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That Noble Fury: The Creation of Their Album

article by Katrina Kass

That Noble Fury’s self-titled debut album has been long in the making. It all started when Anthony Blaha taught himself how to record songs while growing up in rural Pennsylvania. He met Tom Fellows at John Hopkins University as undergrads. They would stay up late, hang out, and play music. And the band was born.

As Anthony will tell you, he and Tom have accumulated enough material to create several albums, but with the 14 tracks on their recently released debut, they took a creative, independent approach. Drawing on a range of influences, they created a style that is all their own. This style represents who they are as people and the various aspects of their lives. Anthony says, “Your influences can come from all different places, not just in music, but also art and theater, movies, whatever. Over time, you’re just an amalgam of what we’ve taken in our whole lives, and how we’ve synthesized and processed it, our dreams, our fears, all of it. We take it and we kind of shake it about in our brains.”

That Noble Fury

The album was created in a very personal way. For Anthony, lyrics are often informed by a melody that has been written first: “The melody sort of comes and then the words sort of start to fit into that and they sift in.”

This method of songwriting even occasionally resulted in lyrics being changed while the band was recording the album. For the closing track, “Sail On,” Anthony admits to spontaneously modifying the last line because that was how he felt the song in the moment he recorded it.

This instance is only one of the “happy accidents,” as Anthony calls them, that occurred during the making of the album. Anthony and Tom embraced them. Anthony says, “I already have [a song] somewhere in me, but I know that when it comes out on the tape, it could be better than whatever I had imagined.”

Anthony and Tom used the studio to capture these moments of spontaneity, but they also used it as a tool to build each song. As a band of only two people, they often needed to construct the songs layer by layer. But they did not do it alone. A number of studio musicians contributed their talents to the album. Anthony could only describe these musicians as Ferraris:

“They’re all Ferraris. When you have a Ferrari, you want to race it. You want to show what it can do. You know it’s a cool car, so you want to be cool. But at the same time, you know it’s a fast car, so you want to go fast.” Between the studio musicians and the ability to record multiple voices and instruments in the studio, That Noble Fury was able to create songs that were better than they had envisioned them.

“This is how these songs turned out at this given time in my life. In Tom’s life. You’re setting it in stone in a way. Through miracles of modern recording, you’re freezing something in time. I’m proud of a lot of the mistakes on the album. I think that it’s just saying, ‘I was here. This is what I had for you in this part of my life.’ And you kind of have to be proud of it.”

That Noble Fury

For the listener, part of that human experience is finding their own personal interpretation of a song, and Anthony is reluctant to explain the meanings of his lyrics: “If [a song] has a particular meaning for [someone], why should I stifle that with my own meaning? All these songs, of course, have different meanings for me. And I really hope that people go through a lot of emotions and feelings and thoughts as they’re listening to this record. That’s the kind of music I like.”

“What makes me excited about music,” he adds, “is when you listen to some of these bands and they take you, in just one record, in just one song, to so many places, places you might not want to be, and places that you do want to be, and places that you didn’t know existed. If you just could go with them there, it’s one of the best feelings that I’ve experienced as a person.”

The album is really just something that two friends made together, and Anthony feels fortunate to have made it with his best friend: “I’m really lucky that we get to share this together. There’s a celebration of friendship through it.”

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