Q&A: Aja Pecknold’s a Fleet Fox

The band’s manager proves there can be life after Seattle Weekly.

As Seattle Weekly's former clubs editor, Aja Pecknold churned out blurbs for The Short List, maintained her "Behind the Scenes" column, and penned some lively features (I was her boss at the time). Since yielding her job to Sara Brickner in 2008, Pecknold has moved on to the hustle of band management, serving as point person for all things Fleet Foxes, the band started by her youngest brother Robin.The last couple of years have been maniacal for big sis, as Fleet Foxes shot from budding local band to the top of the world's indie-rock heap in a matter of months. Currently back in Seattle after a year and a half of constant touring, Aja has been polishing her candlemaking skills as well as working on music of her own as Rainbow Fang, in collaboration with her now-famous little bro. She took time last week to chat with SW about all of this.SW: As manager of Fleet Foxes, how did you handle a band whose popularity spiked so rapidly?AP: The overall experience so far has been absolutely incredible. In a few short years, I've seen the songs go from an embryo of an idea on Robin's acoustic guitar played in our parents' basement to looking out from the side of the stage at a teeming Glastonbury Festival crowd of over 150,000 people. I've seen them go from doing a cover of Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" at the Crocodile to watching them share the stage with Neil Young himself in London's Hyde Park.Performing on Saturday Night Live was a big one for all of us. I think I burst into tears of joy seeing them next to Lorne Michaels, who is quite the imposing character. That, coupled with the fact that we've now seen phallic graffiti scrawled across walls in green rooms all over the world, pretty much covers it. As far as handling the exposure, we really just tried to take things as they came, adjusting here and there as the wave shifted beneath us, doing all that we could to maintain some level of health and sanity.Tell us about this other band of yours and Robin's, Rainbow Fang.Rainbow Fang is just a fun project I've been working on with Robin and Morgan Henderson [of Past Lives] during the downtime from touring. During one short Scandinavian tour a summer or two back, I stayed behind and found myself fooling around on GarageBand, just seeing what came out. I still don't quite know how to define what it is, but the process was so fun that I just kind of kept trying here and there.Do you have any songwriting influences or idols you look up to?The people close to me that make music I love and am inspired by. That alone would be enough, but outside of that realm, I love this old Sibylle Baier record, Colour Green—it's so assuring and intimate. Her voice sounds so gloriously compressed in the mix, it feels like it's coming from inside my head sometimes. I also think that Bill Callahan's "Sycamore" is one of the best songs ever written.Fleet Foxes is currently taking a break from touring. What have you been doing with your time at home?The daily flow is nice and manageable now that we're home for a while [Pecknold's boyfriend is the musician J. Tillman, who moonlights as Fleet Foxes' drummer] and everyone has some time to regenerate before working on the next record. I maintain the general management day-to-day, and have been enjoying just being back in the beautiful, gray Pacific Northwest. I've been getting down with some serious domesticity—cooking and making batches of candles and jam. It's like Little House on the Prairie over here.music@seattleweekly.com

 
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