By Nikki Sue Alston | 2/17/2015
Who is Mr Fahrenheit?
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Mr. Fahrenheit. I had heard much about them; they have performed locally on several occasions, and were recently featured on the KBYS Morning Show. Mr. Fahrenheit is the brainchild of two dudes; Gabriel Townsley and Ethan Bouillion. Gabriel and Ethan have been friends since their middle school days at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School, bonding over their love of music and interest in guitar. Ethan was gifted his first guitar in the fourth grade, but didn’t truly shred until 4 years later after taking a guitar class at ICCS. Gabriel and Ethan both enrolled in hopes of becoming masters of the ax. When the class concluded, they felt short-changed, and desired to learn more. Ethan sought lessons from Eric Sylvester, local McNeese music professor/musician, while Gabe learned the cheap way; watching other musicians and mimicking their movements. Both have incredible natural talent and pick up anything new quickly.
I'm Still Not Sure Who You Are Talking About...
Their band, Mr. Fahrenheit, was officially formed their freshmen year of high school when they played for a family BBQ; their first and last gig for 4 years. Before graduating high school, Gabe jokingly (seriously) hinted about Mr. Fahrenheit getting back together since they would both be attending Louisiana State University the following Fall semester. Even though they knew everyone on campus, and totally could've become party-legends; they dedicated all their free-time to playing music in Gabriel’s dorm room. These anti-toga party jam sessions were fueled by their passion for creating music, and the desire to be showcased in Exposure Magazine (I assume). Both agree that they have a unique dynamic, the byproduct of their contrasting tastes in music. For the most part, Gabriel writes their lyrics and Ethan the instrumentals. Gabriel explains that if he were to write all lyrics and music, their sound would be very thoughtful and mellow; whereas if Ethan was to be all Kim Jong Un-ey, they would be a metal/grunge, or traditional North Korean band.
Oh, I Think I Know Who You Are Talking About.
When I asked about how they arrange their music Gabe says, “Ethan’s really good at guitar riffs, but I know so many chords*. So for any song we write, I teach him a little bit and he teaches me. We have learned a lot from watching each other. One our songs we wrote, called ‘Silence Them’, started out as an upbeat song, something you could cut a rug to. At one point during recording though, Ethan added a guitar solo and it took the song from one musical direction to something completely different, more grunge (classic Ethan). It was super cool and it completely transformed the song into something different; something unexpected.” Many of their songs seem to evolve this way during their uniquely creative process. Most of their free-time is spent playing whatever comes to mind or whatever they feel. Ethan told me a few weeks before our meeting, they had put together a new song from lyrics Gabe had already written. “We put stuff on the backburner and randomly finish it**. Ethan will say ‘oh this sounds cool or this could work with these lyrics’. That’s a really shitty way of putting it, but we like the outcome,” Gabe says. Whatever their creative process is, they must be doing something right because Mr. Fahrenheit’s sound doesn't quite fit into any generic musical category. They have taken a distinctively outside-of-the-box approach to music, which has gained them a substantial following around town.
After hearing the duo play a few songs, I asked Gabriel how he comes up with their beautiful lyrics. “I write about a lot of my personal struggles, nightmares, love, or life in general. I like that I can take something that I hate almost more than anything in the world and turn it into something beautiful. When I write I feel the words more than the writing. I want my lyrics have a personal effect on people. I wouldn’t say I have a specific message, but I want people to be able to connect and take something from it (music). I want them to feel as if it is their own thoughts or feelings they are listening to.”
The Glue That Binds
Although the duo’s musical inspirations seem to change by the week as they discover new artists and sounds, the two say there are a few consistent influences they really connect on. Every time they get together, one has something new to show the other; new sound, new artist, new idea. Ethan says the first band that captured his interest as a kid was Aerosmith, and credits them as the reason he wanted to start playing guitar. Gabriel likes to pick on Ethan’s music calling it “Dad Rock" because it’s everything you would find on a Dad’s iPod (not my dad though, he doesn't have an IPod).
Why Not Abandon Us for Colorado, Like Rootbeer and Mermentau?
Toward the end of our interview I asked why they both love Lake Charles, and for me, their response hit the nail on the head. “Lake Charles is like your Ex-Lover. Lake Charles is your least favorite place in the world, but it’s also your favorite place in the world. There’s a really mystical beauty about it that it holds your favorite memories, along with your least favorite memories… I love it, and even though we’ve had our struggles; when you think about it, Lake Charles is a weird town! People don’t realize this because they may have grown up here, and lived here their whole lives, but if you take time to look around, you can see some weird shit”
You'll Move Mountains, Kid
So far, Mr. Fahrenheit hasn’t had to actively seek out any gigs here in the Lake area. They have opened for other local bands, and performed shows all over this state. Gabriel, a typically shy person, doesn’t necessarily like to let his presence be known all the time, but on stage he gets an adrenaline rush which you can see in his performance. His whole demeanor changes and he lights up. “I feel like I can sing better when I’m on stage. I love to entertain.” Although the duo enjoy hearing people say their music ‘sounds cool’, they really value other artists' reviews. “Because they (other musicians) write their own music as well, if they can find something beautiful in ours then that makes it so much more awesome”, Gabe explains. In the future, Mr. Fahrenheit will be working on bringing new songs to us, and are currently working on a demo cd. Can’t wait to see how far these two talented dudes will go!
Mr. Fahrenheit will be performing on the following dates...
Friday, Feb. 20 - JP's in Lafayette
Saturday, Feb. 21 - Casa Manana
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