Interview with The Preacher’s Club: The sporadic and ever-evolving duo hoping to make people move
The New Jersey-based duo recently released their cohesive post-punk EP entitled “Memorabilia,” a statement to their ability to shift their sound while still creating a solid sonic image
Having only started their group about three years ago as seniors in high school, Anthony Fernandes and Rawad Moughawech were rather sporadic in their beginnings, with Fernandes quipping during our interview that, "It was actually a joke at first, we were kind of like 'Oh, you wanna start a band?' and then it was cool."
Since then, they've dropped two EPs, the first being the red hue-infused "Tunnel Vision" in October 2021, and the more recent four-track "Memorabilia" with post-punk influence and statement black and white tones. The EP is ripe with both melancholy washed-out guitars and danceable drum beats, a testament to their eclectic influences that span genres and generations. The Preacher's Club hopes to bring out your emotions when listening to their music, whatever they may be, and is adamant about making you move when it comes time to see them live.
With a clear vision and the New Jersey house show scene behind them, The Preacher's Club is on their way up. With plans to release music and other mediums of art to complement it over this summer, we suggest you keep your eyes and ears peeled for what they will have to offer.
We spoke to The Preacher's Club about their beginnings as a band, the New Jersey music scene, their sound and its influences, name origin, the recording process, and what's to come for them in the future. Read the interview below.
*Throughout the interview "A" will be used to indicate Anthony's responses while "R" will be used to indicate Rawad's responses.*
We’ve got The Preacher’s Club here! Can you guys introduce yourselves to our audience?
Anthony: Hey what’s going on! I’m Anthony.
Rawad: Hello, my name is Rawad.
A: Yeah, we’re The Preacher’s Club.
You guys started out in 2019 out of New Jersey. What points in life were you at when you decided to work on music together, and what were each of your beginnings and foundations in music?
A: We were seniors in high school, we started kind of late. I had only started playing guitar a year before that, that was my first instrument in 2018. He’s [Rawad’s] my closest friend, so I was like “Hey, you wanna be in a band and do something fun?” We had another kid, and some people come and go and stuff, but for now it’s just us two. That’s how we got together, it was very sporadic. It was actually a joke at first, we were kind of like “Oh, you wanna start a band?” and then it was cool. We had no idea what we were doing either. It took a while for us to get our footing.
R: It was very amateurish at first.
Did you guys come from music backgrounds? What were your beginnings in music?
R: Well, I used to take piano lessons and violin lessons in elementary school and then middle school, and first year of high school I picked up viola. After that, I didn’t touch any instrument until my senior year of high school when I picked up bass.
Coming out of the underground music scene in New Jersey, what’s it like to be an upcoming band there? What’s the scene like?
R: It’s very sporadic. You’ll have little pockets of talent here and there, you’ll find some really really good bands, but in other spots you’ll find a little dry spot where there’s not really too much activity going on.
A: I think it varies. I feel like you just have to know what’s going on, you’ve got to know the right people and stuff. Every house show we went to was because we were invited to, besides the ones that we had. It was just through association, just knowing people, or hearing “Oh there’s gonna be this tonight.”
R: ‘Who you know’ kind of stuff.
How many shows have you done in the past, and how have those shows gone?
A: Honestly, so few. We have, total, done four shows. They’ve all been good, the first one was a trainwreck though. The very first one, that was in 2019, it was a trainwreck. It was some battle of the bands thing, and I mean we got second and that was pretty cool, but we did two house shows—we actually had them at our spot—but yeah, we’ve only had four shows.
In the past you’ve said you continually hope to evolve your sound, so in what ways do you see the sound of The Preacher’s Club evolving right now?
A: If you listen to the last project it was obviously very influenced by post-punk, that real drill-like drums that are going really fast and the continuous basslines and stuff. I feel like it’s usually what we’re really influenced by at the time, because before we decided we wanted to start recording and all of that, we were super into like Joy Division, those deep cuts—the British underground stuff. This is obviously subject to change, but as of right now we are still making new songs. As of right now, it’s shaping up to be more geared towards dream pop, sort of. Blown out—you know the songs that are kind of drowning in effects—that sort of. That’s very subject to change—tomorrow, for all we know—but as of right now that’s what it’s shaping up to be, not to spoil too much.
R: In terms of sound, just like weird, cool stuff that you’re like “Hmm, that’s interesting.”
A: Very texture-based, I guess.
You guys have mentioned both Daft Punk and The Beach Boys as huge influences on your music. Are there any other musical influences you’d like to talk about, and with these artists that span genres and generations, how do you see their influence on different aspects of your music?
A: I’d say Porches. Something about his songs are so uniquely his, but they use similar sounds—they use things that you hear in other songs—but you’ll hear it and you’re like “That sounds like a Porches song.” From my perspective, I appreciate that he does whatever he wants. He will just throw in a song, randomly, with his voice pitched all the way up, for example. He’s not really worried about how he’s going to perform it, because he still makes it work anyways. It’s just very bold, and that’s coming from one guy. That’s just super admirable to see.
R: For me, I’d say Turnover for sure. In the way that he decides a soundscape for an album, and a certain theme of sounds, textures, and even in the lyrics, and he carries that throughout the entire album with a certain consistency. That’s what I strive for.
These artists are spanning genre gaps and generational gaps, so how do you see their specific influences on different aspects of your music? Maybe Daft Punk has a specific influence on the danceability, or the guitar tones are influenced by The Beach Boys, so how are these different aspects influenced by different artists?
A: Speaking to The Beach Boys, obviously I’m the one who mainly sings the songs and there’s only one of me, but if you were to look at all the stems there’s a lot of vocal harmonies being played in the background that are thickening up the vocals. The Beach Boys, that’s the music that made me really appreciate harmony, and I became obsessed with it. I had said Porches before, just the way he uses ear candy, he’ll just throw random sounds in there and stuff. You pick apart these stems and you’ll hear things that you’re not necessarily going to notice, but if they weren’t there you’d notice that it sounded kind of empty. That’s what I would say regarding my two.
R: For Daft Punk, I would say that in terms of synths and very unorthodox sounds that sweep their way into our music, when you’ll have these crazy buildups at the end with all these different textures you’ll think “Oh hey! That reminds me of Head in The Ceiling Fan by Title Fight!” The key aspects of certain artists, you’ll find hints of that in our songs, basically.
Having just released your four-track EP just over a week ago, what was the creative process in recording that project?
A: Our rehearsal, when we practice, is just us hanging out. Again, he’s my best friend. So, it was just like “Oh, you wanna record?” and what we notice is that if it took longer than 45 minutes to get a solid idea down, it wasn’t really going to stick. We would know. The whole project just very much screams sporadic, because again, when we even decided to make it, we were like “We should make this”—it was maybe a five minute conversation. We were like “We should definitely just make a post-punk EP. Just super inspired.” And he was like “Okay”—and that was it, that was the only conversation we had about it. It was super sporadic, but when it was time to get it done, we absolutely saw it through completely.
R: Yeah, we put the hammer down.
A: It was kind of refreshing. I’ll say this—the project that we dropped before this, which was our first proper release, for me at least there was a lot of anxiety around dropping it. Maybe it was just because it was the first one that we ever dropped, or maybe I would nitpick—I’m going to notice every mistake I made. With this one, when it hit midnight and we saw it was there, I had no anxiety over it, I was like “Okay, I’m fine. This is great.” I was so happy that people were going to be able to hear it. It felt sort of like a clean slate, I guess. We were very confident in it.
It’s nice to get to a point where you’re past the perfectionism and it’s more just about creating the art for the people, and once they listen to it, it’s all easing—it’s not like a perfectionist nightmare.
A: The reactions were so kind. They really were. The only thing that we were slightly nervous about was like “Oh, this is definitely a little bit different than what we’ve set up with the last project,” but whoever listened to it took it in stride. They were like “This is great, this is absolutely awesome.”
R: I think a big thing also about this project, and I would say also for any project or any music that we put out, is that we make music that we would listen to ourselves. Stuff that we would enjoy.
Do you guys produce, mix, and master everything yourselves?
A: So, all of our music is mixed and mastered by our producer, his name is Danny Sasso—he’s awesome, he’s the GOAT, he’s super cool.
R: Yeah, amazing.
A: He’s super accommodating, he’s awesome. In terms of the actual recording of the instruments and the choices in terms of the tone and stuff like that—all the actual instrumentation and the vocals, the writing and stuff—I would say it’s 95 percent by both of us, with that other five percent being—we’re very open to collaboration, and if we have friends around, we’re like “Hey, do you wanna just hum on the track?” if they have something that sounds good we’ll keep it on there and we’ll throw them in as a collaborator. They’re always happy to do it. There’s maybe like one guitar part that’s done by someone else, or they gave the inspiration and we recorded it later. I would say between 95 and 97 percent of all of it, the instrumentation itself, was recorded by us.
In terms of the visual aspect of the EP, you guys definitely have a very specific visual going in terms of these dark, black and white tones—it’s almost mysterious in a way. How did that come about, and how did you craft that vision for the EP and for The Preacher’s Club as a whole?
R: I think we definitely did play a lot into that post-punk aesthetic. I would also say that part of it was decision fatigue in deciding colors. With the previous project we relied a lot on reds and washed out colors, and we were thinking we can’t go wrong with black and white, black and white looks pretty good, pretty neat. We felt like we could really do a lot with that, and I feel like we did when it comes to the promotional pictures and the promotional photos that we took, and the posters for the songs, as well as the videos. Just having that black and white was very neat and clean-cut, which is something that we contrast with the sound, but when you put it all together it’s very appealing.
A: The songs are objectively so edgy, they’re so moody, and I feel like there’s nothing more—just in terms of visuals—black and white is so moody, in a good way. I don’t think that being edgy or moody is intrinsically a bad thing, I think it’s just its own thing. I feel like that also plays into it. We’re forcing the vibe down people’s throats, you know what I mean? It was received well, so.
You guys have a really interesting name origin story, so can you tell that for us?
A: I grew up religious, and I would go to this church where there was a lot of music incorporated, or rather, I started going to a church where there was a lot of music incorporated, for a while I didn’t. I was just blown away, because at this point I was already an artist and musician, and I was just fascinated by how the preacher or whatever, he would just demand attention from people and he would get people to cry, and get people to shake, and dance and stuff like that. I was like “Wow!,” and I would look up other videos because it was so inspiring. I was talking to, I don’t know if I was talking to Rawad or a former band member, but I was like “Oh, wow, they all do this and they all have it. They have that silvertongue to sway an audience. You think they have training stuff for that? Like a preacher’s club where they learn how to move an audience and bring them to tears and stuff?” We just kind of stored it away, and then we were like “Oh, that’s a cool name” so we just stuck with that one.
Speaking about moving an audience, what can somebody expect from a The Preacher’s Club live show? You guys have done a couple shows in the past, but there’s surely going to be more in the future. What can somebody going up to a Preacher’s Club live show, what do they expect?
A: I would say, if you’re not moving to it, either you’re not feeling it or we’re performing really bad—it’s one of the two—but we usually practice pretty well. It’s kind of going to demand movement. My favorite house shows have been the ones where it feels wrong to not move to it, you know? Is it bad to say we kind of want to overwhelm people? In a good way, not in a bad way, obviously, but sonically we want to overwhelm people.
R: I remember after our second or third house show, when we were playing our final song, I was thinking to myself “Oh my god, if I sing any louder I’m probably gonna pass out.” That’s the kind of energy that I try to put into the shows, and I think that we both as a whole, and the band as a whole, try to put into the shows.
What roles do you assume on stage when you are performing? Who’s doing what on stage?
A: A couple months ago, we lost like two band members. We’re cool, we’re all on good terms, they actually started their own thing—I’m gonna plug them, they’re called The Broken Vinyls, they’re doing their own thing that’s pretty cool—now it’s just the two of us, so we’re doing a live band type of thing. We’re bringing in other musicians just to perform live with us. As it is right now, there’s going to be between five and six of us, so I’ll be on rhythm and vocals, Rawad’s on bass and vocals, there’s going to be another rhythm, a lead, drums, and depending on the songs someone on keys just for the synth pads just to fill out the textures. Mainly I would say it’s going to be five, that core group. If you want to know who those are you’ve got to come see us, I guess.
Are there any plans for the next release yet, and if so, what are they?
A: I’ll say you will be hearing new music from us in the summer, this summer, at some point. We know when, but we don’t want to spoil it. I’m sure we’ll promo it a couple weeks beforehand anyways, but you’ll hear from us in the summer and it’s not going to be a carbon copy of what we already released, but you’ll hear that it’s us still. I think that you were able to hear that between the first two EPs regardless of the genre change.
R: I’m excited.
How have the sessions been going for the new stuff?
A: Like silk. Smooth, so smooth.
R: We’ll get an idea and we’re like “Ooo, ooo, yeah, yeah.”
A: Literally, literally that. We should have a ton of content this summer. The girl who does all of our videos, she’s in France right now I believe, but she’s going to be back so hopefully we should be having all the proper music videos for the songs and the visualizers coming out I want to say maybe June-July.
You’ve talked a little bit about collaborators that you’ve worked with—they’re sitting there, they might lay in a little guitar part, or your videographer that’s currently in France—are there any plans to do more collaboration in the future? Are there any collaborations or collaborators that you haven’t touched on yet, and how important is collaboration to the creative process of The Preacher’s Club now and going forward?
A: *Signals high* Very high. It’s so important to us. The way we’ve seen it, because it’s only two of us and we can only have so many ideas, we’re obviously not stealing ideas from people, but you can find yourself in a box like you’re stuck because you’re only thinking based on what you know, or what you can speculate, and other people have such different thought processes. Neither one is better than the other, it’s just a completely different perspective. Even if they’re just speaking about something and it gives a new idea, we consider that collaboration—even if we’re just speaking on the ideas, it doesn’t have to be something we record. We are super open to collaboration. If the idea’s good we’ll collaborate with just about anybody, honest to god, really.
R: The collaboration isn’t just limited to the music, even on the visuals or designing a look for a project. Collaboration in every aspect of the art form.
Besides this new music that you guys have teased a little bit here, what’s next for The Preacher’s Club and what should people be on the lookout for?
A: We like when songs aren’t just something you listen to. Everybody’s got their own favorite music video, and there’s an image behind every artist, and I think that’s what brings a lot of appeal to them, so I would say we’d want people to look forward to the other mediums of art that we’re going to be touching on—with obviously music still being the focal point because that’s what we are first, we are musicians first, but our interests lay in a lot of other mediums of art as well through screenwriting, architecture, design, painting, digital, and photography, stuff like that. I would like to say that we’re pretty well-versed. We have a lot of talent in a lot of those different spaces, so I would say to look forward to how the use of those mediums will further the liking for these songs that came out already, and the ones that will come out.
R: As time goes on, you get better at what you do, so expect everything to the next degree.
Any parting words for the Alien Dynamic readership?
A: We hope you enjoy listening to our music and much as we enjoyed making it, seriously. Not even in a cheesy way, we appreciate everyone that listens to it. Thanks for even reading the interview when it does come out.
R: And thank you!
A: Thank you, seriously, thank you.