Stepping into the Spotlight with Fort Lean

, Staff

Every week we like to spotlight a rising band from outside of New England. Today, we get to know Brooklyn’s Fort Lean. You can catch the band in Boston when they play Great Scott in Allston on Tuesday, March 20 as part of the Fenway Recording Sessions concert series.

Band Name: Fort Lean

Band Members:
Zach Fried: Guitar
Sam Ubl: Drums
Will Runge: Keyboard
Keenan Mitchell: Lead Vocals
Jake Aron: Bass

Fort Lean EP (2011)


How did you form/start?

Fort Lean started essentially as a gentleman’s club between other musical projects. The five of us have all played together in various combinations for a number of years, but last year was the first time where we were all available to start a project that we could be devoted to. Between tours with other bands we found time to start fleshing out ideas. We liked the sound of things so we stuck with it!

Finish the sentence, someone would like your band if they like…

… the Boston Red Sox.

What song of yours should people listen to first and why?

I would say “Sunsick” because it’s our newest jam and sounds awesome, but “Beach Holiday” has sort of become a crowd pleaser and inaccurate-critic-descriptor for us.

Walk us through your songwriting process.

Usually one or two of us will come up with a riff, melody or a couple sections of a song, then bring it to practice. We flesh songs out as a group, trying different chords, instruments, or melodies, and ultimately choose a more finalized form. Then we play it about 40,000 more times and the song really takes shape! We have a very collaborative process, which I think results in strong ideas becoming even stronger since we all approach things from different angles.

Tell us a little bit about your latest album.

Our album is a 7″ single that has 2 songs on it: “Sunsick” and “The Precinct.” “Sunsick” is not about Boston, but I could imagine puking to it in Winchester. “The Precinct” has much more of a Plymouth Plantation sort of vibe.

What has your most memorable moment as a band been?

The most memorable moment for us as a band has been beating a guy up in Zach’s apartment after he broke in and made Zach’s girlfriend cry.

What has been the hardest part of building your name onto the national level?

The internet is an amazing tool for building hype, but since everybody has a band and a website, it’s hard to drown out the noise generated by other musicians. Sustaining interest in the band past a single play on bandcamp and turning that into people actually buying records is what we’re looking to do. If we can find a way to capture the attention of teenagers for more than 3.5 minutes, we’re gonna be rolling in dough.

Who are the best bands from your hometown that we might not know about?

I’m from Newton, so let’s just count that as Boston. I think Converge is amazing, though I’d imagine (or hope) most people in Boston have heard of them. They have the best guitar sounds!

What band would you most like to open for?

If we’re talking Metro-Boston area, I’d definitely say J Geils Band. If we’re including the south shore, I’d go with Peter Wolf. Full Massachusetts tour, I’d say New Edition.

Who is your all-time favorite Boston band?

The Modern Lovers.

What are your thoughts on playing Boston?

I’ve played in Boston a lot, and it’s been extremely fun. The Paradise and Middle East are some of my favorite clubs ever. My impression of the city is that it does not stay open very late, is extremely intolerant to underage drinking, and the sports teams are fantastic. It’s the only city in which a cop has actually beat me up.

What can people expect from your live show and why should our readers catch your next stop in Boston?

People can expect a loud, high-energy show with lots of hair. I think our band’s specialty is a tight sound that lends itself to people dreaming about having sex. Boston is a highly sexualized place, so I think our show in your city will especially highlight the dichotomy between performer and audience as a text relating to the objectification of art as sex in a post-secondary educational context, examined through triangular re-structuralist musics.

*All questions answered by Jake Aron.

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