On local trio's forthcoming EP, Mark Ferritto channels Miyazaki and Vonnegut on path to mindfulness

Mark Ferritto is a fan of filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, a co-founder of Studio Ghibli who is responsible for animated features like “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away.”

“In those movies, even though things can be terrible, there's still beauty in the world,” Ferritto said recently by phone, on a break from his job at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Kurt Vonnegut has this phrase where he says that if you're having a good time and you're feeling happy, to be mindful of it. It's something that I've been trying to put into my life — coming into my own with mindfulness and just being very present for when things are bad, but also when things are really good.”

The singer/guitarist approached the indie-rock tracks on the new Noble Vices EP, Dandy, with a similar mentality. “I'm definitely not as nihilistic or cynical as I used to be, and I think these songs are somewhat of a reflection of that, despite everything that's going on,” said Ferritto, who wanted the EP’s title to evoke the idea that things will turn out all right. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”

This change in mindset came partly from Ferritto’s relationship with his sister, with whom he shared a “tumultuous upbringing.” “We were just like, ‘Hey, I'm not happy. Are you not happy, too?’” he said. “And we decided to work on that. ... How do we stop feeling this way? How do we make ourselves better, and how do we help other people, as well?’”

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Dandy’s closing track, pop-rock ballad “The Year of No More,” reflects on that healing process and the close relationship the siblings share. “She knows more about what I've been through, and I know more about what she's been through, than anyone else. That song is kind of a meditation on that,” he said. “The lyrics are kind of cryptic, but a lot of it is just descriptions of times and places where we've had conversations.”

Noble Vices originally planned to release Dandy on Friday (April 24) but decided to push it to May 1, when Bandcamp will again waive its revenue share to encourage direct financial support of artists during the COVID-19 crisis; Ferritto said the band plans to donate a portion of its proceeds to struggling musicians.

The local trio went for a bigger sound on previous album Hazy Sun, and on Dandy, Noble Vices went even bigger, layering more guitars and vocals with Jon Fintel of Relay Recording. “I feel like with each album and each song that we record, it gets closer and closer to who we are as a band,” Ferritto said.