of the collaboration and friendship, they’ve “improved a lot together as a part of the process.” The duo creates hazy sounds by means of their voices and guitar heavy songs, filling every space with minutes of shadowy moments. “We’re trying to make music that creates a picture,” and they provide an audible emersion into another world of ambience and elemental expression.
Let And The Giraffe paint you a picture this Friday (July 18) at Foobar at 9pm.
– Katie A.