Interview: The Frights
Last week, The Frights came to Denver along with Hinds and SWMRS and played a great set in support of their new album, "You Are Going To Hate This", which you can hear on KRCX. Before the show, Sye Sharp had a moment to sit down and talk with the band.
KRCX: First off, a little about yourselves, names/instruments/ages
BAND: I’m Mikey, I play guitar and sing. I’m Mark, I play drums. I’m Ryan and I play guitar. We’re all about 21-22. (Richard, the bassist, wasn't present for the interview.)
KRCX: This is your first big tour, congratulations, how is it so far? Anything particularly weird happen?
Band: It’s been really fun, but its been really long. We’re currently in the middle of a sixteen-date string of shows with no days off. We got a new label and a booker, and our producer had connections and everything worked out in planning this tour.
KRCX: I enjoyed the track-by-track commentaries for your album, what inspired you to do that?
Mark: It was our label’s idea to do it, but it was our idea to make it cozy- like a lounge act. We spent like a whole day doing promotions, and you can tell because I’m wearing the same Lorde shirt in every picture [laughs]. It’s so ridiculous.
KRCX: This is a series of quick questions, so first: Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
Band: STAR WARS.
KRCX: Skating or Surfing?
Band: Skating! We can’t surf at all.
KRCX: Even though you’re labeled as a “surf rock” band?
Band: “They” call us that [laughs].
KRCX: Pot or beer?
Mark: Beer, cause weed isn’t legal everywhere yet.
Ryan: You can’t get a hangover from weed.
Mikey: Well we can’t bring pot because of borders, and I’ve noticed that beer on tour gets me chubby.
Mark: You’ve switched us all to gin.
Mikey: Yeah keep it lean! It’s tequila and Wendy’s!
KRCX: True, there’s no time to work out on tour, so you have to balance yourself.
Mikey: We all got running shoes and we haven’t worked out one f**cking time. Even when we’re staying at nice hotels, there’s just no time.
KRCX: Have you guys been staying at nice hotels?
Band: Actually yeah! Richard’s really good at booking and we have the Friends and Family bonus with the Marriott.
KRCX: Any bands you’d like to shout out?
Mark: I always love shouting out bands who don’t need a shoutout: like “Hey good job, Muse!” [laughs]
Mikey: The Front Bottoms are my favorite band right now.
Ryan: There’s Creative Adult, they’re on Run For Cover Records.
Mark: Speaking of which, Donovan Wolfington; we played with them in New Orleans and it was just not the right crowd for them. But I kept telling them how awesome they are. They’re incredible and they deserve way more.
KRCX: Do you have a political stance at all? It’s not necessarily present in the music, but I think it’s good to ask.
Mark: It’s kinda crazy because I feel that every young band is very political right, and we’re not. Plus, everyone in the band is different politically.
Mikey: I don’t feel educated enough to post on Twitter, “Vote for f**ckin’ Bernie Sanders!”. I don’t know enough about it. I don’t know who I’m gonna vote for yet, I can say it’s not Trump. But besides that, I turn to Mark, he’s the most political.
Mark: Even then, for this band in particular, that’s not the point. There’s a ton of amazing bands whose politics affects them, like Downtown Boys. They’re amazing, but being outspoken about politics definitely helps them. But that’s not us.
Mikey: The cool thing though, is that once a band hits a level, they have a platform for that. But it’s scary for us to think of that platform. We want that platform to be just about the music.
Mark: Yeah, we’re not at the point where we can actually make a difference by leaning one way or another in the music or press, but maybe in the future for sure.
Mikey: It’s just so easy to offend someone too, and there’s very little that won’t set someone off.
Mark: If you ask us personally we’re not afraid to tell you what we think, but for the band it’s just better to focus on the music.
KRCX: On the album, there’s a lot of experimenting with noise and effects, what are some of your favorite moments featuring this?
Mikey: Zac (Carper, of FIDLAR) is a freak of nature as far as that sh*t goes, and came up with ideas that I would have never thought of. For “Kids”, for the chorus, there was a twelve-string acoustic guitar with broken strings that I tuned up and it was flat as hell. And Zac said, “Okay, now play along.” And I didn’t even use a pick, and it sounded horrible. But he buried it under a bunch of tracks, and the added effect was totally cool. Another thing was he gave me a metal lunchbox filled with drum hardware, also for “Kids”, during the part- [Sings] “Oh my god, whatever" and I used it as a shaker and he morphed it with some pitch effects. And thirdly, he’s really good at bringing out the emotions of a song. He got me hammered and got me talking about my ex-girlfriend, made me cry and I did the vocal take (for “Of Age”). Later that night, I blacked out and puked everywhere. Or, he told me to sing like I was getting choked which was on “Afraid of the Dark”.
Mark: One thing I liked, and I didn’t originally know this cause I wasn’t there, was the spacey noises on “Tungs” and “Puppy Knuckles” are taken from the radio signal coming from the amps from a Christian radio station. The recording equipment would pick up the signals coming through at 6 AM, so our album is filled with Christian radio.
-So this last question is a rip-off of Noisey’s The People Vs. On your video "Kids (Official Audio)", Christian Hernandez said "I don't know man, I liked this song a lot better when it was on their split EP with DeathLens. Before, the Frights had this pretty cool sound. It was like a combination of early Green Day and Ritchie Valens, now it's just diet FIDLAR. I don't know, but this song just seems overproduced.” What do you have to say to Christian?
Mikey: First of all, I like how timid he is about talking sh*t. That’s the kinda sh*t which is why we named the record what we did (“You Are Going To Hate This”). We’re not eighteen anymore.
Mark: I liked the Green Day/Ritchie Valens comparison.
Mikey: Yeah I’ll take that!
Mark: The old music is still there! You can still listen to it.
KRCX: I noticed that the old music it a lot more relaxed, whereas this album is much more aggressive.
Mark: See that’s one thing, my sister said I like them both, (when listening to the new recording of “Kids”) but she liked the original because it’s more whimsical, and I can understand that cause it’s two different vibes. That’s way different than saying “Oh, it sounds like this” or “Oh, you’re sellouts!” which is total bullish*t.
Mikey: It’s like, Diet FIDLAR? Well motherf**ker, Zac produced the album; it’s gonna sound a little like FIDLAR. And we like FIDLAR, so that’s not a bad thing.
Mark: Christian, you can come to one of our shows and we’ll talk about it [laughs].
by Sye Sharp