Eventide - 1997
Interview with J. Hamacher
How long has Frodus been around?
Jason: Frodus has been around for 4 years. We did not do very much in the early days. Our first tour was in April 96. Sin then we have done 2 full US tours, 2 southern tours, a mid west tour, and a European tour. We are heading back to Europe for 10 weeks in Feb. and are doing 2 US summer tours, one with Bluebird and the other with Refused. We are also heading to New Zealand, Australia, and Japan with Refused this fall for a Rock Revival.
How did the band get together?
Jason: I joined a band called Limbchip when I was in 11th grade. It was a grunge type band. At that point, I had quit playing drums for about a year and I was excited to start playing again with guys that I liked. There was four of us. We never played a show. The lead guitarist quit and the three of us that remained called ourselves Frodus. The line up has changed since then. We have had a reoccurring bassist problem. Our first 2 went to school in Chicago and the other quit for personal reasons. We now have Nathan Burke on bass.
What, if any, place do you think Frodus has in the DC scene?
Jason: I think Frodus has a place in the DC scene. Im not sure how to answer the question. We play all kind of shows when we are at home. Our fist DC hardcore show was with Unbroken, Undertow, Mouthpiece, and Damnation. We werent liked very much at that show. We were still trying to find our sound back then. We started out from the bottom. We didnt know anyone in bands or what to do in the early days. We just guessed our way through it for the first 2 years. Im not sure how that ties in to the question. I put on shows and we play shows in DC so I guess thats being part of the scene.
Is the new album recorded?
Jason: Our new album is finished and it will be out on March 10th. There are 13 songs and it is called "Conglomerate International".
Do you worry at all about the band running into any sort of backlash for being on Tooth & Nail?
Jason: We have run into some hassle for being on Tooth and Nail. But, it is worth it. We are not a Christian band. Some kids wouldnt book shows for us in Europe because of that, but it was only around 4 people out of the 63 people doing shows. T&N are a great label and do an incredible job. They are misunderstood. People think that they have all of these politics and crazy conservative ideals, but thats not the case. We finished the recording of our record on Dec. 22 and the finished CD, art work and all, will done on Friday. That is amazing! That is the quickest turn around time I have ever dealt with. I have found out that most of the prejudice towards Tooth And Nail is usually based on ignorance of the situation. Some kid from Atlanta said that Tooth & Nail were owned by Atlantic and how that wasnt punk and all this other crap. None of it was true. T&N is owned by one guy and has no affiliation with any majors except a side label, NOT T&N, has a distribution deal with EMI. The same kid sang on the Battery record which will be on Revelation which has ties to majors. He didnt make any sense. My point is: if someone is so closed minded that they wont give a band a chance based on a label, it doesnt matter because they mean nothing to us. Why would anybody want prejudiced fans?
I heard you guys are touring with Refused in Europe-how did you guys hook up?
Jason: I had played with Refused on the last Battery tour and met them at the show. Frodus played a Festival with Refused last April. When we were planning on heading back over to Europe we emailed Dennis, Refuseds singer, and asked if they wanted to go with us. They said yes. So the deal is, they take us on tour over there and we take them on tour over here. We are touring the states with them in August. Look out for the traveling Mosh Parade this summer.
You guys have put out a ton of seven inches, it seems-any plans to collect them all onto one CD/LP at some point?
Jason: We were talking about putting out all of our earlier stuff on a CD with Double Deuce. I have no idea where those guys are. I have tried to get a hold of them and cant find them anywhere. Our bass player for f-letter, that quit, doesnt want us re-releasing anything that he has played on. I dont know what we are going to do in the future with that stuff.
You've worked with a pretty wide variety of labels-which have been the best and worst of them?
Jason: The best label we have worked with has been Tooth and Nail. We have worked with several indie labels and none of them have been terrible. Some have been more irresponsible than others, but none have been hellish.
What bands, if you had to, would you group yourselves in with?
Jason: I would group Frodus in with bands like Rye Coalition, Sleepytime Trio. I think my favorite explanation of Frodus was Hose Got Cable meets Shellac.
Can you tell me a little about Mancake?
Jason: Mancake is band that is pure fun. I sing, Shelby plays guitar, Eric Astor plays drums, and Mike Schliebaum plays bass. We play shows every so often, usually shows that I set up. I usually wear some sort of costume and accost the audience. One time we were playing these 2 kids, Austin and Nathan, made 80 pancakes and threw them at the audience while we played. It caused $1000 damage to the place, it was crazy. The live show is fun but my lyrics are very serious. I write extremely sarcastically. Some of the topics I write about are addiction, religion, and the scene. But they need to be interpreted to get the true meaning, usually.
How do you deal with being in three bands?
Jason: I actually play in 5 bands. Frodus, Battery, Mancake, The Jerks, and Travelers of Tyme. It is all a matter of scheduling. Frodus and Battery are the bands that get priority. Mancake plays when ever we need to and the others are studio projects. Mancakes last show was in August with Assuck.
How are the interpersonal relationships in each band?
Jason: The relationships within the band are very close. We all have our pet peeves with each other, but we all help each other through tough times. We all lean on each other and help each other out. We hang out together when we are at home. You have to be friends to be around each other for so long.
Have you gotten any feedback from the flexis?
Jason: People seem to really like the flexi. I have gotten nothing but positive feedback. Then again, I dont think someone will tell me if they hate it. It seems to going good.
What have you been listening to and reading lately?
Jason: I have been listening to Assuck, Warrant, Guns And Roses, Pony Face, Leg Machine, Training For Utopia, Bon Jovi, Marty Robbins, Uranus, Ottawa, Refused, Nine, the new Darkest Hour. All kinds of stuff.
Are there any bands out there that you haven't played with that you'd like to?
Jason: I would like play with Rage Against The Machine, Jesus Lizard, The Cardigans, Slayer, but I doubt any of that will be possible.
In playing in several musically diverse bands, are there any observations that you've made about the hardcore/indie scene?
Jason: Hardcore is too uptight. I think that crews suck. The idea of a crew is somewhat understandable, but in general they suck. People are as tough as you let them be perceived. People are to concerned with who is cool and what label is cool and what looks cool, etc..... That get to be annoying. Kids are becoming more musically open minded, & that is nice to see. Over all I think hardcore is the same it always has been. Pony. People need to relax. Dont get me wrong, I think there are a lot of great people in hardcore, but the idiots stick out.
Anything in closing?
Jason: See You In The Pit!