Edward Sharpe

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will make their debut Fun Fun Fun Fest performance at this year’s festival as the headlining band on Sunday, November 4.

Photo Courtesy of BB Gun Press.

Indie rock band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros has managed to keep itself somewhat removed from the mainstream avenue of the music scene despite its growing success.

While a generation of starry-eyed teenagers was falling in love to the band’s hit song “Home,” the Magnetic Zeros were living on a train with Old Crow Medicine Show and Mumford & Sons for their famed Railroad Revival Tour. Lead singer Alexander Ebert and his troupe of nine traveling artists bring the “revival” with them as they continue to tour around the world, no train necessary. The band is bringing back the idea of a time when peace was still possible and love was still pure, if such a time ever existed.

The band’s isolation allows it to find inspiration from within its own creative community.

“I think one of the benefits of having such a large band is that there is always something new to learn from someone else,” accordion player Nora Kirkpatrick said by email. “Many of us are into varying forms of art beyond the music, and this makes the touring life so much more interesting. Because when we get off the stage, that’s when everyone’s weird hobbies and interests come out.”

The band owes its odd and lengthy name to one of these diversions.

“Alex was writing a book for a long time, and the main character’s name was Edward Sharpe,” lead guitarist Christian Letts said. “He was sent to save the world by the gods, but he never got around to it because he kept falling in love along the way.”

The Magnetic Zeros are a creation of Ebert’s vivid imagination as well.

“I think the magnetic zero was part of a mathematical equation Alex was working on,” Kirkpatrick said. “Not sure if he ever landed on an answer, but that might be in the book.”

Another one of the musicians’ weird hobbies and interests is their fascination with faith and spirituality. The Magnetic Zeros have faced accusations of being an undercover Christian band in a cool disguise as a result of lyrics that hint at different elements of faith and varying beliefs.

“We are definitely not pushing one religious belief over another and are definitely not a ‘Christian’ band,” Kirkpatrick said. “These are [spiritual] questions we deal with in our lives, and therefore they got brought up in song.”

Letts said the band draws the majority of its material from its members’ own life experiences. Even the story from “Home” of female lead singer Jade Castrinos, a former love interest of Ebert, falling and “[breaking] her ass” is true.

“Yeah, that’s a true story. She fell out of a window, and Alex jumped out after her,” Letts said. “You gotta write what you know. You have to write honest lyrics. It’s all true.”

This honesty can be felt most in the band’s live performances. It is not uncommon for Ebert to ask the audience questions like, “How old were you when you found out you were going to die?”

The band gives a highly energetic live performance. Ebert commonly takes the stage barefoot and in all-white clothing, which makes him appear inexplicably godlike. Violent fits of foot-stomping and dancing are frequent throughout the show, and the troupe of magnetic zeroes are equally as lively for the duration of the performance.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros could be a mission-bound band sent by the gods to save us all from hate and dishonesty, or they could just be a group of artistic adults who enjoy charming audiences with their distinct personalities and musical talents.

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros will be playing Sunday at Auditorium Shores as a part of the seventh annual Fun Fun Fun Fest music festival

Printed on Thursday, November 1, 2012 as: The Magnetic Zeros attract Fun Fun fans

“Home, let me come home. Home is whenever I’m with you.”

The sweet lyrics and whimsical sounds of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ latest hit “Home” wax nostalgic in the style of a Johnny and June Carter Cash duet.

And though the band is best known for “Home,” which was recently included on the “Cyrus” soundtrack, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have much more up their sleeve than retro-folk music. Part of the eclecticism found in Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ music comes from the sheer number of band members. With 10 permanent musicians and six other come-and-go members in a single band, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are able to swing from genre to genre with ease. At once psychedelic folk and pure rock ‘n’ roll, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have been climbing the ladder to success since the California-based band formed in 2005.

Alex Ebert (also of Ima Robot) started the group based on his alter ego, Edward Sharpe, who was sent to earth to help mankind. Once Ebert attracted other musicians to his dream group, they set out on the road in a converted school bus, playing shows for fans who wanted to feel the purity of music that is unique in its ability to avoid the cliches of modern, trendy independent music.

What also makes Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros unique is their stated intent to connect with each and every audience they perform for. And for a band with growing popularity, this commitment to connections on a personal level becomes increasingly admirable, often ending with Ebert in the arms of his audience during live performances.

“I went into the crowd {and] everyone was singing. You could almost feel their hearts,” Ebert said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Though this 6-year-old band has only two releases to date, including the LP Up From Below and the EP Here Comes, its slow ascent to popularity doesn’t seem to point toward a lack in momentum. In fact, in the past year Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros have not only been included in a movie soundtrack but also made their network television debut on “Late Show with David Letterman.”

With every step the band takes, it seems to prove that a fresh approach to rock ‘n’ roll can be a real contender in the indie scene.