Fauna | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly


The Ebb and Flow of Fauna: Salt Lake City's revolving band reflects on their latest album.

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As fauna is an umbrella term that includes all animals in a given place, Fauna is an umbrella band with eight revolving musicians and some guests.

It’s a band that’s at the center of a large circle of friends, many of whom are awesome musicians. “This band kinda started accidentally,” said Waichira Waigwa-Stone, as he and vocalist/keyboardist, Adam Nelson, reminisced about the local band’s origin and new album, Puddles Into Rapids.

By late 2008, the band included Zachariah Spears on vocals and guitar, Mike Greene on bass and guitar, and Sarah Custen on vocals and violin.

The resulting sound is indie math-rock with elements of folk and jazz. Their music is hypnotic yet melodic. They have their fair share of instrumental parts and building solos, but the songs are still vocally and melody driven. Four out of five members sing lead and harmony parts. Three members contribute to the songwriting.

Happy with the sound, they stepped into the studio in the fall of ’09. Custen was temporarily moving to Spain and they wanted to crank out Puddles before she bailed. They chose eight songs and recorded their debut at Midnight Records.

Upon finishing the album, Custen did move, and shortly after, Spears left for Hawaii.

With a finished album and plenty of creative momentum, the remaining members of Fauna didn’t want to stop. They also didn’t want to release an album without two key members. So, they put the finished album on ice and broadened the umbrella to include more friends.

Fauna added Jeremy Prows on percussion, Steve Pinette on didgeridoo, and Jared Whear standing in on guitar. Now, almost nine months since recording the unreleased Puddles into Rapids, Fauna has evolved into an edgier version of itself. They have a new set of songs that incorporates more hip-hop elements, along with their signature vocal harmonies and catchy melodies.

Spears recently returned to town, and Custen arrived back in Salt Lake City soon after. Fauna is back together, but it has multiplied. They don’t want to stop what they’re doing now, and they also want Custen and Spears back on board.

At the Utah Arts Festival, Fauna showcased the entirety of their musical collective, the first show with all current members of Fauna present, and it was a steamy mix of music hot enough to compete with the soaring temperatures. This expanded lineup might have some staying power.

Not that the band is too concerned about constancy. As Spears put it, “friends take off, friends get back; Fauna will remain.”

With Buddha Pie, Oh! Wild Birds
The Woodshed
60 E. 800 South
Saturday, July 10
9 p.m., $5

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More by Jeremy Asay

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