In 1995, John Howay and Jennifer Lewin started a song-writing project based on a small body of work John had compiled over the previous months. At the time, Jennifer was solely a classical musician and had never played in a band. John had recently been with a band that he describes as a disco/fusion/thrash/groove experiment. The collision of those two worlds resulted in unusual and wonderful things. They developed the songs under the band name, Arcana, and began performing in coffee shops and small bars. The music was very dark and moody, but so were the musicians, so everything was fine ... then cellist Amy Cavanaugh joined the fray in 1997. Also a classical musician, Amy contributed much technical talent but, like John, she had been exposed to the improprieties of rock music performance. The shift in the balance of hormones combined with a skew toward rock had a fabulous result: lush string arrangements joined quirky, non-traditional accoustic guitar and aggressive vocals. The band was renamed 24fps and in late 1997, released a six-song, eponymous CD which was recorded and produced by Heidi Gerber at Bias Recording in Springfield, VA. One of the six songs was arranged for a drum part and at the recommendation of Heidi, the band hired session player, Evan Pollack.
By the way, the band came up with their name from a Thomas Pynchon novel, Vineland, where it was the moniker for an underground feminist film-making collective whose goal was the subversion of the multinational corporate superstructure. Their mainfesto: "a camera is a gun. An image taken is a death performed. Images put together are the substructure of an afterlife and a Judgement. We will be architects of a just Hell for the fascist pig. Death to everything that oinks!"
With a fast-growing song-base and a faster-growing fan-base, the evolution of the 24fps repertoire moved more and more toward wide dynamics: quiet introspection to screaming interjection. The newer music demanded a more potent bottom end. Since its inception the band has had the pleasure of playing with a few greatly talented percussionists and bassists such as Hank Rueter, Nikk Walder, and Jerami Menella. By early 1998 a full-time bass player was needed and Marvin Bryson joined 24fps along with his take-no-prisoners groove. Mike Watkins was brought on board in late 2000 to help build a solid foundation for the musical skylarking.
With influences ranging from Bartok to Bjork to Morphine to Tom Waits to Portishead to Joan Armatrading to Neil Finn to Maceo, 24fps had a rich palette to paint from. The foundation of the band's sound, the string arrangements combined with John's non-traditional vocals and guitar work, provides a cohesiveness that allows the songs to pay homage to no specific genre. By the end of 1998, 24fps was performing in major cities from Raleigh-Durham to New York with regular gigs in New York City's East Village and was signed to the national artist management firm, Suzanne Hilleary Management, Inc.
It was time to record a full-length CD, so 24fps went back to Bias Recording. Bias, one of the east coast's most respected studios, has seen the likes of Dave Matthews, Bruce Hornsby, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Gil Scott Heron, Toshi Reagon, Rounder Records, John Alagia and Doug Derryberry, the Chieftans, BeauSoleil, John Gorka, Shawn Colvin, Trouble Funk, and Tony Rice pass through its doors. 24fps decided to go back to Bias because of their expertise in recording acoustic instruments and to work again with Heidi Gerber.
Entitled Sin Bella, the project was recorded and mixed from September 1999 to February 2000. Click here to view the credits. Sin Bella's release date was May 19, 2000. Eleven tracks in all, Sin Bella is a journey through the band's collective psyche. So you want to pick up a copy??? Check out the merchandise page. Well, that's the story for now.