[PREMIERE/Q&A] Best Move – A Phrase

A trio based out of Sacramento, California, Best Move formed back in 2019. The story of principal songwriters, Kris Anaya and Joseph Davancens, however, stretches back a decade after the pair gravitated towards one another while gigging and sharing the same practice spaces. In 2016, they formed electronic act Doombird, a band they have referred to, “as more of an experiment within a popular genre than an answer to a true calling”. After moving back towards organic instruments and more traditional song-structures, they recruited drummer Fernando Oliva, and Best Move was born. Today the band are announcing their new EP, Mirror Image Twins, out May 7th via Park The Van, and sharing their new single, A Phrase.

Photo by Raoul Ortega

With their name lifted from the Harry Nilsson track, Best Move’s sound does seem to gaze back to the 1960s and ’70s troubadours, citing acts like Van Dyke Parks and Randy Newman, yet it also has a considerably more modern aesthetic, the band noting the influence of the, “visual scoring” of indie pop song placements in 21st-century TV shows and films. A Phrase serves as an exciting introduction, as a meandering Radiohead-like guitar line plays off against delightful organ flourishes and tight vocal harmonies. The track builds to a cacophonous close as the playing gets looser and the bass more prominent, hitting a similar sweet-spot to recent albums by Lionlimb or Chris Cohen.

Best Move already feels like a pair of songwriters hitting a real musical sweet-spot, they speak of this music as, “a thank you to the past”, musicians accepting the music they’re making, “we’re not trying to impress other people, we’re not afraid to hide our inspirations; we just identify where a song is headed and go for it”. Following their instincts, well it might just be the best move they’ve ever made.

Check out the track below and read on for my interview with Kris Anaya, where he discusses the recording process, finding new ways to reach their fans and how music is, “one thing that gives me joy in life”.

FTR: For those who don’t know who is Best Move?

Best Move is a band from Sacramento, CA composed of Kris Anaya (singer/songwriter), Joe Davancens (Keyboardist, Composer) and Fernando Oliva (Drummer). We live in Sacramento, CA, which is about an hour and twenty minutes from San Francisco.

FTR: You’re premiering your new single A Phrase here today, what can you tell us about the track?

When I wrote the song I was kind of inspired by the organ sound of That Association song “Never My Love”, and I want to kind of write a song that blended modern and psychedelic rock. When I presented the song to the group it was one of those songs where it was kind of easy to compose, mainly because it was upbeat. We were able to come together as a band to compose the rhythms and soundscapes of the keyboard sections pretty quickly. In terms of lyrics, the song to me reflects on how challenging it can be to follow your dreams and pursue what you cherish the most. This is not a unique event but I wanted to share my personal opinions on this with metaphors.

FTR: You’re about to release your debut EP, mirror image twins, what can you tell us about recording it?

We recorded the record in this little town in California known as Stinson Beach. The town is famous for the band the Grateful Dead, who originated there. We recorded the EP at this studio called Panoramic Studios, which is a secluded house up closer to the top of the Stinson town. A couple of the songs on the record weren’t truly crafted by the band until we came into the studio to arrange some of the parts. I always had a generalized vision of the record so it was easier to interpret how I wanted the shape of the record to feel with the band.

Photo by Raoul Ortega

FTR: It’s obviously a strange world to be releasing the album into, how has the pandemic affected your plans?

Yeah this pandemic is so difficult and my heart goes to every single person whose lives have been affected by it. I think the only negative is that we can’t play live shows for a bit, and for a new band like us it can be challenging to think of other ways to reach your fan base. We have had to put our thinking caps on and will hopefully be planning a live session in the future.

FTR: The EP is coming out on Park The Van. How did that come about? What makes the label such a good fit for your music?

Our manager invited Chris Watson, the founder of Park The Van up to the studio to check out our new music and we talked back and forth a bit with him for a few months, shared the music to the label and they asked us if we wanted to join the PTV family. Of course we said yes! I have always loved Park The Van since it has been around, they give the best advice about our music, mentors us and ultimately tries to guide us the best way to make sure we may have a long and successful career. Everybody at the label including the bands are so friendly and amazing, I can’t think of a better label to be on.

FTR: What is the best way for people to support musicians at this time?

If you enjoy the music, share it with your friends and family, support the bands by following them on social media, buy the album or just stream the music and enjoy it.

FTR: Once you can get back out on the road, what can people expect from the Best Move live show?

We are trying really hard to give the audience a close interpretation of the record in live form and I can’t wait to present that to an audience!

Photo by Raoul Ortega

FTR: Why do you make music?

I don’t know honestly. It’s a good question. I have always wanted to be a singer songwriter since I was around 10 years old. My older cousin used to show me punk records growing up, he played guitar and I always looked up to him. I thought maybe if I learned piano I could sit in with him. But when I started to play I always wanted to create songs and now I can’t stop. It’s basically the one thing that gives me joy in life, and it’s such a blessing to be able to create an emotion I’m feeling out of thin air. Also, being a part of music has given me so many creative friends, and each year I create new friends with new music ideas

FTR: Do you have any other creative outlets beyond music?

I went to school for maths and I love to solve little problems here and there with some of my mathematics colleagues. Mainly I have been into this new open source library called Lean, which is a theorem prover language and I’m a part of the lean community.

FTR: What are your ambitions for this record? Is music still a viable career?

Ambitions for this record is to get people to listen to it and for us to play the songs for people. I believe music is a viable career for the few, but is probably still achievable for any newcomer into the field of music.

FTR: What’s next for Best Move?

Live video sessions!

New album coming out soon!

Hopefully touring the UK? Man that would be something.

Mirror Image Twin is out May 7th via Park The Van. Click HERE for more information on Best Move.

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