San Fermin's second album, "Jackrabbit," is about trying to find one's identity. It's a fitting theme, as the album marks the Brooklyn group's transition from the solo project of classically-trained songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone to a true band. The group's sound is a melting pot: incorporating the orchestral pop of Sufjan Stevens and the dark indie rock of The National, as well as choirs, dance beats and marching bands. amNewYork spoke with Ludwig-Leone.
How did you wind up landing a record deal after your first concert?
I basically wrote the [first] record and recorded it. I had the finished product without any plan to make a record. I put [the song] "Sonsick" out on the Internet and it got some buzz with some smaller blogs. It seemed like I should put on a show, and some record labels came out.
It was crazy because we were reading off sheet music. I had 15 people onstage that I hired for the night saying, "You won't have to do this again." ? Our guitarist jokes that I asked him to play one show and he has probably played 200 by now.
What has it been like to watch San Fermin change over the last year?
It has been great. Probably the most interesting part of having a band is taking stuff you are thinking and not only sharing it with people who are listening, but with people who will make it their own and perform it over and over again. It's a very personal thing, really.
Your debut was a concept album. Do you see a theme running through this album as well?
Less so. The first album was conceived as a dialogue between the singers [Charlene Kaye and Allen Tate]. On this album, they're having dialogues with themselves. When Allen is singing, he sounds like a different person on every song. He's trying to figure out who he actually is.
Do you start with a concept or do you start with songs and see how they come together?
I start with a loose concept and framework for the whole record but once you start writing it, it inevitably takes you someplace different. Once you start writing the songs, they sort of write themselves.
If you go: San Fermin is at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Thursday and Friday at 9 p.m., 66 N. Sixth St., $20.