Before forming the indie folk rock duo Folk is People, Rick Grice and Stacey Bennett had already laid the foundation of their music careers.
Grice grew up in a one-traffic-light town outside of Jacksonville called Keystone Heights and started making music when he was 15. He moved to Jacksonville a few years later and played with different bands. He later started producing music as a soloist and working in Jacksonville and Los Angeles studios.
Bennett was born and raised in Northern Virginia. She became interested in music when she was 10 years old after her mother bought her a copy of “Melancholy and Infinite Sadness” by the Smashing Pumpkins. She learned how to play guitar when she was 12, joined a variety of bands and eventually also became a soloist.
While aspiring to be a musician, Bennett studied political science and psychology at UNF and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 2009. She is currently a teacher at Edward H. White High School.
“We’re not just boxed into one thing,” Bennett said. “Yes, I love teaching. I’m passionate about it. Is it my dream? Not necessarily. It was at one point. Being a musician has always been my dream, but I think to be a healthy human, you have to have more than just one dream.”
Grice and Bennett met through mutual friends, and after discovering that they both have similar music tastes, they decided to start making music and performing together. They played with several bands, such as Shovels and Rope and Inspection 12, and in a variety of states. The duo finally decided to create Folk is People in January.
“We’re just replications of one another so we argue a lot,” Bennett said, “but I think at the end of the day, our taste and desires for how we want a song to sound fuses.
There was no argument when naming the band Folk is People, which was inspired by the German term “volk,” meaning people.
The duo is holding a CD release party for its EP “That was Then” July 6 at Jack Rabbits.
Folk is People will also be doing an East Coast tour. Bennett said she loves the people in Jacksonville that come to the band’s shows, but it is also cool to experiment and see if Folk is People will be accepted in other places.
The title of the tour and the band’s EP was inspired by past events and relationships.
“Everybody expresses themselves differently,” Bennett said. “I think no matter what if you are just honest with yourself, then whatever you put down on the page will connect to people because I think, as humans, we all want to share that.”
The album features a multitude of stringed instruments. Bennett and Grice can both play guitar, banjo and mandolin. Bennett also knows how to play the harmonica, and Grice can play bass guitar and piano. They experiment making music with other objects as well, including an old leather suitcase, beer cans and mason jars.
“We try to get creative with the sounds and manipulate them after the fact,” Grice said.
Bennett said she and Grice have finished recording five songs so far, but are collectively working on about 20 songs. Since Grice owns a studio, the duo had the advantage of taking its time while producing the EP.
Grice said when recording, bands shouldn’t try to record several songs in a day, but focus on recording one good song.
“One really solid polished song is worth its weight in gold over ten half-ass recorded songs,” he said.
Folk is People will be selling the EP and merchandise at the CD release party. The show will begin at 8 p.m. and include performances by Canary in a Coalmine and Oscar Mike. Tickets are on sale now for $8.
The EP will also be available online July 7 on Bandcamp and on ITunes, Spotify and Amazon within the following weeks.
After the tour, Bennett and Grice plan on producing a full-length album and touring again next summer and perhaps in the winter. The pair will also continue to develop their fan base and connect with record labels.
“We’re super DIY musicians with everything we’ve done to date, from the recording to the designing to the website,” Grice said. “We have no problem doing it by ourselves and building it brick by brick.”